Birthday guide... what to buy a two year old

An insider’s guide to choosing the perfect present.

With all my worldly experience of being a mum (Ha!)  (a whole two years!) I thought I’d put together a mini gift guide of birthday presents for inspiration in case you know anyone with a soon-to-be two year old that you’d like to give a present for.

Before I had our little one, I thought birthday presents were an easy thing to buy. You just had a look through the Argos catalogue, found something that looked cool, noisy/ not noisy, (depending on how much you liked the parents), and away you went.

But now I’m on the other side of the fence it’s a bit different. With several loving relatives that all want to treat her to something special, its hard to think of gifts that she will play with, or that won’t mean an overkill of shiny, noisy plastic items in our house. 

All children are different and it’s hard to predict what they will play with, regardless of how relevant it is for their age. Our little lady still has presents from Christmas that she’s never really picked up, despite her friends having similar things and loving them. Plus, we don’t have a huge house, or the luxury of a separate playroom, so space in our living room that we want to devote to her toys is limited…. Yet we want a variety of things that will hold her attention for as long as possible. See, it’s quite a challenge to find the perfect present!

Here are some of the themes and ideas that have worked really well for her this year:

Role play toys….
She loves to pretend and play, so we’ve invested in a mini kitchen with pots and pans for her to play in. And seeing as my other half irons his clothes every morning, we bought her a mini ironing board too. (Yes! A bloke that irons!) Whilst on the one hand I’m pretty sure she will be a complete gadget girl (like her mum and dad) because she LOVES my iPad and regularly wants to boot me off my phone to access her own folder of apps, I am also hoping that she’ll be brilliant around the house and will want to earn her pocket money in return for chores. (Just a few years to wait!)

Things she can learn and have fun with…
Now that I’m  a mum spending two days at home with her every week, the things I really appreciate are little tasks and puzzles that can hold her attention for as long as possible. When she’s up and full of beans at 7am WITHOUT FAIL, the more things you can have to help break up the day the better!
And if you really want to impress the parents then find something that’s educational, will keep them busy AND packs away into its own box! The joy of being able to tidy things up at the end of the day is a guilty pleasure of mine!
Trust me, find a toy with many parts that has its own storage…. You’ll be well received!

Things of her own.
On a slightly more unusual note, I also decided to give her something with her name on it. Although she’s a way off reading, she can recognize her own name and the letters and is really starting to understand the concept of ownership. Her toys, her apple, her clothes, her shoes.
I was lucky enough to be contacted by my1styears,com to see if I would like to have a look at their site and share my thoughts on their products, in return for a personalized gift for Anya.

Here’s what we thought…

Firstly, although the site is called my first years, it’s not just all about babies, there are gifts suitable for two and three year olds too. 

Although I should add that if anyone in your office has recently had a baby this should be one of your first stops- lots of inspiration and very, very cute things on here. Don’t bother with the giant stuffed toy you were thinking of (because in your mind, all babies love teddies?) Nah, waste of space, if you’re shopping for a baby gift, you’re really shopping for something that will put a smile on the face of the new mum (or Dad). I would recommend these personalized baseball boot style crib shoes.

AND they come perfectly packaged, like a cross between the White Company and Tiffany. Good stuff. With just a few clicks you can create something they’ll really enjoy receiving and opening.

Anyway back to our gift of the dressing gown....

Like I said, the first ‘ooooh’ moment was opening the box and finding… a very smart box. Rather than the usual clothing deliveries from online retailers or from Amazon, this really felt like you were opening something special. Fitted with a lid and a bow, it invited you to open it up.

Inside, the gift was wrapped in tissue paper, but that was no deterrent for little fingers. She was in!

Pulling it out of the box we had a few squeaks of ‘what’s thaaaaaaat’! So we showed her, and after a slight hesitation that putting the dressing gown might mean that she would have to go to bed, she gave it a go. I had to go and put my dressing gown on to prove to her that it was ok to give it a go. I promise that’s the real story, I had been to work that day and I hadn’t just spent the day lounging in my sleepwear!

The dressing gown on the website
The dressing gown is really soft and is well made. She spotted her name on it and was excited to say her name, pointing at herself as she did it.
I was also impressed with the label inside, as a nice attention to detail it also says 'my 1st years, made with love'. The whole thing feels like a quality item. It even got the nod of approval from my other half.

Maybe its just me, but as a blogger when you get sent things as you worry that people think you were obliged to write nice things about the company and the item. But here’s my honest opinion.

At first when I looked at the site I wasn’t sure I thought that £25 was good value for money for the dressing gown as I’m a self confessed bargain junkie when it comes to finding clothes for her. You’ll often find me stalking Sainsburys on Twitter to find out when their 25% off clothing sale starts (sad but true!).

But now that I’ve seen the dressing gown I feel very differently. Because its not just about the item itself, but its about the experience of receiving it as a gift. Its the joy of opening the box and finding something thats been lovingly packaged for you.

If someone had bought this for Anya as a gift I would have been genuinely chuffed. Its practical, its personal and its really well presented. As a size 2-3, it fits her now, but there is also plenty of room for her to grow into it. Yes, it’s not a shiny bright toy, but it’s definitely a gift to remember and one that will be used nearly every day. Plus, she seems to really like it too!

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