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Whether you are looking for presents for your own child's first or second birthday or for the birthday of a relative or friend's child, you want to choose something special, memorable and fun. The world is new to toddlers, and bright colors, cheerful stories and simple games can make a birthday a momentous occasion even after all the wrapping paper and ribbons have been cleared away.
Everyone knows that children love toys, and when it comes to toddlers, the more brightly colored and noisy, the better. One perennial favorite is a music-making set. Look for one with a drum that doubles as a storage container for a tambourine, rattle, and bells or other noisemakers. Blocks are another classic toy that you can buy now and your toddler will enjoy for several years to come. Whether you choose heavy, durable wooden blocks or lightweight building blocks, your toddler will love stacking them, sorting the colors and, with a little help, making great castles.
If you don't yet read to your child regularly, now is the time to start. Those precious minutes with your son or daughter snuggled up in your lap after snack time or before bed will make you both feel more loving toward each other. Begin with a special library for your child's birthday. Choose several books, so that you'll be sure that at least one will be an immediate favorite. A chunky board-book version of a classic like "Green Eggs and Ham" that he can hold himself is a sure winner.
If your toddler is a budding artist, pick out some books with art in a style she'll like, such as the smooth oil paintings of the Miss Spider collection. Get at least one book that encourages your child's current interests, whether it's cars, princesses, pirates or dinosaurs. Inscribe a special birthday message inside, so when he is older he can read it and feel loved because you cared about his interests.
While toddlers are still a little young for board games, some games are fun for the youngest children. A game like Buckaroo, where you have to load up the donkey before he bucks, is a fun one to play with very young kids, as long as they don't startle easily. If your toddler is learning colors, try Candy Land. He will likely not be able to finish a whole game yet, but he will have fun recognizing colors and foods. Another great game for toddlers is Memory. Toddlers can learn to recognize and match objects, even if they are too young to take turns and sit through an entire game.
If the options listed above don't appeal to the toddler in question, try a similar toy or book featuring his favorite character. Toddlers consider television characters to be their friends, so if a wooden train doesn't excite your daughter or niece, a similar one that has Thomas the Tank Engine's smiling face on it just might. Licensed products are everywhere, including dishes, shoes and even potties and underwear. A toddler turning 2 who has been uninterested in potty-training can experience a boost in motivation if he knows he has big-boy Mickey Mouse or Diego underpants waiting for him.