After spending the past year falling in love with your baby niece, celebrate her transition from infancy to toddlerhood with a special gift. Whether you're gift giving on a budget or you can afford to be a little frivolous, all you need is a little creativity to present your niece with a gift that she can enjoy now or appreciate when she’s older.
You can have a special keepsake engraved for your niece, such as a ring or a silver piggy bank that her mom can display on a shelf until your niece is older. Or, have a bracelet made with colored or silver beads that spell out your niece’s name. If you're crafty with knitting needles or a crochet hook, you can make your niece a cozy blanket in colors that coordinate with her room, or sew a blanket for her instead and embroider her name or a personal message in one corner. If crafting isn’t your specialty, have a photo blanket made for your niece with a picture of the two of you together.
For the Future
Since your 1-year-old niece isn’t likely going to remember the gift you give her now, give her a gift that she’ll appreciate in the future. You can start a registered education savings plan for her and add more money to the fund each birthday and Christmas as she grows, buy her a savings bond for college, or start a “Niece and Me” fund that the two of you can use at a later date to go shopping for toys and other goodies. If you’d rather give her a gift that is useful now, surprise your niece’s parents with a gift card for baby supplies and clothing that they might need for your niece. Alternatively, give them a gift card for something a little more frivolous, such as baby portraits or nursery wall art.
Your young niece is an inquisitive little munchkin who is probably very busy learning and exploring the world around her. You can help her in her ventures by presenting her with a brand new educational toy. Look for shape sorters, early wooden puzzles and building blocks to help her develop her fine motor skills, or consider an activity table that can help a young cruiser get steadier on her feet and give her plenty of sights, sounds and textures to explore. Sturdy push toys can also help youngsters feel a little more stable when they're moving around. You can also look for a ride-on toy to help with her gross motor development or musical instruments designed for infants to give her the opportunity to discover all kinds of new sounds while learning about causality, too.
Help your niece develop a love for reading and imagination with a new storybook that you can read to her when you visit or Mom can read to her every night. You can pick up a brand new book or rummage through your childhood things to find the stories your parents read to you when you were young. Alternatively, look for books that will help your niece explore her senses, such as a touch-and-feel book or one that makes noises. If you’re feeling creative, you can make your niece a one-of-a-kind storybook that you write and illustrate yourself, or order her a personalized storybook that includes her name and picture. To help your niece remember your voice when you don’t get to visit too often, record a story onto a CD so she can listen to you recite the story often.