Go-to Gifts for Kids

Go-to Gifts for Kids

Discover great gift ideas for kids at every age. With this list of go-to gifts for kids, birthday shopping is quick and simple.


Shopping for birthday presents for your child, her classmates, cousins, and your own friend’s kids can be a challenge. Save time searching the aisles or Internet by following these tips for finding age appropriate gifts for kids.

12-24 Months
Once wee ones enter their second year of life, they become more independent and inquisitive. Fuel their curiosity by giving intriguing gifts little minds and hands can manipulate. Gifts for children this age — such as colorful puzzles, stacking toys, and shape sorters — should keep tiny hands busy and help improve dexterity and motor skills. At this age, toys that take a little figuring out are perfect. Once tots learn what to do, they take great satisfaction in making the toy work over and over again.

3-4 Years
Imagination reigns supreme at this age, so shop for presents that feed ideas for pretend play. A princess- or fairy-loving child will adore a magic wand, angel wings, shiny shoes or costume jewelry. A super-hero fan will delight in a kid-friendly prop or mask packaged with a picture book about their idol.

Another sure winner: any type of vehicle with lights, sounds, buttons and working parts (Just make sure there’s an “off” button.). Preschoolers are also learning to express themselves and love to make choices, so opt for playthings like magnetic dress-up sets or a cupcake decorating kit that allows them to mix and match to their heart’s content. Little helpers will love a play kitchen, pretend lawn mower, or kid-sized grocery cart filled with supermarket specialties.

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5-6 Years
As kids settle into elementary school, self-expression becomes more important than ever (until the teen years that is). Help an artist bring out his inner Picasso with the gift of an easel and paint collection. Give a budding fashion designer a bead-making set or tie-dyeing kit, or present a young rock star with a harmonica or small keyboard with customizable beats.

Puppets are also a huge hit with kindergarteners and first-graders, so a couple of cool characters along with a mini stage should be a homerun. And you can’t go wrong with a bike or scooter for the energizer bunnies in your life.

7-8 Years
Any activity that tests a young grade-schooler’s strategic thinking skills is right on the money, which is why board games make a great gift at this age. Consider a couple of travel-size editions of classic games so kids can bring them along on a long car ride, or use them to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office or a restaurant. Also wonderful gift ideas for kids with inquisitive minds: a microscope, science kit or spy kit.

8 and Older
At this age, most kids love riddles, jokes and entertaining people so consider a book of jokes, magic set or a collection of gag gifts like squirting flowers and a set of fake mustaches. Books are a good go-to gift for kids in their tweens — if you choose that route, include a personal note, either in a card or inscribed in the book, explaining why you chose that particular book. Popular series are great, as you can add to their collection every year. Got a sports lover? A colorful soccer ball or a pair of sneakers designed by their favorite sports star or an autographed photo should score nicely.

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