Choosing Gifts For Kids

When it comes to buying kids Christmas gifts and birthday gifts, the sheer amount of choices available may leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is especially the case if you’re looking for gifts for nieces and nephews, but you don’t have any children of your own. You may wonder which gifts are age-appropriate and stimulating. While it’s almost always best to check with the parents for specific gift ideas, it’s also possible to find great gifts for kids by sticking with timeless, classic presents.

Young Children: Gifts for Girls and Boys

If you’re looking for a gift for a newborn or toddler, the trick is to find kids toys that will capture their imagination and interest. For the youngest children, soft dolls, bath toys, stuffed animals and cloth books make great gifts. Other gift ideas for babies include mobiles and toys that play music. Try to steer clear of annoyingly loud baby toys—the parents will thank you for it—and don’t buy anything with hard edges or small parts, both of which are dangerous for very small children.

Slightly older children, aged three to five, enjoy toys that require a little more activity. Popular kids toys for this age group include trains, toy telephones, trucks, building blocks and pull toys. Imaginative and brightly illustrated picture books are great for young kids, too.

Holiday and Birthday Gifts for Older Kids

As kids get older, their gift needs become a little more complex. Gifts for girls and boys age five to seven should help develop their imagination, coordination or problem-solving ability. Sports gear, easy puzzles and introductory art supplies such as crayons or watercolor paints make great gifts.

If you’re looking for gift ideas for a child between the ages of eight and 10, consider introductory chapter books, puzzles and games. Older children may appreciate a diary or journal in which they can record their thoughts.

You may have a bit more trouble finding gift ideas for preteens on your list. These children often have higher expectations for gifts, plus at this point they’re really starting to assert their own independence and personality. Try to cater to their interests—for example, a child who’s interested in looking at pictures and art may really enjoy receiving a first camera as a gift. A preteen girl who attends a lot of sleepover parties may benefit from a more “grown-up” sleeping bag. But if you’re totally at a loss for gift ideas, this age group particularly appreciates gift cards to a favorite store.