The Best Gifts for Kids

Shopping for kids (especially your own) can be TOUGH. Older kids either want insanely expensive things, are ultra-picky, or both. Younger kids have so many things already and are often inundated with toys during the holiday’s thanks to generous family and friends. So what do you get them when you feel like your house has become an unused toy explosion?

You may have heard of the minimalist gifting principle called “Want, Wear, Need Read.” It’s one of our favorites! However, we decided to take our own spin on that and add a few more ideas to the list. Here, you’ll find those gift ideas along with things like experiences, creative activities, and more. We’ve rounded up all our favorite gifts for kids to make your holiday shopping that much easier:

Something To Read

We love reading and encouraging others to read! Getting them hooked on books from a young age sets the stage for many years of reading, and it’s surely something your kids will appreciate as they get older.

kids gift books

  1. Personalized Book, $39. Pottery Barn has so many wonderful personalization options for books for young readers! Not only will it be a wonderful keepsake for years to come, but having their name on a book is sure to get them excited about reading it!
  2. BabyLit Books, $9.99. These board books are perfect for kids ages 1-3 and are a wonderful way to begin introducing a little one to classic tales. Other titles include Pride & Prejudice, The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, and many more!
  3. F in Exams: Complete Failure Edition, $17.83. This isn’t a story to get lost in, but it’ll get your teenager’s head out of their phone and provide them with a few laughs at the same time. Because for whatever reason, completely wrong answers to test questions are hilarious.
  4. All-of-a-Kind Family, $6.29. Get them hooked on a series! This is book one of five in a series that is perfect for ages 9-12. Published in 1984, author Sydney Taylor tells the story of a family of five girls and their parents living in NYC at the turn of the century.
  5. My First Reading Club, $26.99/month. We love a good subscription box! This one is for readers, and we like it because there are options for young readers anywhere between ages 2 and 12.
  6. Harry Potter Boxed Set, $205.93. Whether a reader has yet to fall in love with the mystery of Hogwarts or has loved the series for years, a beautiful box set makes for a wonderful gift. Or perhaps you get them just the first book to start their collection. Either way, we recommend hardcover books here, as they’re guaranteed to be well-used!
  7. Where the Sidewalk Ends, $19.99. Perfect for ages 7 and up, this book of delightfully silly poems and illustrations is sure to hook any kid.

Something To Eat

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without some yummy goodies under the tree or stuffed in stockings! Your standard chocolate bars and gum are always a great go-to, but here are some other ideas in case you feel like getting a bit more creative this year. These are our favorite edible gifts for kids.

kids candy gifts

  1. There’s no link for this one; it’s truly just an idea! Hit up your local grocery store (preferably one with a big produce section), and browse around looking for all the fruits & veggies that you and your kids haven’t tried. It may seem silly to open a big box of produce, but it’ll get lots of laughs, and trying new foods as a family will be fun!
  2. Chocolate Covered Oreos, $14.95. Take a beloved cookie of kids of all ages to the next level by covering it with chocolate. Guaranteed to get devoured instantly, and they’re also pretty easy to make if you’re feeling up for it!
  3. Gingerbread House Kit, $19.99. Holiday breaks with kids at home can be a bit of a struggle, so why not get them a gift they can enjoy after the presents have been opened? Fill an afternoon with a gingerbread house kit. Eat it the same day for maximum freshness! Or snack on the candy along the way…
  4. Mix Box, $26.95/month. Another subscription box coming at ya! Middle and high school chefs will love getting a new baking recipe to try each month.
  5. Harry & David Moose Munch, $27.19. We love the idea of buying a big batch of gourmet popcorn and divvying it up in fun holiday bags to give to neighbors, coworkers, and your kids!
  6. Lara Bar Variety Pack, $25.24. Kids will eat just about anything they find in their stockings, so why not throw in something moderately healthy that will prevent them from filling up on chocolate and candy? Lara Bars are yummy, vegan, gluten-free, and only a handful of ingredients in each bar.

Something To Wear

It’s true that many kids are not crazy about ripping open a present only to find….clothes! The fact of the matter is that kids do need things to wear, so they might as well get some that they could potentially like at least a little bit.

gift to wear for kids

  1. Critter Bath Robe, $49.50. It may seem like an unexpected gift idea, but who doesn’t love being all warm and cozy after a bath? It’s a great gift for all ages. You’ll definitely get bonus points if you get them one with an animal friend on the hood.
  2. Funky Socks 3-Pack, $12. Socks are possibly one of the most standard & practical stocking stuffers out there, but they just don’t get old, right!? Everyone needs new socks, and they’re even more fun when they have things like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on them.
  3. Unicorn Sparkle Ballet Flats, $29.95. Have your kids been begging for some fun & fancy shoes that are just slightly too impractical for everyday use? Treat them this year – because all shoes are better covered in glitter!
  4. Cat & Jack Adaptive Clothing. Kids may or may not love getting clothes, but they definitely don’t love getting clothes when those clothes don’t fit their needs. Target’s adaptive clothing line is designed to fit the needs of all kids, with features like flat seams, full side zip openings, hidden abdominal access, and more.
  5. Sports Jersey, $74.99. Do you have a kid who is not only a huge sports fan, but has dedicated loyalty to one team or player? If so, a jersey might just be the one clothing item they’ll get ultra excited about. Be careful though – they may never want to take it off.
  6. Waterproof Fisherman’s Jacket, $66. If you live somewhere where it rains often, a quality raincoat is a must-have! We love the classic look of this one and the fact that it comes in sizes 12 months to 12 years.

Something To Create

Nurturing creativity & imagination in kids of all ages is so important. For those that may not seem all that interested in creative activities, they might just need a little push in the form of a gift under the tree!

kids gifting guide for creativity

  1. Standing Art Easel, $79.99. Give them a completely blank slate with a chalkboard, dry erase board, and an option to attach a paper roll for paint, crayons, or markers.
  2. Skra-fitti Scratch Pad, starting at $21.09. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Who doesn’t love a scratch pad? No messy ink to deal with, and hours of artsy fun. Win win!
  3. Disney Animals Coloring Book, $15.99. Filled with 100 pictures of all your favorite Disney animal friends, this coloring book is sure to inspire those tricky teenagers on your list.
  4. Etch A Sketch, $14.99. You can’t go wrong with this classic gift!
  5. Gourmet Kitchen Appliance Set, starting at $59.95. Recommended for ages 3 and up. This play kitchen set includes a mixer, coffee maker, and toaster. It’s the perfect gift for your mini-me who wants to cook in the kitchen just like their parents!
  6. We Craft Box, $29.99/month. Kids ages 3-9 will love getting two to three easy crafts each month with simple instructions!
  7. DIY Embroidery Kit, $25.90. Your crafty tween or teen will put down their phone in favor of creating their own beautiful work of art. This kit comes with everything they’ll need – fabric, thread, needle, and hoop.

Something For the Family

An easy way to encourage more family time is to get a gift that everyone will enjoy! Your kids may actually want to spend more time with you. But, take note: it’s probably best to put the entire family on the gift-tag to avoid “that’s mine!” arguments.

gifting games

  1. 16′ Trampoline with Enclosure, $503.99. This definitely qualifies as a big-ticket item, but is also something that will likely get a ton of use over the years.
  2. Trip to a nearby amusement or water park. A fun overnight staycation (or even a day trip!) is something the whole family is sure to enjoy.
  3. Nintendo Switch, $299. Did someone say Mario Kart? If your kids insist on playing video games, get the whole family involved! You can always put guidelines on when they can use it and monitor what games they’re able to play.
  4. Apples to Apples, $19.99. This particular game is sure to be a favorite. You can also get the junior version if you have younger players in your family! In general, a new game or puzzle for everyone to play is always fun to find under the tree.
  5. Scratch Map, $32. Does your family travel a lot? A scratch map is a fun and interactive way to visualize the places you’ve been as a family. You could even get one for just your state or country!
  6. Deluxe Croquet Set, $54.99. Get the whole family outside and active in the backyard! After the snow melts, that is. This classic game is fun for people of any age and skill level.

Something To Use

Think of this category as the “need” in the Want, Wear, Need Read. These are items that they may not be jumping up and down with joy for, but they’ll generally like and will get good use out of. We love a good practical gift!

gifts giving useful

  1. Critter Slippers, $39.50. Slippers make a great gift because they can get worn out pretty quickly, and everyone appreciates ultimate coziness in the dead of winter.
  2. Personalized Step Stool, $49. Again, kids are probably more likely to use something that has their name on it! A step stool is a nice option for those who may need help reaching the bathroom sink or want to help in the kitchen but aren’t quite counter-height yet.
  3. Hard Sided Luggage, starting at $109. A nice suitcase is certainly on the pricier side of gifts for kids, but investing in a quality, hard-sided, roller bag for them is something that will definitely pay off. Pro tip: if they’re younger, go for a solid color or simple pattern instead of a character design. This way, they won’t grow out of it as quickly and you’ll get more use out of it.
  4. Ladybug Contact Lens Case, $4. It’s inevitable that kids who wear contacts are bound to lose them. Throw a fun case in their stocking and they’ll *hopefully* be less prone to forgetting it in the future.
  5. Collapsible Hydaway Bottle, $25. You know a Hydaway gift guide wouldn’t be complete without a Hydaway bottle! Honestly, though, a water bottle is totally useful and practical. Plus, our bottles won’t get dented or cracked when they’re dropped and come in tons of fun colors that your kids are sure to love!
  6. Play’n Pack, $29.95. This great kit comes ready with activities for the car, airplane, waiting room, etc. A backpack filled with coloring, sticks, and little toys will keep your kiddo occupied when you are pre-occupied.
  7. New Bedding, $59.95. Who doesn’t love a good room refresh? A new set of bedding is the perfect way to give any room an updated feel without breaking the bank, and your child will have a newfound pride for their room (for a little while, at least…).

Something To Do

Experiences are something that kids will remember long after they’re over, and they will cherish those memories more than they will for most toys. Give the gift of a wonderful memory this year!

experience gifts

  1. Gnome on the Roam Kit, $29.97. Your little one will love taking their little gnome friend on all their adventures! Gnome on the Roam comes with its own suitcase, magical marker, and adventure journal. Your kids will love documenting their trips with their Gnome.
  2. Tickets to a Broadway Show. You may not live in New York City, but chances are there’s a touring Broadway show coming to a theater near you in the next few months. A couple of great ones we’d recommend are The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin, and, of course, Hamilton.
  3. Gift Card to their favorite restaurant. Why is it that kids’ favorite restaurants are always the ones parents really don’t want to visit? Give your child a free pass of sorts by throwing a gift card in their stocking to their favorite restaurant. Let them plan a day to redeem it!
  4. Herb Garden Starter Kit, $22.89. Not necessarily a “go out and do something” type of experience, but certainly, a gift that will create memories for your budding botanist.
  5. A lesson or class for one of their favorite activities. Think horseback riding, skiing, cooking, painting, archery, photography, and so many more.
  6. Date Night (or Day!) With You. Younger kids with siblings will especially love this. A special day with their parent(s) all to themselves!? The tricky part is how to wrap this day up and stick it under the tree. Use some construction paper to create a fun coupon and print off images of what you could do (movie theater, favorite foods, clothes shopping, the zoo, lego store, etc).
  7. Movie Night Basket. Fill a basket or sack with all their favorite movie snacks, a cozy blanket, and a couple of movies, Redbox credits, or a “coupon” to pick their film of choice on Netflix. This is a great option for some Christmas Eve family time as well!

Something From Santa

Some parents prefer to have the “bigger” items come from Santa. Some parents make sure that those big-ticket presents have their name on them, with smaller gifts coming from the man in red. Either way, the gift ideas here would qualify as the “want” in the Want, Wear, Need Read. Most kids know exactly what they want to arrive at under the tree, but some need a little help with ideas. That’s where this list comes in!

gifts from santa

  1. Mini Photo Printer, $129.99. It’s like a polaroid camera for the next generation. This photo printer connects right to your smartphone and can print photos on demand. Your teenager will actually be excited about printing hard copy photos for you to put on your fridge!
  2. App-Controlled Batmobile, $99.99. Take Lego building to the next level with this motorized lego Batmobile that is controlled by an app.
  3. Ultimate Slime Kit, $25.90. Kids some to be oddly obsessed with slime, and we know that parents are less than fans. However, slime-making equals more creative time and less screen time, which we’re all for. This kit has everything they’ll need to be in absolutely slime heaven.
  4. All-in-1 Kitchen, $499. This play kitchen might possibly be prettier than your actual kitchen. No matter what it looks like, a play kitchen encourages imagination and will keep your little chef busy for hours on end.
  5. Apple AirPods, $159. Wireless headphones are a great gift for athletes or just teenagers who want to be cool. They are totally convenient through – headphones without the annoying tangled mess of cords? Sign us up.
  6. Play-Doh Set, $19.99. Younger kids will love finding an ultimate Play-Doh set under the tree. This particular one features a grill and everything you’ll need to make burgers, hot dogs, fries, buns, and anything else needed for the best cookout ever.

In conclusion, as you can see shopping for kids doesn’t have to be so hard. I hope our gift guide for kids is helpful and wish you a happy holiday.

For more holiday gifting guides click here.

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