The No-Fail Kids Birthday Party Gifts I Give Over and Over
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One of the biggest joys of being an adult with kids in your life is giving gifts to those children. Watching a child’s face light up or getting a grateful text from a parent about how your gift has kept their kid happy and entertained for over an hour (IYKYK!) is heart-warming.
Of course, giving gifts that hit the spot to your own children is delightful, but giving gifts to your children’s friends or your nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc. is rewarding in its own right. Especially as birthday parties resume, buying birthday gifts for others becomes one of those (joyful) tasks to pencil in on the calendar.
But it’s too easy to get caught, as I often have been, in that pre-party scramble surrounding the questions of What does so-and-so like? What should we get for so-and-so? and the somewhat awkward texts with parents about what their child is into these days. To stymie the birthday gift-giving chaos and confusion, I’ve begun keeping a mental list, and sometimes a small physical inventory, of go-to-gifts for the children in our lives that we love to shower with love on their birthdays.
As a parent myself, I have some thoughts about what makes a really good gift. I aim to give something that, even if it’s geared toward children of a certain age, can be enjoyed by multiple children in the family, and even by parents and other caregivers. This means not only that multiple members of the family can benefit from the gift, but also that the gift will “keep on giving” as the child gets older. In addition to gifts that encourage group play, I also appreciate gifts that foster open-ended play or support a child’s development at a certain stage.
For sure, books and experiences (like a local zoo membership or tickets to a special event) are wonderful gifts. But sometimes a physical gift that can be wrapped and opened and handled and played with feels best.
Whether the following list of suggestions is helpful to simply keep in mind or it nudges you to have a stash of gifts ready for the next birthday gathering, here are my current go-to gifts for elementary school children: