Choosing gifts for kids can be a bit of a balancing act!
We don’t want to fill our homes with toys that will be tossed aside after two minutes of play, or waste our money on low quality items that break easily. Which is exactly why I started collating my best gifts for kids lists.
Using my many years experience as both a teacher and a mother plus the recommendations of fellow educators and the Childhood 101 community, I have taken the guessing work out of buying toys for Christmas and birthdays, collecting together suggestions for toys and gifts that encourage engaged, open ended play, exploration and learning and sharing them in lists that have been conveniently themed according to children’s ages and interests.
There are gifts for kids who love to build or play pretend, who love to play outdoors or cook or create, who love to read and tinker and more. There are ideas for little kids and big ones too. Join the hundreds of parents who have used our lists over the past five years (each list is updated annually!) to get your kids gift shopping complete!
Shop our collection of the Best Gifts for Kids
Simply click on the image or the title below the image to be take to the relevant collection of ideas. Happy shopping!
The great thing about building and construction toys is that they are hands-on, developing important fine motor muscles of the fingers and hands! Plus, they can be used in so many ways – sparking imagination and creativity, and they promote the development of a whole host of different skills, everything from thinking and reasoning skills to those important to emotional learning, such as task perseverance, and block play requires concentration, which is so essential to later, formal learning.
Quality wooden toys are timeless, durable, open ended (thereby encouraging hours of creative and imaginative play) and they grow with your child. What’s not to love!
Engineering toys develop so many important learning skills, including problem solving, analytical and critical thinking skills, creativity, intellectual curiosity, flexibility and perseverance – all while your child plays! And these STEM toys are not just for little kids – there are ideas for preschoolers through to elementary/primary school kids.
A SUPER collection of STEM robotics and coding toys, all of which are industry award winning and/or highly-rated by educators and parents for their educational value, user-friendliness, popularity with kids, and quality.
From preschool and kindergarten level, through to ideas for tweens, this great list of coding games and toys will be a hit with kids who love coding and robotics.
Over 50 fabulous outdoor toy suggestions, including toys for active play, tools for exploring the natural world and resources for inspiring outdoor creativity. Perfect for kids who love to be adventuring outdoors – and sure to inspire even those who don’t love playing outside.
A fun collection of games and resources that engage children with books and all aspects of literacy – reading, writing, listening and speaking.
I just LOVE the unique nature of handmade play food items and this huge collection of gorgeous felt, wooden and woolen pretend play foods is sure to inspire hours of imaginative play with mini chefs-in-training!
Sensory play stimulates the development of neural pathways in the brain and this great big list of sensory toys includes toy suggestions for all kids, at all ages and stages!
Babies learn about the environment through all of their five senses, developing a sense of the world and their place within it. This list includes 25 baby sensory toys to help them grow and learn through all the stages, from 3 to 24 months. It includes sensory play mats, activity toys and awesome sensory shakers. Lots of things to crinkle and shake, feel and taste!
Vocabulary, reading skills, measurement, science, sensory awareness, prediction – this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the learning that takes place when kids cook! Inspire your kitchen apprentice’s love of cooking with these great gift ideas.
Every Christmas and birthday my children receive art materials to encourage them to express themselves creatively. If you know a creative kid (or even a not-so-creative-one), this list features our pick of the BEST art supplies for kids.
Whether your family enjoys regular family game nights, or your kids just love to play against each other, this great big list of family board games includes our family’s personal picks, ideas from my years as a teacher and suggestions from the wonderful parents and teachers who hang out in the Childhood 101 community.
An awesome collection of card games the whole family will love!
11 fantastic brain-activating word games for kids that help boost vocabulary, enhance language learning and reinforce spelling skills – all while you’re having awesome amounts of fun!
Puzzle-solving and problem-solving are not only great for brain development, they provide emotional benefits, too. Our minds are actively engaged, distracting us from other stressors in our lives and, in solving them, we are rewarded for our patience and persistence! We love these six games for puzzle-lovers and small big, ages 7 and up!
Game play helps kids learn so many important skills and behaviours, from social skills – such as taking turns and being a gracious winner or loser, to thinking skills as they make choices and solve problems, to contextual language skills, and these fifteen board games are perfect for your preschool or kindergarten aged child.
Travelling over the holiday season? Stock up on family travel games and make time stuck waiting in airports, or anytime the kids are tired, cranky and bored, easier!
The very first Christmas with a new baby in the house is a very special holiday indeed. If you or a friend have a new bub, then this lift of gifts for baby’s under the age of one year is a great place to find the perfect gift for this very special Christmas.