Holiday Gift Guide For Children of All Ages

mother and father holding young child opening gift

As the holidays approach, gift giving is often top of mind, especially for those who have children and teens in their lives. When choosing gifts for children it’s important to consider the recipient, making selections based on what they will like best. It’s always a great idea to ask parents, friends, and family for ideas or speak to the gift recipient directly about what they’d like as you embark on your holiday shopping.

Gifts for Babies (0-18 Months)

Babies are growing so quickly, developing their vision and motor skills as they learn about the world around them. Babies are often drawn to bright colors and are likely to be attracted to toys that have a variety of textures and patterns. It’s important to be mindful of toy safety during the infant stage to prevent choking or swallowing, as babies are naturally inclined to put toys in their mouths as a means of exploration. Toys that promote fine motor skills, like stacking and nesting toys, interactive bathtime toys, and wooden pull toys are great choices for babies.

Gifts for Toddlers (18 Months - 3 Years)

Toddlers are playful and curious, exploring their surroundings as they learn to walk and talk. Between the ages of 18 months and three years, children continue to develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as problem-solving skills. During these stages it is still important to monitor toy size to prevent choking or swallowing. Toys suitable for toddlers often include puzzles with only a handful of pieces, music or musical instruments, balls, and sensory tunnels. 

Gifts for Preschoolers (3 Years - 4 Years)

Preschool children are beginning to use their imagination and engage in creative play. Toys that foster make-believe or imaginary play and give children the opportunity to practice social behaviors like taking turns and sharing make excellent gifts for preschoolers. Gift ideas for preschool-aged children include basic building blocks, crayons and coloring books, dolls, playdough, and toys that encourage imagination, like tool kits and kitchen toys. Preschool children also enjoy playing dress up, so outfits like doctor costumes, princess dresses, and an astronaut’s space suit are also great choices.

Gifts for Kindergarteners (5 Years - 7 Years)

By the time children begin kindergarten, they have likely started to develop their own interests and preference for toys. While some children may gravitate towards arts and crafts, others may prefer construction or science-themed toys. Age appropriate craft kits, simple board games and card games, or building sets are popular favorites among kindergarten-aged children. As five to seven year-olds learn to read, books suited to the child’s reading level also make excellent gifts.

For additional ideas, check out this list from the New York Post where our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Lauren (Starnes) Loquasto, provided other gift suggestions!

Gifts for Preteen (8 Years - 12 Years)

As children grow into preteens they continue to develop their own unique personalities and often start to adopt hobbies and new interests. When choosing gifts for older children, it’s important to consider their preferences and areas of interests, selecting gifts that help cultivate their natural curiosity and individuality. Preteens may enjoy recreational sports, like soccer, golf, and skateboarding, making sports-related gifts a surefire slam dunk. Other children may have interests in STEM, arts, or reading, in which case gifts like chemistry sets, paints, or books are wonderful choices. It is also important to keep in mind that preteens often start to develop their own personal style, taste in music, and preferences in movies and television, so gifts like clothing and records may also be smash hits.

Gifts for Teens (12 Years - 18 Years)

By the time children become teenagers their personalities are well-established and often so too are their interests, hobbies, and preferences. At their parents’ discretion teens may be ready to begin using their own personal technology, like smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, laptops, and video games. Teens that already have personal technology often enjoy accessories, like headphones, cases, speakers, and portable chargers. While electronics are undeniably some of the most popular gifts for teens, other items like lego models, books, records, clothing, and bedroom decor are also great choices. Teenagers are at an age where they can begin to appreciate experiences in addition to tangible gifts, so events like movie night, a trip to a theme park, a family vacation, or concert tickets are also excellent gifts for teens.

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