6 Simple Tips to Buy Great Birthday Gifts for Kids

Does a kid’s birthday party invitation leave you wondering what gift to buy them? It certainly did me when my three and four year old boys got invited to another birthday party last week…

Just as I was racking my brains for ideas, I stumbled across Jessica Jonzen’s article “Getting Presents all Wrapped Up” for the Sunday Times. Far from putting my mind at rest, she mentioned that:

  • If my gift failed to hit the spot it might end up in “a “present drawer” where all these unwanted knickknacks lie before they can be redistributed”
  • Parents not only need to buy a gift, but need to “get something “thoughtful” and “original” as well”
  • If your own child sees the present you have bought for them to take to a party: “Never let them see it,” “They always want to keep it and then end up having a tantrum.”

Who said buying birthday gifts for kids was easy? I decided to forget about the dread of the “present drawer” and as the boys couldn’t wait to go shopping for a present for their friend I took them along.

We headed for the girl’s section of the toy shop and picked a girly a pink toy pony that can grow a play-doh mane and tail (don’t ask!)… I am happy to report the experience was blissfully tantrum free.

Here are a few tips that should help you buy great birthday gifts for kids – while keeping things simple and stress-free:

  1. If you have children involve them – they will love to help you choose and wrap the present and choose and write the card. From my own experience, even very small children do understand that if they buy a gift for a friend, sibling or relative they can’t keep it. Older children probably know better what their friends might like so you’ll have a better chance of buying a good present.
  2. Choose craft or educative toys – young children always love crayons, colouring sheets, stickers, play-doh and other “creative” toys. They are also just perfect to keep everyone busy on a rainy day, so they’re good for parents too.
  3. Give vouchers or money – it might seem like an easy option but if you have no idea what to buy, book or toy vouchers can be a good option. At least your money will go towards something they want. Alternatively, you could take the birthday boy or girl shopping with you and let them choose something they like.
  4. Avoid noisy toys for babys and toddlers – although a noisy toy will probably turn into a much-loved favourite toy, it will quickly drive the parents insane.
  5. Ask the parents or the child for ideas – if you’re planning to buy a more expensive present or are buying for a god-child, niece or nephew, it might be worth asking the parents, or the child what they want – presents are important to kids, so it’s important to get it right.
  6. Keep a list of what you buy for whom – if you have a lousy memory this will eliminate the risk of buying duplicate presents… and save you much embarrassment too!

I hope this helps. Of course the most important thing about birthdays is to remember them – having forgotten many I do speak from experience!!


Are you looking for a birthday surprise for a kid? Just check out our kid’s birthday balloons, birthday gifts for boys and birthday gifts for girls.

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