The average class size in America can range from 17 to 25 kids, give or take. With class sizes this large, it’s no surprise when your child comes home with a birthday party invitation- or three.
Kids often forget to give their parents important papers from school, but what happens when your child gives you a birthday party invitation three hours before the party is set to begin?
This is why you need a list of the best kids’ birthday presents. Not only will you be the hero parent who gives their child the best gift for their birthday, but you’ll always be ready for any impromptu birthday party that pops up.
Not only do we have suggestions for the best birthday gifts below, but we also have a solution to the panicked target run: the gift shelf, which we’ll discuss later. Learn more below.
1. Stomp Rockets
We’re always telling our kids not to stomp, jump onto things, or be unnecessarily rough in the house. These classic toys let them do all three of those things outside, with an incredible payoff.
If you’ve never seen one, a stomp rocket is a hollow foam rocket you fit onto a tube. The tube connects to a pillow of air, which you stomp/jump on to send a blast of air into the rocket and make it fly.
2. Rainbow Stacker
If you have big bucks, this Montessori-inspired toy is great for kids in the 1-3 range.
It’s either wood or heavy plastic, with seven arches that fit inside of each other to make a rainbow. The pieces stack in various ways, challenging the child’s creativity and providing a STEM activity.
3. Kids Craft Kits
These are our favorite things to find on Target clearance shelves or even at places like TJ Max. They have options for everyone, with boxes like make your own jewelry to paint your own squishies.
Amazon has these on Deal of the Day sometimes as well. They’re great for artistic kids or just as a general gift when you’re in a bind.
Stay away from slime unless you really don’t like the birthday child’s parent. Slime is a no in our house.
4. Nerf Accessories
If you know the birthday child is into everything Nerf or weapon-like, but you’re not comfortable with that, this is the option for you. They sell Nerf darts as expansion packs for quite cheap.
You can also find Nerf-branded eye protection, which looks cool and keeps your child (and their friend) from getting a dart in their eye on a playdate.
This accessory gift keeps you out of the weapon range but gives them something you know they’ll like. Now, if they only made something that made picking up all those darts easier …
5. A Subscription Box Gift Card
This option is best for parents of kids who can’t really figure out what gifts are yet or are old enough to understand the concept of a gift card. Otherwise, there’s going to be a very disappointed child when they see a square of plastic.
There are all sorts of boxes for kids out there. From subscription boxes for toddlers to STEM experiments for older kids.
Gifting them three months of the box is the most acceptable (one month looks cheap). Bonus if you have a box of the same subscription you never opened, so you have something physical to give.
This is a great option for kids who have everything (though they might have a subscription too, who knows).
6. Play Scarves
If you’re a crunchy mom or the mom of the birthday child is, this is a great option. Play scarves are silk or chiffon scarves that can be used for everything from imaginary play to gross motor development.
They’re affordable (depending on the quality) and make a great gift for first and second birthdays. If you don’t think the mom will understand what they’re for, try to find a picture of kids playing with them to put on the packaging.
7. Your Child’s Favorite Book
Books are the best go-to kids’ gift. No parent is ever going to be mad you gifted a book, and developmentally, there’s no such thing as too many of them.
Ask your child what their favorite book is and get them their own copy. Have your child write a note about why they like it (or transcribe their answer) on the first page.
Super easy gift!
The Gift Shelf: Your “Backstock” Solution
In her episode of The Home Edit, Khloe Kardashian revealed that she has a whole shelf just for gifts. Things she can grab if she has to go to a party or someone gets her one, and she doesn’t have one in return.
Khloe is known for her extreme organization, so we wrote this off as a little over the top. Then Retta (Donna Meagle in Parks and Rec) explained she had the same concept in her episode.
That was all the convincing we needed to create our own gift shelf. We have one side for kids (ok, it’s more like 3/4) and one for adults.
You can fill it with things you get as gifts but don’t like (put a piece of tape with the name on it, so you don’t regift it to the gifter) or things you find on clearance.
Target always has a shelf of random kids clearance, and those DIY craft kits make great shelf staples. Stay away from any show characters unless you know you’ll gift them in the near future.
If you’re looking to stock up once and not think about it again for a while, Five and Below has great options for cheap.
Spend two hours on the shelf once a year, and you’ll save so much time. We have!
Kids’ Birthday Presents Made Easy
Buying gifts for kids doesn’t have to be hard or the reason for a last-minute store run. With a little planning and some bargain shopping, you can have a full shelf full of kids’ birthday presents ready to go.
Not only will your child be able to pick out the perfect birthday gift for their friend, but you won’t get talked (or begged) into spending more than you wanted.
The gift shelf is a lifesaver. Take it from us!
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