Are you puzzling over what to get the grandchildren for Christmas? Have you put on Santa’s thinking cap but are still coming up empty? For the mini-humans in your life this is the most important time of the year.
There’s no better feeling than knowing you really made their day, but finding the perfect gifts for kids of a specific age is no easy feat. If they’re very young there’s a risk they won’t be able to use your present, or it will be a one-minute wonder that’s soon collecting dust. Meanwhile, teens have fickle tastes that change as quickly as their moods, so you’ll need to keep up with what’s ‘cool’ in their lives. Fortunately, toymakers offer a helping hand since most toys are designed for a particular age level. Whilst not perfect, this is a great place to start to avoid buying a gift that is either too babyish or too advanced.
When searching for Christmas gifts for kids, keep in mind that you are buying for two audiences. Obviously, you want your grandchildren’s faces to light up when they unwrap your present, but you also have to keep their parents happy as well. They’ll be the ones who have to contend with noisy or messy toys or find somewhere to store them if they take up a lot of room. Large presents such as playhouses can make excellent choices but are clearly not for families who live in small spaces. Other considerations when buying gifts for kids is to avoid the gender trap. Don’t assume that all girls want dolls and that all boys hanker for toy soldiers or construction kits.
Whether you are looking to buy unique gifts, something inspirational and educational or a toy that’s just plain fun, here is some Christmas present inspiration for you:
Gifts for kids by age
0-2 Baby and Toddler
Babies are probably the easiest to buy for. There are lots of fun and exciting toys that promote play and help them to develop and practice new skills. The Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether is a maze of coloured tubes surrounding a cube that makes a rattle sound. This teething toy is good for dexterity, stimulates visual development, is fun to play and great for teething.
When they reach the age of two, children are more independent and curious. Among the best gifts for two-year-olds are toys that involve pulling or pushing things along so they can enjoy their new found toddling freedom. Classic wooden pull-along toys have come back into fashion in recent years so you could consider something like the Brio Infant and Toddler – Pull-along Duck.
At this age, children often have favourite toys from films, TV shows and books so this is a useful starting point for your research. They also love storytelling, pretend play and exploring so think of toys that allow them to use their imagination and creativity. There are dressing up costumes and toys such as the Playmobil Pirates Raiders’ Ship or the Playmobil City Life Take Along Fashion Store that let them escape into imaginary worlds and settings. For some gooey fun, your grandchildren will love getting creative with a Cra-Z-Slimy 28821 Creations Fun Kit. They can make all manner of slimy designs with ease.
By this age, children are well-versed in the digital world and may have their own tablets and notebooks. While applications can be educational, informative and fun you may want toys that encourage your grandkids to point their faces away from their screens for a while.
Children in this age group enjoy toys and activities that challenge them and that improve their creative skills. Good presents include arts and crafts kits, DIY electronic kits and puzzles. The 4M Kidz Labs Kitchen Science is a fantastic introduction to science and features six specially designed kitchen experiments.
Between the ages of 8 and 11, kids are a lot more active and some may even be involved in their school football, netball or athletics teams. So presents that encourage active pursuits such as trainers and sporting equipment will earn you a big thumbs up. For those children that aren’t interested in sports, games that require them to use their brains will appeal to their inquisitive and competitive natures. Code Master is a programming logic board game that teaches programming skills through gameplay. Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad is a board game that involves social play and strategic thinking as children compete to get to the fridge for midnight snacks without waking up dad.
By now your grandchildren are not so little anymore and as they move through this age bracket they become more interested in growing up and self identity. They’re much more independent and picking a gift can be tricky when what they’re into at any moment can change. This means that an easy and often sensible present choice is good hard cash. It shows you respect their independence and allows them to choose their own gift.
That said, it’s natural to feel like you still want to buy them an actual gift, and thankfully you can still blow their minds with a gift that tops up their knowledge banks or opens doors to exciting new worlds. You will just need to think carefully about giving them something they will truly appreciate.
Jewellery is an option as are their favourite aftershaves/perfumes. For budding engineers, Lego Mindstorms are programmable robotics kits that let users build their own robots. For science lovers, they can expand their horizons with the Thames and Kosmos Telescope and Astronomy Kit that includes a telescope through which Venus, Mars, Saturn and other planets can be seen.
If you’re not 100% confident in your present selection, it can be a good idea to get the teenagers in your life to write a wish list of some of the cool things they want. Then you can just make your selection from it. This way you know you’ll be giving them something they long for, while maintaining an element of surprise as they don’t know exactly what they’re going to receive.
Be a big hit this Christmas
No doubt you are the coolest grandparents on the planet, but you can earn a million extra brownie points by giving Christmas gifts for kids that you know they will love. Now you just need to remember where that old Santa costume is….