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The Ultimate Birthday Gift Guide :: 30 Unique Gift Ideas for Kids Ages 1-8

birthday gift balloonsI have always loved birthday parties – as a mom, I have a great time planning details for my children’s parties and genuinely enjoy helping my children celebrate other kids’ birthdays. In my (imaginary) perfect world, my babes create homemade personalized cards for each friend whose party they are invited to, I patiently guide them as they thoughtfully choose an age- and budget-appropriate gift based on what their friend likes, and the gift arrives at the party perfectly wrapped with a “real” ribbon.

But, here’s the truth: with four children under eight I’ve found myself strolling the aisles at Target the night before a birthday party scrambling to find a gift – any gift! – for my kids’ friends’ birthday parties more often than I care to admit. To help save you from this same fate – because, let’s be honest, you’d rather be checking out Chip and Joanna’s new collection than choosing between a Lego dinosaur and a Power Ranger for Billy – I’ve created a gift giving guide for ages 1-8 that I hope you’ll find handy the next time your phone dings with an evite to a kid’s birthday party.

All the gifts listed here are under $40, and most are in the $20 – $25 range. 

Age 1 – Sensory gifts



Baby Paper 

Wooden Toys and Rattles 

Age 2 – Building & Moving gifts

Wooden Blocks  

Magnetic Gears  

Green Toys Vehicles  

Wooden Stacker 

Chomp & Clack Alligator Push Toy 

Age 3 – Colors, Numbers, Letters gifts

Lacing Beads  

Pop & Slide Shelly 

Counting Colors Book 

Alphabet Animals Flash Cards 

Age 4 – Arts & Crafts gifts

Pop-Arty Beads 

Motorized Spin Art Center 

Tempera Paint 

No-spill Paint Cups and Brushes 

Age 5 –  Activity gifts

Create and Design Drill Kit

Curious George Makes Pancakes and Shake and Pour Pancake Mix 

Stomp Rocket

Age 6 –  Explorer gifts

Walkie Talkies  


Science Kit 

Kids LED Headlamp 

Age 7 – Personalized gifts

Personalized shirts 


“This Book Belongs to” Stickers 

Age 8 – Gifts for readers and writers


Scented pens 

Race Car pens 

Chapter books – Some favorites at our house are Magic Treehouse, Cam Jansen Mysteries, Good Crooks, The Riot Brothers, The Boxcar Children, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and Mercy Watson.

Tell me!  What are your favorite gifts to give young kids?  Did I miss anything on this list?

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