After repeatedly being asked, “What gift do you recommend?” for kids of all ages, I’m finally putting together my ultimate list of gifts for ages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5!
A lot of gifts are suitable for all ages and personally, I prefer to buy those kind of open-ended play items that grow with your kids. Frankly, my 5 year old plays a lot with the same toys that my 16 month old twins do!
But if you’re looking to get something special for a child in your family or you’re buying a gift for a friend’s child or going to a birthday party, I’ve got some great ideas for you. I’ve crowd sourced and used my own gift-giving experiences to build na ultimate list that I will update as I think of more ideas.
And I think it goes without being said that it’s not the gift that matters, it’s the thought that counts. Kids love experiences and time with loved ones, so if you can’t afford a physical gift right now, simply taking a child to the park and giving your undivided attention means even more. Especially if it includes a lollipop or something sugary!
A few notes:
- Personalized gifts are always the best! Etsy has lots of great options, and I also have a friend who does personalization if you want to support a fellow mama friend of mine.
- This doesn’t include books! Books make great gifts.
- Arts & crafts – for all my crafting ideas, check out this post!
Best Gifts for 1 Year Olds
- Lovevery kits: kids at age 1 are still learning how to use toys, and I love the philosophy behind Lovevery.
- Play kitchens: honestly there are so many great ones out there, but I have this one and this one and you can’t go wrong.
- Tonie box: all 4 of my kids love the Tonie box, but you can start at age 1, they love playing with the figurines and changing the songs.
- Cleaning set: I don’t know what it is about little kids and cleaning, but this is probably their favorite toy. I gift it all the time!
- Play Dyson: again with the cleaning, they also just like to be like Mommy 🙂
- Coin box: this is a Montessori toy and doesn’t seem that glamorous, but the twins play with it for a good chunk of time.
- Balls: honestly, a cool ball they’ll carry around with and chase long enough for you to drink your coffee.
- Large cars: the twins love to push around cars, but the large ones are especially easy to push for them.
- Foam blocks: if you have room for them, I’m a huge fan of foam blocks. I don’t have these, but this is a sweet personal way to gift blocks.
- Shopping cart: to go with the kitchen, but also just for pushing around.
- Stacker toy: my kids have never been puzzle kids, but they did love this.
- Duplo blocks: around 16 months, all my kids started with the starter pack of Duplo blocks.
- Scooter: Luca and Roma started scooting around 16-18 months, but this is a borderline 2 year old gift.
- Ride on car: if you have the storage space!
- Nugget comfort: great if you have the space, again!
- Water table: for the warm weather (or put it in the shower, haha!)
- Play tent or tunnel: another grows-with-them item.
- Musical gifts: love this set and this.
- Basketball hoop: it’s so cute to see them grow with this.
Best Gifts for 2 Year Olds
- Easel: my kids really started using the easel at 2 and they still love it.
- Magnetic blocks: this could work at age 1, too, but my kids got it better at age 2.
- Figurines: we started with figurines like a Sesame Street set. And then upgraded to a farm set, sharks, people, and more.
- Duplo sets: when they really start learning, get into the Duplo sets.
- Barn set: kids love animals and this is like an early dollhouse!
- Hot wheels: cars and tracks. The color changing Hot Wheels (these too) are huge hits in our house.
- Baby doll and accessories: we’re talking bassinet, stroller, etc. I love this bundle doll.
- Puff sticker books: great for traveling, restaurants, and rainy days.
- Dress up clothes: the Disney store has great options for princess dresses, but I love the more gender neutral ones like police officer, fireman, doctor, chef, superheroes, and nurse.
- Leap Frog Ice Cream Cart: it’s pretty hideous, but still a hit with all of my kids.
- Cleaning kit: this is another cleaning set from Melissa & Doug and such a cute extension to the other kit.
Best Gifts for 3 Year Olds
- Magnatiles: you can get these for younger kids, but I feel like 3 years old is when the building and play really begins.
- Magformers: these are similar to Magnatiles.
- Spinner: Roma is obsessed.
- Balance bike: we started Luca on a balance bike and he was biking on a pedal bike before he was 4 years old!
- Tea set: when Roma turned 3, we got her this tea set and she loves playing make believe tea.
- Train sets: there are so many good ones (like this Brio one) and you can just also get a set of tracks and trains.
- Games: Zingo, Chutes & Ladders, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, and Candyland are great for starting a game collection.
- Barbies: this age begins the Barbie infatuation.
- Dollhouses: there are so many great ones, but we have the Barbie Dreamhouse (it goes on sale around the holidays!)
- Stomp rocket: a great gift to give at birthdays, never fails!
- Erasable markers: it’s like magic! Gift it with a cute pad of paper.
- Pretend sets: my kids play endlessly with the play sets from Melissa and Doug, specifically the Drink Dispenser, Coffee maker, Pizza Oven, Oven Cookies, the Vet Set, and Ice Cream counter.
- Cash register: for all that pretend play.
- Sensory dough kits: the kids love these and they’re always great for encouraging independent play.
- Wiggle ride on car: love these for the summer!
- Stepping stones: great for rainy day play!
- Trampoline: to get those wiggles out, used indoors and outdoors.
- Play makeup and nail polish: Roma is the girliest of girls and loves to play makeup.
- Nail kit: the perfect all in one nail gift!
- Flower building kit: Roma got this as a birthday gift and she loves it so much. As a tip, keep it in a box with a lid, because it has so many pieces and if you lose them, it loses its capabilities.
- Talking microscope: a fun science related gift.
- Fishing game: such a great gift for hand eye coordination and building that frustration threshold.
Best Gifts for 4 Year Olds
- Hot wheels track: for 3 or 4 year olds, really, but I feel like Luca really had fun with it starting closer to age 4.
- Card games: I love this pack, and Luca really got into it at age 4.
- Legos: Luca really didn’t “get” into Legos until this age, I feel like Duplos are great up until 4 and then the Lego sets, like this one, are better.
- Remote control cars: they really get a grip on this at this age. This one gets great speed. And I love this little Hot Wheels car one.
- Playmobil: I love these and they’re great for younger kids to play with too, but 4 is the age to build.
- Slime kits: ugh, but they love it!
- Clip on earrings: I love this brand and I’m going to get Roma some for her 4th birthday this year.
- Dress up shoes: as with the earrings, I’m going to upgrade Roma’s accessory game with this brand of shoes.
- Action figures: the big ones, like this Spiderman!
- Basketball hoop: over the door basketball hoop for the kids’ room.
- Highlights subscription: a great gift that keeps on giving.
- Lite brite: this was one of my favorite toys growing up.
- Way to Play Roadway: an Instagram follower submitted this as an idea, and I am putting it on Luca’s wishlist, I know he’d love this!
- Plus plus blocks: these are our favorite for travel!
Best Gifts for 5 Year Olds
- Kits: all the kits! Science kits, slime kits, beaded bracelet kits, and craft kits.
- Art kit: my son is very into drawing and creating, so lots of drawing materials these days.
- Kids camera: Luca loves taking photos and they’re fun to see on your computer later.
- Lego sets: every week Luca asks me about a new Lego set, even though he plays with Legos generally, he loves a project.
- Tracing pad: this is the age when drawing really kicked in for us, so along with fun coloring tools, this is great.
- Hot Wheels garage: okay, this is a serious plastic eyesore but such a winner with 5 year olds!
- Marble run: Luca is just old enough to master this, so definitely a 5-6 gift.
- Monopoly Junior: I loved playing Monopoly growing up, and I love the Jr. version for Luca!
- Kid watch, kid wallet: basically anything that makes them feel
Leave a comment and let me know any other great gift ideas you have!