Hetty and Dave red leatherette number 3 brooch

Kids' birthday gift ideas: instant inspiration for a little one’s special day

gifting thoughtfully
by holly tucker


Want some kids’ birthday gift ideas or more creative ways to shop for children? Let me share some mini surprises...

How do I choose the best gift for my child?

Ok I’m going to share something I’ve learnt with you here. For kids’ birthday gift ideas, we usually search by age — but really, should age appropriate birthday gifts be the first place we look? Yes of course it helps, but shouldn’t we concentrate more on their unique personalities? Think how different we all were as children. It’s not just our passions or interests, but whether we prefer to play with others or alone, whether we’re logically minded or magically minded, if we’re an old soul in a young body or quite the opposite. My founder sister Gabi has twins and they are as different as can be.

Ultimately, I think the one thing all children want for their birthday is something that makes them feel special and most like ‘them’ — and nobody does this better than small businesses. It takes an innovative mind to help foster creativity, imagination and learning, and personally, I think that’s what the best kids’ birthday gifts do. You just need to know where to look…

What to get a child with everything (or even trickier, a child you don’t know!)

Sadly, gone are the days of a gift apiece at birthdays. Some kids just seem to have it all. That’s why I prefer buying less but buying well. Plus finding unique kids' birthday gifts for your own children is hard enough but shopping for someone else’s can be a real challenge. So here are some ‘Holly thought starters!’ in case they help...

  • Creative toys or kits for kids — these are great gift ideas for the more right-brained kids to nurture their artistic side and express how they are feeling (which are more important than ever since in 2023, 40% less kids took GCSE art than in 2010!).
  • Books or a monthly magazine subscription — especially ones where children can see themselves represented as studies show this benefits self-worth (and we all know what a gift that is!).
  • A personalised children’s present — something that shows it’s just for them (very good for kids in big families I always think).
  • Educational gifts for children — there are some brilliant, interactive learning gifts out there. Think STEM gifts for girls (and boys), or innovations that make grasping new ideas fun and will help set them up for life.
  • Kids’ gifts for outdoor adventures — outdoor toys, games, bikes — anything that gives them some sunlight rather than screen light, and engages them in physical activities will help strengthen them in many ways.
  • Niche gifts by interest — if you’ve heard of something they like, look to small businesses to discover some less ordinary gifts around the theme. Honestly, nobody does it better.

Thoughtful gifts for kids: the best bit about birthdays…

What is the greatest gift you can give a child? Of course it's love. Anything else is a bonus. So for me, the best part of their birthdays is showing them how it’s done. Children learn from our actions, and so a birthday is a great time to help teach them lovely lessons about empathy, compassion and meaning (it's also a time for laughter and treats, in case I just sounded like a total fun sponge!). Life is short and we work hard, so in our house, we really try to mark these occasions.

I do believe it’s important to show that we haven’t just rushed out to buy the latest piece of plastic or generic ‘trending gifts for children’s birthdays’ (although, believe me, I’ve caved under pressure more than once). The gifts I feel good about though, are the handmade ones I gave Harry that really celebrated ‘him’ — the gifts I spent time on, that didn’t harm the planet or feel like a ‘quick fix’, that taught him the story behind the person who created it. It was the more thoughtful and thoughtfully made birthday gifts that he then passed on to other kids, and those were the best children’s birthday presents I remember. And as I found out this evening when we chatted about this idea (my heart still feels full), they are the ones that Harry remembers the most fondly, too.

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