Whether you're a parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle or family friend; you're sure to have children to buy for. But how do you find a gift that will have more longevity than the latest fad and be able to be loved and used for more than a few months?
I've put together some gift guides below to help with different interest areas, although all areas are of interest to most children.
I've also tried to include as many gifts into splurge and save options with each idea so that you can choose the right one for your budget. The splurge ones that I've listed aren't just to spend extra money, these are ones that may be for multiple children or ones that will stand the test of time and could be handed times.
With all of these options click on the image to get check the price and where you could buy it. Some of these are affiliate links, so if that bothers you please feel free to open a new tab and search by name, I've just tried to make it a little easier for you.
Mega-mods are a firm favourite with children of lots of ages, from 3 to young teens. They're even used in schools as they are so well made and hold up under lots of repeated play. At around £15 for the starter set it's fantastic value for a gift that will be used for years to come.
These Magna-Tiles are more of a splurge, starter sets range from £40-£100, but they have many more options than the mega mods in terms of types of construction and multiple children being able to use them at once.
Lego is a fantastic gift for many ages. A set with lots of universal pieces will mean more options and you could always combine it with one of the Lego ideas books or gift the book on its own for a child who already has a lot of Lego.
This comes in at around £5 and is a great stand alone creative gift for lots of ages. Although the age suggestion is higher I have a 3 year old who loves "drawing" in her sister's one of these. The stencils would probably be too old without help for younger children, but this is a great one all the same.
A great bundle idea for a creative child is a pack of plain cards and envelopes, some stampers or stickers, and some postage stamps. That way they can make, write, and send cards whenever they like!
A free-standing easel is great if you have the space, and this one is double sided so two children can use it at once. If you don't have the space this table-top easel is fantastic quality, lays flat for storing and has a whiteboard on one side and a chalkboard on the other, plus the paper roll holder. This smaller one is currently reduced and only just over £20 right now.
There are so many toys that could be included in this category. This is one where you can tailor so well to the child's interests.
There are now so many options in terms of wooden play food and accessories. Some of the best quality items that are competitive in price are Melissa and Doug, Tildo, and Big Jigs - all found on Amazon. Retailers are now catching on and great options which we've tried and loved have come from ELC, Wilkos and Aldi surprisingly! Of course the kitchen is the splurge, however it is possible to DIY your own market stall using a cheap low wooden bookshelf. I know because that was my child's gift one year with a few sets of food and fabric shopping bags.
There are so many figures and animals that would make a great gift in a little tub. The first two images are from Wilko and come in at about £1-£2 each, they look great and have good detail for the price, but the quality is not so high and we do have a few bent swords. The last two are Schleich brand and we have a few of these. I'd say they'll last well enough to be passed down generations even. Ours have lasted amazingly well and the detail is incredible. They are heavy because of the quality so probably not best for very young children. I'd suggest the farm animals if buying for a younger child as they're not as big and heavy to handle.
In terms of longevity I think Sylvanian families do this amazingly. I have three children ages 3-9 and each of them will set up and play with these sets. (Yes, even my son! He wouldn't put it on a gift list but definitely joins in playing and there are sets like a ship that appeal to more boisterous personalities.)
We have a whole collection of Orchard toys games! They are fantastic gifts for friends' birthday parties as well as Christmas or birthday. They are educational in a fun and easy way and the age suggestions on the box are even a little narrow in my experience. Younger and older children have still enjoyed playing these games. Older children help the younger ones and still have a lot of fun with them.
An interactive globe is a wonderful present for a whole family and provides hours of fun and learning. There aren't many adults who could get every country right so is fun for everyone.
There are not many tablets I personally would recommend for children, but Amazon really thought of children of all ages when designing the fire. I love that the adult sets up a profile, downloads and approves content, and can tailor all aspects of the use. You can set it so your child has to complete a certain amount of time on educational apps or reading before doing more fun ones. There is a time limit setting which means the child gets a time warning and then locks itself for the day after the time limit you set. (In other words, no children getting cross that you've told them their time is up!) As your child grows you can let them access child safe videos and websites and then when they're ready you can give them an adult profile. (This is not sponsored! We just really love ours in this house!)
Of course, books are always a great idea! A book voucher works, you can buy them in lots of supermarkets now too or design your own for a little extra here. There are also some suggestions on a previous post I did here.
Younger children can be harder to buy for as they grown out of stages so fast. I've found a few things that can last with them as they grow and stand up to being thrown around during the "cause and effect" learning stage!
This skills jigsaw works from when babies just want to explore textures, to when they can fit the pieces, and then when they want to use the different "skills" on the clothes.
This is another great one as babies can hold and manipulate the cars and then it can turn into a more imaginative toy as they grow.
Duplo is a really hard working toy. It lasts well, the pieces can be played with by babies (obviously supervised if they're smaller), it can be built with, and can be used for roll play. Of course, this number train is educational on top of that too. I would say that children will play with these past the age on the box too. My 7 year old will still build the tallest towers, creations with symmetry, and they're an amazing way to teach fractions.
One amazing gift you can give is an experience. Here are a few favourites, but I'd love to hear your ideas too.
- Gift voucher for a "date" - this could be to the park, for a hot chocolate, shopping, cinema, a walk, to a play area or whatever you love doing together! One of my daughter's favourite things to do with her grandma is to walk her dog. This doesn't need to be expensive.
- Tickets to Eureka, and as a bonus the entry for one day means you can go back and visit as often as you'd like for a year!
- Tickets to a zoo or animal park.
- Entry for a theme park.
- National trust membership for a year. Check their website as they'll show how many places you'd be entitled to visit in the local area.
- Cinema tickets.
- A voucher for a sleepover.
- A voucher for a family swim.
- Ice skating tickets.
I know there are so many other options too!
I really hope this gift guide has been useful for you. Feel free to share it with friends and family, and please write your own favourite gift ideas in the comments below. Happy shopping!