I am always that creepy person in the toy aisle of the shop, eyeing out the mom with the kid, hoping she can help me buy yet another gift for a birthday party. Surely I can’t be alone in this? I find myself breaking into a nervous sweat every time I’m confronted with buying a present for a kid whose age doesn’t match my own child’s. Kiddies’ birthday parties inevitably bring out the stresser in me – do I go the conservative but smart route and buy little Johnny something a bit older, so it lasts longer? Or do I buy him something fun and plastic that’s almost guaranteed to end up in the bin within a week?
Luckily for you, and now me, I’ve done the legwork, asked the shopping savvy parents, and come up with a list of perfect gift ideas for kids.
As a mother of a nine-month-old, I can tell you that all I really want for my son’s first birthday is wine. For me, not him, obviously. Wine, and about four days of sleep. Barring that, clothes in a bigger size are a guaranteed win, as are educational toys, books and bath toys. The good news is that, at this age, anything goes, because your baby is too young to know any better.
Two and three-year-olds know what they want. And what girls of this age want is play doh, interactive games, colouring and sticker books, prams with dolls and push bikes. Two-year-old boys are no different, and anything that can be built up and knocked down is a sure-fire win. Think along the lines of building blocks, wheelbarrows and balls filled with slime. A big no-no is anything that will make more of a mess for mom and dad to clean up – kinetic sand being a prime culprit.
Four To Five-Year-Olds
Children this age will undoubtedly have a favourite TV or Disney character. There’s a reason why the Frozen franchise is valued at one billion dollars, so it’s safe to say that DVDs, books or merchandise featuring the cast of their favourite show will go down a treat. Children of this age are also learning about reading and writing, so entry level books teaching them this will be a huge novelty.
Six And Up
Think along the lines of backpacks and stationery for ‘big school’, art and craft supplies, sporting items and beginner board games. This is the perfect age for your child to fully explore their hobbies. Little girls might love baking and cooking sets, whereas boys will love bikes, water pistols and balls. At this age, books tend to get more exciting, and this is potentially when you could get them started on storybook series.
Gifts On A Budget
If budget is an issue, then sign up to online discount sites. You will often find sales on top name brand toys for massively discounted prices. It’s also useful keeping a present drawer at home with gifts relating to the age of your children – that way you’ll always have a present gift on hand, and can spend more time worrying about how to make friends with the other moms at the party, rather than making a mad dash for the shops.
By Kate Kearney