1. Craft Kits
Many moms say that craft kits make great presents for young children. Cathy Walker of Cat's Litterbox suggests a Knot a Quilt Kit or a Model Magic Jewelry Maker, while Brooke Annessa recommends a make your own story kit. As she shares of the child she gave it to: "She worked on it for weeks after her birthday and then ordered the actual book she wrote, complete with illustrations! She loved it and still has it four years later...it was a really great gift that lasted well beyond the first two minutes of excitement!"
It's perhaps no surprise LEGO toys — perennial favorites among kids — make this list. "For any child (but more appealing to my son than to my daughter), a box of Legos is always a winning gift, even the $10 size," advises Lori Lavender Luz of Write Mind Open Heart. "My son (and other people's daughters, I'm sure) will spend hours and hours and hours during the next year or two building and rebuilding, imagining and creating and designing and envisioning. Those verbs are exactly what I want a toy to prompt. Of course, you may have to deal with the possibility that every parent dreads: stepping on a LEGO in the dark. Ugh!"
3. A Kite
"I think kids need more time outdoors enjoying simple pleasures and wonders of life, not more 'stuff,'" says Ariana Mullins of And Here We Are. She notes that a kite (and a promise to help your child fly it) makes a great present. She adds, "I know time may feel more difficult than spending money, but it is such a valuable gift, so be sure to take the kid out to fly it!"
Carol Lozier, LCSW of In My Child's World recommends Moody Bear Puzzles for young school-aged children. “There is one set for girls (Emma) and one set for boys (Ernest). As a therapist who works with children, this is a great gift on many different levels. The wooden puzzles are fun for kids as they love playing with the bears, putting them together, and creating different outfits and feeling faces. It's also a great way to increase a child's emotional intelligence; the bears provide opportunity for a child to identify and talk about his or her feelings in a healthy manner. And best of all, the puzzles are the right price...only $8 per puzzle on Amazon."
5. A Box of Art Supplies
"A box filled with brand new art supplies is always fun," shares Heather Schade of Production, Not Reproduction. "It's that cracking-open-a-fresh-box-of-crayons feeling times a dozen!" One fun art toy to include in the box is the Crayola Glow Book, which Cathy Walker of Cat's Litterbox loves.
6. A Tent
"Children of all ages and both genders love to have a little space of their own," so a small tent is sure to delight, says Elizabeth Behrens of The Behrens Family. "It should be small enough to be set up inside, but big enough for a couple kids to be able to set up their own little world inside. The child who loves to read can bring along a flashlight and some pillows and have a quiet space to read. The child who loves make believe can pretend they are camping anywhere in the world. Every activity is more fun in a tent." And as Elizabeth adds, tents can be gifted for even less that $30: "On an even tighter budget than $30, you can make one easily out of a large bed sheet. Simply sew a ribbon on each corner and use them to tie the sheet down over some chairs or furniture."
7. Voice Changer
Kids who still love to be silly will go gaga over the Multi Voice Changer by Toysmith ($10.99), recommended by Cathy Walker of Cat's Litterbox. It includes ten voice modifiers, flashing LED lights, and requires one 9-Volt battery (included).
8. Gifts that Give Back
“I want to buy my children things that give to a greater cause," writes Kelly Raudenbush of We Are Grafted In, one of several moms who've shared that impulse. Kelly recommends purchasing items made by companies that donate to charities, while Brian Reilly of Forgotten Voices suggests getting your child involved in the act of giving: "We all know giving back through service and volunteerism fills us with feelings of joy and gratitude, so why not start young? [Spend] $30 on making cookies or lemonade and let the proceeds of your child's sales go to helping a charity of some kind. Help them understand at a young age the joys of helping others. What a gift!"