2021 Gift Guide: Your Favorite Kids

18 November 2021

If you’re anything like me, your internet life is absolutely awash in gift guides right about now. I have NEVER seen them this early and in such force. Not without reason, but still – I kind of feel I’m drowning in them.

And here’s the thing about gift guides – though I scour them compulsively, 80% of the ideas in most are immediate nos for me. Even in the very best ones, only 50% or so are even worth considering at all.

And yet – I still read them, because sometimes all you need is just one gift that perfectly speaks to your loved one. I hope you find a few of those special things in my gift guides for 2021. Most of the ideas are pulled from items we own and love, have gifted, or have enjoyed at the home of a loved one.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share a gift guide for your favorite grown-ups, one for stocking stuffers, my personal wish list, and the actual gifts we’re getting our three kiddos this year.

Today: kids!

Gifts for your favorite babies:

I like to keep gifts for babies (and their parents!) simple and practical. My best suggestions are in my “favorites” series – see here for gifts for babies at six weeks, five months, eight months, one year, and fifteen months.

Gifts for your favorite toddlers and preschoolers:

— A big box of colorful Duplos (hugely used by our kids for so many years)
— A set of MagnaTiles, because yes, they’re as good as everyone says they are. If you already have a set, add an extension like the cars or the bases. (MagnaTiles and PicassoTiles are interchangeable!)
— A sweet felt outer space and planets set
— A play kitchen (unsurprisingly, PB has gorgeous ones) + play food (anything Melissa & Doug is perfection!)
— A Micro Kickboard scooter. These are hands-down the best scooters – we’ve gifted them to both of our kids around age 2, 3-4 is the sweet spot, and June still enjoys riding hers at almost 6 although she more often rides her Razor, which the grandparents got her.
— A sweet princess-inspired dress that’s fun for dress-up but simple enough to wear to school. June has the Aurora!
— A mini shopping cart. It makes sense that these are metal because they are absolute magnets for kids of all sizes.
Horse leggings (soooo many cute options from Boden!)
Alice & Ames dresses, because they are the twirliest with the best patterns (this is my favorite print right now!)

More suggestions here: 2-year-old girl, 2.5-year-old girl, 3-year-old girl, 4-year-old girl, 3-year-old boy. I’ve also shared some of my toddler and preschooler favorites!

Gifts for your favorite elementary-school kids:

— A comfy pillow for her bed so she can cozy up and read (we got this one for June when she started kindergarten!)
— A baking set: the prettiest pink baking sheet, a pale blue cutting board, confetti tools, the best baking book, and/or a Liberty of London apron
— A flexible book light for reading in bed (this sunshine one is also cute!)
— A bold “read more books” pennant for his room (lots more options here!)
— This very adorable hand-drawn coloring book
— A framed story map from her favorite book (so many amazing options: Hogwarts, Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, the Hundred Acre Wood…)
— A bike (we LOVE June’s Priority Start!)
Walkie talkies. I think our kids would be obsessed with these.
— A sweet shirt with a sweeter message from a company started by a teen with autism
— A Kiwi Co subscription. This is a perfect grandparent gift. June (5, almost 6) looooves her Kiwi boxes and can do them independently. Shep (3) just started receiving the Koala crate and he loves being like big sister. June or a parent needs to help him complete his projects.
— A game you can play together: try Cover Your Assets, Ticket to Ride, or Boggle (more ideas here!)
— A Highlights magazine subscription
Personalized stationery like this colorful shadow text set or this firetruck set. (June would also LOVE the monogrammed notepad from this same shop.)
Piccolina has the sweetest tees and dresses inspired by trailblazing women
Bike wheel lights. We’ve gifted these to several nieces and nephews and they are always a hit!
This stunning set of The Chronicles of Narnia. Expensive but WOW what a statement (and no better books to splurge on!)
— Our favorite type of gift: an experience. Try tickets to a game or show (even a high school musical or college basketball game!); a membership to a museum, zoo, or aquarium; a ride on a local train; a tea + pedicure date; or movie tickets.

More elementary kid favorites here!

Gifts for your favorite teens and babysitters (mostly girls, let’s be honest):

— The happiest mugs
— An instax camera with extra film and LED photo string lights (this is what we got our high school babysitters who helped us all spring and summer when school was closed and it was a HIT!)
— Or this instax smartphone printer (for a heftier gift!)
— A disco ball. We have one of these in the CWM office, and June is OB-sessed. So maybe also a great gift pick for your five-year-old?
— A stack of pretty pastel bracelets (June – and I – would also enjoy these! The perfect gift for everyone, ha!)
— Maghon’s Happy Hand Lettering book
— A paint-your-own keychain kit. We did these at work – so fun!
— Or a classic O key ring
— A book of Catherine Newman’s life advice for teens (love her writing so much!)
— A very cool, very beautiful rainbow basketball
— The best socks
— A monogrammed toiletry bag like this bold striped one
— A Herschel wallet (this is the one John has!)
— An Eno hammock
— Our favorite type of gift: an experience. Try tickets to a game or show; a creative class; a barre or workout class or membership; a tea + pedicure date; movie tickets; Top Golf; or a jump park.

Whew! I hope that’s helpful! I’ve rounded up a bunch of ideas, but remember, kids don’t need much to be happy – in our family, we’ve actually found that too many gifts can be overwhelming and dull the whole experience. So choose wisely, and with joy – giving our kids good gifts is a really fun part of being a parent! :)

P.S. For even more ideas, check out my next most recent kiddo gift guide! Affiliate links are used in this post!

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Kelly Strawberry
November 18, 2021 12:07 pm

Paint by sticker books are one of the biggest hits in our family, thanks to your suggestion last year! Adding bike wheel lights to my list for Cam this year along with a magnetile expansion kit.