Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your List

Finding a gift that kids actually like is tricky. This guide will make it easier.

Toy trends change every year, but we're keeping up.
By Leah Stodart and Stacia Datskovska  on 
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
Items from the brands Bitty Boomers, Furreal, Kindle, National Geographic overlaid on a reddish-orange background
You'll be 'Parent of the Year' in no time with these spot-on gifts. Credit: Bitty Boomers, Furreal, Kindle, National Geographic / Mashable Composite

The "It's an avocado! Thanks!" kid might make it look easy, but finding the best gift for a kid requires attention to detail — and an ear for their reactions to various toy commercials — as if parents and loved ones don't already have their hands full with everything kid-related.

Kids can be particular. The things kids like change not just with age, but also with evolving trends from TV shows and new technology. If parents are lucky enough, their kid will write a long list of the precise items they'd like as a birthday gift or a Christmas gift and put it up on the fridge in pride — but sometimes, it can be as much of a crapshoot as coming up with a gift idea for someone else's kid.

Instead of buying yet another random stuffed animal, here are some tips on how to successfully zone in on the best gifts for kids of all ages.

What to get for a toddler

Everyone is familiar with the "terrible twos" rep that the not-a-baby-but-not-yet-an-independent-kid stage of development gets. At this age, kids are bouncing constantly between the desire to explore on their own and the reliance on parents for most basic needs like eating, getting dressed, or going to the bathroom. That's a lot of frustrating emotions to go through in a day. Kitchen play sets, toys that involve different motor skills, and anything with music are gifts that can let toddlers feel in charge without too much assistance from a parent — making them ideal for this age category.

What to get for elementary and middle school kids

Potentially a more daunting phase than the terrible twos: The one where the pressure to be cool is relentless. This is that age. Though "cool" can lend itself to multiple interpretations, gifts that contribute to an older kid's evolving critical thinking skills and sense of independence, responsibility, and style are all smart ideas. These could be anything from STEM toys to beginner's makeup tools to a fitness tracker or a pretend pet that encourages routine-making. Anything that involves an app, tablet, or e-reader is also a guaranteed win.

What to get for teenagers

Finding a gift that a teenager will think is cool (and that will be on-trend for longer than a few months) might be some of the trickiest shopping you'll do all year. They'll probably offer up a few big softball suggestions, but if you're going the surprise route, remember that they care about brands. Thanks to social media influencers promoting products directly to teens on Instagram or TikTok, Gen Z kids are loyal to very specific brands of tech, accessories, and even water bottles. If you follow the trends as closely as they do (trust us, we do), cracking the "best gifts for teenagers" code isn't rocket science.

So, without further ado, here are the best gifts for kids of all ages — including toy and non-toy gifts alike:

The Bitty Boomers Mini Bluetooth Speaker shaped like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, hanging off a backpack
Credit: Bitty Boomers

A palm-sized Bluetooth speaker

Best for little playlist curators

Kids can bump their top TikTok tunes through their favorite Star Wars, "Stranger Things," or Marvel character with a portable Bitty Boomer. This particular one is an adorable Groot that's cute enough to melt your heart. Bitty Boomer spherical speakers are also small enough to fit in a pants pocket or backpack and play for up to five hours on one charge.
Buying Options
$19.99 from Amazon

Chromebook 3110 laptop from Dell

Best for little learners

Kids can be rough with their tech, which is why it can be hard to justify spending a lot on their first laptop. This Chromebook from Dell is priced just right and the Chrome Education Upgrade makes this perfectly suited for school-aged kiddos, plus WiFi 6 and optional LTE means students can learn from basically anywhere.
Buying Options
$249 from Dell
Kids playing with Magic Mixies crystal ball toy and wand
Credit: Magic Mixies

Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball

Best for future spell casters

Following its rise to stardom in 2021, Magic Mixies released a toy that keeps topping charts year after year: The Magical Misting Crystal Ball. Aspiring witches and wizards can use their interactive wand to kickstart the creation process for their Mixie, from choosing its voice and color to teaching it to play games and tell fortunes. Hint: The plush pet is included with the playset but won't ascend from the mist until the spell is cast. Once the Mixie has crossed over to the human world, its crystal ball can be used as a nightlight.
Buying Options
$84.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Child sitting at blue table playing with shape sorting cupcake toys
Credit: Learning Resources

Shape sorting cupcakes

Best for 1-3 year olds

Fine motor skills first, fine baking skills second. Learning Resource's sweet spin on color and shape recognition asks children 18 months and older to match colorful cupcake tops to their shape-specific bottoms in the baking pan. Who knows? Maybe this will inspire your little one to win Masterchef one day.
Buying Options
$27.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
man and little girl playing with magnetic tiles
Credit: Tytan International

Magnetic tiles from Walmart

Best for toddlers

Open-ended play is the name of the game with these magnetic tiles, which can be assembled (and knocked down) in seemingly endless combinations. Toddlers will reap the benefits of this educational toy, which at once combines lessons on patterns, problem-solving, shapes, and more. This set includes 60 pieces and is best suited for kids older than 3-years-old.
Buying Options
$24.95 from Walmart
Person using an instant camera from FUJIFILM.

An instant camera

Best for kids who document everything

There's something so satisfying about being able to hold the physical version of photos right after you take them. The Instax Mini 12 is the newest iteration of Fujifilm's popular instant camera — equipped with cool-cat features like "close-up mode" and a built-in selfie mirror. For kids who will undoubtedly take it everywhere, extra film or a carrying case are foolproof add-on gifts.
Buying Options
$79.95 from Amazon
Bill Nye holding the Bill Nye VR Science Kit.

The Bill Nye VR Science Kit

Best for visual learners

As long as another generation gets to learn from the king Bill Nye, we're happy. His VR kit puts a high-tech spin on fundamental concepts with 30 classic hands-on projects (like volcanoes and slime) — all hand-picked by the science extraordinaire himself. Experiments are supplemented by augmented reality instructional videos and VR goggles for immersive journeys to see these phenomena work in real life.
Buying Options
$69.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

Their very own smartphone

Best for tech-obsessed tweens

Getting your first phone is a big deal — to kids and their parents. But deciding on which phone to get is sort of a no-brainer. Bark helps kids stay safer online by empowering parents with increased vigilance during screen time. From monitoring texts and time spent online to keeping tabs on bullying situations and other activity, Bark is a smart choice. For a limited time, get a free phone with any Bark Phone mobile plan.
Buying Options
See Details

No-tie laces

Best for little movers

Tie a kid's shoe as many times as you want, but it'll come untied as soon as you turn around. The Shark Tank success U-Lace is a stretchy "infinity" shoelace that turns any six-eyelet sneakers into slip-ons. Solid colors, rainbow stripes, patterns, and even clip-on charms provide more than enough options to match any kid's personal style. The simple push-pull installation process will also please all parents. Be sure to grab two packs — you'll need one for each shoe.
Buying Options
$5.49 from U-Lace

A mini projector

Best for the young movie buffs

Take family movie night up a notch with a screen that's double the size of a typical TV. As long as you have one empty, light-colored wall, the Anker Nebula Capsule (which is no larger than a can of soda) can project your content cinema-style indoors and out. Stream Netflix, Youtube, and more through the projector itself, cast family favorites through a phone app, or connect via HDMI or USB.
Buying Options
$299.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Squishmallow stuffed animals on floor and wall net in child's bedroom
Credit: Squishmallows

A Squishmallow mystery box

Best for the Squishmallow stan

If you can still see the floor of a Squishmallow fan's bedroom, they don't have enough Squishmallows. The big-eyed plushies have taken the world by storm — so much so that it's hard to choose a gift from all the possibilities. This mystery box adds an element of surprise and will grow their collection by not one, but three 8-inch plushies. Biggg smiles guaranteed.
Buying Options
$22.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

The Garmin vivofit jr. 3

Best for kids who like a challenge

Kids will want to assume some responsibility with the Disney princess or Marvel-themed reward system baked into Garmin's latest fitness tracker for kids. Parents can assign tasks like homework, outdoor play, or chores, and kids will earn coins and fun animated rewards each time they complete something. The vivofit jr. is swim-friendly, lasts up to a whole year on a single charge (IKR, wild), and can track kids' sleep/step count.
Buying Options
$89.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

A snow cone maker

Best for kids who adore summer

Whoever gives a child the gift of unlimited snow cones is about to be that child's favorite person. This adorable snow cone maker from DASH shaves ice fast enough to fill multiple cups in a minute, which can then be flavored with whatever syrup or real fruit juice option sounds best to you and your kiddos. Plus, when those kiddos go to sleep, you can use this contraption for a much-needed, fresh cocktail!
Buying Options
$39.95 from Amazon Amazon Prime
A kid's hand reaching to grab a piece from the Hot Wheels Mario Kart Track Set
Credit: Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Mario Kart Track Set

Best for kids who live and breathe Nintendo

This Hot Wheels set is one way to bring a truly iconic, timeless track to the physical realm — something kids will be awed by! The customizable raceway features familiar aspects of the game, like the Piranha Plant and Chain Chomp obstacles. Let their imagination run wild with this (quite affordable) toy pick.
Buying Options
$23.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Child surrounded by flowers holding colorful eyeshadow palette
Credit: Petite 'N Pretty

A makeup starter kit

Best for experimenting with makeup

A few old lipsticks don't cut it as beginners' makeup anymore. The first eyeshadow palette is like a rite of passage for any aspiring beauty blogger — but it has to feel legit. Petite 'N Pretty has nailed the perfect balance between fun, tween-centric packaging and quality ingredients (which are all pediatrician-approved and nut-free!).
Buying Options
$36 from Ulta

DJI Ryze Tech Tello drone

Best kids' drone that doesn't feel like a kids' drone

Drones aren't going away anytime soon. The Ryze Tech Tello drone is unanimously the best one for kids, created by the experts at DJI. It's easy to control and takes sweet 5 MP aerial photos — much higher quality than most drones made for pint-sized pilots. Kids can even plan patterns in advance thanks to Tello's integration of Scratch: A learn-to-code program created for kids by researchers at MIT.
Buying Options
$99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Kids playing with a talking Bluey plush.

A talking Bluey plush

Best for devout Blue fans

We're calling it now: A six-year-old Blue Heeler puppy is the next Baby Shark. This official Bluey plush can sing/dance along to four different songs kids will be quick to recognize. Plus, it can utter over 55 adorable phrases — the perfect distraction while you're working. The toy is made with soft fabrics featuring embroidered details and stands about 13 inches tall, so it's ultra-huggable for teeny arms.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
A break-open-geodes kit from national geographic.

A break-open-geodes kit

Best for tactile learners

Breaking stuff, but make it educational. National Geographic's geode kit comes with 10 premium rocks that crack open to reveal 100% natural geodes. Crystals range in colors from tan to blue and purple and can be as big as a tennis ball. Goggles, a hammer, a magnifying glass, and display stands are included, as well as a guide describing how geodes are formed and where they are found in nature.
Buying Options
$29.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
A modern kitchen playset from KidKraft.

A modern kitchen playset

Best for future Masterchef winners

There are so many mini kitchen sets out there — now with fancy features like mock-granite countertops — that choosing one for your kid is as hard as choosing backsplash for a real kitchen. Parents on Amazon love this one from KidKraft for its realistic faucet and burner sounds, storage inserts, and modern farmhouse-y style. Soon, you'll have an A+ chef on your hands.
Buying Options
$199.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

The Osmo Genius Kit

Best for families who share a tablet

If you're not ready to get your kid their own tablet, Osmo is a neat way to make the family tablet more kid-friendly. The add-on connects to iPads for hands-on exercises that coincide with physical pieces; they'll move on-screen when your kid moves them in real life. Subjects include numbers, words, tangram, and art (plus extra packs for more advanced stuff like STEM and coding, if you're raising young Einsteins).
Buying Options
$99.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
The Pelican 26 ounce tumbler standing next to a tree in some grass
Credit: Pelican

Pelican Hydration Tumbler

Best for teens on the run

For tweens/teens on the run — who want to be edgy and not succumb to the lingering Hydro Flask hype — this Pelican Hydration Tumbler is a beautiful solution. It's vacuum-insulated, fits most cupholders, and has a powder-coat finish that's super soothing to the touch. They'll be all too happy to bring their Pelican along to soccer practice, sleepovers, and everything in between. After all, Hydro Flask is soooo last year.
Buying Options
$45 from Amazon
Two kids building with GraviTrax set
Credit: Ravensburger

The Gravitrax Starter Set

Best for kids who like to build

There are a lot of building-themed learning toys out there, but the Ravensburger GraviTrax marble run is easily one of the best. Kids can experiment with the laws of physics by adjusting the angles and shapes of track pieces to make marbles roll faster and complete racing challenges. Psst... if they get good enough, the marbles can do trick shots!
Buying Options
$69.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

A LEGO Duplo box

Best for beginner builders

For little hands that aren't quite ready to assemble tiny pieces, larger LEGO Duplo blocks are a great way to ease kids into all things building. Kids as young as one or two years old can start tackling visual-spatial awareness, solving problems, and learning fine motor skills. The Classic Brick box has 65 bright pieces (including a car, people figures, and number-learning blocks).
Buying Options
$29.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
L.O.L. Surprise OMG Movie Magic Studios box set
Credit: MGA Entertainment

L.O.L. Surprise OMG Movie Magic Studios

Best for those with Barbie fatigue

Though Barbie is the reigning "it girl," she's got some competition as the coolest plastic gal around. The mystery of L.O.L. Surprise dolls has catapulted them onto the scene over the past few years, and this movie studio-themed playset takes them to even bigger heights — Hollywood, specifically. It comes with over 70 surprises to unbox, including 12 exclusive dolls for a full cast and crew.
Buying Options
$69.99 from Walmart

Barbie Pet Boutique Playset

Best for those without Barbie fatigue

If your child is still very much raving about Barbie — with or without having seen Greta Gerwig's masterpiece — this gift will be right up their alley. Barbie's pet boutique comes with four lovable, furry friends, a grooming station, and even a checkout counter (it's a ~boutique~ after all!). What's more, the puppy dog's "fur" changes color to reveal mud spots when kids put cold water on it. We're living in the future, for real.
Buying Options
$33.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Pokémon board game with Pikachu, Charizard, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle game pieces on board
Credit: Nintendo

Pokémon Labyrinth

Best non-video Pokémon game

You're not having a flashback — Pokémon is ridiculously popular again. This top-rated strategy game for ages 7 and up puts players in a moving maze and challenges them to catch the most Pocket Monsters (while blocking their rivals' paths). Supplement it with a pack or two of cards, if you can manage to find any, and you're golden.
Buying Options
$21.99 from Target

Bean bag toy storage

Best for the stuffed animal aficionado

Seeing more stuffed animals than floor? This stuffable bean bag is a genius solution for toy storage. When it's time to tidy up the plush explosion, DIY chair can be filled with anything squishy (stuffed animals, blankets, whatever) and zippered to double as fully-functional seating. Colors and pattern options for this purchase are as vast as your kid's love for their stuffies.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
FurReal Moodwings Snow Dragon on a table.

FurReal Moodwings Snow Dragon

Best for kids who just want a pet

If a real pet is not in your family's cards just yet, electronic pets might cut it. This fantastical snow dragon toy, in particular, comes with an adorable personality and different moods. She can be anything from happy to hungry, depending on how she's cared for (her ever-changing eyes will clue kids in), and she comes with three surprise accessories.
Buying Options
$56.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Person playing with a Nintendo Switch at the beach.

A Nintendo Switch carrying case

Best for Nintendo gamers

The Switch is beloved for its ability to switch between TV and handheld modes. However, the flexibility that lets kids take their console anywhere also means that drops, bumps, or spills during transportation are bound to happen once in a while. This official Nintendo case features hard-shell protection, as well as interior pockets to organize games and SD cards.
Buying Options
$19.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Kids playing with red and blue kinetic sand on table
Credit: Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand

Best sensory-rich gift

Sometimes you just need to squish something. Kinetic Sand makes a great fidgeting or stress-relief toy — ideal for taking breaks from homework or chilling out after a tantrum. This set comes with 2 pounds of red and blue sand and 10 tools for layering, molding, squeezing, and organizing. Plus, it's less of a pain to clean up than you'd think.
Buying Options
$19.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
A shot of young boys in uniforms playing soccer on a bright, sunny day
Credit: Getty / DigitalVision / Alistair Berg

Shuffle Up Soccer Card Games

Best for the next Messi

If your kid's been into kicking around a soccer ball recently, help them streamline their practice sessions with these soccer skill cards — which prompt young soccer stars to complete challenges, from jumping jacks to shuffle steps, while explaining just how to carry out the motions and what further exercises to try. They can do this solo or with their BFFs, and the cards come in nine different difficulty levels!
Buying Options
$29.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

An Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet

Best for tech appreciators

We told you that any gifts for kids involving an app, tablet, or e-reader are guaranteed wins — and the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet is proof of concept. It allows kiddos instant access to books, games, videos, apps, and educational Alexa skills, as well as safe, introductory web browsing and video calls to loved ones over Wi-Fi. Kids break stuff (it happens), so Amazon offers a 2-year free replacement guarantee with this purchase.
Buying Options
$199.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

The 2022 Kindle Kids

Best for budding bookworms

Even books for kids are unreasonably expensive these days, which is why investing in a one-time Kindle purchase — and then loading it up with tons of books and audiobooks for your little one to enjoy — is a much wiser choice. This Kindle isn't a tablet, so you don't have to worry about them getting distracted on the web or via apps. The adjustable light/glare-free display will also go easy on young eyes and encourage longer daily reading on average!
Buying Options
$119.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Leah Stodart
Leah Stodart
Senior Shopping Reporter

Leah Stodart is a Philadelphia-based Senior Shopping Reporter at Mashable where she covers essential home tech like vacuums and TVs as well as sustainable swaps and travel. Her ever-growing experience in these categories comes in clutch when making recommendations on how to spend your money during shopping holidays like Black Friday, which Leah has been covering for Mashable since 2017.

Leah graduated from Penn State University in 2016 with dual degrees in Sociology and Media Studies. When she's not writing about shopping (or shopping online for herself), she's almost definitely watching a horror movie, "RuPaul's Drag Race," or "The Office." You can follow her on X at @notleah or email her at [email protected].

Mashable Image
Stacia Datskovska
Mashable Shopping Intern

Stacia Datskovska is an NYU journalism major (graduating this December). Her work has appeared in USA Today, Boston Globe, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Bustle, and more. When she's not writing something or other, Stacia can be spotted crying over poetry, making a home-cooked meal, or walking on an NYC pier. For her more half-baked thoughts: @staciadats on Twitter.

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