The Ultimate Birthday Gift Guide for Kids


I have always loved birthday parties: planning them, executing them, even cleaning up after them. None of it phases me. What shakes me when my children are invited to others’ birthday parties is the gift-buying. In my ideal world, my kids create handwritten notes with their homemade, sustainable gifts. However, in reality they hastily add a note on colored construction paper to a store-bought gift, and call it done. 

That being said, I love to shop for birthday presents. It is my excuse to take the kids to a toy store and dream about everything they could have, but don’t really need. On my many trips to said toy store, I have managed a running list of what would make an awesome birthday gift to other children. In an attempt to make the busy mom’s life easier, I share below what I think are most suitable gifts for children, ages 5-9. This list is not by any means comprehensive, and all the gifts listed are under $40, with most in the $20-25 range,  and most of these gifts can be found at specialty toy stores, major retail stores, or online.


Age 5

Age 6

  • Walkie-talkies  
  • Binoculars 
  • Beginners science kit 
  • Gardening tools
  • Snap Circuits

Age 7

  • Personalized anything: stationery, pencil cases, t-shirts, towels, etc.
  • Beach accessories
  • Stuffed animals
  • Chess board
  • Board games (some of our favorites are Monopoly, Stone Soup, and Sorry)

Age 8

  • Journals, especially the ones with a lock and a key
  • Scented or race car pens
  • Plus Plus building construction toy
  • Chapter books (some of our favorites are Magic Treehouse, Nancy Drew, Cupcake Diaries, and Henry and Ribsy)

Age 9

  • Legos
  • Gift cards (some of our favorites are to Powells, Barnes and Noble, and Target)
  • Slappie watch
  • Doodle your own: backpack, pillow case, place mat, etc.
  • More chapter books!

What are your favorite birthday gift ideas for kids? Please leave them in the comments.

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Lebanese in origin, Ranya became a US citizen in 2007. Shortly after meeting Jeff through a job ad in Beirut in 2003, she moved to Portland to pursue a doctorate at PSU. From there, the two of them moved to the East Coast to begin their adventures. The last fourteen years have seen them in Portland, OR twice; in Arlington, VA twice, in Columbia, MD as well as Lebanon and Morocco. In her current life, Ranya is a teacher’s aide who loves to embark on special projects with her daughter. Their signature Mama-and-Me activity is hosting their friends for formal tea parties. She is trilingual, and is passing on the torch of language to her children who are fluent in English and Arabic. Ranya is passionate about hot yoga, and enjoys long walks. She absolutely hates driving, and reserves it for cases of dire need. She believes in the wonders of snuggles, and advocates their daily use. She lives a walking distance from her all-time favorite restaurant, Saburo, with Jeff, Jannah-Rae and Yousef. They share their one-bathroom house with her parents and Leo, the Arabic-speaking cat. Ranya writes thoughts, tots and essential oils on her blog Ranya, the Memory Keeper.