12 Easy Gift Ideas for Kids You Barely Know

Easy Gift Ideas for Kids You Barely Know - SavvyMom
Family celebration outside in the backyard. Big garden party. Birthday party.

One day, your kid is going to pull from the depths of his backpack a crumpled, juice-stained birthday party invitation for a child you’ve never even heard of. And guess what? He’s your child’s new bestie so the gift needs to be epic.

No pressure.

Next thing you know you’re fending off suggestions for everything from a Despicable Me Fart Blaster (yes, it’s a thing) to a hamster, and wondering why you didn’t just start a ‘regift’ cupboard like your sister-in-law told you to. We need easy gift ideas for kids.

Buying for kids you don’t know – be they classmates, teammates, neighbors, or new friends is tricky, especially if you don’t know what – if any – gift policy has been communicated. Gift? No gift? Charitable donation? Plant a tree? Symbolically adopt a duck-billed platypus? WHO’S TO KNOW?

And not knowing another parent’s stance on things like paint and Play-Doh (no), musical instruments (never), or toy guns (hard pass), might lead to a gifting faux pas. Also, no gender stereotyping please, this is 2022.

In short, it’s a gift-giving jungle out there, so here are 12 go-to favourites that just might save your sanity. Best of all, you can find them easily online (thank you Amazon Prime!) or in most local chain stores like Wal-Mart, Michael’s, and Mastermind Toys.

Easy Gift Ideas for Kids You Don’t Know

Board games

Though not known for their wow factor, it’s tough to go wrong with classics like Jenga, Clue, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary; as well as more modern favourites like Otrio (recommended for 8+), Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and Beat the Parents. And most are available wherever toys and books are sold.

Outdoor Activity Stuff

Sometimes kids just need a little nudge – and some cool gear – to get outside. That’s why items like a flashlight (don’t forget the batteries!), butterfly net, bug catcher, terrarium, a walkie-talkie set, and binoculars make such great gifts.

Alarm clock

For the kid who’s old enough to demand a certain bedroom aesthetic, but not old enough to get up on time, a cool alarm clock like this one is the best of both worlds.


Move over Sea Monkeys and Chia Pets because National Geographic has a whole line of STEM-inspired kits that kids will love to experiment with, like a crystal-growing lab, Amazing Worms chemistry kit, Build Your Own Volcano, and Mega Gemstone Dig Kit.

Mad Libs

A classic fill-in-the-blank word game with cult-like popularity, Mab Libs (the self-described ‘World’s Greatest Game’) are available in a variety of themes for all different ages. Great for road trips (or when they’re supposed to be watching their sibling play sports.) And they’re less than $10!

Crayola set

I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t get a little giddy over a new set of crayons, and Crayola continues to up its game with affordable, high-quality art sets that will last even longer than it takes to find Dark Venetian Red when it rolls under the couch.

Age-appropriate puzzles

They’ve come a long way, baby. No longer limited to one-dimensional photos of the English countryside or a basket of puppies, today’s kids are crushing puzzles that come in glow-in-the-dark (for little kids), and for big kids, 3D,  shape-shifting cubes, and mechanical spheres.

A blanket and slippers

Because every kid loves to be warm and cozy!

Lava Lamp

I know, I know. The seventies called and they want their décor back. It seems weird, but trust me, the kids are into them. Not sold? Try this century’s version, the oh-so-cool, LED colour-changing moon lamp.

Full-Size Fidget

A two-sided Flex Space Wobble Cushion will help fidgety kids focus and have fun during the times they’re supposed to be still. Pair it with a new book or a water bottle for on-the-go fun.

Bath and Shower Accessories

Whether they like it or not, kids have to bathe; and a fun towel, plus soapy products like bubble bath, shower jellies and bath bombs and toys can make attending to one’s personal hygiene a lot more fun!

Gift cards to stores, ice cream shops, or movie theatres

If you’re completely stumped or pressed for time, a gift card is never a bad option. They’re as good as cash and ensure the recipient gets exactly what they want. Dress it up with a chocolate bar or a blind bag for extra wow.

These are easy gift ideas for kids you barely know but, whatever you decide, don’t forget to keep the receipt!


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