With so many toys out in the market, it’s hard to know which ones are truly worth it and which ones are appropriate for our children’s ages. As a mom of two, currently 4 and 5 years old, I’ve done lots of research for the best kinds of gift ideas for kids under 5 years old.
This post will guide you through the best gift ideas for kids under 5 years old, broken down by age and developmental milestones for babies, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds.
The Best Kinds of Gift Ideas for Kids Under 5
Generally, my children have always loved toys that encourage pretend play, building, and reading because they love exploring new possibilities. We also love to play with STEM-based toys.
Some of our favorite objects to play with that encourage these categories include costumes, wooden toys, building blocks, LEGOS, storybooks, puzzles, and art supplies.
Other Types of Gifts
Before I get into the gift guide, let me start by saying that gifts don’t have to be expensive or even objects. Gifts can be completely free, affordable, homemade, or an experience.
The Ultimate Guide To Fun Gift Ideas For Kids Under 5 Years Old
For this guide, I have broken things down by age range to make things easier for you. The buttons below will guide you to any of the age ranges within this post.
Gift Ideas for Babies Under 1 Year Old
Babies don’t need a lot of toys or objects because they are still developing. They also don’t understand ‘gifts’ so if it’s the holiday season so don’t feel guilty or like you are obligated to give your little one a gift. And again, a gift doesn’t have to be a physical thing.
If you really want to buy them something, focus on all the milestones they’ll be reaching. Because so much happens in the first year!
Babies will first learn to grab objects and then learn how to manuever them. They begin making different sounds and giggles before imitating sounds and parts of words as well as possibly picking up on sign language. Physically, they will first master rolling over, sit up, learn to crawl, and may even start pulling up to stand and take a few steps. And they will definitely be starting solids within that first year.
Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds
The biggest change for 1-year-olds is that they become extremely mobile and start to test their balance. Gifts that encourage agility, for example, are amazing for them and gifts that keep them doing quiet activities are also perfect for parents and their growing minds.
1-2 Year Milestones
1-year-olds also go through a lot of developmental changes. Their social and emotional skills have expanded as their language skills start to improve, with a little more talking and more understanding of commands. Most importantly, their independence grows once they begin to walk. Then they will suddenly transition to running and wanting to do everything on their own.
Because of all this growth, a 1-year-old develops a stronger ability to problem solve, follow instructions, copy gestures, and gain a better understanding of an object’s movements.
Gift Ideas for 2-Year-Olds
The biggest difference between a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, other than size, is their ability to do more things proficiently and independently. The best gifts for this stage encourage the growth of these milestones, such as a soccer ball, a tricycle, chunky puzzles, a play kitchen, and lots of books about emotions.
At 2 years old, your child will show massive growth in vocabulary and will be speaking in 2-3 word sentences. They will also be following along better with songs and stories.
Their gross motor skills and fine motor skills will also see a big improvement, such as kicking and throwing a ball and the ability to grab a crayon or to build with blocks.
Their cognitive ability to understand pretend play becomes intrinsic at this age and grows from there. This is a common age to get a play kitchen or a playhouse.
And of course, it is the phase of ‘the terrible two’s’ because of their socio-emotional growth. Two-year-olds can now do more things independently but still struggle with that acceptance or in understanding their emotions, leading to very big tantrums.
Gift Ideas for 3-Year-Olds
Two and three-year-olds are very similar, however, three-year-olds have finessed their developmental skills.
The best kinds of gifts for three-year-olds are very similar to those for two-year-olds as well. But just like their advanced skills, gifts can be a little more advanced or in bigger supply. For example, more books, more puzzles, more pretend-play toys, and more sport acitivites.
Developmentally, 3-year-olds are a little more proficient now. They can name most familiar things and have 2-3 sentence conversations. Show a wide range of emotions, such as affection and concern, and can dress and undress by themselves. They can play make-believe with objects, manipulate smaller objects, and build bigger towers. At three years old, your child has become better are running, climbing, and pedaling a bike.
Gift Ideas for 4-Year-Olds
4-year-olds will still enjoy a lot of toys guided for 2 and 3-year olds, such as balls, pretend-play objects, and building blocks. They will become better at more advanced jigsaw puzzles and LEGO bricks. It might also be a great time to stock up on role-playing costumes and games geared towards young children as well as some preschool activities.
A 4-year-old’s creativity soars as they expand their ability to role-play, with games such as “mom” and “dad.” They are also more willing to explore and try new things, expand their knowledge and vocabulary within a wide range of topics, such as numbers and the alphabet. A 4-year-old will talk about things they like, understand similarities and differences, and have more interest in drawing people and figures. Their motor skills have also greatly improved within the range of hopping on one foot. And their cognitive skills within the range of playing games and remembering parts of a story.
Gift Ideas for 5-Year-Olds
Though this gift ideas post is guided for kids under 5, why not at least cover all the bases.
5-year-olds often still enjoy toys they had since age 2, such as pretend play, building blocks, and gross and fine motor skill activities. Things like classic LEGOS, learning to read books, STEM activities, art supplies, and classic board games are fantastic for this age.
A child usually starts Kindergarten at about 5 or 6 years old. It is a time when they are more exposed to socializing with other children, understand the concepts of school education and structure, and truly become independent young children.
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My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.