10 Classic Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids that Stand the Test of Time

Silly Bandz are so 2011. And Zhu Zhu Pets? No one is playing with those anymore. Remember when Beanie Babies were all the rage? Yeah – that was probably way before your kids’ time.

Trendy toys tend to have short shelf lives. For a few months your kids absolutely must have them – and you buy them – and then you find them in the donation bin not too long after.

When it comes to giving birthday gifts, you might want to avoid the “it” toys of the moment and go for a classic toy instead. These tried-and-true toys are evergreen for good reason: They remain popular long after the Pokemon cards have been tossed in the trash.

If you’re looking for a birthday gift with staying power, here are some classic toy ideas that fit any budget.

1. Puzzles

From simple pictures with only a few jagged pieces to 100-plus doozies and architectural 3-D choices, puzzles pose a challenge kids can’t resist. Plus, you can find puzzles to match any child’s interests – and age.

2. Dress ups

A perennial kids’ favorite, dress ups never disappoint. For wannabe royalty, there are plenty of princess costumes and crowns to choose from. Pint-sized superheroes can take their pick of Batman, Superman, Iron Man and even Katniss Everdeen. There’s also firefighter, police and other dress ups to suit the birthday child’s current fascination.

3. Science or craft kits

Kids love creating. Tap into a child’s imagination by giving them science or craft kits on his or her next birthday. You can find a wide range of kits, from constructing your own dinosaur and researching rocks to making bracelets and necklaces.

4. Toy cars

Race cars, fire trucks, dump trucks … and more race cars. Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels remain kids’ toy classics. They come in a wide range of choices – you can buy a child a car or two. Or there are also racetracks and other accessories to purchase as part of a larger gift.

5. Silly Putty

This stretchy, moldable dough has been around since 1950. Kids love that Silly Putty is still pliable months after you first open it. Besides the original, you can now find it in glow-in-the-dark, metallics, bright colors and more.

6. Slinky

Called the “walking spring toy,” the Slinky still amazes. The simple design of curved, flexible metal delights children as it “walks” down stairs. Give one away – and don’t be surprised if guests start singing, “It’s Slinky. It’s Slinky. For fun, it’s a wonderful toy. It’s fun for a girl and a boy.”

7. Barbie

Since 1959, Barbie has been a toy store mainstay. With an ever-ready smile, a Barbie doll is “sold every three seconds somewhere in the world,” Mattel boasts. “Barbie remains the world’s most popular doll and a powerhouse brand among girls of all ages.”

8. Board games

What preschooler doesn’t love Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land? And for elementary school aged kids, Sorry! or UNO are always a hit. Older kids will enjoy Monopoly and Life – along with other board games that give everyone a chance to play one another.

9. LEGOs

This family-owned company has been churning out these building blocks since 1932! Today, you can find LEGOs in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sets. LEGO Star Wars set. Check. LEGO girly Friends kits. Check. LEGO Iron Man vs. the Mandarin set. You bet.

10. Magic kits

No rabbit needed. Kids’ magic kits never go out of style. You can purchase everything from basic sets to something more extravagant for the serious magician.


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