Technology-Free Holiday Shopping Guide for Kids 

This guide is meant to help you and the little ones in your life unplug for the Holidays by filling those carts with battery-free gifts. This list is a starting point to get ideas flowing and doesn’t include all the wonderful possibilities out there. 

Important questions to ask yourself when standing in the toy aisle: 

1: Is it age appropriate? 

Most kid toys will be helpfully labeled with an age range (or at least a minimum age). Keep in mind also the individual skills the child has.  Just because a toy is listed under one age, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be equally as fun for an older child. 

2: Can it be played with in more than one way?

A toy’s versatility will foster imagination and problem solving. Not to mention provide hours of play possibilities.

3: Is it durable? 

Kids are hard on their toys. Will it survive the beatings?

Gift Ideas by Age

All ages: These items will work well for any age, just tailor them to meet the interests and developmental level of the intended recipient.

  • Books (fabric books for babies, board books for toddlers, fun, illustrated books for the early readers and chapter books for your older kids)

  • Balls (soft, easy to hold balls for babies/toddlers and sport specific ones for your older kids)

  • Clothes

  • “Experiences” like movie tickets, Zoo passes or park/library trips

0-6 months: Most stores keep baby registries open for months after the due date, so this can be a great place to check if parents are still needing supplies for their older infant, as well as nursery color schemes, and what items were already purchased.  Young parents are always in need of consumable necessities too, like diapers and wipes.

  • Blankets

  • Floortime mirror

  • Teethers 

  • Rattles 

  • Essentials like diapers & wipes

  • High chair

  • Babysit for parents to have a date

6-12 months: This age group is on the move! There is a tremendous transformation as babies transition from infants to toddlers. They are gaining mobility through crawling, cruising and walking and are eager to explore their environments. They are also starting to eat purees and table foods and being weaned from the bottle. Older babies put everything in their mouths as they cut teeth, so make sure there are no choking hazards like loose buttons or small parts.

  • Shape sorters

  • Blocks

  • Stacking blocks

  • Balls

  • Ride-on or push toys 

  • Sippy cups

  • Tableware & utensils

  • Teethers

1 year: This age is refining their new mobility skills and developing early language and play skills.  They enjoy dumping items and putting things into containers, and are becoming more independent in self-feeding.

  • Pedal-free ride on toys (ones that are propelled by pushing against the ground)

  • Large crayons (finger crayons, wide diameter and triangle 

  • Large cars

  • Ball poppers

  • Bubbles

  • Tableware sets

  • Stuffed animals

  • Pretend play sets (ie kitchen sets, toolbench, etc)

  • Bath toys

2-3 years: Preschoolers are refining their fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills. Movement is still really important for them and they’ll enjoy spending time outside. They are also starting to show more attention for tabletop activities like coloring and simple crafts.

  • Form Board puzzles (these have pieces that fit into a solid backing for the puzzle)

  • Indoor tent

  • Playground equipment 

  • Art supplies

  • Pretend play sets (ie kitchen sets, toolbench, etc)

  • Blocks

  • Megablocks (the giant legos)

  • Playdough and tools

  • Tricycle

  • Sidewalk chalk

4-5 years: Pre-K and Kinder years will have a spike in imagination and role playing. Kids this age enjoy pretend play as their favorite characters or community members like police officers and doctors. 

  • Puzzles

  • Dress-up costumes & accessories 

  • Dolls/ action figures

  • Construction toys like legos and connector sets 

  • Markers, paint sets

  • Gross motor games

  • Scooters and bikes

6-8 years: Emerging readers, this age group is ready for turn-taking games and tabletop activities. 

  • Legos

  • Activity books

  • Science kits 

  • Craft kits

  • Board & card games (simple classics like candy land or Go Fish for your new readers, more advanced games for the older kids)

8-10 years: Older elementary school kids are more competent readers and are continuing to build their problem-solving and social skills.  Encourage their independence with items that will put their brains to work. This is also the age when sleepovers to friends and family houses may begin, so think about the gear they might need for overnights. 

  • Board & card games 

  • Journals

  • Brain teaser games

  • Joke books

  • Suitcase/duffle bag 

  • Sleeping bag