How to Buy Gifts for Kids: An Aunt's Buying Guide to Picking the Perfect Presents

When it's time to shop for your niece or nephew, knowing how to buy gifts for kids is a vital skill. Whether you're celebrating the holidays, a birthday or some other occasion that involves present buying, finding the perfect gifts is an absolute must if you are to remain the favorite aunt.

What You Should Consider Before Buying Gifts for Kids

To start, you should definitely think about the age of your nephew or niece. A 12-year-old may say thank you for a set of LEGOs, but the child isn't going to get much use out of them the way a 6-year-old would. Age is also going to determine how much attention you pay to the safety of toys. If you're buying gifts for kids who are much younger, you need to make sure to follow the manufacturer's age recommendations for hazards.

Keep in mind what the child's interests are when searching for the perfect presents. If your niece has been stomping around and roaring like a Tyrannosaurus rex, you might want to put the toy tea set down. You don't have to stick to obvious picks.

Games can be educational and fun, so feel good about buying popular gifts for kids. Or you can choose classic book titles that you know will be read and reread years after your nephew has torn through the bow and wrapping paper. Remember that every present for a child does not have to be "the one." You can pick a bunch of unique gifts for kids that your family members will treasure coming from their aunt. From stocking stuffers and Hanukkah presents to birthday gifts, you're sure to find fun, silly, smart, and modern gifts for kids.

Keep Their Minds Active With Board Games

Board games and classic toys continue to make a comeback in a big way for children and adults. There are so many to choose from when considering your nephews or nieces. Start by thinking about who they are and what they like.

Athletes

Smarty Pants

Scientists

Actors

Artists

Desktop games

Trivia games

Chess

Pretend playsets

Spirograph

Table tennis

Metal puzzles

Chemistry sets

Magic 8-Ball

Action plates

Fingerboard games

Rubik's Cube

Robot kits

Magic tricks kits

Etch-A-Sketch

Even if you aren't sure of what the kid in your life aspires to be or do, you can find plenty of options that are fun for all. Consider buying a couple of yard games, such as bean bag toss or a croquet set. They're group activities that are also fun, unique gifts for kids.

Retro board games are always a hit, so you can shop for classic games, such as checkers, chess, and Mancala game sets. They've always been popular gifts for kids because they're fun, educational, and challenging.

If you're still unsure of how to buy gifts for kids while standing in the game aisle, consider a puzzle. Choose a classic jigsaw puzzle, or opt for a new take on the old favorite, such as one with pieces that glow in the dark.

Celebrate a Kid's Personal Space

Traditional presents are ideal choices, but sometimes you want your gift to stand out from everyone else's. If you're buying gifts for kids that are a bit older or recently moved into their own bedroom, consider decor items. And you don't even have to stick to strictly kids decor to find something that works. A fun nightlight is a unique choice, or decide on artwork that you know they will enjoy.

Furniture is a great option, too. You can encourage independence by gifting the kids in your life with their own chairs, bedroom loveseats, or giant floor pillows. With these, they can entertain their friends in their own space.

Other unique gifts for kids combine toys and decor. Robots, hand puppets, and science kits are all hands-on fun that also serve as decorations for their rooms when they're done playing or creating.

Get Crafty

How do you pick out presents for your niece or nephew when the parents tell you "no toys" or electronics? It's easier than you think. Something as simple as coloring books and crayons is gift enough for kids of all ages, especially for blossoming artists. 

Check out arts and crafts items to find inspiration when thinking about creative gift giving. Find stained glass, knitting, and origami kits that get your nieces and nephews working with their hands and both sides of their brains.

Look for unique gifts that let them express creativity and craftiness in different ways, such as stretching their logic and science muscles. If you have an animal lover in your life, a sea monkey zoo kit is a fun choice, while a budding scientist is likely to enjoy making a robotic arm.

Bookworms and Cooks

Consider yourself lucky if you have a little bookworm to buy for. Pick a few titles from an author you think he or she will like or from a series; that way they have more books to look forward to after finishing the first ones.

Kids are often a product of their environment, and if Mom or Dad tends to hang out in the kitchen whipping up fancy meals, you might have a developing cook on your hands. A miniature kitchen set is a popular present, as it gives the child the opportunity to mirror what they see going on at home, and it offers the chance to learn how to use the appliances and the processes involved with cooking and baking.

When making your list of gifts for your nephew or niece, whether it's for the holidays or birthdays, there are plenty of gifts for kids available, from arts and crafts selections to books and board games, regardless of age. Find the perfect present for the child in your life and keep the status of favorite aunt.