Birthday Presents for Creative Kids

What do you buy the child who has everything?

My children are by no means spoiled but when it comes to toys they have pretty much all they  need. I’ve written before about how I think less is more  and that having fewer toys available actually helps children to play. I find that boxes and shelves full of all kinds of play things can overwhelm children, and cleaning out some of the clutter can give them the opportunity to be more creative with the toys that are there and find fun and inventive ways to use them.

What’s your gift-giving philosophy?

If you’re tying to follow a code of simplicity, what happens when it comes to birthdays?  A child’s birthday is very special to them – so much so my girls love  birthday party pretend play  all year round! – and giving a gift is a generous and traditional way to show your love for someone.

It is a time when your toy philosophy is called into action and you need to think about what kind of gift you will give. Do you keep it simple and give a gift far less lavish than your child’s friends might receive? Or have your child’s birthday party as the one time of the year when you are extravagant and really treat your kiddo? What if your gift giving views are very different from other members of your family, especially grandparents – how do you handle that? It can be even more complicated when your child begins to receive invitations to friends’ or classmates’ parties and you need to consider the gift giving etiquette of the peer group.

I’d love to hear how you handle gift giving in your family. We do tend to go for less rather than more, even at birthdays. Our parties are usually at-home affairs with just a handful of guests, with the effect that the influx of presents isn’t overwhelming and each individual gift is appreciated. For my second daughter’s first birthday, when we were already kitted out with lots of baby things from having an older sibling, we asked if anyone thinking of sending a gift would make a donation instead to the hospital that had looked after my daughter when she was born. That said, we also love to take time to find a present that we thinking the birthday child will really love and to give something that’s packed with lots of play and creative possibilities.

Birthday presents for creative kids

If you’re giving a gift and want something generous but not over the top, full of fun and plenty of play factor, what would you give? We often put together a gift kit, usually with some homemade element to them so my children can be involved in making the present too.

Let’s Get Growing Kit

For an outdoor-loving kid, we like to give a garden gift set. We might include child-sized gardening gloves, seed pots and some easy to grow seeds such as sunflowers. My children make plant labels, adding in a homemade touch, and we package it all up in a cute watering can.

Let’s Play Baking kit

The gift set you’ll see up top is a playdough baking kit. We use our favorite homemade playdough recipe and have my kids mix it up with different colours and extra glitter and maybe a fragrance like vanilla or orange oil. We shop in the home section of our local store to buy some colorful cake cases and cookie cutters. Silicone cake cases are great as they can be used time and time again. They we add in some extra ingredients such as birthday candles, pom poms and foil cutouts for cake and cookie decorating. The whole set fits together well in these stacking containers, making it fun to give and easy to store. It’s a present packed with play possibilities.

How do you handle birthday presents?

What kind of gifts do you give? Any suggestions for alternative birthday presents for creative kids? Add your idea in the comments.


  1. I try to give great magazine subscriptions to kids who don’t need any more toys. Our favorites are High Five and Wild Animal Baby for the younger set; Our Big Backyard, Ranger Rick, Highlights and now Ask! for older kids. It’s a great gift that shows our love for a full year.

  2. I love these ideas. My neices and nephew have everything electronic and I struggle when it comes to gift-giving opportunities to find something in our budget. I love the hands-on, creative ideas! Tucking them away on Pinterest for when I need them.

  3. I like to give out puzzles, especially the big floor puzzles! They are a great toy for all ages and are educational and never go out of style!

  4. Subscriptions to the zoo or museum, books, an art project. When there are a lot of presents we discreetly remove most of the activity presents and bring them back out on a rainy day!!

  5. Thanks for the comments and great ideas – I especially like the idea of gifts that keep being fun all year long like the subscriptions.

  6. Ginger Watson says:

    I watch groupon and living social for one time classes in my area. We have a wonderful kids’ art place called Van Grow that does amazing 2 hour art classes, and Young chefs academy. I grab those when they happen and then give the groupons. I think experiences are worth more than a toy that they may or may not like but that WILL take up space in their house.

  7. HappyCampers says:

    We have a sweet friend who has a child the same age as my son. For my son’s bday every year, my friend takes us all on an outing (butterfly garden, natural history museum, children’s museum, etc). It’s a wonderful way for our kids to get together, my son remembers this special time much more than a toy, and it ends up costing about the same as a toy would have cost.

  8. Gift giving can get complicated for us, especially when we have very generous grandparents! My girls have a ton of toys… too many in fact. Lately, I’ve been emphasizing how much the girls love books, games, and puzzles and hope people get the hint. (I did outright ban large plastic toys this year giving the reason that we’ll be moving soon and I don’t want to have to lug all those toys… luckily people really seem to be respecting that!)

    That being said, my daughter is going to get a bicycle & helmet for her 5th birthday. It’s at the top of her wish list and a birthday seems the perfect time to get it for her!

  9. My current go-to gift is a gift card to a movie theatre wrapped with candy. I really like giving a gift that involves some kind of activity instead of just an item the child may or may not want , might already have, or doesn’t need cluttering up the house. And this is priced just right. And then if there is something else the child really wants or the parents want him/her to have, the parents can choose to let him/her use the money for another purpose and use the gift card for themselves!

  10. ahh!! I found the best is baking kit.It is very unique gift.And anybody can like this gift.Its really great gift ideas.Thanks for the posting.

  11. Christine says:

    We almost always give books, we don’t if we know the child really well and know something else that would be appropriate like a watch or a dress up item that the child has really been wanting. We have a great children’s bookstore by our house that we buy the books or gift cards at and they wrap the books for us to give so I don’t have to wrap the gift either.

  12. Lovely and Creative blog with Creative present ideas for kids birthday party. These presents which you have mentioned in your blog beautifully would be very best as return gift to kids too. They can learn lot of art with these crafts and make fun with it.

  13. I love these ideas! One of our favorite ideas to give was to save a chocolate box from valentine’s day ( yes, this meant we had to eat the chocolates 😉 and then made chocolate scented play dough on the stove. My daughter molded it into chocolates, boxed it up in the chocolate box and that was our gift. It was lots of fun for us and for the birthday boy and his family.

  14. One of my favorite gifts that really goes for any age is a cute pair of pajamas and a book! Now this is only appreciated by girls (I have 2 girls) or for younger boys. Older boys – not so appreciative.

  15. i love these ideas! such kits are a great idea, and i think i am more confident now should i am ever invited to a kid’s birthday party.
    my son is only 2, so we don’t a ton of experience in terms of gift receiving. for his 2nd birthday i wrote in the invitation, what toys my son will appreciate the most (as we didn’t have that many) and i also specified that they don’t need to be new, second hand toys and books are fine with us!

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