Scenario: I have absolutely no experience with infants or very young childs. In fact, I never had closer contact with them yet. But now …

I’m becoming an uncle/aunt/godparent/close family friend, and I want to give presents to the child (and I may not often be able to see the child). But, oh help, what am I supposed to gift? I guess it would become easier for me when the child grows older, but I have no ideas for those early years.

I’m not looking for specific product recommendations, but for an outline of appropriate product categories for each child’s year.

For example, when can I start to consider picture-books? Cuddly toys right from birth on? What else is possible for a newly born child? When to start with wooden toys like toy trains? (… I hope you get the idea.)

  • The range you specified is very, very wide. Actually, almost all "toys" will fit into that range, since later on children get more "grown-up" toys like phones, tablets, bikes or simply cash. I think it would be a good idea to make a question for a certain age, and ask next question by the time your niece grows older.
    – Dariusz
    Feb 8, 2014 at 15:53

5 Answers 5


I may have a left-field answer that no one else has considered so far; with other people's children for whom I am buying presents. I tend to take them to the shop and let them choose. Specifically (living in London) I make a day of it and get the parents and children into Hamley's (substitute suitable toy shop in your area) set a price limit and walk round with them and see what they're excited by. Sometimes what they get, with parents' approval of course, and what I thought suitable or would have bought are wildly different. Either before or after this I take them for some lunch and the whole event gives them a day out where they can do new things and get a toy. I get to catch up with the parents whilst the children are suitably distracted and the parents enjoy some time where the kids are being looked after by someone else. I wouldn't do this if the children are too young (under about 2) or with more than one family at a time; two or three kids at a time and one or two parents is enough!


The easiest way is to look at the recommended ages on the boxes. Although different kids are different, those recommended ages work for the majority of children, and take both safety and development into account.

However, after age two or so you also really need to ask the parents. Kids very quickly develop strong likes and dislikes where toys are concerned. My nine year-old daughter gets tons of stuffed animals as gifts, and she has never liked them since she was a baby, so we end up giving them to her little sister. She spends a lot of time in the hospital, and we have to keep a stuffed animal on her bed or else people will keep giving her more.


The presents for this age range is vast and varied. To buy a present for any of the age ranging from 0-6 years it is important to know the skills, the particular age group needs to acquire and the milestones. Once you figure out the skills, you can buy presents accordingly. Infact toys also have the age recommendation mark on it which can be of help. A list of toys for each age group are below:

  • Shake Rattle And Roll- When shaking the toy the child will be able to listen to sounds it hears. Wonderful bright colours provide visual stimulation and the shape of this toy is designed in such a way that the child can easily hold or grasp. It develops fine motor skills in the child. (0-1 year).

  • Geometry Twins- With this attractive flower shaped toy, children get excited over moving the correct pieces through the petal grooves in order to match the identical shapes. The maze is fun and challenging and also enhances pre-writing skills. Children can also play with the loose parts in the set which makes this toy even more enjoyable.(1-2 year).

  • Sandpaper Numbers- As children play with the toy, they learn to associate number symbols or shapes to sounds which initiates them into the number system. By tracing over the textured numbers with their fingers, children improve their pre-writing skills to a great extent.(2-3 year).

  • Shape Sequence Sorting Set- This toy helps in developing math skills by recognising colour, shape and size and sorting objects into groups. Key developmental skills like visual perception, fine-motor, eye-hand coordination and cognition is acquired by the child.(3-4 year).

  • Alphabet Puppets- This begins by experimenting in 'wearing' different finger puppets to see what words can be formed.Parents and children can both play various games by simply slipping on these finger puppets! Playing with this toy improves children's memory of word association and overall reading and pre-writing skills.(4-5 year)

  • Build Your Own Bird Wooden House- This construction craft activity promotes fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and encourages artistic ability as well as an appreciation for nature. (5-6 year)


It might help to know that at that age the parents will be the ones playing with the kids a lot of the time. You might want to consider things parents hold to stimulate them, like high contrast shapes, puppets, etc. It's never too early to start reading to them so you could get short books, which are easy to find and always obvious which are intended for babies. Many of them have touch sensory components like numbers made of fuzzy materials and things like that.

Also, figure that parents will end up going through a lot of un-play related resources like diapers, diaper goo (i think it's called butt paste and thats not a joke) - diaper genie, or the liners, or if they're more natural a set of cloth diapers, which can seriously be like $25 each.

And if that's just too chaotic, which it is, then consider a membership to the zoo. I spent the first 3 years of my kids life taking them there almost every day.

Just saying that the gift doesn't necessarily need to be something you imagine the baby liking from their own play time perspective.


Baby center has suggestions by year for the first few years that are pretty spot on. I only have experience with two-and-unders at this point, but here's what I can recommend:

  • 0 years: Anything that makes music (calmed my son down immediately when he was tired but couldn't sleep), a baby gym, rattles, cloth books, board books, things that crinkle, clothes

  • 1 year: bath toys, scooting toys, foam or cardboard blocks, stacking toys, the box the toy came in, things you can pull or push while walking, flap books, board books, bubbles

  • 2 years: dolls, playing house toys like kitchen sets, the box the toy came in, cars, puzzles, books, sidewalk chalk

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .