20 Great gifts for kids that bring the family together

Great gifts for kidsYou are wanting to buy a gift for your child, or that special child in your life.  As we all know, there are some gifts, usually involving screens, that can really distract kids and make it hard to spend quality time with them.  But with great gifts for kids, they will enable you to spend that precious time together.

Some of these gift ideas will promote conversation.  Others are just about having fun and creating happy childhood memories.

When you look through the list you will notice  I have not included any electronic devices. This has been deliberate.  While it can be fun to sit down and play video games with your kids from time to time, for the most part, iPads, consoles and computer games tend to be a hindrance to quality family time.  I’m sure many parents would agree… let’s have less screen time and more play in the backyard!



Great gifts for kids #1 – Board games and card games

Board games and card games are an obvious choice. I’m sure many readers have already experienced the joy of playing games like Monopoly or Uno with their kids.  They are a great way to create quality family time.  There are plenty of opportunities to laugh and have fun together but also to have some great conversations.  I think my first conversation with my son about money and savings was over a game of monopoly at the age of four!

The key to bonding over board games is to prepare yourself with some questions for your kids. While you are playing, look for breaks in the game to engage with your kids.  Also look for opportunities to subtly teach values like honesty, humility and how to lose gracefully.

Click on the links below to purchase any of these popular kid’s games from Amazon:

Great gifts for kids #2 – Craft sets

Craft sets are a great way to bond with your kids while you create something together.  Your child will love it if you let them drive the process.  Listen to their ideas, encourage their creativity and work as a team!

Click on the link below to purchase a craft set from Amazon:

Great gifts for kids #3 – Science sets

The advantage of science sets is that you learn together. Depending on the experiment, you may need to form hypotheses, solve problems and overcome challenges. This will require teamwork!  If your experiment succeeds you can celebrate your success together.  If it fails, you can both question why and view the failure as an opportunity to learn.  So grab a science kit, put on your safety goggles and start experimenting!

Click on the link below to buy a science set from Amazon:

Great gifts for kids #4 – Kites

There is nothing quite like getting outside on a sunny day and flying a kite with your kids.  It is guaranteed fun for the whole family!  The best day to fly a kite is one with a gentle breeze.  If it is your child’s first experience, take time to talk them through how to launch and fly the kite. Be their coach, talking them through it rather than doing it for them.  Then be their biggest fan, running alongside them as the kite takes flight.  If you’re feeling creative,  you may even want to build a kite together.

Click here to learn how to make a kite from scratch.

To purchase a kite from Amazon, click the link below:

Kites

Great gifts for kids #5 – Lego

Lego is a favourite gift for kids and if your children are like mine, they have plenty of it. It can be bought as specific sets or creative brick boxes.  My kids love the specific sets as they are often marketed well.  Who can go past a Star Wars or Harry Potter themed lego?  My kids love building them and displaying them afterwards.  I find they are less inclined to repeatedly play with the specific set lego and for this reason, I prefer the creative brick boxes.  With these, you build your own creations.  It requires more imagination than concentration.  It can be a shared activity that lasts twenty minutes or two hours. We often have great chats while we are building and bounce ideas off each other.  I also get brownie points from my kids when I help them find that elusive “missing” piece!

To purchase creative Lego boxes from Amazon, click on the links below:

Great gifts for kids #6 – Frisbee

This one is a favourite of mine. When I take the kids to the park, I always grab the Frisbee. It is so convenient and you can play with two or ten people!

To buy a frisbee from Amazon, click the link below:

Great gifts for kids #7 – Ball games

Many a Dad has bonded with his kids over a ball!  Whether it be throwing and catching with a preschooler or shooting hoops with your teenagers, ball’s bring Dad’s and kids together.  Talk to your child about technique, rules of the game, sportsmanship and how to be a good loser.  Then throw in some questions about school, friendships and their hopes and dreams.  Kids are often more open with their parents if the communication is non-confrontational and occurring incidentally while they are engaged in a fun activity.

To buy a soccer ball or basketball from Amazon, click the links below:

Great gifts for kids #8 – Bikes & scooters

This is an activity I love to do with my kids on the weekend. When they were little I would take them out on their scooters. They would scoot and I would walk alongside.  As they got faster that walk would sometimes become a run.  Scooters are great for portability and convenience.  Perfect to throw in the back of the car!

Now they are older they prefer to ride their bikes. I recently purchased a bike rack for the car so we can take the bikes on holidays.  Bike riding has become something we love doing as a family.

To purchase scooters for younger children and a bike for older children or adults click the links below:

Great gifts for kids #9 – Tickets to a show

Tickets to a show can be a great “experience” gift to give a child. Take them for a milkshake or treat afterwards and talk about the show. From a child’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if it’s an amateur or a professional production.  They will love the excitement of a live show and being there with you.

Theatre

Great gifts for kids #10 – Dad and Me journal

This is one of my top gift recommendations for bonding with your kids.  The journal provides insightful questions and topics for you and your child to discuss. It helps you know each other more.

Examples of exercises the journal takes you and your child through include:

  • Listing reasons why you love each other
  • Describing places you love
  • Identifying your hopes and dreams

The journal has many suggestions for conversation starters with your kids.

To purchase a Dad and Me journal for sons or daughters from Amazon, please click the links below:

Great gifts for kids #11 – Laser tag and water pistols

Both of these gifts offer similar fun and entertainment. Laser tag is great to play indoors and is safer than Nerf guns as there are no projectile bullets to hit Dad in the eye.

When it comes to water pistols (or water bombs) the rule is –  you can not be a spectator. To maximise the fun, you need to get involved – and get wet!

To purchase a laser tag set or water pistols from Amazon, please click the links below:

Great gifts for kids #12 – Totem tennis or Swingball

I love playing tennis and so does my son. We have a totem tennis pole in our backyard and this has been a great way to have one on one time.  Some totem tennis sets come with portable bases so they are suitable for paved courtyards as well as big backyards.

To purchase a totem tennis set from Amazon, please click the link below:

Great gifts for kids #13 – Twister

This classic game requires at least three people to play and is a guaranteed way to have a laugh with your kids.  I play it with my two and the more twisted up in knots we get, the more fun it is.  A word of advice for Dad’s – be sure to warm up first… you don’t want to pull a muscle!

To purchase Twister from Amazon, please click on the link below:

Great gifts for kids #14 – Books

It goes without saying, reading is a great way to spend quality time with your children. You can read aloud to them or if they are old enough they can read to you. I asked my two kids (age 8 and 10) for their book recommendations and here are their suggestions.

Great gifts for kids #15 – Jenga

This is another classic game that can be played one on one or with multiple people. It is recommended for kids age 6+ but in my experience, it can also be good to teach fine motor control to younger children.  The kids love the tension towards the end and the final big crash!

Click on the link below to purchase Jenga from Amazon:

Great gifts for kids #16 – Slime

Slime is a particular favourite for my daughter.  She loves trying out various slime recipes off the internet but our best successes have always been with slime making kits.   This kit is particularly good as it allows you to add glitter, beads and miniature fruit slices!

Great gifts for kids #17 – Pets

I spoke about the benefits of owning a pet in a previous blog post.  For many children getting a new puppy or kitten is a dream gift.  I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she met our new kitten for the first time.  It was a sheer delight!  I have found that little kitten to be a great source of conversation in our family.  The kids love telling me stories of his misadventures. Obviously, it is important to choose the right animal for your family but giving your child a pet can create a lot of joy.

Pets

Great gifts for kids #18 – Puzzles

Our family loves puzzles. It has become a regular tradition over the summer holidays for a jigsaw to be set up on the kitchen table. Anyone who walks in the door is welcome to contribute.  I love watching the kids “get into the zone’ as they see it taking shape and it’s always a great family moment when the final piece is placed.

Great gifts for kids #19 – Radio-controlled aircraft

Flying radio controlled planes is an interest of mine.  It’s a great hobby to share with your kids.  You can start out flying toy helicopters or drones around the house and graduate to larger radio-controlled planes or gliders that need to be flown at the park.

I have very fond memories of building a glider with my Dad and taking it to the park to fly for the first time. From memory, it crashed (which most beginners do) but that was just another opportunity to get back into Dads workshop to try to fix it!

Great gifts for kids #20 – Camping gear

Camping is another activity that allows you to spend quality one on one time with your children. It can be adapted for all ages.  Young children will enjoy setting up the tent in the back yard while older children often love the challenge of a multi-day hike in the mountains or forest.  I am really grateful to my father who introduced me to camping when I was a child.  I’m looking forward to sharing the experience of sleeping under the stars with my own children.

Wrapping it all up

Spending fun, quality time with your kids is one of the great joys of being a parent. I hope these gift ideas have inspired you to find fun new ways to connect with your kids.

I would love to hear about your gift ideas.  Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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18 Comments

  1. These are some great ideas. Board games are often thought of as boring by many, but it’s amazing how much fun you actually have when you start playing them.

    I also think the craft sets and science kits are great activities for bonding! Kids often need help with that stuff, anyway, so what a perfect gift to also bring you together for quality time.

  2. Thanks Holly, Whenever my kids ask me to play board games I always have a bit of reluctance because I am not excited by them. After we get into the game however we always end up having lots of fun together.

    Take care,

    John.

  3. From looking at your list of gift ideas I was thinking that it could not only be good for bonding with my child but for other people as well. Pets, board games, and books are all good bonding activities for any relationship. My wife and I used to be part of a reading club and we used to read together on the couch every night before bed, great bonding time.

    Now we have a small 4 year old and I think I could start reading time with him as well. Lego is an interesting one that I haven’t thought about and it’s a great idea, we could build all sorts of things. I checked out your links to Amazon and it’s actually quite affordable, perfect for a gift for this Christmas. Thanks for writing these gift ideas.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts on this Kent. You are right that a lot of the activities these gifts enable can be used as opportunities to spend quality time not only with your kids but with you friends as well. With the radio controlled aircraft, I have another dad that I spend time with regularly flying planes together.

      I would definitely encourage you to start reading to your 4 year old as that is a great age for you to start reading to him.

      All the best,

      John.

  4. What do you think about the idea of building go karts as a fun activity to do with a child? Do you think it will help in their creativity in learning how to build something from scratch? 

    I would have definitely liked to have built one back as a child and possibly do a racing event.

    1. Building go-carts or for a simpler project, billy carts (without the engine) is a great idea. Any project where you are building something together and then enjoying it together is a great way to create quality time to bond with your kids.

      Thanks for your suggestion Jessie,

      John.

  5. Good One Dad this site really has a good entertainment and involvement with spending time with Dads spending time with their children, that takes care of yes Dad is Fun and we do a lot together gives other Dads some ideas of what to do on the weekends or on visits Reading stories children like stories better than television if the story teller can keep it interesting Non fiction or Fiction its important for Dads to teach their Children I like your website its non electronic I hope you do updates and add to 50 good ideas for Dads hands on Cycling  Fishing  Chores can be fun Homework the fun way Self development Meditation time out Boys Journal Girls Journal great idea then the children can add their own activities.  

    1. Thanks Angelique for your feedback and for your suggestion about including activities where Dad’s can be hands-on with their children to also create quality time with them. I will definitely consider that for a future post.

      Take care,

      John.

  6. Love this page! As a father of two girls I’m always looking for things to do to help bond. I really like the journal idea, there is no better way to connect then some good old fashioned words! we play uno as a family already and can have hours of fun! People need to enjoy time like this more often!

    1. Thank you Dylan. You are an inspiration as a father in regularly creating that quality time with your girls and I am sure they adore you for it.

      Keep up the great work Dad!

      John.

  7. Hi, thank you very much for this list! I recognize that a lot of your experience with your kids has gone into this post and I greatly appreciate that!

    I really like Board games, Legos, playing ultimate Frisbee in the park, ball games and taking out our bikes for a ride. And as I read your post, lots of good memories from my childhood sprung up. Some additional ideas have also come to mind for spending quality time, such as cooking something simple and tasty or learning a new language together. Thank you very much for this very useful list!

    1. Thanks for your comments and for the great ideas for spending quality time with kids. Cooking is one that my kids really love.

      Best wishes,

      John

  8. It’s very difficult to even give older kids the gifts on this list these days. They’re all immersed in their games and technology that we can’t pull them out! It has become so much easier for me just to adapt with them and play games with them.

    Some of the things on the list are really great though and there’s no way kids can just ignore these things. I’m looking specifically at the pets and science sets. There’s no way that you can just ignore a brand new puppy or kitten that jumps out of the box. I’m imagining that very scene right now.

    Science sets has given me a new idea. Since kids these days are so into technology, why not buy a bunch of computer parts and set-up a computer together? Or even get some of those Raspberry Pis/programming sets.

    1. Hi Kevin, I completely understand what you mean about technology and games, it is really hard to compete with them. I got a pet cat called Smudgy for my kids. I asked my son the other day, what he preferred more, Smudgy or a Nintendo Switch (which we have not bought for him, but he really wants one). He told me that even though he would really love a Nintendo Switch, he prefers to have Smudgy more. That to me was a clear endorsement of pets being a great gift for kids. So I would definitely recommend one.

      I really love your idea about building a computer from scratch or using a Raspberry Pi kit. This is would create a great opportunity to spend quality time with your kids as you built it together.

      Thanks for the great suggestion,

      John.

  9. This is a great list, John. My family has literally enjoyed every one of these ideas, except one. We try to incorporate some of these things routinely into our normal week for family time.  

    The one thing that we have’t done yet is the Dad and Me Journal. I LOVE this idea. My kids are now at the age where they are improving their writing skills, and actually enjoy seeing their own progress. This will be an enriching activity to add to our list for sure! Thank you for the idea!

    1. Hi Cris,
      I am really pleased to hear that you were able to get a new idea from this article. I would definitely recommend the journal as it is a great gift to enable deeper connecting conversations with your kids. Let me know how you go with the journal.

      All the best,
      John.

  10. Reading together with children is exciting especially if the book has many interesting pictures. As the child flips through the book, the pictures can be explained. When he gets to his favorite pictures he stops for you to explain the story to him or vice versa.

    Indeed reading is a great way to spend quality time with the kids. So for me books will really be best gifts to offer them. Thank you for putting these gift ideas together.

    1. No problem Seth. I really wanted to put a list together that would do more than just put a smile on the child’s. I wanted to have a list of gift ideas that could create an opportunity for parents to also spend more quality time with their kids. There are so many distractions these days, particularly with technology that it can be difficult to create these moments.

      As you say, books are a great way of creating this quality time. Thank you for your comments.

      All the best,

      John

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