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Timeless Gift Ideas for Kids

Updated on November 18, 2013
Here are some timeless gifts that kids of all generations can appreciate.
Here are some timeless gifts that kids of all generations can appreciate. | Source

Every generation has different toys to keep them occupied. In today's fast paced world of portable gaming devices and cell phones, it can be hard to find a good gift for the kid who seems to have everything.

But taking a step back into time and looking for those timeless toys may be a good idea. It will expand their mind, get them exercising their brain, their body or both, and make a memorable and lasting impression.

Gifts that are timeless can connect an older generation with a younger one. They can share in a memory and build new ones together while playing.

Toys are an important part of a child's development and growth. Studies show that children who play are smarter and have less trouble hitting developmental milestones.

These retro gift ideas are not old-fashioned; they are timeless. As you are shopping for that special child in your life, consider some of these gift ideas for months to years of fun.

Ant Farm

This classic gift has the dual benefit of combining fun with learning. An ant farm can teach a child about science, insects, life cycles and the amazing ways that nature works.

Most ant farms come with a kit in a box. The child will then need to send a certificate to receive the starter ants for their farm.

This gift is best if a guardian is willing to help the child set up and maintain the ant farm. It will also need to be kept out of reach of young children or curious pets.

Your child will think of you all year long as they are enjoying watching and learning. Consider also purchasing a book on ants or ant life cycles at an age appropriate reading level. National Geographic has some good, kid-friendly books on a variety of science topics.

A bike is a timeless gift for kids.
A bike is a timeless gift for kids. | Source


A bicycle has been a rite of passage for generations of children. But some kids have never had the opportunity to ride a bike. If the child in your life is five or older, it might be time to consider getting them a bike.

Learning to ride a bike helps a child to improve their balance and motor skills. It can be a great way to teach a child about safety and responsibility. It is also a good gift for the whole family. Everyone can enjoy a peaceful afternoon bike ride.

You don't have to have a place at your home to bike. Many cities offer safe bike trails and parks for a citizen's convenience.

Be sure to check the laws in your city and include a bike helmet with the bike.

Every child loves blowing bubbles.
Every child loves blowing bubbles. | Source

Bubbles and Sidewalk Chalk

An inexpensive gift idea that will provide hours of fun, giggles and laughter is a classic gift of soap bubbles and sidewalk chalk. You can create a gift bag that includes both and maybe even a jump rope or other inexpensive, outdoor activity.

Nearly every kid enjoys the simple pleasure of blowing bubbles and watching them glide and float. They also enjoy having someone blow the bubbles so they can chase and pop them.

Sidewalk chalk is a safe way for kids to express their artistic side. And it easily washes off with a hose or when it rains.

Combining these two items creates a simple gift that will make any child smile.

Building Blocks

While items like Legos make great gifts, one creative toy that sometimes gets overlooked is building blocks. A simple set of building blocks can provide hours or entertainment for your child and get their imagination going.

For younger kids a lightweight building set made of foam or lighter materials may be the best bet. As the child gets older a classic wooden block set will allow them to build, create, knock down, and build again.

Building blocks are a basic gift that can be added to over the years to create castles or cities. Building with blocks encourages children to plan, design and implement. It also helps sharpen their motor skills.

Classic Board Games

Even for those kids who love electronic games, a classic board game can be a great experience and one that allows multi-generations to interact.

Board games are great for rainy boring days or for when they power goes out. Many of the classic board games teach math, strategy, critical thinking and reasoning. Teaching a child to play a game that you played as a child will give them great memories.

Board Games are a timeless gift for all ages.
Board Games are a timeless gift for all ages. | Source

Some board games to consider include:

  • Monopoly
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Checkers
  • Chess
  • Life
  • Mousetrap
  • Clue
  • Dominos
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Memory
  • Guess Who
  • Battleship
  • Sorry

Playing dress up lets kids' imaginations soar.
Playing dress up lets kids' imaginations soar. | Source

Costume/Dress Up Sets

Another great gift to encourage imagination and play is a dress up set. There are many available in the stores and some even include kits with multiple accessories. Kids enjoy using their imagination to play and imagine they are someone else.

Dressing up allows them to safely explore different roles and ideas and may help them figure out their own identify and talents.

If you are picking out dress up clothes, make sure to ask the parent or guardian about the size of the kid and what kinds of dress up/role play they might be interested in.

Role playing is an important part of growing up and brain development.

Croquet is a game that has been played for centuries and people are still playing it today.
Croquet is a game that has been played for centuries and people are still playing it today. | Source

Croquet/Badminton Set

While this may seem a bit strange at first, playing croquet and badminton has a long history that connects back to both royalty and the average family.

The game of croquet is simple. Wooden mallets help to knock colored balls through a course of bent wickets. It is relatively easy to learn and can be fun for five and up. Since it is not strenuous, it is a game that grandparents can play with grandkids.

Badminton is also fun and involves lightweight rackets hitting a birdie back and forth. A pick up game of bandminton can be played just about anywhere and doesn't even require you to set up a net.

These games often come together in a set. Both encourage outdoor play, motor skills development and activity.

Science Kit

There are all kinds of science kits out there to help kids explore everything from geology to electricity. A kids' science kit usually comes with everything you need to conduct your experiment.

Science kits are great for kids who enjoy hands on activities and are very visual. They are a great way to reinforce concepts that they are learning in their classes at school in a friendly and approachable way.

When choosing a science kit for your child, consider their interests, attention span and age. Some experiments are relatively simple and some involve multiple steps or days or weeks to see results.

Here are some different types of science kits and descriptions.

Science Kits for Kids

Type of Kit
Learn about or create magnets. Learn about positives and negatives
Create simple electric grids or electric powered items
Grow Rocks
Grow different kinds of rocks using certain chemical compounds.
Basic Kit
Usually includes basic items such as magnifying glass, tweezers and beakers.
Includes basic set of chemicals and instructions for how to create substances and reactions
Weather Kit
Test different weather predictors. Learn how to measure weather events.

Sea Monkeys

Another great gift idea is a sea monkey set. A sea monkey is actually a type of shrimp. But they have been a popular aquarium gift for years because of their eggs' ability to lay dormant but viable for years.

The nice thing about a sea monkey set is that it can be instantly set up. The eggs come with the kit (unlike the ant farm where you have to send off for the starters).

Some people report that their sea monkeys, with proper care, lived up to two years. The key seems to be following directions and making sure the water is clean.

If the child in your life is a budding scientist, consider some sea monkeys that they can grow, watch them lay eggs and continue the life cycle.

Roller skates have been a timeless gift for decades!
Roller skates have been a timeless gift for decades! | Source


A pair of skates is another great gift for kids of multiple ages. Learning to roller skate, just like bike riding, helps motor skills and balance. But most of all it is lots of fun.

When looking for roller skates you will need to either get skates to match the child's shoe size or get adjustable skates that can be worn within a certain size range.

There are beginning roller skates for young kids that won't roll backwards and even skates in designer colors.

Remember to also include knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet.

Kids love to play with water toys.
Kids love to play with water toys. | Source

Water Toys

Kids love toys that they can play in the water with or that involve water. Everything from bath toys to pool toys can be lots of fun for kids. They can use them in the summer or take them to an indoor water park year round. Water toys can include:

  • toys that squirt
  • slip and slides
  • pool noodles
  • toys boats
  • toys that wind up and swim
  • boogie boards

If the kid is younger consider age guidelines and their level of water activity. Water toys should always be used when an adult is supervising.


It may seem crazily simple, but kids love wagons. For generations kids have been using wagons to pull, push and ride. Wagons can carry their things or become a mode of transportation. They can be fast or slow or even provide a place to sit when resting from the fun.

Wagons are usually either plastic or metal and often come needing assembly. If you plan on giving a wagon to a child on your list, consider putting it together ahead of time to avoid frustration.

A wagon encourages imagination and active play. It can provide years of both fun and utility for a kid and makes a beautiful gift with just a simple bow on it. You can also fill the wagon with other gifts or outdoor toys for an added bonus.

If you are purchasing a wagon you may want to also consider a helmet if the kid will be riding in it.

Classic Toys Have Inspired Multiple Generations

  • Costume/Dress Up Set
  • Science Kit
  • Sea Monkeys
  • Skates
  • Water Toys
  • Wagon

Timeless Gifts For Kids

  • Ant Farm
  • Bicycle
  • Bubbles and Sidewalk Chalk
  • Building Blocks
  • Classic Board Games
  • Croquet/Badminton Set

These are timeless toys and classic gifts that kids of past, present and future generations can appreciate.

Some toys come and go. What may be the hot item this year is likely forgotten by the next. But these toys stand the test of time and are sure to please the child in your life for many years to come.


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