While it’s easy to shop for a child, it can be tricky to find the perfect birthday gift for their friends or classmates. Shopping at independent toy stores can make the process easier, says Bridget Stickline, founder and owner of Wee Chic Boutique, which has stores in Maryland and Virginia. Staff at your local toy store will know their products well and can suggest the best gift for each type of kid.
Don’t live near an independent toy store? Stickline shares the following top picks for birthday gifts.
Jellycat Bashful Elephant
Little kids will love to snuggle with Jellycat’s adorable plush animals, including elephants, bunnies, dinosaurs and dragons. Ages: infant+, $22.50, jellycat.com
Fat Brain Toys InnyBin
This colorful shape-sorting box challenges babies and toddlers to fit six shape blocks through the cube’s elastic bands. The textured blocks offer a fun tactile experience
as kids experiment and practice their fine motor skills. Ages: 6 months+, $24.95, fatbraintoys.com
Tiger Tribe Coloring Set
Featuring fun themes like animals, fairies, monsters and sci-fi, each kit contains activities, coloring pages, stickers and markers in a handy portable storage box. Ages: 4+, $20, amazon.com
Future animators will get a kick watching their clay creations come to life by snapping a pic on the Hey Clay app. Ages: 6+, $16.95, hey-clay.com
Eonmo Push Pops Bubble Fidget Toy
This bubble wrap-like fidget toy provides a sensory distraction for restless kids and helps relieve stress and anxiety. Available in a range of bright colors and fun shapes, this toy can be easily cleaned and reused. Ages: 1+, Prices start at $11.99, amazon.com
Today’s kids will have as much fun feeding, cleaning and playing with their virtual pet as kids from the ’90s did back in the day. New features include an app that lets them connect with their friends’ Tamagotchi. Ages: 8+, $19.99, bandai.com
MindWare Q-Ba-Maze 2.0
Little engineers can create their own intricate mazes with colorful interlocking cubes and then race steel balls through the routes. Ages: 6+, $24.95, mindware.orientaltrading.com