So you’re needing some ideas of the top 40 gifts that girls will actually play with?? Girl, I’ve got your back!!
Between you and me, I secretly used to dread birthdays and parties and Christmas and any event where you had to give a gift.
I just felt like I couldn’t find the perfect gift; until recently…
I read some of the greatest advice ever!!
Are you ready for it??
Instead of shopping for what you think that person would like, shop for something they actually like.
It sounds kind of confusing but it really isn’t. If you have a child that plays with American Girls… don’t buy her pet shops. Find something that would compliment what she is already interested in. Get her shoes and outfit for her doll.
This my friend is all from experience as I have crashed and burned way too many times to count with one of my own who just was hard to get engaged in play.
But after lots of trial and error, we have discovered these top 40 gifts that girls will actually play with.
*At this time, we do not receive any commission or compensation for these recommendations. These are just items we really love!!*
So without further ado, lets check ’em out…
Gifts $25 and Under
- Barbies- There is something freeing about a toy that doesn’t come with a rule book or expectations on how to play with it. And I’ve seen that Barbies are definitely this way. My girls all play with them so differently; one girl throws her barbies birthday parties and fashion shows. The other has intricate stories about families and what they are doing. And the other uses her barbies much like American Dolls and they do whatever she is doing. Open-ended play with endless possibilities- well yes, please!!
- Barbie Car- Now Barbies are not the only thing that you will find that gets put in your Barbie car. Barbie cars come in handy for any toy substitute but again the open-ended possibilities and magic that comes with this is just amazing!!
- Journal with a lock and key– There is something so fascinating for little people in having something with a lock and key. An item that is just for them and can be hidden away from the eyes of others. My girls all lovingly hide their journals for no one else to see and feel so important and special when they are the only ones with a key.
- Chalk– We have spent many many hours drawing on the sidewalk. We have written messages to neighbors, practiced our art skills, created fun and different hopscotches. The possibilities are again endless. We recently got gifted chalk for Christmas and the girls were tickled pink to learn that the chalk had glitter inside of some of them!! It was quite a special little treat.
- Bubbles– I remember being 16 and it was the first time I experienced bubbles. There was a magic that comes with watching a bubble form and float lazily away. But it is also fun to see the kids get excited when they can pop the bubbles and catch them before they disappear. We love bubbles yes we do. We love bubbles and think you will too!!
- Skipping Rope– Children have the best imaginations. Recently we were at a play date and the children were using their skipping ropes to make their legs into mermaid tails, a rope to save friends from the shark-infested waters, the rope and anchor for a pirate ship, a tail for a cat or tiger, and as an actual skipping rope. The possibilities and ideas are endless for children.
- Hula Hoop– I never was able to get down the whole hula hoop thing I just couldn’t get my hips to move fast enough or something but again the possibilities of play are the coolest. The hula hoops at our house have been used for pet homes, circus shows, acrobat tricks, as a horse and carriage and on and on and on. When your child is done with the hula hoop you can even check out these super cool DIY Hula Hoop Wreath Tutorials.
- Magnetic Dolls– It started with one set and has quickly grown. The girls absolutely love the fact that they can use their dolls with their multiple outfits like Barbies. Sometimes the girls match outfits and have fashion shows and other times their dolls get involved in all sorts of mischief and play.
- Kinesthetic Sand– Have you heard of this stuff?? It also is super cool!! It is sand that never dries out. And this stuff is like super cheap on amazon!! It comes in super fun colors with sparkles and everything. Sand is a part of sensory play and so so important for centering your child. Check it out we are sure you’ll love it too!!
- Melissa and Doug Reusable Puffy Stickers– Do you remember as a child loving a sticker so much that you didn’t ever want to use it?? You kept it in a special spot and wished you could play with it over and over again. Well, these are those. They are perfect for long car rides. These sticker kits come with a play scene and a ton of little stickers to create stories and hours of play.
- Throw Pillows– These are the best. My children use them for decorating their bed, watching movies, making beds for their toys, screaming into when they’re mad, or as leap pads to jump onto. Kids have the best imaginations and throw pillows aren’t just adorable room decor but also a comfy spot to land at the end of the day.
- Play-doh– Another great sensory experience for kids is play-doh. There are a ton of different playsets you can get. And again… sparkles. Girls can never have enough glitter!!
- Bath Bomb– This website charmed aroma has the coolest idea!! If your kids love baths then this is the perfect surprise for them. Hidden inside these bath bombs are different jewelry pieces. They are absolutely gorgeous and a definite hit. Imagine the squeals of delight that will come when they realize a surprise is inside. Heck lets face it. I secretly want this!! They’ve got the coolest jewelry pieces.
- Slime Kit- Kids are gross and they love touching things that are gross. Slime has taken the world by storm and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Tons of friends have talked about this being their go-to during times of quarantine. Ready for some ooey gooey squishy fun?? Then check out a slime kit!!
- Chirp Magazine– I don’t know if this magazine is just a Canadian thing or not but you totally have to check it out either way!! One year we received this magazine for a birthday gift and it was read and reread over and over again until the magazine fell apart from being read so much!! Chirp is geared towards the 3-6-year-olds, Chickadee is for 6-9, and Owl is for 9-12. These magazines are teacher and parent-friendly that encourage your child to challenge their mind without ever knowing that is what is going on!!
- Mermaid Tail Blanket- We have mermaids at our house on a daily basis. Now our mermaid tail blankets are very rarely ever actually used as blankets. They have become parts of costumes and decorations and all sorts of play that involves interesting stories about mermaids and pirates and Never Never Land.
- Doctor Kit– Do you remember as a child wanting to be a doctor or a vet?? If my children’s dreams come true of what they want to be when they grow up I will be in good hands. I will have a doctor, dentist, and vet!! Hurray, hurray free health care for me!! All jokes aside. We had the sweetest experience visiting grandparents. One child of mine really loves helping others. When Grandpa came home and his hand was bleeding from a scrape she immediately sprang into action got her doctor’s kit and patched him up. He was good as new. This is a sweet story but a great opportunity to allow a child’s play and imagination to help in real-time too!!
- IKEA Doll Bed– Boxes… they are everywhere at my house. Being used as beds for the never-ending heap of stuffies that occupy our home. If you’re getting tired of tripping over boxes then maybe its time to grab this wooden doll bed. It is well made but the best part about it is that you could truly DIY this bed and paint it to give it some individuality and make it more suited to match the child it is being given to!!
- Art Kit– Have you ever heard of Art for Kids Hub?? It’s about a dad who does art tutorials with his kids. My children love love love it and beg to spend most of the day involved in art projects. I am a crafty girl so I definitely can’t blame them. If you’re looking for hours of quiet fun then this may definitely be what you need and are looking for.
- Ponies/ Unicorns– I remember being babysat and constantly going down into the basement to play with the gigantic bin of My Little Ponies. I remember that my favorite part was putting the clothes on the ponies, especially the baby ones. And then My Little Pony became a TV series and my family may have gone through a My Little Pony obsession. This is a toy that gets played with a ton a ton a ton and then it will quietly be put away for a while… only to have it rediscovered and played with again and again. It’s definitely a classic toy for girls that never seems to lose its magic or place in a girl’s playroom.
- Calico Critters– If you live outside of the United States and Canada, then you might know these better as Sylvanians. There is something so darling about these toys. They are tiny animals with clothes that are used in the world of imaginative play. This is a toy that is on a little bit more pricy side but what we have found is that these toys stand the test of time. They provide hours and hours of play but also these little critters also withstand play and really stay in good shape no matter how much they are played with!!
Gifts $50 and Under
- Lego Friends– If you haven’t been bitten by the LEGO bug you better watch out because this one is dangerous!! Once it starts LEGO is always an amazing gift because it leads to open-ended play and creativity. However, LEGO finally got it’s girl game on and came up with a core group of friends with different personalities that support each other through their friendship. They even have a show all about them that you can find on Netflix and Amazon Prime!! Check it out with your chica because I am sure she’ll be just as hooked as my girls are!!
- Disney Lego– We are Disney Fans through and through. Who wouldn’t want to create their own LEGO castle with their own princesses…. or Toy Story… enough said!! We just really love LEGO!!
- Pod Swing- Tired of your monkeys bouncing off your walls?? Check out this cool swing that can be installed in a ceiling beam in your house!! You definitely would win present of the year if you gave a little girl this swing that they can set up and swing around in when they are stuck inside and at home!!
- Slip and Slide– Something seems to attract kids to water. They love playing in it, splashing in it, jumping in it and getting downright wet. If you have some kids that love to be active and love water play then this is definitely a present to look into getting!!
- Math Prodigy Membership– The teacher nerd in me just has to come out and jump on this band wagon!! Have you heard of Math Prodigy before?? If I had to describe it I would say that it is like a mix between Pokemon and Harry Potter. You are a wizard battling the puppet wizard who has put a spell on all the animals. Your job is to save them and defeat the puppet master. The best thing is that this is all based on math skills and questions. In order to rescue a pet or battle a villain, you have to answer math questions. This is probably one of the coolest games that have ever been invented. I definitely feel like this game blows it out of the water in getting your children engaged and excited about math.
- Reading Eggs Membership– Here is another teacher nerd gift I just had to include!! Reading is so so important!! With our busy schedules sometimes reading can be pushed to the back burner to get other activities accomplished. However, this is an amazing app that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that children love love to play. Tired of wasting your money on gifts that you don’t think will be used?? Then check out reading eggs it might just be what you’re looking for!!
- Swimming Pool– The children covet the neighbor’s pool and each summer they beg me to get one for our home!! If you are looking at getting a family gift than this could be one to look into!! Sometimes the best gifts are ones that can be enjoyed by others at the same time. And there is something so relaxing about water and swimming,
- Dress Up Clothes– I am Moana!! I am a doctor!! I am a fairy!! I am a dragon!! We love dress-up clothes… even when they may be two or three sizes too small. There is something so magical about being able to pretend that you are a different character or person other than yourself. Power comes in pretend and we love it!! One tip we have is after Halloween costumes go on clearance for rock bottom prices!! These are a great time to grab them and put them away until you need them for a gift!!
- Digital Camera– I swear or really hope that I am not the only mom who faces the shenanigans of mischievous children who take hundreds of silly selfies of themselves on a weekly basis. Sometimes you will just see their eyebrow or the ceiling or their little cute chubby chin but honestly wouldn’t a little camera be the coolest gift?! I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes and this would be a fantastic way to do that.
- Chin Up Bar– We know a family who installed a chin-up bar in their daughter’s closet. No, she wasn’t using it to do chin-ups!! Instead, she was using it to swing on whenever she needed that proprioceptive input. My girls spent hours swinging and hanging off this chin-up bar and begged me to get one for their room too. If you have an Active Annie who needs a lot of movement and physical stimulation then this might just be the coolest gift ever!! You might just have to explain why you gave them a chin-up bar and what you actually think they could use it for!! 😉
- American Girl Doll– Did you ever read the story A Little Princess?? Do you remember the girl getting her Emily doll from her father?? I had an Emily doll growing up. She became my best friend and confidant and I would tell her everything!! Well. American Girls are the new coveted play toy but there really is no question as to why. Every girl deserves her own little confidant and best friend!!
- Bouncy Castle– We live where it gets to be really cold and snowy. Sometimes going outside to play for long periods of time is just not an option. So because of this, we have friends who invite us over for bouncy castle play dates!! So fun!! Want your own playground that can be blown up and then put away?! Definitely check these out!!
- Trampoline– Jump, Jump, Jump!! That is what my children seem to do ALL and I mean ALL the time!! Because of this, a trampoline is definitely on our wishlist for items that we cannot live without. If you do go to purchase a trampoline we strongly recommend you take the proper safety precautions to keep your children and others safe by using a net, stairs and anything else that is recommended for your local area.
- Dance/ Gymnastic/ Sports Lessons- We really believe that children need to be active in moving their bodies. If you want to provide a different kind of experience in allowing you child to develop a new skil or talent then this might be just the thing to get.
- Singing Lessons- Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. Our house is one big musical we love music, dancing, and singing. But some of us are a little bit more on key than others. If you are stuck at home being quarantined then this definitely might be a fun alternative to a birthday toy present.
- Swimming Lessons- Just keep swimming!! Just keep swimming!! Okay so maybe we are not Dory but we do love the water. Swimming lessons are a definite life skill and one that your girls would love to be a part of.
- Science Center Membership- Learning is power. Knowledge is power. Make science a hands-on thing and take them to the science center. Or better yet buy a membership and plan monthly dates to go and do with your little person!! We adore the Science Center.
- Zoo Membership- Animals are so fun and so interesting to learn about. Today we were talking about Sloths. Did you know that sloths are nearly blind, that they only go poop about once a week? Also, did you know, that bugs live in sloths fur!? There is so much to learn about the world around us. It’s time to dive in and learn!!
- Barbie House– Every girl needs a dollhouse. Enough said!! Go get one if you don’t have one yet!!