"Whilst parents have many demands on their time, grandparents tend to have more patience and time to give children."
Dr Amanda Gummer
Grandparents can be so important in the lives of their grandchildren and we know that increasingly they are involved with regular childcare for their grandchildren. While, of course, others see far less of their grandchildren than they might wish. Either way the grandparent-grandchild relationship can often be a truly special one.
This does however present a challenge around birthdays. Grandparents understandably want their gift to be a favourite. Whether the ambition is for the gift to show real insight into what that unique child will value, or to be totally novel, educational or just plain fun, most grandparents want their present to stand out from the crowd.
To save you trawling through catalogues or around the shops, our Good Toy Guide experts have put together some handy gift guides for each age, so whether you're buying for baby's first birthday or a reluctant tween, we've got you covered. We've suggested some toys from the Good Toy Guide too, all of which are tested by children and independently endorsed, so you can buy with confidence.
Of course every grandchild is unique, so if our examples aren't what you're after have a look at the hundreds of toys in our Good Toy Guide to suit all ages and budgets.
The Grandparent's Guide to Buying Presents for Children
Babies & toddlers
Babies aren’t as fussy as older children about what they get but can be difficult to buy for if you don’t know their level of development – i.e. what they are actually able to play with and enjoy yet. Infants are just starting to explore the world, so we recommend toys that can stimulate their various senses, for example, toys with lights and sounds.
Toddlers will be starting to have interests – particularly familiar brands from TV, themes such as dinosaurs, or favourite colours where it doesn’t matter what the toy is, as long as it’s pink or red or blue etc.). They will be playing more independently and starting to enjoy pretend play.
By the time they are approaching school, children are likely to know what they want and will have favourite brands and interests that guide their preference for toys. Their skills will have developed to a point where they are able to use more difficult toys such as puzzles and simple craft sets.
As children get older and their skills improve, they will enjoy more challenging activities such as puzzles and arts & crafts. Board and card games are really popular and a great way to encourage families to communicate with each other.
Older children & tweens
At this age children will really start caring about fitting in with their friends, and may be growing out of toys that they now deem uncool. Tech toys including tablet devices, are popular and children will still enjoy age-appropriate board games. Arts & crafts that can be personalised let children this age express their developing identities.