Best Gifts for Kids Under 8

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Finding the best gifts for kids means a lot more than going to Toys Я Us and buying the first shiny recent-movie-related thingy you come across. For one thing, you can be almost assured that you don’t watch the same stuff your kids do, so you probably don’t actually know the cast of characters they pay attention to as well as they do — by a longshot.

Kids under 8 are also notorious for changing loyalty at the drop of a hat — one day it’s the Twinx fairies, and not 48 hours later they’re obsessed about Avatar: The Last Airbender or even, heaven forbid, Invader Zim.

It’s easy to think that you ‘know better’ than your kid, and that your gift is better than what they ‘think’ they want — but that’s a surefire way to give a gift that will collect dust faster than a Swiffer.

Fortunately, the best gifts for kids are, in fact, constant over time — just not in the way you might think. The answer is remarkably simple.

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are perhaps the best gifts for kids under 8 years of age, because they haven’t really cemented their beliefs about what rocks and what sucks.

A generic-ish basket filled with lots of small toys and gifts for kids will almost certainly contain several things that they’ll find awesome, and they’ll find at least some use for nearly everything in the basket.

Gift baskets come in many themes — so many, in fact, that it’s easy to pick one that will be appropriate even if it’s not exactly the currently-in show of choice.

If you’ve got a young boy, and he still has legs (arms optional), consider getting him a soccer basket. Among the best gifts for kids that love to get out and run around a bit, a soccer basket usually includes a duffel bag, a soccer-themed watch, a soccer ball, and even, if you get a good one, a collapsible goal.

Tack on an additional David Beckham bobblehead, and you’ve got a gift! For kids who are just learning what kinds of things they love to do, this is a great way to direct them toward something that’s active and ‘cool’ without being tacky about it, as well.

If you’re looking at a young girl, once upon a time a Hannah Montana gift basket would have been ideal, but given Miley Cyrus’ recent and sudden oversexualization, that could start sending the wrong message.

Instead, rely on a fallback position until something new and even awesomer shows up: the PowerPuff girls, Dora the Explora, Lilo and Stitch — there are several pretty generic girls’ baskets out there.

Or, if you want to be unique and introduce your girl to a classic, hit up a retro store for a Jem and the Holograms gift basket, and get all 65 episodes on DVD from Amazon to go with them.

Are gift baskets the only gifts out there for young kids? Hardly — you can find ideas for such gifts en masse at giftshops like Gift Idea Master. But are gift baskets the BEST gifts for kids under 8 years old? Almost certainly.

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Unusual Gifts for Kids

If your kids’ Christmas lists are filled with the usual requests for various toys and items they’ve seen in TV commercials, don’t despair at the thought of another year of the same kind of Christmas — truly entertaining and unusual gifts for kids are just a mental stretch away.

Gifts for Kids

The last thing you want is for your kids to open up their seventh Hannah Montana Barbie (this time with freckles!), play with it for a day, and then end up back in front of the television getting more ideas for more toys they “need” stuck in their heads. That’s why you need to think outside the box — literally! — and go for some truly unusual gifts. For kids, getting something they’ve seen on TV isn’t really gratifying — getting something they’ll LOVE is.

So how do you go about getting some really unusual gifts for kids that are TV-fixated? Start by talking to them a month or so out from shopping season. Ask them about their favorite TV characters, and find out what makes them cool.

If Hannah Montana is cool, find out if it’s because she’s a pop star, or because she has a secret identity, or what. The secret to making successful but unusual gifts for kids is to give them a way to be like their favorite character.

If you’re talking to a boy, find out what kinds of things his favorite characters do that makes them worth watching. You’ll probably learn that it has something to do with beating up bad guys or having superpowers. That’s good, because it’s easy to make an unusual Christmas gift for kids that like to be, for lack of a better word, bad-ass.

The power of imagination
Don’t ever underestimate the ability of a less-than-12-year-old to imagine a host of circumstances and react according to his imagination. It’s this exact power that you can rely on to create incredibly fun if slightly unusual Christmas gifts for kids. Let’s look at a few common ‘wishes’ and how you can use Christmas and imagination to make it happen.

A secret identity: Secret identities require a way for the kids to change their appearance. Masks are too obvious, but give your young’un a wig, a trench coat, fake glasses, and other paraphernalia, and you’re good.

At that point, it’s all about prior arrangement with your neighbors, your kids’ teachers, and other adults — whatever it takes to give her a day where she can switch roles as she pleases and see what it’s like to be two people at once. It will be the great ideas for best gifts for kids.

Superheroism: Being a superhero also requires getting other people to play along. One excellent way to pull this off is to give your son a nerf gun, a ‘special’ mask or shield or other item, and a disposable cell-phone marked up with a symbol to show that it’s a superhero phone.

Then, get some relatives that are over for Christmas to enact a scenario: Dad goes to the kitchen and calls the son’s phone to inform him that some evil villain has kidnapped Grandma, and he needs to defeat the Three Evil Henchmen (Dad, Grandpa, and the dog) in order to free her!

You can see where this is going — the best unusual gifts for kids are the ones that let them play the roles they love to watch; give them that ability, and they’ll remember it forever.

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