Christmas shopping is hard, particularly finding the best gifts for kids. There’s so much stuff out there, and balancing the desire to reduce screen time and up educational value, without making it boring is such a challenge.
But fear not, here are a bunch of gift ideas to suit a range of ages (three months to 17 years) and personalities. Many of them are tech, others tech-adjacent, while some are tech-free because why not? A lot of these toys are great for the young at heart, too. We’ve divided them up into categories, with most options under $50, so you can find that perfect gift this Christmas.
There’s also a handy resource on the eSafety Commissioner website to help you choose safe and age-appropriate tech gifts for kids. As great as technology is, it’s important to be across all the safety features of smart toys and internet-connected devices.
This fawn is designed to encourage babies to play and learn during tummy time, when they strengthen their neck, back and core muscles. It answers the question “what if a gym sang to you in the cockney English accent of the ghost of a child who died in a factory accident in Victorian England”?
The talking fawn takes babies through words for colours, shapes, numbers and insects, with the aid of a soft musical “piano”.
There are also parts of the Tummy Time Fawn that can be clipped onto a pram or nappy bag to keep the baby entertained.
It’s a cute gift for a baby’s first Christmas.
Build-A-Waffle Learning Set – $34.95
I’m always really impressed by the Leap Frog food-themed play sets. They use music and physical play to teach kids cause and effect, colours, numbers, feelings and language. The Build-A-Waffle Learning Set teaches kids about colours and numbers while they make pretend waffles with a variety of seasonings. There’s also a stacking game. It’s cute AND educational, which is truly the dream.
Bluey LeapStart Bundle – $79.95
LeapStart has always been a great tool for kids just starting to learn to read, or level up their reading. Now, finally, it includes stories and books with Australian themes and Australian accents that kids all over the world will be excited to read. This Bluey bundle includes two books, and there are 25 more books (sold separately) that you can get to help kids in a variety of educational ways, while they’re having fun with their favourite characters.
Shake it Bluey – $29.95
Blue is the biggest commodity this Christmas. Every little kid loves Bluey, and this Shake It Bluey toy is adorable and well-priced for that it is. There are two ways to play with Shake It Bluey: Follow Me mode and Free Play. In Follow Me, Bluey will do a little dance for the child to copy. In Free Play, the child can move Bluey’s head and arms to make up their own dance and listen to the music. Bluey’s tummy also lights up in time to the sounds and music, so that’s fun.
Kosy the Kissing Puppy – $79.95 ages 4+
This truly adorable puppy is the best talking/moving dog toy under $100 I have ever seen, and I have tested a surprising amount of dog-shaped toys for kids over the years. Kosy’s head and eyes move and when kids press her paw, she’ll ask them to tell her all about their favourite things, and then she’ll play that back to the kid. Kids can press her charm and activate “funny sounds” mode, which will do things like meow along with the child. Pressing the nose will then extend Kosy’s surprisingly soft tongue to lick the child.
Written down like that, it all sounds a touch creepy, I will admit, but in person, it’s actually adorable, soft and beautiful. A friend kids can confide their secrets in. It also might be a good distraction for kids who are begging for a puppy, but perhaps aren’t quite ready for the responsibility yet.
Best Disney-themed gifts for kids
Walk ‘n’ Talk Valentino – $40
What’s a Disney movie without a talking animal companion? Valentino is the adorable talking goat from the brand-new Disney film Wish (in cinemas on Boxing Day), and kids will love this walking, talking toy. He’s soft and huggable, and says a wide variety of phrases that no doubt make sense to people who have seen the film, plus he can walk and sit.
Disney Wish Hug & Wish Star – $35
I love this star. As the name implies, it is extremely huggable. It kinda reminds me of a Junimo from Stardew Valley, if you want the toy to do double duty. It also lights up with a gentle glow to help little kids sleep, which is very sweet, but anyone who wants a toy that gives good hugs will love it. Even better, batteries are included.
Disney Lilo & Stitch Bean Plush Pals – $18
These technically aren’t tech toys, but I like them, and that’s really enough for me to include them in this guide. This range of Stitch toys has Stitch eating or posing with a wide variety of foods. This is presumably a reference to one of the new Lilo & Stitch TV shows or direct-to-streaming movies, but young and old Stitch fans will love these adorable toys.
Best Lego gifts for kids
Lego Star Wars TIE Bomber 75347 – $99.99
For Star Wars fans aged 9+, this TIE Fighter is really the ultimate Christmas gift. At 625 pieces, with three included mini-figures (and a buildable droid), it provides enough of a building challenge for confident builders, without straying into overly difficult territory. There are also lots of ways to play with it; with fireable torpedoes, stud shooters, an openable cockpit, and movable carts, kids can use it to recreate famous Star Wars battles, or turn it into a Barbie ambulance somehow, because kids’ imaginations are like that.
Lego Speed Champions McLaren Solus GT & McLaren F1 LM – $69.99
For car and racing fans, Speed Champions is the ultimate Lego theme, because of the detail packed into these smaller car builds. The cars are a fun challenge to build, with 581 pieces, and include two mini-figure drivers.
The cars have great play value, with moving wheels and room to put different minifigures in the driver’s seat. Plus, if the kids like this one, there are lots of other cars in the range starting from $32.99 (and they’re often at a deep discount at Kmart), so it sets you up for easy gifts that the kids will love for years to come.
Pokémon Fans Aged 4+
Pokémon Trainer Challenge – $39
This is a cute little Pokémon trivia machine that includes 300 questions with two possible answers, spread over five difficulty levels. Perfect for kids who really love Pokémon, and Millennial parents who want to ensure their children are well-versed in this essential educational subject.
Pokémon Clip’n’Go Poke Ball Belt Set – $29
This is such a great gift for kids who want to role-play as a Pokémon trainer. It’s a belt with three included clip-on Poke Balls (though, you can attach six to the belt if you end up with more), and kids can put their little Pokémon figures in the balls and pretend that they’re Ash Ketchum or another, more successful trainer. While these belts are designed for kids aged 4+, I plan on giving one to my 30+ friend who still plays a lot of Pokémon Go (don’t tell him).
Fortnite Fans Aged 8+
Fortnite Emote Figure Packs – $29
There are a lot of ways to try and encourage kids to play with physical toys and step away from the screens for a bit. One tried and true method is just getting the kids to play with the toys of the characters from their favourite screen time activity. These Fortnite figures have a lot of points of articulation, so they’re fun for kids to play with (and adults to pose for display), and they come with little physical representations of famous emotes from the game for some extra play value. Kids will love it, and it might help with the screen time battle a tiny bit.
Fortnite Joy Ride Vehicle – $49
There are also Fortnite vehicles available that give kids a wider selection of scenarios for their imaginative play. The vehicles fit 4-inch Fortnite action figures (and also other kinds of 4-inch action figures, but not the 6-inch ones from the Emote packs) so they can better recreate different gameplay scenarios, and other more imaginative scenarios that only a kid could think of. For adult Fortnite fans, they make a really nice display piece. Everybody wins!
Teens Who Love Bass
SkullCandy Sensory Bass – $449.95
This is for a teenager you really, really like, given the price. But while these headphones don’t have the most nuanced approach to audio reproduction, they are so much fun for a teenager who loves metal, rap or dance music. The novelty of these is that they vibrate with bass, so it can feel like your whole skull is being taken over by the beat. It’s the audio equivalent of those 4D rides at theme parks, where you watch a movie while sitting in a rumbling chair that sprays water at you.
What it lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in whimsy.
Video Game gifts for kids and the whole family
Just Dance 2024 – $69
Just Dance is the best video game to get kids, especially for parents stuck in that battle over screen time vs physical activity. With Just Dance, everyone wins, because it gets kids up and dancing while still playing a game. Plus, everyone in the family can join in and move because it doesn’t require more than one person to be tech-savvy or know how to work a game console.
This year’s Just Dance game includes songs like “Cann Heat” by Jamiroquai, “Butter” by BTS, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston, and “Vampire” by Olivia Rodrigo. Once you’ve enjoyed all the included tracks, you can subscribe to the Just Dance+ subscription service to enjoy an even larger library of songs and dances.
Jackbox Party Pack 10 $34.99
Jackbox Party Pack games are the ultimate games to get the whole family playing together without anyone getting sweaty or fighting. People participate by joining in on their phones or tablets, and then follow the games on the TV or PC.
It’s a lot of fun not just for teens, but really any dinner party or family gathering. Conversation turning to politics before the Christmas lunch has been served? Get everyone to jump into Hypnotorious to answer questions while pretending to be Frankenstein. Perfect for up to nine players.
Super Mario Bros Wonder – $69
This game is, hands down, my game of the year. It’s perfect for adults old enough to remember being seven years old and playing their first Mario game, just as it is for current seven-year-olds to discover as their first Mario game. It’s a must-play for all current (and future) Nintendo Switch owners. This is the 2D Mario game we’d all been waiting for.
Smiggle Poppies water bottle and pencil case – from $24.95
I love this water bottle and pencil case. They’re designed for you to press in a little bobble, and then you can squeeze it to get the bobbles to go back out. Toys like this were originally designed for neurodivergent kids, and they’re great for them (and adults), but they’re also just fun for everyone. These don’t require the recipient to have any particular interest – we all ingest liquids, and have to store things in furry pouches – but they’re still thoughtful and will be enjoyed.
I do question the longevity of the water bottle, given how squishy it is. But also, given that children constantly lose everything forever, longevity might not necessarily be the biggest priority, depending on age.
Smiggle Light Up Ankle Skippa – $9.95
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d see those ads on TV for that weird kinda yo-yo thing with the two sticks that looked completely awesome? This Light Up Ankle Skippa is the modern equivalent of that. I would not describe the rigid plastic ring that you put around your ankle as “comfortable”, but it is a pretty fun game, and the light-up qualities mean that you can send the kids out to play with it in the backyard when it’s dark (and it looks cool).
Some kids will become really attached to it and want to play with it forever. Others will enjoy the idea, play with it once, and then put it in a cupboard never to be touched again. But, for $10, it’s worth the risk.
BumBumz – $20
I am obsessed with BumBumz. Obsessed. Kids love them too, because they’re just so gosh darn soft. There are different varieties of BumBumz, mostly food-themed. I have what appears to be a deep-fried prawn, a blueberry pie/muffin, and a vinyl record player, and I absolutely love them. The large variety means that you can probably find a BumBumz to represent whatever your giftee is into, and the softness means that kids (and adults) of all ages will love snuggling this fun take on plushies.