Mommyish Gift Guide: Top 12 Gifts For That Kid You Don’t Know Well

It always happens. There’s one child that you barely know anything about, but you suddenly have to buy a gift for. It’s a cousin’s child that lives in another state. It’s a dance class Secret Santa with a kid that you couldn’t pick out of a line-up. It’s your friend’s child that you don’t see very often and who is somewhere between the ages of six and ten.

Every year, these kids languish at the bottom of our shopping lists. We have no idea what they like. We have no clue what to buy them. Gift cards aren’t appropriate for kids, so you can’t fall back on your go-to generic present.

Well don’t worry. Mommyish to the rescue. We have a great selection of toys that every child will love. These aren’t too expensive, since we figure you don’t want to spend a fortune on a child you aren’t too familiar with. They’re just enjoyable, easy toys that will make you a hit with any kid.

Fire Truck

Every kid needs a fire engine! Every single one. Here's a great $20 truck with lights and siren. Available at Target

Melissa & Doug Table Top Easel

Anything by Melissa & Doug is a good idea. This table top easel is so useful, you'll suddenly be best friend with this kid's parents. And it can be used in a hundred different ways. Available at Toys R Us

Astronaut's Helmet

Every child in the world wants to be an astronaut. This helmet has sound chips, a retractable face shield, oxygen vent and mock microphone. You're encouraging imaginative play and you're getting a toy that any child would love. Available at Target


Art kits are a great way to go for kids you don't know to well. They're pretty universal and not too expensive. This one made Toys R Us's "Hot Toys" for this Christmas and a starter set is only $24.99 Available at Toys R Us

Imaginarium Foam Alphabet and Numbers

These huge foam puzzles are perfect for any young child's play room. They're educational, so parents will be appreciative. Kids love playing with them. And they double as an awesome rug. Available at Toys R Us

Lite Brix

These awesome new blocks are completely gender neutral and would make any kid thrilled. The main set is a little pricey, but you can get a car-building set for around $30. Available at Toys R Us


If you're thinking about a doll, these unique characters are pretty popular still. There are girls and boys. They each have their own shtick. And they come with an adorable animal friend, just for good measure. Available at Toys R Us

Play Doh

For younger kids, Play Doh is a shoo in. Parents might not be thrilled that you're giving them more to clean up. But kids will be super excited. You can never have enough Play Doh. Available at Target

Animal Planet's Micro Kingdoms

These $20 sets show a small animal system with a great, realistic back drop. They fold up so kids can carry them around. It's the perfect restaurant distraction, so the kid's parents will thank you. These things are great. Available at Toys R Us


Dream Lites are so last year. This year's big new "As Seen On TV" special are the Stuffies. It's a stuffed animal that has secret pockets to hide toys in. My daughter is hoping for a Turtle to turn up under the tree. Availabe at Stuffies

Sour Apples to Apples

Board games are another great generic gift. They're fun for the whole family. They force people to play together. There are some fun new editions of classic games out. I'm hoping someone I barely know buys me this one. Available at Target

Bop It Smash

Sersiously, who isn't amused by Bop It? It's cheap. It's easy. It's gender neutral. Winning on all sides. Available at Target
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    • Helen Donovan

      Thank you – I never know what kids want now. But two questions
      1. What the heck does a Bop it do? and
      2. Do I really have to give that fire engine away? :)