Can’t stand the last-minute hunt for a party present? Stock up on these no-fail picks, and you’ll never have to scramble again.
Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit
“This is my favorite gift to give a 4-5 year old, especially if it's a summer birthday (so you can use it immediately). It's inexpensive, so you can stock up on a few, and I've seen every age, from 2-year-olds to 10-year-olds, having fun with it. It's a great hostess gift if you go to someone's beach house with kids.” —Elizabeth Passarella, contributing editor
To buy: $15, amazon.com.
“I buy a wooden letter (the child's first initial)—plus a few colors of paints, paint brushes, and glitter—for the child to decorate for her room.” —Abbey Kuster-Prokell, design director
To buy: Handmade Modern Wooden Letters, $4 each, target.com.
Astrological Sign Brass Necklace by BrooklynCharm
“My new gift for tweenie girls is a horoscope nameplate-esque necklace. It's about 20 bucks and all of my daughter Ella's friends (age 11) love it. It's personal without taking the time to actually personalize it. I've been getting them at a shop in Brooklyn called Exit 9, but you can also find them on Etsy.” —Casey Stenger, photo director
To buy: $16, etsy.com.
Easy Dollar Bill Origami, by John Montroll
“So far, I've given this book to boys between the ages of seven and about 12, and it's always been a hit. (I always include 10 or 20 new dollar bills with it.) I've gotten a phone call or a thank-you note each time!” —Jackie Monk, deputy managing editor
To buy: Easy Dollar Bill Origami, $5, amazon.com.
Classic Board Game
“I like to give a cool, old-school board game like Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, or Guess Who. Kids love it, and adults get nostalgic for them, too, so it’s a real crowd-pleaser for everyone!” —Sarah Yang, lifestyle editor, realsimple.com
To buy: Monopoly—The Classic Edition, $25, amazon.com.
The Book With No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
“This is just, hands-down, the funniest children's book on Earth. Trust me. I give it to everyone. We've almost had to ban this book at bedtime because my kids laugh so hard they can't calm down and go to sleep.” —Elizabeth Passarella, contributing editor
To buy: $9, amazon.com.
Plan Toys Solid Wood Tea Set
“My 3-year old son's best friend (a girl) had this tea set, and he was fascinated by it. So her mom gave it to him for his birthday earlier this year and it was a HUGE hit! He likes to play with the sugar cubes and balance the cups on the saucers, and make a show of offering visitors tea. When my husband and I are drinking coffee in the morning he will come over to our mugs and pour us ‘more.’ Also the design is really simple and attractive and not too ‘kid-y’ so I don't mind so much when the pieces are scattered about the house!” —Sarah Karnasiewicz, food editor, realsimple.com
To buy: $29, amazon.com.
Magna Tiles Clear Colors 32-piece Set
“These are on the pricey side, but Magna-tiles are awesome! They can be a great shared or group gift. They're strangely addictive and beautiful (especially when sunlight filters through to make ‘stained glass windows’ on the floor), and you can make a gazillion shapes with them. Plus, there’s nothing to break or leak. My 10-year-old son got them years ago and still pulls them out to play with.” —Lori Seto, Reader Service Editor
To buy: $51.50, amazon.com.