Guide to Gift Buying for Kids: What NOT to Get

No matter what time of year it is, gift buying always seems to be a topic of conversation. Whether it’s a friend’s birthday, family birthday, holiday, or just because, there are a lot of guides that tell you what to buy. However, what about what parents would prefer you NOT buy?

From stinky play-doh that sticks to the carpet to toys that turn into household weapons, below you will find a list of gifts most parents because we asked them, would prefer you skip when selecting your gift.

Stuffed Animals

Yes, they seem cute and cuddly, and one or two would be just fine. But have you very noticed that stuffed animals don’t stay at just a few? Before you know it, you have a closet overflowing with them, or a bed for just stuffed animals your child has to climb over to get into bed, or every stuffed animal is lined up on the couch to watch the movie.


Slime, play-doh, you name it. Anything that has the capacity to stick to carpet, furniture, or bedding is not ideal.

Ride on a Horse Stick

Children truly love this toy, but for all the wrong reasons. These horse sticks turn into homemade weapons used on siblings or parents.

But if we are honest, any toy that turns into a type of weapon at home, parents prefer not to be gifted.

Short-term Engagement Toys

Unfortunately, these types of toys do not keep children engaged for very long, such as fake computers. Before you know it, they have chucked it to the side and on to something that will keep their interest for longer. Fake computer toys, generally, are very noisy as well… most parents prefer noise-free toys!

Loud Toys

I am sorry to say this includes drum sets. As fun as those seem to gift, they are not fun to receive. Managing noise levels in a home with children can be daunting and something for the parents to decide if they want to take on.

Another toy that would fall into this would be Yellies. They require the child to scream for the spider to move…the louder the children scream, the quicker the spider moves. Definitely skip this one!

Karaoke machines are very, very loud with poor sound quality. As much as every parent loves to hear their child sing, having it blasted throughout the home, with crackling sound quality, is not something they desire.

Water Beads

Bouncing, bouncing, GONE! These little stinkers bounce everywhere, and off they go! Kids also find themselves wanting to squish them to break them apart, which, you can imagine, is no fun to clean up.

Water beads have been marketed to be non-toxic; however, they can be quite dangerous. Water beads can expand to extremely large sizes and, if ingested, can cause an obstruction in the intestines. This can be life-threatening and requires surgery to remove the water bead.

Please consider another option before purchasing this item.

More than 5 pieces to this toy? Forget it!

Polly Pockets, Legos, LoL Dolls, and the list goes on and on. If an item you’re looking at purchasing has 5 or more pieces, perhaps look at another option. So frequently, those pieces get lost, misplaced, or broken, and the fury of a child that this has happened to, no parent wants.


Glitter is beautiful…to look at, in a store or online, but not in most homes. Think about it…glitter dresses, glitter crafters, glitter wrapping paper, glitter ANYTHING is one of the most disliked gifts for most parents. Generally, glitter does not stay on its intended item. It falls off, sticks to something else, and is tracked throughout the entire home. Then you show up to a meeting or work with glitter in your hair and on your face.

Gift-giving is fun and joyful! So staying away from these few gifts, it allows the parents to enjoy the gift-receiving process as well!

Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive Cedar Rapids Moms posts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms’ events and promotions!


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox