Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys

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Looking for a gift idea for a boy in your life that won’t just be tossed to the side after his birthday or the holidays? These are toys and books that have stood the test of time in our house!

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My boys have a lot of toys! Too many toys, really! But there are some toys that were really worth it! This is a list of toys, books, games and arts and crafts supplies that my boys have played with consistently over time.

Yes, girls can play with and use these things, too, but I have two boys, three nephews and just one niece, so my adult life has pretty much been spent thinking about what gifts I should buy for boys! 😉

My experience in this area has thus far been limited to boys who are 8 and under and I want to make sure I give you an accurate idea of the ages for which these gifts are most appropriate. I hope this list of gift ideas for young boys gives you some ideas of presents that will stand the test of time!

Toy Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Bruder Toys CAT Excavator

gift ideas for boys: Bruder Excavator

These trucks have not only kept my boys attention for years, they are sturdy and built to last for years, too! My boys have loved the construction vehicles in particular and the take them inside and outside to dig, whether it be dirt, sand or picking up LEGO Bricks! You can see a whole list of Bruder Trucks here! Also popular with my boys are the trash truck and fire truck!

2. LEGO Building Set


toys for boys: LEGO Bricks

My boys are obsessed with LEGO® bricks! In particular, they love the LEGO CITY line: police, fire, construction, etc. The Mobile Command Center pictured above has been particularly popular with my boys!

The great thing about LEGOs is that they can be used over and over again in millions of different combinations. Some kids like to build sets and keep them together and other kids love to take them apart and build their own creations. Whatever your gift-recipient’s personality it’s hard to go wrong with LEGO bricks! Another great thing about LEGO toys is that there is something for every price range!

4. Magna-Tiles

gift ideas for young boys: Magna-tiles 

Magna-Tiles are another toy that my boys can play with for long spans of time. These toys are an investment, but they continue to be popular at home and at local play cafes and indoor play areas! We have a slightly cheaper version called Dreambuilder Toy Magnetic Tiles that work pretty well but are a little bit smaller.

5. Playmobil

Gift ideas for boys: Playmobil

My boys have been fans of Playmobil across all ages. This is another toy that has spanned several years of playing! Again, my boys are particularly drawn to the Fire and Police lines of this toy, but they pretty much enjoy any vehicle or building. The Playmobile Fire Station was a hit a few years ago for Christmas and it continues to be played with on a regular basis! My boys love the police car and fire trucks.

6. Road Ruggift ideas for boys: road rug

Do boys come out of the womb obsessed with Matchbox cars? I think mine did! One of the best places to drive your toy cars is on a “road rug”! A rug like this one and a pack of Matchbox cars will provide hours of entertainment! My boys have used their road rugs as an action scene for LEGO vehicles, dinosaurs, Playmobil cities and more! These rugs provide the setting for imaginations to run wild!

7. Matchbox or Hotwheels Cars and Transporter

gift ideas for boys: Matchbox cars

As mentioned in #6, Matchbox or Hotwheels cars are super popular with all ages of boys! My kids started playing with them at age 2 and they’re still playing with them! It’s easy to collect these cars in mass numbers and one of the things we have used to store them is this Toy Truck Transport Car Carrier

8. Wooden Train Tracksgift ideas for boys: wooden train tracks

Wooden train tracks have been played with at my house in some form for many years! Both of my boys have gone through their train phases and these tracks stand the test of time! There are a lot of related brands of train products that fit together.

The Thomas the Train line is probably the most popular train toy, but my boys have played with all kinds of trains! And no matter how many tracks you have you can always add more to make your scene bigger!

Check here for the wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train.

9. Kid Galaxy White House

gift ideas for boys: White House Play Set

This gift is a surprising one on the list, but recently my boys got really into learning about the US Presidents! When I shared about this in my Instagram stories, I got a lot of interest in this toy that friends of ours found for my boys, so I figured my boys are not the only ones into US history!

This set comes with a plastic White House that opens up and has 4 play rooms. There is a figurine for each president of the US and a set of cards with info about each president. It was amazing how much my boys played with this one!

Book Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. My Truck is Stuckbooks for boys: My Truck is Stuck

This is a funny, rhyming book my boys have read over and over! A great picture book for young boys!

2. Alphabet Trucks

alphabet Trucks book for kids

If your boys love trucks, they will love learning the alphabet with this book that features a truck that starts with every letter of the alphabet!

3. Cars Galore

Cars Galore Book for kids

Cars, cars and still more cars! This is another great car book for vehicle lovers!

4. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go Book for kids

A classic by Richard Scarry here! This book has scenes from all over featuring, you guessed it: vehicles!

5. Sticker Books

gift ideas for kids: sticker books
Books like these sticker books have kept my boys busy for hours! They love these books that have stickers to put on all the pages in the book. They especially love the Trucks and Cars themed sticker books! Friends of our family have given my boys these books as gifts and they even regularly look at them even though all the stickers are in place! 

Board Game Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. UNO Attackgift idea for boys: Uno Attack

My kids love playing UNO Attack – even if they’re making up their own rules most of the time! 😉 UNO is a great game for kids because it involves matching colors and recognizing numbers and it’s pretty easy to learn at a young age! Adding in the Attack feature is extra fun for kids! They love the suspense of wondering if and how many cards are going to come flying out!

2. Payday

gift ideas for boys: Pay Day

Payday is a classic game that is pretty easy for young kids to pick up! My kids have loved this game and love learning about the concept of money! There is a surprising amount of life lessons to be learned when playing this game! 😉 Introducing the concept of bills, insurance, jobs and the responsibilities of adulthood is never a bad idea!

3. Connect 4

gift ideas for young boys: Connect 4 Game

This is a really simple game for young kids to play! Even a 3 year old can play Connect Four! My youngest son recently made up his own version of Connect 4 where we took turns making a pattern. Maybe it’s not in the rule book, but I thought it was a great learning exercise that was fun for him at the same time! (As a side note, check out this awesome life sized, yard games version of Connect 4!)

4. Sorry

gift ideas for boys: Sorry Game

Sorry is another great game for younger kids! I am not a fan of this game because it always made me cry as a kid! LOL! But my kids love it so I will swallow my pride and play it with them. It’s a great way to learn counting!

Arts and Crafts Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad: Vehiclesgift ideas for boys: Sticker Pad

My kids have this sticker pad and love using the stickers over and over again to make different scenes! The price on this pad is very reasonable (usually less than $5) which is pretty good considering that the stickers are reusable!  There are several themes available for these pads including My Town and Adventure!

2. Water Wow! Reusable Coloring Bookswater wow! Gifts for boys

We recently discovered these books as they were gifted to my kids by one of their grandparents! This is another mess free coloring option that’s great for travel or keeping kids busy in restaurants or doctor’s offices and the like! You fill the pen with water and then you can paint the scenes and they turn colors! The great thing about this pad is that as it dries, the picture turns white again and it is reusable!

3. Imagine Ink Magic Ink Picture Books

gifts for young boys: Imagine Ink
These mess free coloring books are great for car rides and pretty much any time you need to keep a kid busy! My kids have had tons of these books and they love them! This is a great idea for when you’re traveling with kids or want them to be able to color without worrying about making a mess. The ink is clear unless used on the special paper within the book!

4. Crayola Washable Water Paints

gift ideas for kid: Watercolor Paints

You can’t go wrong with these classic water paints! Kids love to play and paint with water. We have huge rolls of paper that we just roll out on the table and let the kids paint on!  Don’t forget paint brushes!

If you’re looking for a great gift idea for young boys, I hope this list gives you a starting point! These gifts are classic and have stood the test of time in my house! If you’re looking for a gift for a boy that won’t get tossed to the side the day after opening it, pick one of these gifts that can be used again and again, even in different ways, as kids grow and change!


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Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys 


ICYMI: The 5 Best Membership Gifts for Columbus Kids

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How to Get Free Jeni’s Ice Cream on Your Birthday!

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Birthday freebies
abound but it’s hard to beat a free trio sized ice cream at your local Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on your birthday!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate in a cone at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Grandview

My go to: Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate.

Some people keep a list of all of the birthday freebies and make a point of hitting them all up within the given timeframe. But there is only ONE birthday freebie my family goes out of its way to claim and that’s your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams!

How do you get your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s?

It’s pretty easy to get your free ice cream BUT it does require a few specific steps! So read on to find out how to enjoy this extra special birthday freebie!

ice cream cone at Jeni's Ice Cream in Columbus, Ohio

Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate makes another appearance.

1. Show up ON your birthday.

This isn’t one of those birthday freebies that lasts a month or even a week. It must be your EXACT birthday! And yes, you must show proof which leads us to step number two.

2. Show your ID.

In order to prove it is your birthday, you must show an ID with your birthdate! (Otherwise, every day would be my birthday. wink wink.) But “what about the kids?” you ask! Parents can vouch for their children on their birthday. 

That’s it, just two steps and you’re on your way to getting your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s!

Jeni's Ice Cream in a waffle cone.

For a real treat try the Buttercrisp Waffle Cone – made fresh in shops daily!

What size ice cream can you get on your birthday?

On your birthday you can get a free single, standard or trio sized ice cream in a cup or a cone. Who wouldn’t get the trio?? Seriously, I can’t think of one reason not to! As you can see below, my husband sure did!

man pointing at his free Jeni's ice cream on his birthday in Columbus, Ohio

Oh yeah! He went for the trio.

Where are Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Scoop Shops Located?

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are in 14 cities and counting, but Columbus, Ohio is the home of Jeni’s and we are proud of it!

a bowl of Jeni's Ice Cream at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons is one of my favorite Jeni’s locations in Columbus!

Jeni’s Ice Cream Scoop Shop locations in Columbus include:

  • North Market (home of the first Jeni’s) – 59 Spruce St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Grandview Heights – 1281 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43212
  • Short North – 714 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Dublin – 1 W. Bridge St., Dublin, OH 43017
  • Clintonville – 4247 N. High St., Clintonville, OH 43214
  • German Village – 900 Mohawk St., Columbus, OH 43206
  • Columbus Commons – 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Easton – 3998 Gramercy St., Columbus, OH 43219

And now indulge me for some of my favorite Jeni’s memories like . . .

two women holding ice cream at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Scoop Shop

That time I ran into my friend and birthday twin Erin, (aka the Spiffy Cookie) getting our free birthday ice cream!

Jeni Britton Bauer and Julie Miller at This Week News

And oh yeah, that one time I did a podcast with Jeni herself about ice cream. What?! And yes, I was freaking out inside. You can listen to that podcast here on The Great Food Debate.

If for some sad reason you do not live near a Jeni’s Scoop Shop, you can order online and have it shipped nationwide OR you get one of her recipe books (I have this one) and make it at home! (Yes, you will need an ice cream machine like this adorable pink one.) My parents bought me Jeni’s first book and an ice cream maker for Christmas one year. It was a great gift idea!

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Now you know all you need to know so that you don’t miss out on your free birthday ice cream! Happy Birthday to you!

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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10 Columbus Bakers Who Make Amazing Custom Birthday Cakes for Kids

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If you’re looking for a custom birthday cake in Columbus, Ohio, check out one of these fabulous home bakers who make some of the best looking (and tasting) celebration cakes in town!

Moms are always on the hunt for the most creative birthday cakes! Whether you aspire to be a Pinterest party planner or you just want to fake it till you make it, check out this list of local bakers who can check one item off of your party planning list!

These home bakers make custom birthday cakes and are located in Columbus, Ohio or the surrounding area! Check out their Instagram pages for ideas and inspiration and contact them directly to order!

Custom Cake Bakers in Columbus, Ohio:

1. Sweet Peas Cakery

IG: @sweetpeascakery614_

“Baker of happiness”


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2. Volk Sweets

IG: @volk.sweets

“Creatively driven. Baking inclined.” 


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3. Just Frost It Desserts

IG: @justfrostit

“Just Frost It Desserts”


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4. Slice of Heaven Bakery


“Anything with flour and sugar.”


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5. Bon Voyage Bakery

IG: @bonvoyagebakery

“All proceeds help my students travel to France.”

(The shark cakes in the pic at the top of this post were made by Bon Voyage Bakery.)


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6. Nursery Lane Baking Co.


“Buttercream cakes & cookies.”


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7. Cookie Girl Confections

IG: @cookiegirl_confections

“We specialize in custom cakes.”


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8. The Cake & I

IG: @thecakeandicolumbus

“Custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies.”


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9. Cakes By Kat Bake Shop

IG: @cakesbykatbakeshop

“1% donated to promote equality”


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10. Sweet and Shiny

IG: @sweetandshiny_columbus

“Sweet and Shiny Bakery”


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Need more help planning your child’s birthday party in Columbus? Check out: Affordable Places to Have a Kid’s Birthday Party in Columbus!

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10 Custom Birthday Cake Bakers in Columbus, Ohio


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