5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas to Get Everyone Involved

5 children's gift exchange ideas

As an adult, you probably look back over your childhood and remember how you received so many gifts. Now, as a parent, you’re likely the one giving them. But, whether you’re on the receiving end or the one giving the gifts, there’s one thing that has likely remained the same: the excitement. Nothing beats the feeling of opening a gift or seeing the joy on your child’s face when they open a gift.  

And, while you might be a pro at gift-giving, a little inspiration could go a long way. Check out these five children’s gift exchange ideas everyone will enjoy, as well as tips to get you started. 

5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas and Party Categories

Here are five children’s gift exchange ideas and themed parties to help you get started with a gift exchange that will bring joy to kids and parents, too! 

1. For toddler parties and parties with families with younger children, choose a beloved childhood game for your activity such as Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Or, consider a variety of themes relating to younger children but offering adults and other aged children a chance to participate. For example:

For Girls:

  • Try a Princess theme with pink colored hats, favors, princess dress up, and a themed gift exchange.
    • As a favor, consider including a magic bubble wand and bubbles—kids love bubbles.
  • Try a Little Mermaid movie or splash party with swimwear, snorkels, and other fun summer gear for gifts.
    • You may even want to include a Little Mermaid surprise visit; it will be just the ticket for this exciting event.

          For Boys: 

  • Create a Mighty Dragon” or “How to Train Your Dragon” party with themed attire, gifts, a Dragon cake, and playdough for kids to make their own special dragon.
  • Host a Toy Story themed party with a character gift exchange and have everyone dress as their favorite character. 


  • Host A Barbie and Ken gathering with a Barbie doll cake and a gift exchange. For those who grew up in the Barbie-rich era, bring your vintage Barbie and Ken dolls, clothing, and accessories to be part of the fun.
  • Plan a Disney party with Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears for children and adults that features face painting and crafts. 

2. For parties that include children and parents, choose a theme where adults can also come in costume. For example:

  • Superhero theme: Choose a Marvel or DC theme with activities related to your favorite characters for example:

For Marvel:

  • Dress as your favorite hero or buy masks.
  • Host an Infinity Stone scavenger hunt placing six stones at random spots throughout your home or neighborhood. Leave clues at the beginning of the party and at each location leading to a prize.
  • A Captain America patriotic birthday cake is a great way to add excitement for guests, especially if you accompany it with red, white, and blue decor.
  • Ironman is another great theme where you can decorate with red and yellow.
  • Offer guests Thor’s hammers or Captain America shield frisbees as take away gifts.

For DC Characters:

  • Host a Batman sleepover party and gift exchange with a bat throwing contest (tossing rubber bats onto a baseball diamond), a Batman cake, as well as yellow and black decorations. Kids of all ages can share DC adventure stories.
  • Host an outdoor sporting event with a “Running like Flash” race or a “Lassoing like Wonder Woman” roping contest.

3. For tweens who like to have parents help but may want to coordinate some of the activities on their own:

  • Create an obstacle course with rope climbing, jumping, running, and endurance testing can be fun for tweens but also kids of all ages (even adults).
  • Host a painting or drawing party.
  • Plan a gamer party with a mushroom-shaped cake, Mario decor, and video gameplay.

4. For teens and older children who enjoy the inclusion of everyone in the gift exchange, however, who may need some game time on their own:

  • Host a vintage game party. Play classic board games, Mad Libs, or a Simon tournament. Do a gift exchange keeping the same “vintage game” theme.
  • Host an Xbox match with Xbox decorations, prizes, and a themed gift exchange.
  • Plan a trivia night and ask questions about the birthday boy/girl.

5. For a family-friendly Secret Santa theme where everyone can get involved with the party or do a small gift exchange, here’s a suggestion:

After you’ve determined your favorite children’s gift exchange ideas, enjoy these tips for easily setting up your gift exchange.

  • Host a homemade ice cream contest: Guests can create their own ice cream at home and bring them to the party for everyone to taste and vote on their favorite flavor(s). 

Tips for Easily Implementing Children’s Gift Exchanges

There’s no exchange quite like a children’s gift exchange. It’s all about the surprises, happy faces, and the love that you and your children share.

To help you make it your best event for everyone involved, here are some tips:

  • Use a Secret Santa Generator to prepare your gift exchange. After you’ve chosen a theme that will work for everyone, begin the party planning process with an online Secret Santa generator.
  • Share the details of your children’s gift exchange with all those you wish to include in a unique way. 
  • Include the details: time, place, schedule, and any video links for anyone connecting remotely.
  • Use the automation of the online generator to invite guests automatically via email or text.
  • Enable your participants to RSVP via your online generator.
  • Pair up participants randomly via the technological magic of a Secret Santa Generator.
  • Then it’s time to start shopping! Parents can help kids set up their wish list and evaluate it for any changes.
  • Participants can browse gifts using a children’s gift guide.
  • Participants simply go online and create a wish list.

Gift exchange participants can buy directly from the wish list, making it simple for everyone involved. You can even set up everything via an Android or iPhone app. 

Once you’ve set your ideas and tips into motion, it’s time for the fun part: sharing in an exciting gift exchange.

Share the Fun With an Exciting Gift Exchange

Whether it’s for a birthday, school friends gathering, potluck, or even an online social event, you can simply organize and invite everyone you’d like to your children’s gift exchange with an online generator. Once you’ve added the details and invited participants, you’ll be well on your way to a youthful adventure with your loved ones.

Whether you’re looking for children’s gift exchange ideas or suggestions for a gift exchange for all ages, Elfster can help!

If you’re ready to connect for a children’s gift exchange, and you want a Secret Santa generator that helps simplify the process. Elfster makes it easy to pair people up, shop for gifts, and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.

About Teresa H 14 Articles
Teresa is an adoptive mom of three kids. She’s an author of many family and children’s books and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a minor in Mass Communications from the University of Central Missouri. She has led family, community, and regional adoption events for over 15 years and now lives with her husband, kids, and pets in southern Texas. Elfster’s Secret Santa generator is Teresa’s preferred approach to gift giving as one of her favorite childhood memories is of a Secret Santa gift exchange. She believes Elfster makes everything so much easier, more accessible, and joyful year around!