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Turning 18 is a huge milestone in any person's life, and it's natural to want to mark the occasion with a thoughtful gift.
But choosing the perfect gift for your 18-year-old can be tricky. Naturally, you want it to be something they'll love and get a lot out of.
There are tons of products out there that would make good 18th birthday presents (or indeed any birthday presents), but most people like the mark the momentousness of the occasion with an extra special gift. It might be a particularly big or expensive token, one that you wouldn't give on a usual birthday. It might be something with sentimental meaning, or else something particularly unique. Some people like to gift an experience that the recipient will never forget. We know from experience that most 18-year-olds want something special, particularly something they can't afford to buy themselves.
We tend to find jewellery, books or ornamental gifts make good 18th birthday present ideas for girls, but of course, this will completely depend on the tastes and habits of the girl in question. Good gifts for 18-year-old boys include gadgets, a watch or a nice wallet. A nice fragrance, a piece of art or a personalised keepsake all make good 18th present ideas if you're looking for gender-neutral ideas.
We've got plenty of inspiration here - take a look at our 18th birthday gift ideas and find the perfect one for you! And if you need more birthday gifts inspiration, we've got suggestions for 9-year-olds and 11-year-olds too.
Kidadl's Top Pick
Whilst all the 18th birthday gifts on our list come highly recommended, this Polaroid camera is our top pick, suitable for 18th birthday gifts for girls and for an 18th birthday boy.
1. Polaroid OneStep Plus Camera
An 18th birthday marks the moment when children become adults and embark upon their independent life. What better gift to give at such a time than one that can document and celebrate your child's happiest moments? This Polaroid camera is the perfect tool for memory-making: it takes instant sepia-toned images that your child will be able to hold, treasure and display proudly in their future homes. A nostalgic camera for the modern age, the classic '70s model has been updated to connect with an app via Bluetooth, which allows the photographer access to double exposure and self-timing features, among many others. The funky retro exterior is sure to make it an instant hit when opened, and we're sure it will get put to immediate use on the recipient's special day.
- Price: £139.99
- Age: 14+
Best Birthday Gift For Music Lovers
2. Sony SRS-XB12 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
A portable speaker is the ultimate gift for music lovers, who will delight in carrying their music with them to the garden, park, beach, to parties or simply around the house. This dinky Sony speaker is everything a good portable speaker should be: lightweight and compact but still powerful enough that you get that loud, bassy sound. In fact, the sound is pretty impressive given the size (it fits easily in the palm of your hand); it's super crisp and certainly loud enough to fill a room, even one full of people. It's wireless, naturally, connecting to devices via Bluetooth, and the battery power is decent (lasting up to 16 hours on a single charge). It's also waterproof, a really handy added feature. It comes with a detachable strap so it can be fastened onto bags or hooks and as speakers go, it's not too expensive.
- Price: £39.99
- Age: 12+
Best 18th Birthday Gifts For Girls
3. VERA WANG @ WEDGWOOD With Love Keepsake Box
A keepsake box is a lovely gift at any time, but particularly symbolic for a person just about to commence their adult life as a place for them to store future treasures. This beautiful silver box from the Vera Wang @ Wedgwood collection is timeless and elegant. Featuring pretty interlocking ring detailing around the edge it would make a lovely addition to a dressing table, chest of drawers or bedside table. It's not very big, but is the perfect size to store little tokens, notes or jewellery.
- Price: £75
- Age: 13+
Best 18th Birthday Gifts For Boys
4. Bellroy Hide & Seek Leather Wallet
Wallets make great 18th birthday presents for boys, and this Bellroy Hide & Seek number is a lovely investment for a special occasion that will last for years. Featuring 4 quick access card pockets in the middle and a larger one at the top to store those less-used cards, it's really thoughtfully-designed. Notes can be stored in the back section, which also features a flap to conceal a sneaky hidden pocket. Made from a premium leather it's built to last, and the sleek design means it'll never go out of style. It's a nice compact size and super slim, easy to slip into a pocket without looking too bulky. Available in eight chic colours, this is a great purchase for any boy.
- Price: £75
- Age: 16+
5. Nixon Time Teller Watch
Google '18th birthday gifts for him' or '18th birthday gifts for her' and a watch will often frequent the lists. It's easy to see why; a good watch is a luxury piece that will last for a long time, and often they're too expensive for a young person to buy themselves. We love this Nixon Time Teller watch, which comes in 16 gorgeous shades including black, rose gold, silver, all gold and mint. It's simple and classic, difficult for anyone not to like and unlikely to go out of style. Featuring Japanese Quartz movement and a three hand design it's great quality and, as a welcome bonus, waterproof. You can't go wrong.
- Price: £95
- Age: 15+
Best Symbolic Gifts For 18th Birthday
6. Personalised Map Location Star Print
Not on the High Street is a great place to source unique birthday gifts, and this personalised star map is a lovely way to honour the place your 18-year-old was born or grew up, ensuring they'll never forget where they're from. A unique vintage map is selected for every design, giving it a lovely nostalgic feel and making each one completely exclusive. We love the star shape, too, which is gender-neutral and can, when given as an 18th birthday gift, represent all that your little star means to you. There's the option to frame it if you want a more complete gift, and you can add a personalised wooden tag if you choose; a nice touch. Incidentally, these also make great birthday gifts for new babies or a sweet token for an anniversary.
- Price: £55
- Age: 0+
Best For Families On A Budget
7. Oh, The Places You'll Go! By Dr. Seuss
Gifting this little Dr Seuss book has become something of a tradition at US graduation ceremonies, namely because its story deals with all the poignant feelings associated with such a time: growing up, closing one chapter, looking forward to everything that is to come. Such themes transfer perfectly to turning 18, and all are handled with Dr Seuss' trademark wit and whimsy. Full of humour and pathos, this rhyming tale stands simultaneously as both a nostalgic reminder of childhood and an exciting allusion to what is to come. At £6.99 it's a super affordable gift, and a lovely, symbolic one to boot.
- Price: £6.99
- Age: 3+
Best Gift For Adventurers
8. GoPro HERO 9
A GoPro is the ultimate tool for adventuring types, ideal for youngsters just about to embark upon a gap year or backpacking trip. It's super small - fitting neatly in the palm of your hand - and easy to strap onto a bike, backpack or into a selfie stick to document every high-speed adventure. It's virtually indestructible, too, able to withstand all kinds of climates and plenty of rough handling (ideal if your child is into extreme sports). They're waterproof up to 10 metres below water, the image quality is excellent and its capacity to capture travel videos unparalleled. The most recent model is pretty pricey, but it comes with 30% more battery life, a new colour LCD front display and a detachable lens, and the subscription to GoPro that comes with this price gives you access to unlimited cloud storage, discounted camera replacement if anything goes wrong and up to 50% off GoPro accessories, all for an entire year. Too expensive for a regular birthday, perhaps, but a great way to honour an extra special one, and it'll provide a welcome means of keeping you up to date on all your little traveller's adventures!
- Price: £329.98
- Age: 15+
Best Personalised Gift
9. Personalised Neon Any Name Sign
Personalised presents always make for extra special birthday gifts and we love this funky neon sign - it would make such a fun addition to a new bedroom in a student residence! Handmade and completely unique, it's a great way to support a small business whilst gifting something one-of-a-kind. The sign gives off a soft, warm light in white, pink, red, green or blue, so you can pick the colour your child will like best. And we don't see why it has to be a name either - if there's a particular word of 12 characters or less that is meaningful to your child, why not immortalise it in neon on their bedroom wall?
- Price: £85
- Age: 0+
Best Gift For Artsy Types
10. Kubistika Winter Sunset Art Print
A beautiful print or piece of artwork makes a lovely birthday gift for children who are about to leave home, or for those who are particularly artsy. It's something they can treasure for years, and that, in the short term, they can hang on the wall of their first adult dwelling to make their new surroundings more familiar and remind them of the person that gave it to them. We like the simple beauty of this tree against a blazing orange sun, but there are tons of options to choose from, including abstract prints and famous works by the likes of Picasso, Klimt and Matisse. You can choose your size and get your picture framed in black, white or oak. Starting at £11, an art print would make a lovely, affordable gift.
- Price: £14
- Age: 0+
Best Gift For Movie Lovers
11. ViewSonic M1 Portable LED Projector
It certainly doesn't come cheap, but if you're looking for unusual 18th birthday presents this mini LED projector is a great shout. Movie lovers will get such a kick out of watching their favourite flicks on the big screen, and a portable projector is unlikely to be something that many of their friends have access to. Ultra compact and super lightweight, this nifty little ViewSonic model measures just 146 x 126 x 40 mm, making it perfectly portable; great for taking to friends' houses for the ultimate movie marathon. Given it's so small, the audio is pretty decent, too, so you won't need to connect additional speakers. Capable of projecting 100 inch images from just 2.6 m away, this projector has a built-in battery that provides 6 hours of power at full charge and a neat little fold-out stand that makes the projection nice and steady and adjusting the position a breeze.
- Price: £274.59
- Age: 18+
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our 18th birthday ideas then why not take a look at our pick of the best Harry Potter gifts? Or, for something different take a look at our kids' sofa beds.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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