Cancer is a scary word. It gets even scarier when you think of it in conjunction with children. But the sad truth is, about 1 in 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. Every year, more than 300,000 children around the world are diagnosed with cancer.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids With Cancer
- Get Well or Thinking of You Gifts for Kids With Cancer
- Gifts for Kids Ending Chemo or Treatment
If a child in your life has been diagnosed with cancer, you may not know what to say or do. When in doubt, gifts for cancer patients can be a great way to lift their spirits. These could be get-well gifts, or they can be gifts to celebrate a treatment milestone.
Here, we explore some kid-friendly gifts for children who are fighting cancer.
Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids With Cancer
If you know a kid who is fighting cancer, it’s more important than ever to celebrate their birthday. Make an extra effort to celebrate the fact that they are still living and breathing. A birthday gift for a kid going through cancer doesn’t have to tie into the fact that they’re undergoing treatment.
It should be one day where they can kind of forget about their trials and tribulations. But at the same time, you want to get gifts that will be suitable for someone who is medically fragile. Here are some great birthday gifts for kids who are dealing with cancer.
1. Bedroom makeover
Kids who are going through cancer treatment need plenty of rest. Their room should be like a sanctuary for them. They’ll be spending a lot of time there when they’re feeling sick or fatigued from treatments.
If your child has cancer, you can make their birthday really special by giving them a revamped bedroom. You can create a cozy nest where they can unwind. You can bring in a TV for days when they just want to rest in bed.
And, you can make the design a little more grown-up to remind them that they will beat this illness and grow older in this room. Definitely restrict a gift of this magnitude to your own child, though. If the child in question is a more distant relative or the child of a close friend, talk to their parents before doing anything this major.
2. Board games
When kids are going through cancer treatment, they often aren’t able to run around outside and have a good time. But they still need to be able to have fun and unwind. Board games are a great quiet activity for kids who need to lay low. They also encourage family togetherness, which is important during such a stressful time.
Games like Uno or Apples to Apples are fun for younger kids. Teens might be more into games like Settlers of Catan or Exploding Kittens. These games will give kids fun times that aren’t physically hard on them and can bring the family together.
3. Arts and crafts supplies
Arts and crafts are another activity that’s fun for kids without being too physically taxing. This is a really broad category, so you should pay attention to the interests of the kid you’re shopping for. For younger kids, coloring books are great.
There are also activity books where you can “paint” with water which is great—this way, kids can do that in bed or on the couch without the risk of making a mess. Older kids might be interested in trying their hand at knitting or cross-stitching. Encourage these creative endeavors.
Nice journals are a pretty classic birthday gift. They may seem like a generic gift, but you can make it more personal by choosing a design that will appeal to the recipient.
This is an extra good gift for a child or teenager dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It gives them a safe space to write out and explore their feelings. You can send them a more grown-up looking journal, like this hardcover journal with blank pages, or one that caters to kids, like this happiness journal set.
5. Gentle skincare items
Cancer treatment can be really difficult on the body. Chemotherapy, in particular, can make the skin a lot more sensitive than it usually is. It might get flaky, red, and cracked. Get nice, high-end lotions and lip balms for kids undergoing cancer treatment, like this fragrance-free bottle with shea butter and aloe.
It will soothe their skin and make them feel pampered and cared for. Be sure to avoid products with fragrances, as they can be too intense for kids going through chemo.
Get Well or Thinking of You Gifts for Kids With Cancer
When a child first gets diagnosed with cancer or begins a new treatment regimen, they have to battle through a lot. Their treatments may cause pain or make them feel sick.
They have to face their own mortality at a very young age. If they’re very young, they may have to wrap their head around what it means to have an illness that will be with them for a long time.
A get-well gift for a kid with cancer might be something that brings them comfort. But it might also give them tools that will help arm them for their battle. Here are some suggestions:
6. Stuffed animal
Going through cancer treatments can be really scary, no matter the age of the patient. Young kids and teens alike could use a cuddly companion to go to treatments with them and keep them comfortable in bed.
7. Children’s books about surviving cancer
Kids that are going through cancer treatment often have a lot of downtime. There is the treatment time itself.
And then there’s the time you spend resting in between treatments. Books are a great way to pass the time. Inspirational children’s books about cancer can be especially motivating. Just make sure they focus on positive outcomes.
8. Body pillow
When people think about the side effects of cancer treatment, they usually think about nausea and hair loss. But you can also end up dealing with a lot of pain and discomfort. Even if patients spend a lot of time lying down, the aches and pains can be unbearable.
A cozy body pillow (like this special pillow for kids) provides a lot of ergonomic support. It also allows kids to sit upright in bed to keep up with homework. It’s a perfect blend of practical and comforting.
9. Cute and comfortable pajamas
Many cancer patients end up having to spend a lot of time resting. Cancer treatments can be really taxing on the body.
Stock up on plenty of comfy pajamas for the kid in your life. Look for things with breathable natural fabrics, like a 100% cotton set of pajamas, that won’t be itchy against sensitive skin.
10. Cozy quilt
Many people who go through cancer treatments have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. This means they may have to pile on the blankets or peel themselves out of layers.
Get a cute and cozy quilt for a kid undergoing cancer treatments. It can feature fun characters on it, like this set with spaceships and stars, or be made of luxurious fabric depending on the child’s age and taste.
Gifts for Kids Ending Chemo or Treatment
When a kid gets to conclude their chemotherapy or other cancer treatments, it’s a really meaningful event. It’s an occasion worthy of celebration, as this usually means that the cancer is in remission.
Not only does the child have more hope for the future, but they can also begin enjoying things they’ve had to put to the side. Foods they couldn’t eat and activities they couldn’t do are now accessible to them again. These gifts honor that shift in lifestyle.
11. Snack box
Cancer treatments can really wreak havoc on people’s appetites and tastebuds. When a kid is finally done with cancer treatment, they may be looking forward to rediscovering snacks they haven’t been able to tolerate.
A snack box of guilty-pleasure goodies, like this ready-made box with veggie straws, nuts, and other snacks, is a great celebration gift.
12. Sporting equipment
Earlier, we talked about board games and arts and crafts supplies as a way to entertain kids while encouraging them to rest.
Now that they’re able to get back outside, encourage their recreational interests. Get the tools they need to help them rediscover more active sports and hobbies, like a baseball set for kids or a kickball set for kids.
13. Gratitude journal
Earlier, we said that a journal makes a great birthday gift for a kid with cancer. When that child reaches the end of their cancer treatment, a gratitude journal makes a great gift, like this journal made specifically for kids.
Gratitude journals are a place to commemorate all the good things in your life. Beating cancer is an auspicious start.
14. Cancer survivor apparel
Beating cancer is an incredible feat! Get your kid a shirt or hat that proclaims them to be a survivor. It’s a great way to help build their confidence as they go into their next phase in life.
15. Take a trip somewhere special
Kids who have cancer sometimes have to put their lives on hold for years to focus on getting well. Now that the kid in your life is better, it’s time to take them on new adventures.
Book a weekend getaway, or plan a family trip to a theme park as a way to help them reenter the world post-treatment. If you're not ready to plan a trip quite yet, buy the family a gift card to Airbnb or Hotels.com.
These Get Well Gifts Will Help Cheer Up Kids With Cancer
When someone in your life has cancer, it’s important to support them. That holds doubly true when the person fighting cancer is a child. Kids should be celebrating milestones like riding bikes or going to prom.
They shouldn’t be in a struggle for their lives. While you can’t take away their pain or their fear, you can help distract them or provide comfort. These gifts can help a kid in your life cope with their diagnosis.
- “US Childhood Cancer Statistics.” Acco.org, American Childhood Cancer Organization, 5 April 2019, www.acco.org/us-childhood-cancer-statistics/.