Graduation gift ideas for every level of education

A Black graduate dressed in a graduation cap and gown holds a balloon bouquet surrounded by confetti.

My little brother starts kindergarten this year, and I’m already bracing myself for the tears—mine, not his. I know they grow up fast, but SHEESH. On the bright side, though, there’s something really special about getting to celebrate such important milestones for the people you love. (It might seem early for me to start thinking about my little brother’s future graduations, but I clearly need some time to mentally prepare!)

If you’re in a similar boat—or just want to find meaningful gifts for any of the soon-to-be grads in your life—you’ve come to the right place! Keep scrolling to see our best graduation gift ideas for every age, stage and level of education.

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We strongly recommend reading through the full list to get inspired, mainly because lots of these work for most if not all ages. As a 23-year-old “adult” who graduated college not too long ago, I would’ve happily accepted anything on that preschool list. (Yes, that includes the bubble machine!)


But if you really wanna jump straight to a certain age/education level, here you go:

Preschool graduation gift ideas  

First up, we have the grads who will probably (definitely) be the cutest of the bunch—preschool graduates! To celebrate these little ones on their big day, we’re bringing lots of color, toys and fun:

  • New crayons and a coloring book.
  • A lunchbox featuring their favorite characters.
  • A decorated folder or scrapbook to save their favorite art projects.
  • Sidewalk chalk for outdoor doodling.
  • A balloon bouquet.
  • An inflatable pool and water toys to celebrate in the sun.
  • A bubble machine—because who doesn’t love bubbles?!
  • New books to read at bedtime.
  • A night light projector.
  • Toys for bath time.
  • A kit to make slime.
  • Stuffed animals or cute plush like these Better Togethers.
  • A colorful kite.
  • A recordable storybook for something extra personal.
  • An art kit.
  • A toy kitchen and fake foods to play with.
  • An indoor play tent.
  • A book of fun stickers like these.
  • A kids telescope.
  • A chalkboard to decorate their room.

Kindergarten graduation gift ideas  

An assortment of kindergarten graduation gifts, including chalk, stickers and Better Together plush.

By now, they’ve got some experience under their belts. They’re cool enough to have their own interests and BFFs at school, but not so cool that they think hanging out with their parents isn’t awesome. Woo-hoo! These ideas include lots of together time options:

  • Plush like these adorable Better Togethers. I’m even more obsessed with the jumbo ones, personally!
  • A friendship bracelet making kit. They can gift some to other graduating classmates, too.
  • An arcade gift card.
  • Sidewalk chalk for outdoor doodling.
  • A new kite.
  • Passes for a day at the zoo, aquarium or local museums.
  • A new bike! Don’t forget a helmet and matching safety gear.
  • An art kit.
  • Pass down your favorite childhood book series to them.
  • Spend some quality time together building a puzzle.
  • A visit or gift card to an ice cream shop to pick out a treat.
  • An indoor play tent.
  • Equipment to play sports at home or with friends, like a new basketball or soccer ball.
  • A night light projector.
  • An art kit.
  • A new video game, if they have a console.
  • A book of fun stickers like these.
  • Age-appropriate board games.
  • A kinetic sand kit.

5th grade graduation gift ideas  

Starting middle school is a HUGE deal. Older kids, more homework and worst of all—puberty. Give these grads plenty of care, support and deodorant (in a loving way, please!) with these gift ideas.

  • Make theirs the coolest sleepover house with a karaoke microphone to share at slumber parties.
  • A beanbag chair for their room.
  • Rent out a theater and have them bring their friends.
  • A new backpack. We have fun ones for fans of Star Wars™, Disney, Harry Potter  and more!
  • A gift card to an escape room, arcade, laser tag center, bowling alley or roller-skating rink.
  • A journal for all those budding emotions.
  • With their parents’ approval, a puberty guidebook.
  • A yard game like beanbags or ring toss.
  • A set of custom in-line skates/roller skates.
  • A snow globe.
  • A gift card to their favorite clothing store.
  • Tickets to their favorite sporting event.
  • New video games for any consoles they have.
  • Fun temporary tattoos!
  • Cute water bottles.
  • Some notebooks for school or hobbies.
  • An instant camera for capturing memories on the fly.
  • New headphones for their favorite tunes.
  • If they have a favorite hobby or sport, gift them some personalized gear: a baseball bat/glove, basketball or volleyball with their name on it.

8th grade graduation gift ideas  

The end of their middle school saga and the start of high school—where did the time go? It’s time to prep these grads for more responsibilities while still offering encouragement as they navigate a new chapter. Driving, prom, first job—so many milestones coming!

  • Help them keep track of their new schedule with a nice planner.
  • Notebooks for journaling or classes.
  • Some fancy stationery to help them take notes.
  • A new water bottle.  
  • A Hallmark + Venmo Card with funds for a fresh mani/pedi.
  • A gift card for their favorite salon, if they want a new look.
  • Jewelry, like a pretty charm bracelet, earring or necklace. (If you don’t already know, check with someone close to them to find out if they prefer gold, silver or something else.)
  • A custom jewelry box.  
  • New earbuds or headphones.
  • An instant camera.
  • Tickets to an amusement park for them and a friend or two.
  • A snow globe.
  • Art supplies like a canvas with acrylic or oil paint. Encourage them to invite friends over for a paint date, too!
  • New sunglasses.
  • Cozy picnic essentials, such as a blanket and cute basket.  
  • A mini speaker they can impress their friends with.
  • A new backpack. We have fun ones for fans of Star Wars™, Disney, Harry Potter™ and more!
  • A fun alarm clock.
  • A custom skateboard.
  • It’s never too early to start prepping for driver’s ed! Gift them a book on driving safety with a keychain to match.
  • Get permission from a parent first, but concert tickets for them and a friend.

Speaking of milestones, find ways to celebrate your teen’s biggest ones as they happen with these fun party ideas.

12th grade graduation gift ideas  

An assortment of high school graduation gift ideas, including a tote bag, Hallmark + Venmo Card, journal and College Survival Guide.

Graduating high school can be a super scary and confusing time. Your life and identity as a student doesn’t feel so concrete anymore. Give these grads all the love to remind them that they’re ready for whatever adventure comes next!

  • A gift card for gas. It might not sound glamorous, but THEY WILL THANK YOU.
  • An alarm clock.
  • Cute dishes, cookware and basic spices to help them in the kitchen.
  • If they’re going to be an undergrad, this fan-favorite College Survival Guide.
  • If they’re moving to a new city post-grad, a travel book to explore the area.
  • Funds for an upcoming getaway in a Hallmark + Venmo Card.
  • Conversation card games that’ll help them make new friends.
  • Board games, always!
  • Travel essentials like a fanny pack/belt bag, passport holder, compression socks and a neck pillow.
  • New suitcase/duffel bag.
  • A laundry basket (preferably with wheels!) and laundry supplies such as detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets.
  • Cool laptop stickers.
  • A monogrammed wallet.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • New journals.
  • Kitchen gadgets like an air fryer and electric can opener.
  • For bookworms, personalized bookmarks.
  • A small blender, food processor or juicer.
  • A monogrammed makeup bag.
  • Reusable grocery tote bags.
  • A cookbook full of quick and easy meals.
  • New headphones/earphones.

Technical school graduation gift ideas  

These gifts are tailored to their designated career path and new skills. Think industries: automotive, health services, cosmetology, electrical/HVAC, construction, hospitality, culinary and more!

  • Tools related to their technical interest (toolbox, hair care products, cooking supplies, etc.).
  • Books related to their specialty.
  • Gift cards to their favorite coffee shop or a new coffee maker!
  • Hand cream for some well-deserved pampering.
  • A magazine subscription of their choice.
  • A gift card for a massage.
  • A funny welcome mat.
  • A cookbook with simple, healthy recipes.
  • Easy-to-care-for house plant.
  • A monogrammed robe with comfy slippers.
  • A record player.
  • A wireless speaker.
  • A new water bottle.
  • Nice headphones.
  • If they’re in the culinary field, a monogrammed baking mitt or apron.
  • Earplugs to protect their hearing in loud environments.
  • Set of nice-smelling hand cleaners and moisturizers.
  • Reusable grocery tote bags.
  • For hairstylists, a fancy set of shears or styling tools.
  • A new tool belt.
  • New journals or notebooks to take notes on the go.
  • Fresh workout towels.
  • Foot spa bath/massager for self-care days.

College graduation gift ideas  

An assortment of college graduation gift ideas including a journal, tea towel, adulting book and more.

They’ve left the world of lunchboxes, after-school play dates and chores and arrived to a new universe of dining halls, all-nighters and dorm room duties. Yep, it’s allll about their college era now. This would be the time to pull out some of those “boring” adulting essentials that they’ll really appreciate…and fun stuff too, of course!

  • For the person who somehow always has a phone at 1% charge (yep, it’s meee), a portable phone charger.
  • A car safety kit.
  • Cool laptop stickers.
  • If they love concerts, a nice set of earplugs to protect their hearing.
  • A basic tool kit.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • An apartment “starter kit” with things like bath towels and tea towels, plus plates/bowls/utensils for the kitchen.
  • A desk clock.
  • For music lovers, a record player with some vintage vinyl.
  • An encouragement/inspirational prompted journal.
  • A membership to their local gym.
  • Luggage with a lock.
  • A book to help them with adulting.
  • Coffee gift cards.
  • An outing to a nice restaurant.
  • A subscription to a meditation app.
  • New headphones.
  • Cozy blankets.
  • Individually sealed notes of encouragement.
  • Coasters…bonus if they’re fun ones, like these!
  • A nice camera or instant camera.
  • Gift them plane tickets to visit a friend. Post-grad loneliness is REAL.
  • Bird feeder for their cute patio or balcony.
  • Garden center gift card.
  • A book of life hacks.
  • Travel items like a passport pouch, travel wallet, travel pillow and compression socks.
  • A houseplant that’s easy to care for.
  • Self-care items like lotions, body wash, mani/pedi set and a foot bath or massager.

Graduate school graduation ideas  

They just got their master’s or doctorate degree? Well, we can’t give them a zillion years to catch up on sleep, but these ideas are pretty good, too. 😂

  • Fun, on-theme office decor.
  • A personalized name plate for their new desk.
  • A framed photo of them from graduation day. Bonus points if it’s a silly, off-guard one!
  • Fun classes not related to school or work. What’s the hobby they’d do if they had more time for it?
  • A nice diploma frame.
  • Cozy blankets.
  • A gift card to a spa or local massage center.
  • Inflatable hot tub (if they have a backyard/plenty of open space).
  • Self-care items like lotions, body wash, mani/pedi set and a foot bath/massager.
  • A set of nice tea towels.
  • A grill and some handy grilling supplies.
  • An oil diffuser to help them unwind.
  • A monogrammed robe with comfy slippers.

Professional school graduation gift ideas  

They’ve worked so hard to get that nursing, medical or law school degree. Give them some gear and goodies to go with their new specialty!

  • A nice diploma frame.
  • Their favorite bottle of bubbly.
  • Books to read for fun—they deserve it!
  • Vintage manuals, encyclopedias or art prints for their office.
  • If they’re opening their own practice, a gift card to a furniture store.
  • Personalized business cards!
  • A comfy office chair—preferably one they can spin around in and go “wheeeee” when no one’s looking!
  • A fancy pen set.
  • A gift card to their favorite clothing store if they need business professional attire.
  • A mix of fancy and fun neckties, or cute scrubs.
  • Cozy blankets.
  • A gift card to a spa or local massage center.
  • A nice briefcase or laptop bag.
  • Pretty planners to stay organized.
  • A photo book of their journey through school.  
  • A monogrammed robe with comfy slippers.
  • An insulated food container for lunches or snacks.

Okay, okay—with all these ideas to celebrate his special milestones, I feel a little better about the idea of my baby brother growing up. He probably won’t be as adorable as he is now or ask me to read him bedtime stories anymore, but I get to see him overcome middle school, go to his first high school dance and hopefully share some of these cool graduation gifts with him one day. 😊

Want more ideas to celebrate grads? Check these out:

Graduation wishes: What to write in a graduation card

How to choose a graduation gift they’ll love

How to support a new grad: Insights a year after graduating

Grad to grad: Graduation gift ideas for every kind of friendship

Graduation gift card idea: Mini grad cap full of surprises