Some of the more unique things my 6yo DD and her friends have received, and that have been very appreciated:
- Gift Certificate for movies (since it's a great rainy summer day activity)
- Pass for local museum (kids)
- theatre tickets (My DD got tickets to go see the off broadway Beauty and the Beast and loved it so much she cried!)
- cute beach bag filled with swimsuit, hat, rolled up beach towel etc.
- (last year) small purse filled with lip gloss, gum, barettes, note pad and pen (this is a great $10-15 gift, but you may want more for a neice)
- art box: tupperware bin (the larger ones) filled with colored paper, scissors that make different cuts, punches, glitter, glue, crayons, markers, paints, poms, pipe cleaners, etc... (This was received at DDs 5th birthday and is still heavily used!)
- since she's your neice, maybe an "experience" would be best - take her to a "big girls" lunch and for a manicure, that kind of thing. Would be a cute birthday-bonding time.
Anything that's glittery, sparkly or art related! Those go over real well around here! LOL!
From around age 6 until now, the thing my DD liked to receive most from her aunts was a special outing.
My SIL has taken her on several of these "special day" outings over the years, and it's become quite a tradition.
If you don't live near your niece and don't know her interests well, I'd say a craft kit or art supplies are always a hit with that age group.
It really depends on your niece. I personally think it would be great if you took her on something she would like - a movie, out for a pedicure, out to tea, etc.
If you want to give/send a gift, my daughter loved barbies and American Girl at that age. She also loved arts and crafts. And purses.
I generally did not give any "makeup" type things (nail polish, lipgloss), but as the aunt you would know more what is ok with the mom.
One gift I like to give if the girl is not into barbies / dolls is a make-your-own stuffed animal. You can find them at Michael's or other craft stores (find the "no-sew" kind).