The Ultimate Kid Gift Guide for creative kids who love to move and explore the world. Kid tested and mommy approved!
Writing a gift guide for kids just might be my favorite post to write all year.
I love taking the time to access what I bought for the most recent Christmas, birthdays, and holidays, then identifying which toys held up and got played with on a regular basis.
So after doing much intense research and three kid interviews, here it is:
THE ULTIMATE GIFT GUIDE FOR CREATIVE AND HIGH ENERGY KIDS – PART 3
Quick note to say: many of these gift ideas are affiliate links, but rest assured, I only promote products I've tried and tested, and love enough to make them a permanent part of my day to day life. If it makes it to my gift guide, you know it's a winner!
1) Sewing Machine: I have absolutely no sewing capabilities and couldn't thread this machine if my life depended on it, but my daughter has had an itch for sewing for years, so after doing a lot of research I bought this Brother Project Runway Edition sewing machine. It works like a dream for my daughter, it's easy to use, and has just enough fun stitches on it to keep things interesting without being overwhelming. Best gift I bought her all year! She bought this Sewing Kit for it and loves it.
2) Pinwheel – Safe Smartphone for Kids: Now THIS I am psyched about! Many of you have likely heard of the Gabb phone, which I almost bought, but had issues with a few things. My continued search for a safe kid phone led me to Pinwheel. In a nutshell, the parent controls all of the contacts, the apps, and what the child has access to on any given day and time. No social media, no spam calls, NO MORE “HOVERING PARENT”, because I know exactly the “who, what, when, and where” of my child's phone. Pinwheel's goal is to teach kids how to use this technology as a tool, not a toy. There is a great video here with more info. Two more details that grabbed me: 1) I can monitor her texts, calls, and activity from my own computer (so I don't have to demand to see her phone), 2) I can allow apps that I think will serve her like Marco Polo (also with limited contacts), Duolingo, Spotify Kids, Kids Calm, etc. If your child has been begging for a phone for Christmas, I HIGHLY suggest checking this one out. Bonus: I love it so much I begged for a coupon code for you too! Get 10% off the phone by using the code TEN-TIDBITS.
3) Kiwi Crates: Kiwi Crates are the greatest invention of the decade. I'm sure of it. These crates are mailed to your home monthly and are filled with fun, creative, educational activities that my kids absolutely love! I'm in my 3rd year of buying these boxes and I have no intention of quitting. My engineer brained son loves the Tinker Crate, my creative/artsy daughter loves the Doodle Crate, and my curious son has been loving to explore the world with the Atlas Crate. There are boxes for any age, 0-104. I seriously can't say enough good things about these boxes! Order now and have the first box before Christmas to wrap up and put under the tree. If your child is into cooking, check out this post all about Kid Cooking Subscription Boxes.
4) Solar Robot Kit: This kit is for the kid who loves to take everything apart and see how it works. HOURS of entertainment here while they construct 12 different robots to see how all the gears, tires, and shafts work together to make it move. My son (who can't sit still for 5 minutes to eat) will intensely work on this for hours.
5) Mannequin Head: Despite the fact that this head has scared me to death more than once, it has been SO MUCH FUN! I've been able to teach my daughter how to french braid on it which led to her watching even more hair tutorials online and recreating the looks on her mannequin head. Definitely worth the cost of feeling like someone is silently staring at you all day . . .
6) National Geographic Gemstone Kit: I'm a fan of all of the NG kits, but this one was especially fun and time-consuming. My kids were in the driveway for hours with a hammer and goggles bursting with excitement to discover what the next gemstone would look like. Also includes educational materials so they can learn about the gemstones as their smashing rocks to their heart's content.
7) Tubelox: When I saw this life-size building kit, I knew instantly my kids would LOVE it! Tubelox is similar to a fort making kit I bought my kids several years ago, except it's strong enough for them to actually sit, stand, and slide on without breaking. My son said it's like building Legos, except he can actually play on it himself 🙂 I love toys that encourage creativity, imagination, and cooperative play with others – this toy marks all of those boxes. Use the code TIDBITS to get 8% off your order. They sell out quickly, so order now to ensure you have it for Christmas.
8) Mini Drone: I drug my feet on buying a drone for a long, long time. It felt like another remote control toy that would break and be forgotten forever. Well this drone has been hours of entertainment (comes with 2 batteries!) and the added bonus of the camera makes for some pretty exciting cat-watching adventures. This cheaper, camera-free version is also a great buy.
9) Hey Clay Monsters: THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!! It's basically an app for your tablet or phone where your kid can follow step by step instructions to build really amazing modeling clay creations. My kids used the skills they learned in these kits to imagine many more on their own. We've had the monsters, animals, and aliens and I plan on buying birds, bugs, and dinos this year.
10) Paint by Sticker: Many thanks to these books for the several happy car rides they've given me. No mess, no fuss, just find the coordinating sticker and build the picture. These lasted all year because they were more of a traveling treat.
11) Loom Journal: Have you heard of this journal? It's basically a journal of prompted questions for the parent and child to fill out. My daughter will fill out her section then leave it by my bed so I can fill out mine and leave it by her door for when she wakes up the next day. I'm going to start a new one with my son (who tends to be more quiet) and see what ideas he has floating around in that head of his.
12) Gymnastics Bar and Mat: My daughter got this when schools shut down as a way to practice gymnastics at home. It has turned into an amazing way for my kids to strengthen their core and burn off energy. Kind of pricey, and it takes up some good space in my basement, but it gets used more than a couch so I'll take it!
13) Punching Bag: What started as a tool to get my son to stop hitting his siblings has turned into a superb workout and aggression reliever. I'll even admit to throwing on these boxing gloves and showing this bag who's boss instead of yelling at kids to put the flippin' lid on the toothpaste for the 500th time. I think this is a fantastic toy for kids and I wish I'd bought one years ago.
14) Sensory Sox: I originally bought this for my son to help soothe his sometimes explosive personality, and while it worked wonders for that, it has also just been hilarious entertainment for the entire family. My kids get pretty goofy dancing in this thing and sliding in it down the stairs, and so far, it's holding up, much to my surprise. This would be great fun for any kid!
15) Balloon Kit: I love toys that teach a skill that kids can then use to create even more things on their own. We've had many balloon swords, dogs, hats, etc in our house this year. I also love toys that they play with, then pop, so they can go in the garbage. So if space is an issue, this is a great toy!
16) Lego Glue: If your child thinks every lego creation they make is worth its weight in gold, you need to buy yourself some Lego Glue. I'm happy to say it really does work, and will also wash off when my son decides he needs the pieces for something else.
17) Owala Water Bottles: It's taken me 20 years to find it, but I've finally found the perfect water bottle! I love the colors of these Owala bottles and your drink will stay cold or hot all day long. I still have ice in mine after it sits on my desk for 24 hours. The unique feature is that it includes a straw for sipping as well as a wide opening for chugging. Genius! They come in 24 oz and 32 oz. I bought the 24 oz for my kids and a 32 oz for myself.
18) Aquabeads: We've had many a melty bead creations in our home and I've always hated trusting my kids to get the iron out and be responsible with it. Aquabeads solves this problem! Simply make your creation, spritz it with water, let it dry, and DONE! No more iron marks on my table . . .
19) Best Permanent Marker Set: My son loves to draw but he likes to use permanent markers because of the bright colors. This kit has amazingly brilliant colors, no smell, and they work perfectly with this Leak Proof Sketch Book.
20) Mystery Mosaic Color by Number Books plus Colored Pencil Set: I'll admit to quietly coloring with my daughter in these addictive coloring books a few too many times in church. They are so fun and calming! The colored pencils have numbers on them that match up with the numbers in the books, so while not essential, they definitely make for the best final product.
21) Zingo: I have never been much of a game person, but my kids' tutor has been playing this educational game with them, and they all LOVE it. The fact that they can all agree on the fun factor of a game and all can play it no matter their reading abilities, makes it a slam dunk game for me!
22) Lip Balm Kit: My daughter typically gets hives from some of these “make your own blank” kits, but this one hasn't caused a single problem and she has loved creating lip balms with her own hands that actually work. Big thumbs up for the person who put all of these clean, non-irritating ingredients together in one kit!
23) Walkie Talkies: For my little adventurers who forget the “don't go too far” rule when they disappear into imaginary land, these walkie talkies have become one of my most favorite toys. I don't need to stress over them like I would a phone, the sound is clear, and the distance allowed is surprisingly impressive.
24) What I Love About You Books: If I could give these 1000 stars on Amazon, I would. They're cheap and thoughtful, and my kids have loved reading them as a reminder of why I love them so much. These are a treasure to them, which if I'm being honest, I didn't really expect. I thought they would be a “read one time and done” type gift, but I guess even they need a little reminder every now and again of how great they are.
25) Ski Scooter: I bought my kids a fort maker many years ago research hard every year to find a new snow toy and this one was a hit last Christmas! Good for balance, super lightweight, and hours upon hours of entertainment. My kids even strapped it to a skateboard this summer to make a scooter, haha!
26) Gratitude Journals: In an effort to teach my kids how to be more grateful, I bought this journal and we take 3 minutes every morning to fill it out every morning. The journals are so cute and my kids have loved this new little tradition.
27) Hooded Towel: My kids LOVE these so much! They are long and made out of good quality, absorbent towels. If they are in the laundry, they will literally dig them out instead of just using another towel after they shower. Bonus: You can have their names put on the towel too! See more of Jamie's towels on her Instagram page. Message her to find out all the options you have. She's amazing to work with!
And there you have it!!! All of my 2019-2020 toy testing and research in one post to make sure you and your kiddos have a pretty incredible day!
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
Comment below to help me finish my shopping for my own kids. Thank you in advance!