Do you remember the days of the Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J. C. Penney catalogs, and poring over them to mark what you wanted for Christmas? That was a fun tradition that I’m a little sad to lose, especially since it made shopping easier for the adults! Since we don’t have those little suggestions, here’s a few ideas for gifts for your kids.
Books, Books, and More Books
It’s hardly a secret that I am all about books – reading them, writing them, and definitely giving them! Usborne Books & More has hundreds of amazing books. If you need help finding some, give me a shout!
Let Them Eat Candles!
Of all the products I’m sharing with you here, I think these are my absolute favorites, and I love the slogan on the website: Have your cake…and eat your candles, too! Yes, you read that correctly – eat the candles! The brightly colored patterns make the candles a beautiful addition to any cake or cupcakes, but, after the wishes are made, you can remove the wick and eat these premium dark, milk, and white chocolate treats, as well. Now that’s the way to make it a special day!
Ernie knew what he was talking about when he sang, “Rubber ducky, you’re so fine; and I’m lucky that you’re mine. Rubber ducky, I’m awfully fond of you,” and you’ll be singing right along with him when you see these adorable quackers. Choose from literary ducks, like the characters from The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, or Alice in Wonderland, or go for historical characters like Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare, or several U.S. presidents. Help your kids collect celebrity ducks of their favorite music and movie heroes, and then treat yourself to a college mascot ducky from your alma mater.
You’ve got to love gifts that also let you teach important lessons, like responsibility and ecology, help the Earth, and make a child smile. Treepex uses up-to-the-minute technology to track the tree planted in your child’s name, so that Junior can follow the tree’s growth for years to come.
Everyone’s got to have shoes (unfortunately), and these are way too much fun! Not only does the company offer light-up shoes with flashing lights on the toes, they have paintable sneakers, too! How much fun would it be to paint your shoes and then show them off every time you wear them? Even better, the company a portion of the proceeds of these cool shoes that are designed by a father-daughter team to several charitable organizations, so you get to double-dip with the giving.
Have you seen the washing machine commercial in which the five-year-old tells Mom that his shirt is his personal style? These cryptozoology patches, featuring Sasquatch and friends, will let your kids safely show off their independent style. As a bonus, they are awesome for covering that rip Suzy got in her brand new jacket.
Do you have a budding musician in the family? Mighty is a great choice for music lovers. It plays Spotify play lists without Mom or Dad having to relinquish a smartphone. It’s the perfect solution when radio or other reception is spotty or when there’s no available Internet connection.
The Santa Thief
We’ve already established that I believe that there’s no such thing as too many books – only too few bookcases. This book, set in the 1920s Pennsylvania coaling mining region, shares the touching story of George, who decides to take care of the rumors that Santa might not come to the struggling area this year. Along the way, he learns the really important things about Christmas.
Super Science ABCs
According to the company’s website, “Research shows that humans are best equipped to learn language from birth through age seven, during children’s explosive brain growth period. Exposure to science terms and concepts during that time will lead to improved language fluency and understanding later in life.” With that in mind, they have published some science books I wish I’d had when I was learning science. Check out their ABCs of science series, with mini books about physics, earth science, biology, and chemistry.
We all need a hero now and then, and these awesome backpacks deliver. Not only are they military strong, with an ergonomic fit, they each come with a trading card of an inspiring hero. And 10 percent of the company’s proceeds go to support charities that help children. Tote books, toys, and clothes, inspire a child, and help children in other places, as well. (One of their recent charity campaigns involved providing backpacks to children victims of Hurricane Harvey.)
How the Moon Regained Her Shape
Yes, it’s a book, and it’s a good one! Janet Ruth Heller has created a lovely, award-winning picture book, based on Native American legends, that helps readers understand and deal with bullying. The book also includes more information and activities in an appendix to help you guide your kids through the scary area of bullies. And there are Spanish paperback and ebook copies, along with English hardback, paperback, and ebook versions, as well as an iPad app.
We live in a diverse world, but our children often exist in social cylinders, offering little interaction with anyone who is different in any way. Pals Socks are a fun way to subtly teach that being different is okay and to encourage kids to make friends with those who are different. These intentionally mismatched socks are also a lot of fun, and the company donates a portion of the proceeds to charity, as well.
These cotton-thread bracelets take “old school” friendship bracelets to a new level. Like the previous version, these are tied on the wrist by friends, but they go another step past just a braided or twisted thread bracelet. These come with a motivational quotation and a pretty charm.
The Mountain T-shirts
Nothing says “comfortable” like a T-shirt, and these add a punch of fun to the feel-good top. Pick from dinosaurs and animals, or let your kids show off their “cool” with a DJ animal print. Among a bunch of others, choose from an orangutan, guinea pig, hamster, bunny, wolf, saber-tooth tiger, or bat on tie-dyed backgrounds.
The Nocturnals and The Moonlight Meeting
This time, I’ve got more than a book for you; these are part of a whole series! The Nocturnals is a middle-grade series that combines mystery, animals, and adventure in real-life situations that may look familiar to your readers. The Moonlight Meeting introduces the same characters in a book meant for ages 5 to 7, and there are some fun support printables available to accompany it.
How to Eat Your ABCs
Having a hard time convincing your kids that healthy eating is a good thing? Buzzbee, a healthy, kid-loving honeybee, narrates this rollicking, rhyming book that names a farm-fresh food item for every letter of the alphabet. Supplement the fun of the book with the recipes, coloring pages, and other activities on the website, as well.
Give your princess her own pearl bracelet, made with birthstones and an initial dangle charm. Every lady needs her pearls, right?!
Fat Brain Toys
This company has some of the most amazing toys I’ve ever seen, for everyone from babies to adults. (In fact, you might want to forget the kids and shop for yourself here!) I especially like the children’s toys at the links above. My favorite is the Bamboo Builder Marble Run, with cylinders and spirals to put together to make tracks to race all 30 marbles from top to bottom, but the nuts, bolts, and springs of the Offbits and Offbits Vehicle offer potentially hours of fun building robots and vehicles. And your toddlers will have a blast learning animal sounds and developing their memory and sequencing skills with the Farm Alarm game (with the cutest little squeezable piggy).
Little Zip Pocket Blanket
This blanket probably offers Mom and Dad even more than it does to the kids, but even the littles will love having their own 30” x 40” blanket. Each one has a hidden pocket that can hold diapers, wipes, toys, and even snacks. Ditch the diaper bag and go with this product instead, and then let your kids tuck a book and a snack in the pocket for a little “me time.”
Who doesn’t love hiding out in a fort? These are perfect for a play date on a cold or rainy day or a slumber party. Or turn it into a hidden, personal movie theater or reading nook. These fun forts inflate quickly and easily with an ordinary household fan.
Bump up sensory play with these tiny little seeds that grow to 150x their original size with just a little water and time. Besides the fun of watching them grow and playing with the different sets, your young ones can pamper themselves with the Orbeez massaging body spa, relaxing hand spa, or the ultimate soothing spa for their feet.
These horizontal backpacks are practical and healthy options for young spines, but that’s not the best thing about them. These awesome packs, duffle bags, and lunch boxes come with all sorts of three-dimensional add-ons, like butterfly, rocket, and airplane wings. Your kids can definitely soar with these!
What a great compromise between turning over a cell phone to a youngster, with all the potential dangers, and being the mean Mommy who says no! PIPSQUEAK is a wifi-based phone for kids, operating on the YipYap platform. Parents control the phone completely, through an app, so that the phone will only access connections made by Mom or Dad. Kids can call Grandma or selected friends, as well as sharing videos, photos, and YouTube playlists, if parents set those up.
Fend off those chilly evenings with a snuggly mermaid tail, shark, orca or rocket blanket. These warm, minky covers come in both children and adult sizes, so maybe you want to outfit the whole family.
Let a precious stuffed animal join the kids in the bathtub without any worries. These little turtles, gators, hippos, whales, dolphins, dragons, and sharks double as washcloths with a soap pocket for a little clean fun.
Make using a smartphone or tablet to watch movies or play games easier with these plush carrier/holders. The owl, rabbit, and koala contains a magnet in front to hold the device securely, a pocket to safely store and protect it when it’s not being used, and a cross-body shoulder strap for transport.
Yep – another book! This one is so cute! Papa and Cub find a wishing star, but they need to find just the right wish. As they share this touching time, Cub learns that the perfect wish has to come from the heart.
Coleman® Kids Adventure Kit
On your mark, get set – DISCOVER! This adventure kit is the perfect gift for your young explorer. It comes with binoculars, a compass, a thermometer, a magnifying glass, a whistle, and a waterproof notepad for recording new discoveries.
Help build character and have tons of fun playing the Silly Street board game, while also getting everyone up and moving. Choose a card and do what it instructs to earn points for yourself, to compete with another player, or to give points away.
My USA Road Trip
As a once-upon-a-time geography teacher, I’m probably a little biased, but I love this gift set. It includes a book personalized to your child’s name, gender, skin tone, and hair color – you can even upload a picture to include his/her own face – as well as a personalized driver’s license and a scratch-off U.S. map to keep track of your child’s travels.
Little Friends Bendy Dolls
These 4-inch boys, girls, and even pets are posable dolls. They are compatible with all sorts of HABA dollhouses and other accessories that unlock creative worlds of imaginative play.
Zipit Interactive Coloring and Activity Book
Coloring books are great gifts for kids and adults alike, all by themselves. These are even better, though. The books come with stickers, but the fun doesn’t stop there. View the pictures with the Zipit’s app, and they are animated! And you can make videos, add your voice, and share your creations.
Grab the attention of your science and history lovers with their own mini museum. Each one comes with 12 or 29 individual specimens “from Earth and beyond,” along with a 160-page hardback, full color guide.
Share timeless songs from Louis Armstrong, Billy Joel, and The Temptations with your children, as you all sing along with What a Wonderful World, Lullabye, or My Girl. The lyrics of each song make up the text of the book, and the beautiful illustrations act out those lyrics.
Drawing Stencil Art Set
Get ready for some creative crafting! This set is perfect for young artists; it include 12 large stencil boards, 20 sheets of drawing paper, 10 colored pencils, a sharpener, and a carrying case for art to go!
BONUS Dad! BONUS Mom!
Are you a blended family (or working to become one)? This great book presents the roles of stepparents in a positive light, instead of the classic “evil stepmother” image. A portion of the proceeds also benefit the National Stepfamily Resource Center.