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Hand-Picked Gift Ideas for Kids

The holidays are about love and togetherness...for the adults. To kids, it's all about the toys. But whoever said that “it's more blessed to give than receive” probably didn't have such a dizzying array of gifting options to select from. Here we'll try to cut through some of the holiday din to brainstorm up some things you might want to put a box around so you can get straight to kicking back in front of the fireplace with some well-deserved nog.

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  1. 1 Girls

    • Sugar and Spice

      • Pretty princesses and frilly fairies are always needing to tame their tresses, so hair accessories are a good place to start. But if you aren't sure just what sort of binding to buy (or if you think she might have too many!) a Mirrored Bow Keeper is a quick fix. Four heart-shaped weights anchor ribbons that dangle to collect stray clips and bows. A foot-wide mirror gives her a spot to check proper placement before dashing out. Best of all, the frame can be personalized with a name or short message.

      • Once the 'do is done, it's time to don her Fanciful Butterfly Wings. What, you don't have a pair? A set of shoulder straps and finger loops secure the fabric wings to your child's back and come in six colors. It's a simple gift that makes playtime so much more immersive for beaming little girls.

      • Just because a girl loves her pink dresses and pony posters doesn't mean she's waiting around for a prince to rescue her. The Modern Princess Package shows her that she doesn't have to choose between being a girly girl and being a forward thinker. The set includes a crown, a cake, and a hardcover book that relates the tale of Princess Bubble and her quest for girl power. It's time for the princess to save the day!

    • The Princess's Castle

      • Everyone knows that a princess's room is her castle, and a Personalized Pretty in Pink Upholstered Chair makes a comfortable throne. This club style chair is wrapped in a durable cotton slipcover that can be easily removed to wash those errant tea party spills. The pink seat is outlined with white piping and you can label it with one of two fonts in a darker pink or a contrasting white.

      • When the time comes around for her majesty to make her social calls, she can make herself presentable in the reflection of her Deluxe Vanity & Chair.. She can examine her coiffure from all angles in the triptych mirror and store her brushes and accessories in the four shelves found on either side of the desk's alcove. The table and its matching seat will go with any decor, as it comes in pure white.

      • Disney Fairies Toy Organizer and Bench offers a bit more color for her storage solutions. Tinkerbell and her friends gambol on the pink background of this versatile piece. The frame forms a bench of roughly three feet wide by one foot high. Three cloth baskets nestle underneath to hold toys, socks, or any other stray belongings.

    • Fashion Fabrication

      • If she's ready for vogue on a (slightly) bigger scale, she can tackle the Fashion Design Doll Clothes Making Kit. The collection is sponsored by Project Runway and encourages budding fashionistas to make it work using Tapefetti design rolls. Users cut out a dress form selected from several templates and then go wild combining 24 different patterns and a variety of accessorizing stickers. The finished product will fit any 12-inch doll.

      • Her fashion empire can expand into cosmetics with the Make Your Own Lip Balm Kit. Girls can design and then mix several different combinations of flavors from scratch for a one-of-a-kind salve. Five containers are provided, and even these can be decorated with included stickers or paint.

      • Some girls enjoy crafting pieces for themselves to wear or for sharing with their closest pals. The Friendship Bracelet Kit comes with everything a girl could need to clothe bare wrists with colorful affection. The kit includes the cords, strings, and bands to make up to thirty different types of bracelets while an array of charms, beads, and feathers make each piece a little more unique. The materials are smartly organized in a dazzling carrying case for BFF-ing on the go.

  2. 2 Boys

    • Cool Crafts

      • Men like to build things, and little men like to build little things. Get the constructive juices flowing with the Piperoid Paper Pipe Robot Action Figure. One of four cool robots can be built from nothing more than a set of preprinted sheets. Just cut, fold, and assemble to make a miniature monstrosity!

      • More advanced users will find a wealth of fun (not to mention a valuable job skill) in the Cool 4 in 1 Tool. A lathe, drill press, jigsaw, and sander are combined in one little contraption that really works like the pros. Fret not for his fingers; a comprehensive set of intuitive safety features protects kids from mechanical misfortunes. A project book and some starter blocks of wood are included.

      • The Brew Your Own Root Beer Kit yields a creation that he can toast with his buddies. He'll learn how science and gastronomy connect when he boils the malt and adds yeast for carbonation. Inside you'll find the implements and easy-to-follow instructions needed to whip up a batch; all he'll need is a pot, a little sugar, and some empty bottles. He'll beam with pride as he shares up to two gallons of hand-crafted root beer.

    • Sporting Sprouts

      • All boys love competition, whether it's against their friends, their rivals, or even themselves. Electronic Bounce & Score Basketball Game is a great way for the little dribbler to practice his finesse. He can either aim directly for the six hoops that increase in point value or go for trick shots by bouncing the miniature balls on the trampoline half court. An electronic scoreboard tracks the points, but a recorded announcer will proclaim his high scores to all within earshot.

      • You can get him more mobile with a set of Sports Disks. A mesh net is stretched inside a stiff foam ring; it's rigid enough to be thrown like a Frisbee, but has enough bouncy strength to volley a ball or water balloon back and forth. The package includes two disks and a rubber string ball

      • There’s not a whole lot to say here except a glow in the dark remote controlled helicopter is awesome. To be honest, these aren’t just for kids – I just bought one myself… But whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, this remote-controlled beauty is the perfect gift to keep you giddily making the helicopter thrumming noises with your mouth as you fly her in for a rescue mission.

    • Mini-man Cave

      • There is nothing not cool about the Shuriken Ninja Coat Hook. One point of the stainless steel ninja star has been molded into a screw that buries itself discreetly into a wall. Every time he gets home, he can pretend as if he just successfully dodged yet another assassination attempt by a rival clan before coolly hanging up his jacket as if nothing happened.

      • The Lord of the Sith gets an approachable makeover on the LEGO Star Wars themed Darth Vader Lamp. His lightsaber glows with the power of the dark side of the Force (and 12 LED lights). Your little guy can pose Vader's articulated arms for either a striking stance or to better light up his comic book. The figure stands a little over seven inches high and is powered by 3 AA batteries, so it can be brought along on trips to the bathroom, grandma's house, or Dagoba.

      • The ultimate in room upgrades, a Pulse Boom Gaming Chair brings a kid closer to his favorite games or movies by enveloping him awesome. Two speakers, each with a mid and a tweeter, flank his head while a four-inch subwoofer in the seat sends the rumble of big boss stomping striaght up his spine. Vibration motors are also built into the chair, so damage becomes much more visceral. The chair connects to anything with a 3.5 mm jack, and the surface is comfortable but durable.

  3. 3 Gender Neutral

    • Imagination Station

      • The Red Roof Wooden Play Cottage isn't restricted to exclusively boys or girls; the design is sturdy and attractive without pigeonholing the possibilities. Sturdy pine walls and a weatherproof plastic roof are accented with a striped awning and lots of windows flood the inside with natural light. This playhouse can be set up as is, or young imaginations can turn a fixer-upper into a rustic pioneer cabin or a quaint garden home.

      • It goes without saying that, when starting an imaginary business, it's best to serve imaginary demand. And imaginary pioneers and imaginary country ladies will always need to eat imaginary food. So no matter what imaginary reality the Red Roof Cottage finds itself inhabiting, a brother or sister can set up shop right next door with the Grocery Store and Lemonade Stand. This full-service shop sports rows of plastic bins for wares, a chalkboard for detailing daily specials, and a reversible awning that alternates between grocer and lemonade vendor.

      • Do the kids find prefabricated structures too limiting? No problem; set their architectural aspirations free with Large Scale Habitadule Construction Pieces. They can use the 16 imaginatively-patterned cardboard pieces to assemble their own house, store, or moon base. Geometric shapes such as circles, stars, and moons are cut into the surface and allow beams of ambient light to intersect inside the structure to create a dazzling pattern of light and shadow. A suitcase for transporting the pieces is included.

    • Go Outside!

      • Those with additional trees in the yard can upgrade the excitement using the Kid's 70-Foot Zipline with Seat with Seat. A stainless steel cable is suspended between two trees so that riders up to 150 lbs. can sail across the lawn on a trolley with an adjustable seat and comfort-grip rubber handlebars. Lengths of 40 ft and 90 ft are also available.

      • The Recycled Tire Horse Swing is a clever little contraption that repurposes otherwise non-biodegradable tires into an aesthetically pleasing fixture of fun. The tread has been peeled, trimmed, and bolted to resemble a steed. A flowing mane and back rest highlight this rip-roaring take on the classic tire swing concept. The included nylon rope will support up to 200 lbs., so kids of all ages can enjoy a canter.

      • It's no coincidence that the Sequoia Double Deck and Slide Swing Set is named after America's biggest tree. This massive structure boasts more features than you can shake a finger at. Scale the climbing wall on the far end and they'll find two forts connected by a bridge. Take one of the two slides back down to discover a picnic table, monkey bars, and a sandbox underneath. The opposite end hangs two swings and a glider. Constructed from attractive stained wood and safe, rounded plastic components, the Sequoia turns the kids' back yard into an amusement park.

    • Relaxing Rooms

      • Any child's room can be cozified with a few small additions. The HugglePod Deluxe Hanging Chair, for example, provides a comfy cocoon for reading or relaxing using a washable canvas sling that supports a large cushion. All-condition construction means that the Hugglepod can be hung inside or out.

      • Indoor users can enhance the serenity by switching on the Dreamer Starlight Projector Clock. A soothing display of stars is projected onto the ceiling until gentle nature sounds indicate that it's time for sleepyheads to rise and shine. The display also shows the day of the week, the calendar date, and the ambient temperature.

  4. 4 For the Family

    • Kids in the Kitchen

      • Nothing brings family together like time in the kitchen. Give a youngster a sense of culinary aplomb by presenting a Personalized Chef Apron & Hat Set. The garb is 100% cotton and comes in pink, blue, or red. Up to two lines of 14 characters each makes the apron unique; you can emblazon the child's name or some other endearing message across the front.

      • As our “quick-fix” society becomes more heavily dominated by an up-and-coming millennial generation, the fine art of cooking has largely gone to the backburner. It’s a shame, too, because cooking for yourself vs. eating out is cheaper, healthier, and it’s a fantastic skill for both a boy and a girl to have later in life to attract a significant other (not that you should be thinking of that yet). Kid’s Kitchen Cooking Tools will let your kids cook alongside you, and learn a very coveted skill that will pay dividends for the future.

    • Games for Gathering

      • Children of all ages love the book, so you can't go amiss with the Where the Where the Wild Things Are Board Game. Players take on the role of Max as he seeks to rule the Land of the Wild Things before beating a hasty retreat when Things start to get too Wild. Dice and cards help navigate the protagonist through a land populated with intricately detailed figurines based on the art from the original story.

      • Families who want a simpler set of rules but just as much nostalgia might prefer the Tetris Link Table Top Game. Plastic shapes made familiar in the legendary video game are dropped into a vertical board in a race to the top. Electronic lights and sounds add to the fun of a two player game or can stand in for a human opponent. Fans of the original Gameboy iteration will tell you that Tetris is easy to learn, tough to master, and impossible to put down.

      • Alternatively, Destruct 3 lets players knock over the towers that other family members have built up. This deceptively brilliant game is made entirely of wood and challenges opponents to construct a stack of blocks that can withstand attack. Points are earned for each piece knocked away by a catapult, a ramp, or a wrecking ball. The winner gets an unintended lesson in Newtonian physics!

    • Outdoor Activities

      • Getting the family unit outside for some fresh air and exercise is easy with wacky toys such as a Giant 40" Personalized Soccer Ball. An inflatable PVC interior is sheathed in a removable and washable polyester covering on which a short name or message can be inscribed. The giggles and guffaws will flow as everyone chases the disproportionately-sized sphere around the yard.

      • When barbecues or beach outings keep rocking into the night, adaptable amusements like Glow In The Dark Ladder Toss keep the tempo up even when the sun isn't. The classic game is upgraded with glow sticks for rungs and radiant bolas so that no one can blame the low light for their aim. The plastic frames are three feet high and break down easily for storage or travel.

      • The ultimate in backyard combat is the Water Wars Game Kit. Each set includes two water pistols and two vests. If moisture strikes the targets displayed on the front of the vests, a red dot will appear indicating a strike; once dry, the color resets to the original white. Teach the kids that the only rule of war is “Wet or be wetted!”

Hand-Crafted Gift Guides for:

Apr 2014
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