11 Unique Gift Ideas For Kids & Tweens
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah or something else entirely, December is gift-giving season, especially where kids are concerned.
In our house we think about where we’ll be going and how we’ll be traveling in the next year before we shop for gifts. A laptop travel desk, M Sasek’s clever This Is books, a headlamp for scout camping and travel-size Zoob Tube have found their way under our tree or into stockings over the years.
Here are our favorite picks for holiday gifts. They aren’t just great travel toys, crafting kits and games; they’re great toys, kits and games in general. And we are suggesting gifts for kids of all ages, including your picky tween.
(Check out gifts for moms, too!)
10 Christmas Gifts for Kids of All Ages
1. The Extraordinaires Design Studio blows me away as something absolutely no one else was doing, and especially not for the tween market.
Choose from a variety of “clients” and parameters in four theme packs to create design challenges of yourself in fashion, building, gadgets or inventions. Then dream up an idea and create it on paper.
Age: 10 and up (I could see my 9YO liking the concept, even if she couldn’t execute the way an older kid would).
Your child can make the picture frame and then put a photo of your trip in it. Or she can decorate the journal and then write about how boring much fun the family road trip has been.
Age: 8 to 12ish.
3. The Build & Imagine Draw & Build Dollhouse has flat magnetic building pieces and play figures that you can color in. Then you can build your house and play with it.
I think it’s small enough to work on an airplane tray or at a restaurant. My only caution is that its four walls (plus roof pieces) is limiting. For the older age range or a longer trip I’d buy two kits to provide more versatility.
Age: 4 to 8.
4. With Modarri kits kids can build their own car and then have them to play with. There are about a dozen to choose from, all pretty puffed out and sporty. It’s easy to appreciate the value of a toy that gives a child both a project to do en route to your vacation, and a new toy to play with when he arrives.
Age: 8 (maybe 7) and up. Your child needs to be able to manage small screwdriver and keep track of all the parts.
Games For Gifts
5. Tiny Traveler discovered Coup at camp and asked for it repeatedly. It’s ideal for travel because the deck is small so it’s hard to lose pieces. And each person only gets two cards so games don’t last overly long. It’s ideal for killing time in a restaurant or airport lounge.
Age: 10 and up (though TT was 8 when she discovered it and could play fairly well).
6. Twisted Fish is a game that’s had a long shelf life in our house. It’s Go Fish but you need to collect more cards to make a set and you can play cards that help you or hurt other players. There are ways to alter the deck to make the game shorter, or easier for younger kids.
Age: 7 and up.
7. Blue Orange has yet to put out a game we don’t like. The latest winner is Gigamons, like Memory but harder.
You only lay out 9 cards at a time from a bigger deck. Then you replace them as people find matches, creating a constantly changing playing field.
It’s not as quite as compact as we like for a plane (though you could do it). But we’ve brought it away to play at vacation homes and even camping.
Age: 7 and up.
8. Smart Games has a lot of brain-teaser games and almost all of them are travel size to a greater or lesser extent.
Our favorite is a series of games that teach problem-solving skills and get kids ready to learn coding.
In Little Red Riding Hood you use pieces to build a path to grandma’s house with 48 different challenges that increase in difficulty as you go along.
There is also one where squirrels have to get to their acorns and another where a space ship has to find a path through asteroids.
Age: 4 to 7 or 8.
10. The gadget that seems most popular with our readers these days is the Amazon Fire HD 8 kids edition.
It comes with a one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited’s games, apps, books, Audible books, and content from PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon.
It also comes with a bright colored protective case, a dashboard you control from your phone, and a two-year guarantee against breakage.
11. If your tween is getting a new screen for Christmas, consider some handy accessories.
Consider a Speck iGuy case to protect new iPads.
It’s adorable, hard to lose, light and easy for kids to grip and it stands on its own. It also provides military grade protection against scratches, impact and even extreme temperatures.
Speck also makes a phone case that has a pocket on back for money, a train pass or other flat items your tween might want to keep handy.
Popsockets make great stocking stuffers for anyone getting a nphone, tablet or e-reader.
They attach to the back of the phone and pop out to provide a more secure grip on your phone. They also act as a stand if you are watching videos or sitting reading.
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