Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Gift Guides for Kiddos

I know, I know. In the blogging world, I'm technically late on sharing holiday gift ideas. But since I tend to think of purchasing everything in an Amazon Prime world, I still haven't finished my own holiday shopping yet. And I'm guessing most of you haven't either. There are plenty of super in-depth guides out there, but I thought I'd share with you a selection of gifts that fits a good variety of kids' personalities (namely, mine). Hanukkah starts next week, so I better get going!

The Little Artist -- this covers both of my kids, actually. We do lots of planned, larger art projects. But these are their current go-to supplies for day-to-day artwork they do at home. I keep back-ups in stock because they go through so many. We've personally tested out all of these supplies for your little artist.

1 / Djeco felt brush-tip markers -- Kane is obsessed with these markers, which have a fine and a broader tip on each color. The colors are brilliant and they are requested more than any other marker we have.

2 / IKEA watercolor box -- I haven't found another set of watercolors for kids that rival IKEA's vivid MALA set. And it's so easy to have everything come in one container. Plus, so reasonably priced.

3 / Kid Made Modern colored pencil set -- I've been disappointed by much of Todd Oldham's collection for Target. It looks cool, but the quality isn't always great. But these colored pencils (the larger and smaller versions) are easy for the kids to grip and the colors are great. And the sturdy storage container has held up much better than other flimsy boxes.

4 / IKEA fluorescent/glitter paint -- another IKEA favorite, my kids love these squeezable MALA paints. The bottle is a great size for little hands and easy to squeeze, which totally minimizes the mess as well. A great selection of bright colors and metallics.

5 / IKEA assorted paper -- we have plenty of fancy art paper for certain projects, but this reasonably-priced pack from IKEA allows my prolific artists to carry on without breaking the bank. I like that there are two sizes of white paper included as well as great, bright colors of actual paper (not construction paper).

The Young Historian -- both of my kids are big history buffs. We do lots of historical field trips, but actually don't have a lot of things supporting their interest. Some of the items on this guide we've got, but most of them are at the top of my holiday lists.

1 / Timeline Historical Events game -- we don't have this game, but it looks like an enticing way to learn some history while flexing your strategic muscles. It's listed for ages 8 and up, but I've found both of my kids are able to play games like this with parent involvement at this stage.

2 / Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks -- I love the quality of Uncle Goose blocks and these would be perfect for Kane who both loves history and building.

3 / National Park Service Passport and Junior Ranger Programs -- we purchased passports and kid companions last summer after our visit to Antietem National Battlefield and we all became quickly obsessed. The passport and companion contain a good deal of information about each park and allow kids to collect "cancellation stamps" from each park they visit. Additionally, at many parks, rangers make available an activity booklet for kids to complete before receiving a Junior Ranger badge. Both programs do a great job of involving kids in the history of the site.  

4 / Non-fiction and fictional books -- these are kind of obvious, but a must for young historians. We love all of the DK Eyewitness books for non-fiction and we've heard wonderful things about the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series.

5 / Extraordinary Women Card Game -- Cam can get frustrated when we play games a bit above her level, but this card game includes simple trivia, true or false, and multiple choice. Plus I find that we can simply read cards of this type as a different way to get factual info.

The Glam Girl -- It's obvious that we've got a girly girl on our hands (who also likes science, wrestling, and mudpies, btw) and we face a constant campaign for glam accessories. Here are some of my favorites.

1 / Drybar's Gold Mine Leave in Conditioner -- a favorite of Cameron's and it actually works, making hair combing more manageable and leaving a definite shine. It's not cheap, but we're still working on our first bottle and we've had it a year.

2 / Flash Tattoos Lena Metallic -- these are not cheap, but lots of competitors look cheap. I'd keep some for myself and save them for a special occasion for your girly girl.

3 / American Apparel Glitter nail lacquer -- love this gold glitter polish. Chock full of sparkle.

4 / PaperSource Donut Lip Gloss -- so, so cute.

5 / LUSH Shimmy Shimmy Body Lotion -- this packs serious sparkle and also lasts forever. Wait until your lady pairs it up with the Gold Mine spray. Glitter errrrrrywhere.

The Young Builder -- I know kids like basic building blocks, but I love beautiful, different sets that I don't mind seeing strewn about the house. You think they'd get sick of them at some point, but the more we get, the more they build. And we're ready to expand our building horizons a bit to incorporate other disciplines and learn some architectural principles. Here's what is topping my list this year.

1 / Playme Playful Math -- I'm always looking for new ways to approach math and this seems like a fun way to do so.

2 / Uncle Goose Groovie Blocks -- another lovely Uncle Goose set. These can be used by very young kids, but I think it would be another good way to work math in to our playtime. And they'd be fun for graphic design, too.

3 / Eames House of Cards -- from one of my favorite mid-century modern designers, this set of cards allows kids to build a myriad of structures from photographs of what the Eameses called "good stuff."

4 / Archidoodle Architect's Activity Book -- this activity book looks like a great interactive way for young builders to learn about architecture.

5 / Greater Pyramid Blocks -- I love the saturated colors and beautiful quality of Grimm's wooden blocks. This pyramid set from The Land of Nod are gorgeous and would provide endless building options.

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