I have four nieces, ages 6, 6, 3, and 2. Each girl differs vastly, from their clothing choices to their favorite activities. I like to try and keep that in mind when I get them gifts, but one thing I do know they all four enjoy is doing crafts with my Mom (their Nana). Seedling is my go-to for that. From fun kits where you can make your own superhero cape (pictured above), to an augemented reality teddy bear, Seedling offers fun and unique gifts that my nieces all really love.
As a mother of 3 girls, I feel like I can say kids have too much shit. Between birthdays, other holidays and random packages from Nana, they are inundated with crap that will just get lost or used a few times. For the past several years, I’ve been encouraging family members to buy “experience” gifts. Have an amazing zoo/museum/national park near you? They all offer annual passes that can easily be purchased online and enjoyed the whole year through. Also, check into local universities. Have a kiddo that loves basketball? Chances are game tickets are substantially marked down during winter break. Make a forever memory, not a materialistic moment.
Craft Kits and Activity Books
There are also three little girls at my house, and I’m going to echo Courtney: please, not another stuffie. Unless it’s that darn Beanie Boo she’s in love with that’s on the Amazon WishnList I sent you last month (seriously, people, ask if there’s a list and heed it). If there’s no list, and you can’t give an experience, please give my kids something that will keep them busy for one afternoon of the long week between Christmas and New Years and won’t gather dust thereafter. This is golden if you’re a last minute shopper: take a walk down the aisle at Target, Barnes and Noble, any craft store or even Costco and you’re likely to see something that will appeal to any kid you love ages 3-14. As long as you pay attention to the recommended ages on the packaging, you should be buying their parents a quiet afternoon, rather than making them a giant hassle of a project. That said, if you can, do the project with the kiddo. Especially if you can pass on a skill you love. Someday I’m going to buy my nephew with busy hands the book A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, some knitting needles and a skein of yarn and spend the afternoon teaching him to knit. But this year is crazy, and we’re going simple. At the top of my nine year-old’s wish list is a kit to make wire message bracelets for all her friends, and if she makes me one that says “Mama” I may never take it off. My seven year-old is always looking for something to DO while the rest of us sit around reading and has wisely requested several different clay kits, some pretty sweet space and chemistry sets, and the tools to learn to sew and make fluffy blankets. Last year’s hits were paint-by-sticker (the best for road trips!) a complicated dot-to-dot book and a good old fashioned potholder loom. The kindergartener at my house needs simpler tools to play independently and loves Playdoh, painting, sticker books, and invisible ink coloring. In her preschool years nothing delighted her more than a dollar store paint-by-number book. Just… please… no slime kits. At this point every parent you know has already spent an afternoon trying to clean it out of their carpets.
KiwiCo Crates for Kids
KiwiCo Crates are full of Science Technology Engineering Art & Math experiments for kids of all ages. Chose the crate that’s right for your kids and then they are delivered monthly. Your first crate ships in 2 days. I ordered the Kiwi crate 5-8 science crate for my nephews who have been able to make creative learning projects like an arcade claw, a fishing game, or clay ornaments. We’ve done three months so far. There are subscription plans at different price points but they start at $19.95 a month.
If you know the kids in your life are all set with JoJo Siwa swag, LOL Surprise Dolls and Minecraft Legos (because grandma knows what she’s doing) I recommend gifting a set of Magnatiles. Magnatiles are magnetic shapes that stick together to form different shapes. My kids ages 7, 6, and 3 all love making houses, towers, and small cages to trap our puppy in with them. They can be pricey, but even the smallest set will be loved by the children in your life. Plus they don’t make any noise or take up too much space so their parents won’t hate you.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg books
We’re big fans of Ruth Bader Ginsburg around here, and it’s never too early for kids to start learning about the Notorious RBG. Slightly older children may gravitate more towards this past summer’s documentary RGB or the upcoming biopic On the Basis of Sex, but little ones are going to need something with less legal jargon. There are several beautifully illustrated children’s books that tell Justice Ginsburg’s story, and reading it with a child is a perfect way to begin a discussion about her work and the fight for equality. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark is a best seller,
and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality has won numerous awards.