It’s beginning to look a lot like… okay, well, maybe it isn’t exactly looking like Christmas around here but it sure is feeling like it. If you like to get your holiday shopping done early or take advantage of Black Friday sales, I’ve got your back with our annual Holiday Gift Guides rolling out this week and next! With our regularly scheduled recipes, DIY ideas, and lifestyle posts sprinkled in too of course. We’re kicking it off with our picks for the BEST of the BEST holiday gifts for kids this year.
I take these Gift Guides seriously, every single item on them is either something we have tested (and approved) or deeply researched in advance. Everything is highly rated on Amazon 4 stars or above. When it comes to the toys and gifts for kids, I have even more stringent criteria; items must be:
- educational yet fun
- high on the ‘WOW!’ scale (I call this ‘crave-worthy’)
- encourage pretend play and creativity
- mostly screen free and interactive
- incorporate fine and/or gross motor skills, or being active
Before you start your shopping, be sure to print out this free printable Letter to Santa wish list for your kids to fill out. Second, I CAN NOT RECOMMEND THIS GADGET ENOUGH. It’s a must-have for Christmas morning, it will save tons of time opening packages and installing batteries. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, GO ORDER THAT GADGET for a calm and enjoyable Christmas morning with no trips to the ER because you sliced your hand on the $&%*# plastic packaging.
Please note that the prices listed below are are current at the time I created this post. They may go up or down depending on availability or whatever crazy algorithm Amazon uses to determine the price at any given moment.
Without further ado, let the holiday gifting begin! Here you go, the 15 best gifts for kids this holiday season:
1. Micro Maxi Kick Scooter, $129
After researching dozens of scooters for my son, this one was the definite winner for the 6-10 age group. It’s important to get a quality scooter, because kids will be rough with it and you don’t want it quitting on the downslope of that hill they all want to try. The Micro Kick Scooter seems to be the perfect choice, I can’t wait to see his face on Christmas morning!
2. LEGO Idea Books, $14-$15
Do you have LEGO fans but want to give them something besides yet ANOTHER building set? My son adores the LEGO and KLUTZ idea books! The KLUTZ LEGO Chain Reactions book comes with everything you need to ‘teach your bricks new tricks’. The LEGO Ideas Book and the LEGO Awesome Ideas Book have clever ideas for using what you have to build super cool things. My 5-year-old even made his own picture frame using one of these books, there really are great ideas inside and your LEGOs fan will love them.
3. Little Passports, as low as $11.95 a month
My kids are obsessed with traveling, and with these Little Passports kits! This is a subscription service with kits geared towards three age levels (ages 3-12 is the overall age range). You can subscribe monthly, for 6 months, or annually and Little Passports will send out a new kit each month. Our first one just arrived and it contained a suitcase, passport, boarding pass, map, and activities. My daughter has been absorbed in it for hours, and they both can’t wait to ‘travel’ to the first country next month! The price is extremely reasonable for this service, especially because it’s a such a great non-screen related after school activity.
4. Marble Runs, $24-$89
There are such a variety of marble runs it’s hard to know where to start! The one I hoped to recommend is currently out of stock, so I linked to the entire page so you can decide what’s best for your price range and age group. Suffice it to say, it WILL be a hit with the builder/ active kiddos on your list! My son picked this out from the toy catalog and gave it two thumbs up.
5. Boogie Board Jot eWriter, $28
My daughter has been begging for this ever since she saw it on display last summer, and I’m more than happy to place it under the tree this year! It’s an eWriter, so you use the stylus to write and it shows up in neon colors. Then erase with the click of a button. This is going to make practicing spelling words SO much more enjoyable!
6. Golf Pool Indoor Game, $79
Looking for ways to keep active even in the middle of winter or on rainy days? This golf mat folds out for a quick round of golf right in your living room!
7. When Pigs Fly Board Game, $22.99
Love family game night? Add this fun game into your rotation and let hilarity ensue!
If your kids are fans of the Disney Channel, they probably love Miles. This clever toy is highly rated and interactive, with an attractive price to match. It stays in one place, however the games encourage you to lean, move and balance. A sneaky way to practice motor skills and stay active this winter!
9. VTech Kidizoom ActionCam, $63
My kids are going to go BONKERS for this action video cam! If you have budding vloggers or kids who love to make their own videos, they will LOVE this gadget. It’s durable and has a waterproof casing to catch all the action whether skateboarding, playing, or biking. If your kids have been begging for a GoPro but you’re not ready to plop down the $400, this is a great first step. Please note it doesn’t come with the micro-SD card, you’ll need to purchase that separately.
10. Math Machines, $19.99
These math machines will appeal to both those who love math (hooray, math!) and those who don’t (a fun way to practice math, yay!) My daughter’s first grade teacher is encouraging parents to help kids commit their basic addition and subtraction facts to memory, here’s a fun way to encourage that.
11. Build-it-Yourself Woodworking Kit (price varies, check the link for info but I encourage you to purchase directly from Lakeshore as it will be less expensive)
Imagine my face when I walked into my son’s (Montessori) kindergarten room this year and spotted a workbench WITH A SAW ON IT! Apparently this is what they do in Montessori rooms, they teach kids to use real-life objects with care and respect. This DIY woodworking kit is an awesome way to bond with your kids, encourage hands-on learning as opposed to screen-time, and also work on those fine motor skills. Definitely a winner! And, sorry to say, no saw needed.
12. Zoomer Interactive Dino, $67
We got Zoomer the dog a few years ago, and the kids went bonkers for it… until it wouldn’t recharge about a month into using it. After reading the reviews, this later generation Zoomer the Dino seems to be much better in terms of quality, and I know my kids would think it’s amazing. There are several different modes and ways to use it, too– he can prowl, be trained, patrol, and more. Fun times!
13. Leapfrog LeapPad3, $79.99
This is the second time on the list, the LeapPad3 was a highlight of last year’s gift guide as well. However, I’m including it again because they continue to be one of the top 3 toys in our home (aside from LEGOs and our dress-up clothes bin). I don’t allow the kids to use them all the time, however they are priceless when traveling, during downtime, and on the occasional lazy Saturday. The kids appreciate the huge array of (FUN!) games. As parents, we appreciate that they are learning as they use them, and they’re very interactive as well.
There is so much to love about this set. From a mom’s perspective, I adore that it comes in a plastic bin you can use to store all the pieces! From an educational view, it encourages problem solving, fine motor skills, reading, and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). From a kids stance, you can make 20 different amusement park rides from this one set, my kids’ eyes went wide with excitement when they saw it. Looks like a blast, truly.
My kids have fallen in love with essential oils, to the point where they beg for their diffusers to be on each night (my daughter particularly loves Lavender oil and even has her own bottle). They are also really supportive of me as a working mom, especially when I leave to teach my oils classes. They know I’m helping other moms, and often ask if they can come with me so they can share about the oils too! I’m giving them these diffusers for Christmas because not only will they support their health and wellness (hello, R.C. oil in the middle of winter!) but the kids LOVE these fun designs. The price varies depending on whether you get them as a retail or wholesale member; more information on getting started with essential oils (and an awesome freebie for you!) are on my essential oils FAQ page (I will hook you up, so you have have oil loving kids too!)
We had a blast putting that list together, I’d love to know what you end up gifting to the kiddos in your life! If you have people asking what they should get your kids, forward them this post so they have a good starting point. But most importantly, ENJOY these gifts with your kids. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
More gift guides coming your way this week, stay tuned for gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!