The Best Gifts For Kids: Christmas 2018
Sure to be a Smash Hit
The House of Marbles Mini Table Tennis Set turns any smooth surface into a ping pong table. While the paddles are sized for small hands, this is very much the real thing. It’s a perfect early introduction to table tennis.
If you think the only thing different about the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is the fun colors, think again. The kids' version of our most popular voice assistant is designed with younger ears in mind with age-appropriate answers, jokes, and even music. And thanks to a 1-year FreeTime Unlimited subscription, kids get access to ad-free (and kid-friendly) radio stations, more than 1,000 Audible titles, and a growing list of premium skills from Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, National Geographic, and more.
Equally as fun for parents: The Echo Dot Kids Edition offers an online Parent Dashboard where parents can review activity, pause functionality, and set daily time limits. Parents can also use the Announcement feature as an intercom to call the kids for dinner!
Boot Up that Baby
Donsje brushed nubuck leather booties are not only cute and comfy, but will support those so-exciting first steps. They fasten with Velcro, while they fit securely, they are a snap for you to get on and off. Baby sizes have a non-slip suede sole; toddler sizes are made with a flexible rubber sole. They’re handmade and fair trade.
Belt Out “Billie Jean”
A karaoke machine is pretty much a can’t-fail kid gift. Bonus: it’s a gift for the rest of the family, too. Get ready for lazy winter weekend afternoons to be transformed into a family laugh fests. The Singing Machine Bluetooth Karaoke System is the real deal, not a toy. It has disco lights and all!
Light Up the Night
We love this Glow in the Dark Poster. Hang it near a window, or another source of light, then watch as the rabbit goes from playing during the day to snoozing soundly under the stars once the sun goes down. With any luck, your kid will do the same.
Save those Pennies
Designed by two eco-conscious moms in The Netherlands, the unbearably sweet Rainbow Money Box is the perfect present to inspire a saving habit. It’s made of BPA- and phthalate-free plastic, so slippery little hands won’t break the bank. Oh, and neither will the price.
Imparting lessons in balance, motor skills, and body awareness to the youngest yogis, KD Kids’ Infinifun My First Yoga Mat has a non-slip backing to help keep tiny feet steady. Your child’s “instructor” is BitsyBot, who plays one of three interactive games using the 16 touch pads on the mat. If you like yoga yourself, set your child up next to your own mat for some mommy-and-me exercise and fun.
Stuck on Unicorns?
This Unicorn Tape Dispenser is as rare a find as the beloved mythical creature itself: a kid gift that is sure to thrill and is actually useful. No need to try to entice your unicorn-loving student to do her homework if this is on her desk.
Partners in Crime
Siblings who are still too young for cell phones will have a ball communicating with each other the way lots of us did when we were kids...with walkie-talkies! Whether they’re teaming up to search for treasure in the backyard, competing in a scavenger hunt around the house, or undertaking another secret mission, these Tintec Walkie Talkies will serve them well. It’s a set of three, so they can invite a friend to join in the action. They double as flashlights and are designed to block any interference.
We know what you’re thinking: Little kids just don’t get excited about clothes on Christmas morning. But just wait until she sees this soft crewneck sweater by Design History. The hi-low vented hem is a great fit feature, but that’s not what will make her want to put it on right then and there, over her PJs. That would be the flip-sequin design of the smiley face. They change color when she runs her hand over them…so fun!
A Sticky Situation
The Faces Photo Sticker Book may well be the ideal gift for the imaginative young child (read: all of them). You order a customized set, including a 30-page book to draw in and 96 stickers of eight photos of your child and/or family and friends. Then watch him dream up all sorts of adventures. Hint: This just may save your sanity if you’ve got a long ride to Grandma’s for the holidays.
A Trike for your Tyke
The Radio Flyer Red Rider is so long-loved, it’s almost synonymous with Christmas. The seat adjusts backward to allow for more leg room as your child grows. In back, there’s a storage box for stuffies your child wants to bring along for the ride or small treasures that will, no doubt, be picked up along the way. The sturdy stainless steel frame supports up to 49 pounds. Find a big gold bow, because that’s a wrap.
Creativity by the Numbers
Remember how much fun painting by numbers was? The Mini Plush Fabric by Number Kits bring that same sense of accomplishment and delight, but without the mess. Colorful fabric snippets and a little-hand-friendly stylus are all your crafty kid needs to make a cheery snowman or furry mouse.
There’s no place like home for the holidays...especially when it’s the Dylan’s Candy Bar for Nod Gingerbread Play Home. Set this up next to the tree on Christmas Eve, and enjoy the unbridled delight in the morning. We’re betting that’s where you’ll find them hours later, when it’s time to sit down to Christmas dinner.
The Travel Adventure Board Game helps your child learn about famous places around the world, such as the Colosseum in Rome or Machu Picchu in Peru. Fifty destinations are part of the fun. Whoever collects the most memories, wins.
Whooo’s the Best Mommy Ever?
Sparkly, cute, and a little bit funny, just like her, the gold-plated Little Snow Owl Pendant is a perfectly pretty present for your own girly girl, a niece, or a Goddaughter.
Move over, Billy Joel
Is there a mini maestro in the house? Encourage your child’s interest in music with piano lessons. And these don’t require you to take your child to an instructor’s house when you already have a bazillion errands to run. Online Hoffman Academy piano lessons are geared toward learning to play by ear before sight, so it’s easier for young children to pick up. Online games reinforce what’s been taught, and practice tracks are designed to build kid confidence.
Your child can start learning to code with Augie the Robot. He responds to more than 100 commands that control his movement, sounds, and LCD screen. Augie’s “lessons”—they’re really immersive games—get more difficult as your child picks things up. Before you know it, your child is designing his own challenges using AR.
Are you raising an aspiring Picasso? The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Art Easel has all the bells and whistles you’ll both like: A dry-erase board, a chalkboard, a locking paper-roll holder, a child-safe paper cutter, and easy-clip grips and large plastic trays that can be taken off to clean. It folds flat and comes in “certified frustration-free packaging.” We’re in.
A Gift that Keeps on Giving
It’s pretty much a given: preschoolers love animals. If you’re looking for an idea for your critter-crazy kid that’s so much better than another stuffed toy, consider a subscription to National Geographic Little Kids. The content is created by educators from around the world and is heavy on eye-catching photos—including lots of baby animals—read-along stories, and games. It’s sized in a format to appeal to young children, and a collectible animal card is tucked into each issue.
Whether there’s rain, snow, or a wintry mix in the forecast, uber lightweight Plae Thandi boots will keep tootsies warm and dry without weighing them down. The edgy-cute camo print on these all-weather kicks makes sledding, snowman building, or snowball fights just a little more fun. Other prints available.
Avocado Toast, Anyone?
This hardcover cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen Kids just came out in October, but it’s already a New York Times bestseller and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. It’s easy to see why. All of the yummy, healthy (or healthyish), and simple recipes in The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs were tested by 750 kids. The directions are accompanied by clear how-to photographs, encompassing not only meals, but desserts and after-school and sleepover snacks as well.
Hand it over
We love old-timey gifts for kids, like these ThumbThings fair trade finger puppets. These petite beauties are handmade by artisans in rural Peru. Collections include wild animals, fairytales, holiday/seasonal designs, and more.
Open. Grin. Repeat.
At the speed young kids—never mind babies—grow, you barely buy one toy before they seem to leap past it developmentally. To avoid watching Christmas toys become old news by spring, look into Skip and Play toy subscription boxes. Each delivery of charming playthings is custom curated to the exact developmental stage and age of your child, from newborns to school age.
A Sucker for Fun
To the tub! These vibrant translucent jellyfish suction to the tile, tub, and each other. Boon Jellies are so enticing, don’t be surprised if he wants to pause the festivities to take a bath. There are worse things...
Pass the Popcorn
What little kid wouldn’t love a movie theatre right in his bedroom, or in the backyard? The Cinemood Storyteller Portable Projector streams any online content, but also comes pre-loaded with more than 120 hours of kid-centric content, including Disney movies, cartoons, shadow puppets, and bedtime stories. It projects onto any flat surface with a “screen” up to 12 feet high. What clinches it for us is the fact that Cinemood gives everyone’s eyes a break, since it emits no blue light, unlike smartphone, tablets, and laptops.
Are these not the most irresistible socks you’ve ever seen? We can’t imagine anything cozier (or more adorable) for little feet than these Fun Animal Socks. Also available in reindeer, bear, koala, and fox.
It’s in the Bag
These will come to the rescue on sleety afternoons when the “I’m bored’s” begin. Alex Little Hands Paper Bag Monsters are easy to create. Children only need to peel, stick, and glue and viola...they’re on their way to a puppet show! Each box makes five funny friends. And how great is it to see kids making their own fun with a paper bag?
Take it Slow
Marshmallow-soft, organic cotton jumpsuits in sizes all the way up to 5T? Yes, please. This comfy-cute wardrobe staple is ethically made in India with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes and lead and nickel-free snaps. And in case you didn’t notice, the design on this Playsuit is sloths. ‘Nuff said.
Under the Rainbow
Wow! This gorgeous Decor Set, consisting of two crocheted rainbow-hued pieces, will brighten the face—and, of course, the room—of any kid who likes living life colorfully.
I’m with the Band
Meet your kid’s first guitar. The Loog Mini Guitar is a real, honest-to-goodness wooden guitar. It’s about the same size as ukulele, but plays and sounds like a classical guitar. That means anything your kiddie learns to play on this can be transferred to a 6-string guitar later on. How cool!
Remember the A in STEAM
When they added the A to STEM, it proved what we all knew: art still matters. A lot. Encourage the creativity in your kid with the Crayola Inspiration Art Case. It’s packed with crayons, (washable) markers, colored pencils, and big pieces of sturdy white paper just begging to be adorned
The Candy Mom Can
What will your kid think is even better than making a gingerbread house over winter break? Making one themed off of that little kid-fave game, Candyland. No worries: you don’t need to oversee a big baking session at the busiest time of the year. The gingerbread is pre-baked, and every last thing is included. Who are we kidding? We want to make it ourselves.
Eight Legs to Love
For the tot who has everything (and we know more than a few), take note of the Organic Octopus Lovey. He’s destined to become the preferred naptime cuddle buddy, whether at home, in the car, or at grandma’s. Hand-knitted of organic cotton, this security blanket has reinforced, no-fray hems for extra safety and durability.
Fly away home (from preschool) with the Mini Wings backpack. It features easy-grab handles, zippered pockets inside and out, cushy padded shoulder straps, and perhaps most importantly, it’s machine washable. Available in four colors.
Ruffle a Few Feathers
The Phoebe the Peacock Jelly Coin Purse will accompany the two of you on every mom-and-daughter shopping spree, no doubt. Just picture it poking out of the top of her stocking.
Talk about a true classic. A traditional leather football forever has a place under the tree. The Wilson NFL MVP Junior Football comes with a tee and pump. At this price, you can pick one up for any and all active kids on your list.
A Sweetie for your Sweetie
If your little girl likes to wear candy bracelets, this is the ultimate upgrade. The iconic Links of London Sweetie stretch bracelet has been reissued in a child’s version, with a thumbprint heart charm. Like the original, it’s solid sterling, made to be a keepsake she’ll wear forever.
Ain’t it the Truth
Does anyone else hear Whitney singing? Here’s a super soft organic tee with a happy message, one that’s fun for kiddos to sport and a gentle reminder to us that we’re raising a future world changer. Your purchase will help alleviate poverty and empower women in the clothing supply chain.
A Quick Fix
Stitch Fix Kids, the baby of the crazy-popular women’s Stitch Fix, was recently born! Here’s how it works: You share your kid’s size, personality, likes and don’t likes, and your budget. A customized box of clothes and accessories from primo brands, along with a personalized note, arrives. (Dance party encouraged!) What doesn’t wow simply goes back postage paid. (It’s not a subscription; you order a box only as often as you like.) We think this is an amazing holiday gift idea for kids who like new clothes but shopping, not so much. Or a child in your family you don’t see often.
And to All a Good Night
New Christmas pajamas, opened on Christmas Eve, are a tradition in some families. And if it’s not one in yours, this limited edition Christmas Set may well inspire you to start one. Stretchy, warm, and so comfy, the pieces have printed-on labels, so you won’t hear “mommy, this itches.” Double loop stitching makes all the seams extra durable. That’s all fine and good, but the print—bears, foxes, and hedgehogs engaged in holiday merriment! These are worthy of wearing all day.