Inside: Ammunition to help you win the Holiday Gift Giving Battle with Kids. Keep your camera ready.Unfortunately for her, the ugliest facial expression my mother ever used was captured on film.
Oh, I wish I could find a copy of the picture.
Just the thought of it makes me snort.
It was Christmas 1984.
My little sister Jackie had given mom a red shirt for Christmas. It was a beautiful red shirt. Jackie was sure mom would love it, adore it, and wear it with pride.
Sure enough, mom carefully opened her package Christmas morning. Mom went on and on and on and on about how much she loved it and Jackie gleamed with pride.
And then came the photos.
These were the dinosaur days of taking the film out of the camera and dropping them off at a photo development store and waiting and waiting to see whether or not you took a decent picture to capture the joy of the moment.
Oh boy. The joy.
When the pictures were revealed a few days later, Jackie grabbed the picture of mom and her red shirt. Jackie’s face turned bright red, her lips pursed and steam rushed out of her ears like in the cartoons.
Oh, Dear Lord.
The contorting of facial muscles.
Mom must have been mid-blink while simultaneously smelling something awful.
Jackie screamed. “I thought you liked the shirt!” She stomped away and slammed the door.
Finding the right holiday gift can be a struggle. Rather than leaving you to a google rabbit hole or a bunch of recommendations to sift through, I’ve pulled together a one-stop shop filled with meaningful gifts for the tinkerers in your life…Whether they’re 3 or 83.
I still do not have daughters. Just my five sons. I am not complaining.
Boys are easy and straight-forward creatures. I love each and every one of mine and would not trade any of them for a warm cup of coffee on a freezing wintery day.
If I have a daughter, I would definitely be gifting her today’s pick.
I love to write. So she would love to write too? Right? Humor me. It doesn’t hurt anything for me to believe that if I had a daughter she would love this as much as I think she would:).
Yes, They have journals for Mom’s and Sons too.
Tiny builders, start here!
These soft tactile blocks are great for truly little littles to learn on. Made of natural rubber foam, they are squishy but perfect for building. They’re colorful and durable and fit together easily. Children can create a variety of shapes and structures!
Using imagination and coordination, young children work on spatial, fine and gross motor skills. For kids who need sensory input, the tactile stimulation provided by this toy is fantastic.
And while we’re thinking about giving, it’s also important to think about responsible buying. This is a green product, made in India at a fair trade factory using premium quality, child-safe materials. The surface is 100% nylon and wipes clean, making it perfect for little chewers!
“My husband is quite the handyman. I purchased these for my son (and a different set for my daughter), to encourage their interest in making/building things and in fixing things. So far, I have a new a bird feeder and a bat house. Yah!” ~ Gail R – Teacher
The unmatched magnetic building set. Talk about STEAM!
Perfect for large families and ambitious builders, the Challenger set encourages kids to explore magnetic construction through modular play. Magformers believes it is vital for children to develop through creativity and constructional play. This set does not disappoint.
You’ll find a variety of magnetic shapes in this set, both Rainbow and XL cruiser pieces so that children can design and build ideas from both lines including the ‘magic ball’ and super fast XL roadster.
This set makes a great addition to a math or art curriculum, that’s super hands – on. Children of all ages can build and create together making it a great social gift set.
Tegu blocks are finely crafted with magnets embedded so kids can build multiple structures form various shapes. Like Rubbablox,Tegu is made from eco-friendly material (in this case wood) and comes in a variety of color schemes to suit preference and mood. Honduras and named after the capital city Tegucigalpa.
Kids defy gravity and push their imagination in previously unseen ways. No instruction manuals or electronics; just toys that demand imagination and inspire limitless creativity across all ages.
Tegu Blocks are bringing back open, creative play with style – right in time!
This makes a great gift because it unlocks a child’s mind through innovative play. The pieces are small enough to be portable.
“I believe this is an AMAZING product. Something amazing happens when kids use their hands and imagination to create.” ~ Harvey S
“Bought these for my 6 year old grandson for Christmas and we now call his creations ‘the work of a City Planner.’ The different shapes and structures take on the look of city skylines with random items like trees, bridges, etc. Geometry was never so much fun.” ~Deborah F – Homeschooler, Teacher
“My first reaction was “these are pricey!” but they were highly recommended to me so I gave it a go. Now I can tell they will be loved for years. My 3 year old loves stacking them and clicking them together and a part. I even have fun playing with these and I’m an adult. They are high quality and the colors are great. ~ Summer H – Homeschooler, Parent, Teacher
Packed with step-by-step instructions for 15 charming builds, The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book is the perfect family activity this holiday season! It’s one part coffee table for adults, and two parts instruction book kids of all ages.
With The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book as their guide, kids make classic globe and barrel ornaments, all out of LEGO! Other possible creations include original gingerbread houses, a merry Santa, arcade cabinets, and so much more!
This makes a perfect gift for the child who already owns tons of LEGO blocks but is always looking for inspirational building ideas.
Put some STEAM in your holiday plans! This math activity set stimulates learning through magnetic construction and creation. Activities in the set utilize the always attracting magnets to solve math problems such as patterns, addition and subtraction, and 2D nets to 3D structures.
Use the 50 page math book included to layout Magformers shapes and complete the mathematical challenges! The set contains 12 different geometric shapes including squares and triangles, rectangles and trapezoids through to the super squares and triangles.
Realistic building for young builders! This set makes a great gift for children who love to help parents and grandparents in the workshop.
Encourage children to spend valuable imagination time learning new skills with this 10-piece set tool set. It includes screwdrivers, hammer, handsaw, bar clamp, file, tape measure, ruler, safety goggles, and tool belt.
Work and play are intertwined with building activities that are challenging, educational, and – most importantly, fun! The tool designs are authentic so children can make-believe they are true woodworkers.
Build big connections! Kids work together to literally make bridges, obstacle courses – anything they imagine.
Start fun-filled construction with just three simple steps: connect, twist, and create. Toobeez Original Building Kit is a life-sized construction toy. Unlike regular blocks, this kit comes with interlocking tubes and spheres that can be linked to create structures right out of kids’ imagination. They can construct anything from a doll house, a helicopter, lemonade stand or a pirate ship.
Just connect and twist the tube into the connector spheres. It’s a great set to be used indoors for forts as well as outdoors for lawn activities.
This set makes a lasting gift because it promotes creativity and inspires imagination with unlimited building possibilities. Adults won’t be able to resist creating with their kids!
The 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot kit is the recipient of the “Best Green Products Award 2013” from Dr Toy and Creative Child Magazine has anointed it with “Top Toy of the Year Award” and “Kids Product of the Year Award.”
This robot can be transformed into 14 different robot modes which include a multitude of comical and functional movements. The user can easily change from a Wagging-Tail Dog to Running Beetle to Walking Crab to Surfer to Speedster to Zombie Chaser!
It’s super versatile, too – there are parts that make the robot move on land and water. Like an amphibian! This a great gift for more advanced robot aficionados.
“Excellent resource for my Middle School STEAM students. Anything robotic is extremely appealing and interesting to them so this was a big set!!! Great resource, highly recommend it.” ~ Faith B., Teacher
“We purchased this for our just-turned-9 year old’s birthday. He loves it! It’s a nice size and there are so many things you can do with it! It comes with about 200 pieces and a thick instruction manual on how to make 14 different bots. Of course, the limit is your imagination and I’m excited to see how many things my son can come up with!” ~ Celena M
“Fun and educational. I like the snap together concept and the ability to take apart and reassemble multiple times. A very good price for all that you get.” ~ Martha M
Build a 3D bot! This makes a creative and thinking gift for the child fascinated by robots.
Young innovators will click, connect, and create with the NEW Magformers 45 piece Walking Robot set! Kids will love following along with the step-by-step idea booklet to discover the possibilities of the colorful Walking Robot Set. Eight walking characters are built using the STEAM engine block and walking accessories!
Building with Magformers encourages children to use their imagination and show their creativity while developing skills and knowledge critical to their development success. Magformers uses high quality “always attracting” magnetic technology that provides endless constructional play.
An electrifying gift! This kit is perfect for the budding electrician looking to be stimulated by simple but intriguing experiments.
Mand Labs KIT-1 is one of the coolest Educational Electronics Kit that you will ever find. With their powerful step by step visual instructions, teens can create a variety of fascinating electricity and electronic projects. They will be able to understand how real world electronic component works, test laws of physics, gain technical skills and have fun. Watch out, Nobel!
The best part is that the kit is all-in-one. It comes with all requisite parts and tools for making 50+ projects and venturing further into electronics, books for theoretical reference, learning and making videos, troubleshooting guide, and an award winning package design that opens up into a personalized workstation. Note: This is a safe kit.
This is an online e-course of Beginning Architecture with 25+ architecture lessons providing the early fundamentals of structures, home design, and zoo design.
Kids use things laying around the house like paper, popsicle sticks, straws, paper plates, and pipe cleaners along with learned methods to design their own homes! Each lesson concentrates on designing and personalizing a specific room of their homes, structures or zoos. By the end of the course, students will have designed a home specific to their personal tastes and will have built various designs.
This course provides more specific architectural challenges for students who are interested in playing with and learning about architecture and some interior design, making it a great holiday gift!
Teens will have a blast learning how to make their own website with the help of this fun, illustrated introduction to the basics of website-building. Mix creativity with real world empowerment. The awesome cartoon guide will help teens learn the basics and pretty soon, they’ll have a website all their own to show off to all their friends.
Readers learn how to use HTML tags, make their own site shine with CSS, customize WordPress to fit their needs, and choose a company to host the site. They also get advice on things like how to pick a good domain name – and those of you in the blogging sphere know that’s no joke!
Finding Gifts that Bless our Kids and Inspire Creativity, while simultaneously Avoiding the “Red Shirt Face” is worth the moments spent finding just the right mix of awesomeness and creativity.