This is my first-ever attempt at a gift guide, and I'll be honest: it's pretty basic. There are a couple reasons for this: 1) you know your kid better than I do, so you probably know what s/he likes better than I do, so who am I to give advice?; and 2) listing a bunch of stuff to buy just isn't my thing. That said, there are a couple things we've encountered this year that are just fantastic, and I want to share them with you. One is even free!
Let's start with the free, shall we? These posters from NASA/the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. I don't even love outer space the way my kids do, but I'm absolutely ga-ga for these. AND YOU CAN DOWNLOAD ALL OF THEM FOR FREE!! How cool is that? It'll cost you something to have them printed, of course. Be sure to read the slogan on each poster!
When James was preparing to take two boys under four years old on an international flight by himself, our neighbor surprised him with this fantastic SmartMax Power Vehicles set (and I think she added on the SmartMax Airborne set, too). If your kid loves blocks and vehicles, this is just about the best gift you can get. It's like combining Magna-Tiles with Legos with a train set. One cool thing: a couple pieces in the set are tension-loaded, so if you pull them backwards and let go, they'll shoot across the room. August loves this feature.
Ada Twist, Scientist
Ada Twist, Scientist has been on my wish list since I heard it was coming out. We have the two previous books in this series, Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer, and they're fantastic. The books' characters are all in the same elementary school class, so you see the same (diverse!) faces in each book. They're smart, funny, and I love the cadence of the writing. Both boys love them as much as I do.
(Thanks, Dava, for recommending them to me so many months ago!)
Ikea Book Stand
Okay, so maybe this is more for the parents than the kids. I bought this Ikea book stand last weekend and already I love it. We had a pile of books on the floor by the bed, and now they're all neatly organized (except, of course, when Leif gets mad at me and pulls them out, one-by-one, and throws them on the floor). Actually, I bought two, and plan on putting together the second to keep in the living room (so Leif can throw books wherever he is).
It's easy enough to assemble that the kids can, ahem, help you put it together. A little extra family bonding for your holiday season. 😉
Traveler's Scratch Map
For the tiny world traveler, this Scratch Map Original world wall map is way cooler (and a bit safer) than placing pins in a regular world map. Use a coin to scratch off everywhere you've been, revealing bright colors underneath. (I prefer the black one, which shows each continent's tallest peak and lowest spot, but it's currently sold out on Amazon. You can find it from the UK creator here.)
If you live in Sweden, you can find this at R.O.O.M.
Empty Cardboard Boxes
Let's not forget the cardboard boxes that everything came in. Because despite all the money and energy you put into getting the perfect gifts, they always want to play with the big, empty boxes. =)
Do you have any fantastic gift ideas this holiday season? Please share!
(Some of these items include Amazon Affiliate links. I make a tiny commission for every item bought through these links: thank you for helping to support this little labor of love! That said, please feel free to purchase from your favorite independent retailer, too—that'd make me just as happy.)