Kate’s Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

It can be hard to make a gift guide for kids. SO many toys are marketed to a specific gender, but I refuse to make a “boy” and “girl” toy list. Childhood is a time to explore and discover who we are, what we like, and how we identify. With my own children, I’ve tried my best to not impose my own identity and interests on them. Eva (my 9 y/o) likes American Girl dolls, but loathes any other kind of doll. She loves art and science, so I tend to buy her STEM toys and art supplies. She refuses to wear skirts or dresses, but loves to dress her American Girl dolls in them.

Josie, my 5 y/o, LOVES dresses, skirts, dolls, and playing with makeup and Barbies. I was more like Eva as a child in this way, preferring sports and shorts to Barbies and dresses, and have not encouraged Josie to prefer any of those ultra-feminine toys, but it’s just what she’s drawn to (for now). When Josie was 2 years old (and until she was 3), she would get mad if anyone called her a girl. “I is a BOY!” she would always retort. By age 4, she was exploring totally different toys and clothing, and identifying as a girl. I can’t wait to see what she’s up to when she turns 6!

As a parent, I really believe my job is to just open the door for them to explore gender, hobbies, subjects, and toys. I tend to buy off their “Santa” lists, but also add a few toys that I picked out on my own. I keep their interests in mind when doing so, but also try to make them educational AND fun. Because kids ages also span a wide range, I tried to add gift ideas to this list that would be great choices for a wide-range of ages and gender identities.

HAY HAY PLAY CHESS

This chess board is so pretty, it’s a toy I definitely wouldn’t mind having out on display. My daughter Eva started playing chess with us around age 7, but chess is a game that every age group loves to play.

$56

DEAR WORLD PIN GLOBE

Our family loves to travel, and I just know Eva and Josie will both be so excited about sticking pins in all the places they have visited…and continue to stick the pins in after future travels. I love the idea of buying a second set of pin colors for the kids to stick into places they would LIKE to visit. I think that would be a great way for them to learn geography and encourage them to explore different places and cultures.

$55

HEY CLAY ANIMALS

My sister-in-law bought this set for Eva when she turned 7 and it was a huge hit. What kid doesn’t like to play with clay? I mean, what ADULT doesn’t like to play with clay? I love that this set shows them how to make these animals, too. A perfect gift for a child you may not know too well, too, because even if they already have clay…. they could always use more!

$20

LEGO STORAGE SET OF FOUR

My kids love legos so much that we have an entire (small) room in the attic dedicated to just legos. There are tiny lego pieces everywhere in our attic and it was driving me wild, so when our kids spotted this storage set at the Container Store a few months ago and BEGGED me to get it, it didn’t take too much convincing. The kids love stacking these containers into different shapes, and it actually makes lego clean-up FUN. If you’re looking to add a little extra something to this gift, it might be fun to buy a small lego set with it, too!

$50

MIKO 3 THE ROBOT

I can just hear my programmer-cousin’s voice right now, reprimanding me for allowing this little AI toy access to our home. Miko DOES seem pretty smart, I’ll admit, but I’m also of the mindset that our data is being tracked/stolen/used on a daily basis already and it would be a bit moot to ban little Miko from the house. This was my “splurge” gift for Eva this Christmas. This little robot has so many amazing features, be sure to check them all out!

from $199

WOODEN EDUCATIONAL GAME

I love this toy because not only is it educational, it’s a gift that would be loved by any young child, from birth and up. As an adult, I do lament the fact that I didn’t play with many “building” toys as a child. Physics was the subject I always struggled most with and that sort of thing might just be how we’re born, but it can’t hurt to give those little brains a leg up. Plus, these blocks are so pretty!

from $29

ANIMAL SLEEVE SWEATER

I mean, could this sweater be any sweeter? I buy a lot of Boden clothing for my kids, especially Eva. The quality is so good that by the time Eva has grown out of the Boden clothing, it’s still in wonderful condition to be passed down to Josie. And when Josie is through with it all? It’s nearly always still in wonderful condition to donate or sell (I use ThredUp to sell/donate my kids clothes). In fact, I’m going to share my ThredUp link with you now – which will get you $10 to shop! It’s a great site for secondhand clothing. But this little sweater from Boden is just too adorable to pass up!

$41 (currently on sale)

GINGHAM PIGGY BANK

This little piggy is just too cute and would make the perfect gift for a new baby. It comes in three different colors – yellow, blue and pink – and each color is just as sweet as the next. I know my kids LOVE their piggy banks, so if your child doesn’t have one, this is always a hit!

$35

STAND MIXER PLAY SET

Playing with fake food was always my favorite thing to do as a young kid, which is strange because as an adult, I hardly cook. This set is just so cute and I love that it is made of wood instead of plastic. Eva (who is now nearly 10) still loves playing with the play kitchen, so this gift would be perfect for nearly any age!

$60

HELLO LOVELY VANITY TABLE

Ok, I have mixed feelings about this. First, IT’S SO CUTE. Secondly, I love that it has all the storage for hair ties, jewelry, etc. But on the flip, I have mixed feelings about encouraging my little one to sit in front of the mirror, staring at her face. But then I think about how much I loved playing with my toy vanity as a kid. I loved sports, fishing, wrestling with my brother… but I also loved playing makeup with my older cousins. I STILL love makeup and my girls DO watch me put it on in the morning. There really is just something plain FUN about playing around with lipsticks, blush and hairstyles. This one is definitely a splurge, but it’s another toy that I know I wouldn’t mind displaying in the house.

$250

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