The 2011 Smarty Holiday Gift Guide is sponsored by Toys & Co in Cotswold and Park Road Shopping Center. Find everything on Santa’s list at Toys & Co! And, they will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly. They are the toy experts so they will help you source a gift if you are not sure what to get.
Age 5-9 is such a fun age to shop for! There are so many things that you can do for both boys and girls and you are really beginning to see what their interests are. This age group is broken down by gifts for both boys and girls, just boys, just girls and electronics (this is a beast in a category all by itself!). For this age group you can’t go wrong with electronics, bikes (might be time to invest in a larger bike), American Girl Dolls, and this is also a great time to upgrade the sports equipment, golf clubs, tennis racquets, get rid of the Little Tikes basketball goal and replace with the real deal. Let’s get to it!
Tie-dye t-shirt kits – Create easy no mess tie dye master pieces! Just wrap any of the vibrantly colored strings around the t-shirt. Then dip it in water and let it dry. Snip off the string and wear it! Kit includes one 50/50 cotton t-shirt. What kid doesn’t want to create their own t-shirt!
Pogo Sticks – BOING! BOING! BOING! My son has loved his pogo stick. It is a great way to keep them occupied and busy for hours. Once they get the hang of it, they will be on it all the time. These come in versions for all ages.
Telescope – Give an opportunity to check the stars out or the moon close up. Great for curious kids.
Bananagrams Game – Bananagrams is a fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board. All you need is a table. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes. It is a great for family fun as well as being educational.
My First Weather Station – We got one for my son last year and will get one for my daughters this year. Our whole family checks this in the am for the weather. It also acts as an alarm clock! The best is it comes in a boy or girl model and features a child wearing the clothes appropriate for the weather that day. Can be found at Wal-Mart, Bass Pro, and Target.
Scooters and Electric Scooters – All kids love their scooters and if they are 8-9, check out the electric. I even have a great time on my son’s.
Bike/Scooter Helmet – Might be time for an upgrade.
Playmobil has great sets for both boys and girls – there are tons of themes and you can start out with small sets and grow them with additional pieces. This is the PERFECT gift for the anti-Lego kid, you know, the one who likes it to already be put together so no time is wasted! There is also a new line of sets for older boys age 8 and up.
Bean Bags – Pottery Barn Kids has precious patterns. This is a great gift when kids get too big for the floor chair. The Company Store has themed ones as well and you can get them personalized with his or her name on it at both places.
Puzzles – the 100 or even 200 pieces are good. For the older kids try the 3-D puzzles.
Board games are also great. You can start a new family tradition with game night and play games such as Sorry!, Blokus, Go Fish, memory game, and Zingo. Sorry Sliders, Apples to Apples, Monopoly and Rush Hour Deluxe Puzzle are all good choices for the older set.
Butterfly Gardens and Ant Habitats – These are both really neat ways to give your child a gift that they will enjoy watching and have to participate in the care of. There are several options to choose from and on the Ant farms you can get pretty fancy!
Break Open Geodes – for your rock hounds this a really cool kit for kids.
Magazine Subscriptions – Highlights, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Time for Kids, American Girl Magazine
Bookstore gift cards – let them pick out their own books and begin building their own little libraries.
iPod Nano – This is just for music. Great start for your little ones just getting into music.
iPod Touch – This is the mac-daddy and I would recommend this one. For just a little more, you get the full monty. This gadget is rigged with music, gaming, video capability, skype capability. It’s basically an iPhone minus the phone. It’s a great tool for kids of all ages starting at age 6 and up. The pros: you invest in the device, but games are free or super cheap. It’s a computer, so much at their fingertips. The cons: it’s a computer, make sure YOU SET UP PARENTAL CONTROLS!! They are fragile. Make sure you buy the sturdiest case available.
Along those lines, peep these PRESH Lilly Pulitzer iPod 4g cases – LOVE!
Nintendo DSi – I’m thinking it’s time to retire this gaming system. Maybe look for used sets because they are becoming obsolete – Game Stop would be a good start. Nintendo DSi’s are the same price as an iPod Touch but you have to buy expensive games separately. These games are tiny and can easily get lost. If you invest in an iPod Touch, there are millions of games that cost you nothing or at most, $3.99. And they are stored in your iTunes account, so once you own the game, you own the game, it can’t get lost. Big plus.
iPads & Android Tablets – I say save these for the teens due to the price tag and the high cost. They are incredibly amazing and a great educational tool, but they are pretty expensive. The Android tablets are less expensive than iPads. It seems to me like you need to stick with your computers too – mac owners should buy iPads and PC owners should buy the android tablets, mainly for compatibility.
Kindle & Nook – These are also for the higher end of this age group. But these are nice because it’s online books and much cheaper than buying a hard copy. It’s green, saves trees and you can check out e-books from your local library. Bonus! Note: consider the basic nook/kindle versus the new tablets. You may not need all of that internet access and just stick with the electronic book feature.
Faux Bow – Saw this at Toys & Co. and loved it. Perfect gift for the boy that likes to be outdoors but has outgrown Stomp Rockets.
Quadrilla marble sets – Lots of fun to build and rebuild to create new ways for the marbles to run.
Snap Circuits – Snap Circuits makes learning electronics easy and fun! Just follow the colorful pictures in the manual and build exciting projects such as AM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and much more! You can even play electronic games with your friends.
Legos Legos and more Legos! With the rise in popularity of Lego Clubs in elementary schools, these are too cool for school!
Tent/camping gear/ sleeping bag – if you have a Scout or the family likes the great outdoors, Christmas is a perfect time to start gearing up.
RC Vehicles – From monster trucks, hot rods, all-terrain or boats. This is something that they will have great fun with.
Mythbuster Kits – There is a good variety of these and boys seem to love to figure out how things work.
It’s time to get the real deal American Girl doll whether it’s one of the historical dolls or a design your own. As your daughter gets older she will really start to love the story’s that accompany the dolls. This is also a gift you can build on with the books and outfits. Even a visit to one of the stores for a special treat.
Sleeping bag – Girls love a sleep over, prepare her with a fun sleeping bag.
Monogrammed Luggage – have her stylin for the sleepover or just a trip to the grandparents. Great place to look – Alphabet Soup. Also Hallmark stores have the cute Vera Bradley large duffles. These are the PERFECT size for sleepovers and weekend getaways. Plus, they can grow up with them. Still cool in high school!
Mandala Designer – Create an infinite amount of beautiful Mandala Designs! The additional mini stencil fits into the maxi stencil for even more design possibilities. These are great for those who like to create.
Horses seem to be all the rage for girls. You can start with Breyer Horses and accessories and Melissa and Doug make a great Fold and Go Stable that comes with 4 horses. My daughter has loved hers and carries it with her in the car.
Paint by Number from Creativity for Kids – several designs including Pop Art Cupcakes. Very cute and the finished product will look great in her room.
Most girls this age love to create. There are many kits by Alex and others to create everything from knitted scarfs, friendship bracelets and mosaics.
For older girls, start a charm bracelet and add to it for birthdays and future holidays. It will become the box she looks for under the tree. What will this year’s charm be?