The holidays are a lovely time of year, and there is nothing more magical than seeing the excitement in a little kid’s eyes when he opens that special gift. Sometimes that excitement can turn to absolute dread in the eyes of the parents though, because they know that gift is anything but magical.
Gifts involving glitter, marbles, toys with buttons (that little ones can push over and over to make annoying sounds), whistles, kazoos and recorders have to top the list of gifts parents hate to see their kids receive. Pretty much, if it needs batteries, think at least twice and maybe put it back on the shelf. Let’s not forget Play-Doh — most parents hate Play-Doh.
So, what’s left? Here are some great gifts my kids have received — or would love to receive — that wouldn’t make me hate you. You’re welcome.
1. Fashion Plates
Fashion Plates are probably a throwback to your own childhood and perfect for the tween. (Fat Brain Toys, $25)
2. 20 Questions electronic game
20 Questions electronic game is perfect for making kids use their brains, and it’s a great family game too! (Amazon, $25)
3. Kinetic Sand
3A great alternative to Play-Doh because it doesn’t dry out and is easier to clean up: Kinetic Sand. (Toys R Us, $20)
4. Construction vehicle utensils and plate
Construction vehicle utensils and plate for the toddler who doesn’t want to eat. (Amazon, $33)
5. IQ Twist
IQ Twist: A learning game for 6-year-olds and older that mom can throw in her purse — so when kids are bored, they aren’t playing on her phone. (Barnes & Noble, $10)
6. Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids
Books are always a great way to go. A joke book is a fun way to get kids (and you) laughing. Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids makes a great stocking stuffer, too. (Walmart, $3)
Magformers are a hit with all three of my kids. They are powerful magnets that they can build with, and it encourages them to build and be creative. (Target, $33)
8. National Geographic Kids
Magazine subscriptions are a great gift idea. I love National Geographic Kids and my kids love getting it every month. (National Geographic, 10 issues for $15)
9. their own wallet
Little kids love to feel big by having their own wallet. You can fill it with a little, or a lot, of money depending on the age of the child. (Personalization Mall, $16)
10. Day and Night puzzle
For ages 3 and up, this Day and Night puzzle is perfect for little and big kids. It comes with a book with 48 different challenges to give your kids as they grow. (Amazon, $27)
11. OK to Wake!
12. Crayola creativity tub
13. Koala Capers
Educational games for toddlers are always a great way to help the little ones stay away from screen time. I like Educational Insights games like this cute Koala Capers. (Amazon, $11)
14. Boogie Board
This Boogie Board is like an Etch A Sketch for modern kids. It comes with a fun stylus and erases with a click of a button. It fits perfectly in a purse too for on-the-go fun and is very durable. (Amazon, $28)
15. Family adventures
Experiences are the best gift to make parents happy because most parents would agree that their kids don’t need any more toys. Consider getting a family pass to the local zoo, children’s museum or museum of natural history in their area — because the holidays really are about spending time together. And that’s what kids (and parents) want most of all.
Meredith is a mother of three who is all about trying to be “real” when it comes to motherhood after years of trying to fake perfection. She writes about lots of perfect and not-so-perfect parenting moments on her blog, Perfection Pending. She has made the Today Show’s List of Funniest Parents on Facebook, and is a regular contributor on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter where she loves to commiserate with other moms who aren’t afraid to share photos of their messy houses, laugh at themselves and admit that parenting is the hardest job they’ve ever done.