When shopping for children, we prefer to think beyond the hottest toys of the season. We search high and low for gifts that are imaginative and educational. For this year's recommendations, we're proud to shine the spotlight on books, art supplies, baking accessories, and additions to the dress-up trunk.
Following are some excellent picks for creative kids (ages 3-10).
All listed products were provided to Metropolitan Mama for testing and review purposes.
One of the best picture books of 2013, this delightful book recounts the true story of Anne Carroll Moore. A stubborn and easy-to-love protagonist, Miss Moore created the first children's room at the New York Public Library. In a time when libraries were considered to be exclusively for adults, Miss Moore flung the doors wide open for children. A charmingly illustrated hardcover with an inspiring message, kids will be enchanted by the history and encouraged to dream against the status quo.
All kids love to be kitchen helpers - especially when baking up something sweet! To make the experience all the more magical, wrap up a whimsical cupcake kit by Meri Meri. We're partial to the Flower Fairies kit, a breath of spring in the middle of winter. Literary lovers will want to gift the Peter Rabbit kit to "somebunny" they love. And we mustn't forget The Nutcracker kit - box it up with a pair of tickets to a live performance in your town!
Encourage creativity with this set for the serious young artist. Contents include a sand-colored smock, eight paintbrushes of different sizes, and three stackable cups. At under $12, it's also an affordable option - a good choice for nephews, nieces, and birthday parties throughout the year! For a corresponding stocking stuffer, pick up a Paint Tray Palette for $1.71 - 4 stars on Amazon and specifically designed for small hands!
Color their world with this impressive fan-shaped case of 100 different acid-free and non-toxic markers! From peach and lavender to sand and sangria, meticulous crafters will be in heaven.
A solid five-star product on Amazon, this bundle includes an 8 1/2 x 11 hardbound sketch book, a 9 x 12 drawing pad, and a 9 x 12 sketching pad...for under $14! All three drawing pads feature bright white acid-free paper for sketching, drawing, pastels, and pen and ink.
For kids that are ready to move beyond Crayola, consider the Natural Beeswax Set by International Arrivals. Ideal for blending, the 24 thick triangular crayons are probably best suited for ages 4 and up since they are non-washable. For stocking stuffers, stockpile the color appeel crayon sticks (a set of 12 rainbow colors) and the fuzzy wuzzy graphite pencils (easy-to-sharpen, soft-to-handle pencils).
Say good-bye to sandwich bags and disposable water bottles! This BPA-free, lead-free, phthatlate-free, and PVC-free kit is sure to stand out from the pack. The bag boasts a fresh + modern design and is made of super soft cotton. Contents include a cotton napkin, a stainless steel beverage bottle, food kozy for sandwiches, and two stainless steel food containers with lids. Ice pack sold separately.
Small dancers with BIG ambitions will love the stage-worthy pieces by Capezio. Little girls will ooh and ahh at the sparkly Cap Sleeve Tutu Dress - available in three colors. Here's another idea - box up a pair of Tap shoes with a gift certificate for corresponding lessons!
Have you introduced your daughter(s) to a certain smart and spunky red-headed orphan named Anne? Begin with the first three Anne novels, then watch the digitally remastered DVD. For added fun, purchase the Anne of Green Gables Hat with Braids ($15.99) for dress-up!
Take a look at the adorable twin sets by American Girl! Choose skin tone, hair color, and gender to create your favorite pair. They come with full outfits (including shoes!) and a special book. These 15-inch dolls have rubber-like arms, legs, and a face - and a soft body. Additional clothing and accessories are also available for purchase, including "Dress Like Your Doll" outfits (up to size 7).
Will you be shopping for a child this year? What gift recommendations would you add?
Be sure to check out Metropolitan Mama’s full 2013 Christmas Gift Guide.