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Cool Kid Gifts

With three kids, six nieces and nephews and an endless stream of birthday parties for school classmates, I’m always on the hunt for cool gifts for kids. The trick: Finding something that the littles will love AND won’t make their parents hate me. (Hello, singing dog guitar.)

As my kids will tell you, noisy electronic toys seem to mysteriously lose their batteries around here (sorry, not sorry). I think the best gifts for kids are always the simple ones that require imagination and outdoor play. The more it encourages my kids to be creative and get their “ya-ya’s” out, the better. I also find that these are the toys that they return to over and over, year after year, so they always feel like money well spent.

Here, my top 10 gift ideas that kids AND parents will be thrilled to unwrap. What are your favorite kid gifts to give?

Tenderleaf Toys Smoothie Maker

I love wooden toys (they’re so pretty!) and it’s a bonus when they’re so interactive like this smoothie maker. It helps develop Odette’s fine motor skills and the wild recipes she concocts always make me smile.

Plan Toys Submarine

Bath time might be my favorite time of day. I put the kids in the tub with some bubbles and fun toys, like this yellow submarine, and can finally sit back and relax while they’re confined in one space.

Corolle Doll

I love watching Odette role play with her baby doll. She loves to feed her and rock her (and throw her around a bit as well!) This one is soft and sweet — and machine washable, which is always a plus.

Micro Kickboard

This scooter is beloved by all of my kiddos. And the adjustable t-bar means it grows with them, so they can play with it for years.

Kid Made Arts and Crafts Library

This set is the perfect gift to help little ones flex their creative muscles. It can be a bit messy, but the hours it will keep your kids occupied is well worth the clean up.

Tweemade donut chalk

Ok, I know it’s super simple BUT the opportunities are endless! Tom and Shep used to learn to write their letters with sidewalk chalk and now use it to build these intricate obstacle courses in our driveway.

Benzara chess set

Chess is a passion of Jared’s and, if I’m totally honest, it’s not really my cup of tea. However, I do love that it encourages my boys to think ahead and strategize (not my skill set). Now they play a game on my phone called Chess with Friends with their dad, which has been a fun way for them to connect while he’s on set in Vancouver. (Tom even won an award at a chess event recently!) This set is made with beautiful wood and folds up for easy storage.

Woom bike

These bikes are amazing! Not only do they have striders that encourage balance and allow for a smooth transition to riding a two-wheeler, they are also super lightweight for easy control.

Hockey set

As the boys have gotten older, sports have become a big theme in our house. Tom is constantly checking scores and asking questions about how certain games work. With all the time we spend in Canada, he’s particularly curious about hockey. We’ve taken the kids to several Canucks games and they are OBSESSED. This set always gets them excited to play outdoors and I love that it encourages team building.

Pidoko Kids Stacking and and Tumbling Colored Blocks

Building blocks always inspire hands-on imaginative play. This set also comes with dice for a game that the whole family can play and enjoy.

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April 12, 2019
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  • michaela?

    Thanks for these ideas gen ? I have two nieces and two nephews and always need new ideas ? Hoping I have a child of my own to give them gifts like this. A massive good luck to you and jared on Sunday, I am routing for you all the way from england ✨ You are both truly hero’s and your legacy will grow as the funds you have raised begun to filter through dream big to the girls that need it. Thank you @nowandgen ❤

  • Angelica Lacarra

    Love the wooden toys & the arts and crafts &that donut ?? chalk I’m getting that for my nephew. The best thing is that they all make the kiddos use their imagination. I am so over buying all the new toys that just make it easier for children to sit and no imagination what so ever. By the way I truly enjoy your blog. Much love to the Padalecki Family.

  • Anne Downing

    Great blog!!! As a parent with teenagers I can say these are toys that are great ideas!! When mine were little I always loved to provide toys that were able to last a lifetime. If the boys love to play outside and have interests in sports like hockey, try lacrosse. My oldest has been playing for years. It’s a great way to get younger ones outside and run off some energy!!

  • Alice

    I’m not a parent but an epic aunt. My adorable honorary niece always loved drumming as a baby so first birthday, frozen drum kit. Week later it was dismantled & hidden; daddy did not appreciate being woken up by a cymbal to the face

  • Patricia

    Any noisy toys like cars that play annoying music etc are brought to Nannies house for Grandad to disconnect the music wire, we have still got some of my eldest daughters barbies in the loft.our youngest Grandson 3yr old loves playing outside an anything that has wheels.

  • Hailey Owens

    I love how wooden toys are making a comeback. I was always a linkin’ Logs fan as a child. One thing that my godson is in love with is science or anything hands on. For his birthday last year, I subscribed him to a monthly science box from Kiwico. They have different age levels and skill sets. It supports engineering, critical thinking, and problem solving!

  • Valarie

    These are great! I’m not a mom but I have lots of friends with kids and I refuse to buy toys that need batteries. There are so many amazing playsets from companies like Melissa and Doug or Green Toys!

  • Kim Jacobs

    When my grandsons were little I bought much the same kinds of toys for them. Thier parents have always encouraged them to play outside or to engage in board games etc. Lego is a favourite of theirs also. I now have a great niece so I can buy a few girlie toys now! Ivy loves unicorns. What are Odette’s favourite things?

  • Debbie Davis

    Sidewalk chalk is a must for this Meme (not Mimi). Plus I buy wooden toys for grandkids. Have a train set since my 17 year old grandson was little. They last and are much safer. My grandsons like chess, monopoly, guess who, checkers. We have a outdoor checker table to set up on our porch. Fun times outside. Glad spring is here.

  • Mary Wallin

    I love your suggestions! As a nanny and a kids yoga instructor, I know how important it is to give a great gift, and one that does NOT make noise! I would add that books are always a great gift idea, and one that could be personalized. I highly recommend Susan Verde’s “I Am” series. They are wonderfully illustrated books about recognizing and understanding your emotions. 🙂

  • Antoinette

    When my kids were little I always bought them stuff where they could learn from, a little computer what helped in learning how to spell, books!!! digging dinosaurs out of blocks, but also farm stuff (since we live on a farm) lego, coloring books, chalk, I just love it when it is something usefull and fun.

  • Nepomuk Linde

    I love your blog! You are are a truly inspirational person!
    The only thing that is difficult is that there are no dates to your posts. I think that would give the whole blog a better structure.

  • lesdeuxcatastrophes

    For my kids an INTERMATEABLE MARBLE RUN has been THE hit for years! We chose a plastic version as for easier transportation and outdoor (or in-water!) use. The wooden runs though beautiful have to be very precisely built as not to tumble down so weren’t really adapt for younger kids -and are rather expensive. It fused their imagination, their handy skills and engineering creativity!? And once the capacity of our muffins baking tray expired (this was their first “cooking-putting-together-spices“-experimenting field) a PLAYING KITCHEN SET rocked it! It even served the teens as homebase for testing their “restaurant managing“ skills.?

  • Patti

    Sidewalk chalk was ALWAYS a staple at our house, and it seems no matter what age they are, they will grab one and start to draw!

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