With millions of products lining the virtual shopping shelves and hundreds more overwhelming your senses in the toy aisle it can be hard to know what toys are worth adding to your cart (virtual or otherwise) and which toys will end up collecting dust at the bottom of the toy box by the end of January. Our helpful gift for kids holiday gift guide features a mixture of classics, tech-free and high-tech toys that kids will love well past next Christmas.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Gifts For Kids
Osmo Genius Kit
As the concept of STEAM is moving into classrooms across the US, the Osmo Genius Kit lets kids get ahead of the curve by encouraging them to use Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics in ways that are related to one another. All the while, engaging children through a sense of curiosity and fun.
This inventive new app enabled educational gaming system changes the way children interact with their iPad by opening it up to hands on play in an effort to foster creativity, problem solving, and social intelligence skills. The set comes with five unique games that cover science, words, art, numbers and more. The five included games are: Words, Masterpiece, Tangram, Newton and Numbers Games.
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar
Retail Value $38.88
The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar inspires little learners to be big thinkers by encouraging preschoolers to arrange (and rearrange) the easy-to-connect segments in endless combinations, sending Code-a-pillar on his path. This learning toy encourages experimentation while developing important skills like problem-solving, planning & sequencing and critical thinking. There’s no end to the combinations kids can make – mix up the segments and put them back together to send Code-a-pillar in a different direction every time! Where can you make him go next? Every time kids change and rearrange his segments, Code-a-pillar takes a different path. Every time – with cool sounds and lights wherever he goes! Includes 1 sound segment, 3 straights, 2 right turns and 2 left turns to send the learning fun in endless directions! Kids can even configure the segments to make Code-a-pillar reach targets they set up throughout the room. Code-a-pillar is one of the new Think & Learn toys from Fisher-Price that goes beyond ABCs and 123s to help children learn how to think independently. Each toy fosters 21st-century skills like curiosity, experimentation, and problem solving in ways kids haven’t seen before. They’re engaged in hands-on, open-ended discovery that helps them become lifelong learners.
Barbie Hello Dreamhouse
Retail Value $299.99
“The Toy Insider Top Tech 12” winner. Move into the high-tech world with the Barbie Hello Dreamhouse that uses Wi-Fi-enabled speech recognition to respond to more than 100 commands! Features four motors, automatic elevator, an electronic staircase that turns into a slide, spinning chandelier and doors that open with a voice command! Change features within the six rooms, move the elevator and change the stairs into a slide simply by telling the house what to do! Use the Hello Dreamhouse app to customize the sounds in each play space — you can even record your own sounds for use in any of 15 locations. Thirteen switches located throughout the house bring each room to life — like a fireplace that crackles in the living room!
My son lives to read, but as he gets older, it is important to me that he has a wider variety of books about topics that teach and challenge him. The books from Quarto Kids are exactly what I am looking for to continue nurturing his love of reading and knowledge. I had the pleasure of reading their ABC Yoga, The Hello Atlas, and Footloose. Each book goes above and beyond the basics of childhood learning and presents information in a fun a new way. ABC Yoga breaks down the ideas in the ancient practice of yoga by using animals children can easily recognize to explain the positions. It encourages them to get up and try the moves on their own. The Hello Atlas is an introduction to the world and the many people and cultures that span our globe. It is a taste of what there is to see and explore in terms they can understand. Every school age child should have a copy of this book. It offers them a detailed glimpse into the topic of geography and a wonderful way to get children excited about the world beyond their scope. By far, our favorite has been Footloose. Using the famous lyrics from the movie, written by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, this book features zoo animals dancing their way across the pages. Loggins has written this singsong children’s book and has been the first major rock star to devote himself to creating music for kids. His passion and musical talent are evident in the pages, and he has even included a CD that kids can sing along with on their own! This book is a fun and clever way to keep kids and parents entertained during story time.
Visit Quarto to see a variety of creative books they offer to get kids learning.
Retail Value $19.99
Considering that a child’s bond with a favorite toy can help build healthy relationships and cognitive skills, it’s no wonder that stuffed animals are some of the most popular gifts given, starting from the time baby first comes home from the hospital. As it turns out, many of our first best friends were stuffed toys we were given at a young age, so it’s no surprise that a 6-year-old boy came up with a new toy idea utilizing his bestie, a plush sleep “buddy.” With some help from his parents, Buddy Balls were born.
Made by Creative Toy Company, Buddy Balls came from that idea to have his beloved plush friend turn into one of his other favorite toys, a ball! Buddy Balls are stuffed animals designed with a zipper and quickly turn inside out, converting into a plush ball from various sports: beach ball, football, soccer, basketball. Not only do Buddy Balls make the perfect gift, but this high-quality plush bear will also become a cherished friend for years to come! This adorable and versatile toy makes a great gift for ages 3 to 103.
Retail Value $5.99
Kwik Stix, are solid tempera paint sticks that dry in 90 seconds! With the use of these paints, you no longer need cups of water, paint brushes, or even smocks when painting thus, making the set-up and clean-up hassle free. These paints are AP certified meaning, they are non-toxic and, perfectly safe for young children. They work beautifully on paper, wood, canvas, cardboard, and many other crafting mediums.
National Geographic Kids Books
Retail Value $14.99 – 24.99ea
Books make the best gifts — a thoughtfully selected book will hold a child’s interest long after the new toys have been tossed aside, and books are also very budget-friendly. National Geographic Kids Books is featuring SIX new titles that are perfect for gift giving this holiday season.
- How Things Work
Discover the secrets and science behind bounce houses, hovercraft, robotics and everything in between in this book that provides both the quick answers AND complete explanations for all things high tech, low tech and no tech (how DOES glue work???). How Things Work is perfect for the kid who thinks “just because” isn’t a REAL answer.
- Ultimate Oceanpedia
Perfect for the ocean-obsessed, this book is the most complete ocean reference ever! Ultimate Oceanpedia is overflowing with amazing facts, photos, art and diagrams that take the reader on a journey through the ocean. Whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, sharks, fish, crustaceans, sponges – everything from the weird to the wonderful.
- Tales from the Arabian Nights
Do you have a child who loves magical stories about far away places? Classic stories and dazzling illustrations of princesses, kings, sailors and genies come to life in the retelling of the Arabian folk tales from One Thousand and One Nights and other collections, including Alladin, Sinbad the Sailor, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
- The Book of Heroines and The Book of Heroes
All kids are heroes in waiting and these two titles are sure to inspire. In The Book of Heroines it’s all about Girl Power! Looking for a leading lady? How about more than 100 of them?True stories of superstars, war heroes, world leaders, ladies in lab coats ad everyday people who all have two things in common — they were girls and they changed the world. From Michelle Obama, Jane Goodall and Wonder Woman to Susan B. Anthony, GloriaBook of Heroes highlights 100 guys who had the boldness, bravery and brains to meet the challenges of their day. Featuring a very diverse array of amazing minds, heroes from history, sports stars and even action heroes — like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking and Steve Irwin — boys will be sure to find more than just a few role models in the pages of this book and also perhaps inspire them that they, too, are capable of extraordinary things.
- 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 3
Did you know that one-third of the earth is a desert, that beets are sometimes used to give red velvet cake its color or that there are more caribou than people in Alaska?
Well, that’s only the beginning the book features gross facts about toilets and edible insects, gravity defying facts about things that fly, awesome new dino-discoveries and even facts about newborn octopi and how many oranges it takes to make one glass of o.j. — to name just a few!
Retail Value $14.88
The hilarious Pie Face game is filled with fun and suspense, and somebody’s bound to get surprised! Players load the arm with whipped cream or the included sponge, then take turns sliding their heads through the mask and spinning the spinner. But, watch out! The game unit could go off at any time giving someone a face full of whipped cream!
Kids Deluxe Canvas Teepee Tent
Retail Value $129.95
This kids teepee tent is a fun and stylish way to foster the imagination and creativity of your little ones. Created by moms with over a decade of making kid products and tested by kids, these teepee tents are designed to fit with your home’s decor while meeting your kid’s needs for adventure. This kids teepee is a great addition to a kid’s bedroom, playroom, or family room. Your kid will enjoy their new personal hideaway – from the colorful durable canvas fabric to peek-a-boo window to the velcro closures designed for little hands to the tiebacks for keeping the teepee flaps open.
LED Deluxe Bungee Boing
Retail Value $21.99
All the kids in your life will love this…and maybe even some adults too. The handles are attached to a bungee cord that connects to the foam foot pedal making it easy to use. The handles have LED lights that change color as you jump and the foot pedal squeaks as you bounce around. Kids of all ages will love this active toy. Fun for hours and great exercise, the Bungee Boing is an awesome gift for the kiddos.
View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
Retail Value $16.99
Enter the world of virtual reality with the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack. This kid-friendly device will surround you with stunning 360-degree environments so you feel as if you are really there. Download one of the View-Master VR apps to your smartphone. Then slide your smartphone into the viewer, look at the Preview Reel and simply click the lever to launch yourself into 360-degree immersive experiences.
Micro Mini 2-Go Deluxe Scooter
Retail Value $129.99
The Mini2Go Deluxe is an award-winning ride-on and scooter that grows with your child, converting to a stand-up scooter with T-bar. Whether cruising around the playroom or outdoors at the park, your toddler will love playing with the Mini2Go drawer, designed for carrying his or her most precious possessions. The Mini2Go has the same lean-to steering as Micro’s other kickboard style products, which children learn intuitively, developing balance and coordination as they go. Plus moms will love that the non-marking wheels enable it to be used indoors and out.
The toy drawer is removable, for those times when toys need to be left at home. Removing the seat AND drawer converts the Mini2go into a stand-up scooter, with a T-bar that is adjustable from 14″ to 24″, and a back spoon brake. Two Rides for your growing toddler: 1. A ride-on with toy drawer that slides in and out, so that toddlers can pack up their favorite possessions to take on the ride. For outings where toys are better left at home, the toy drawer is removable. 2. From age 2 to 3, when children are ready to stand, the Mini2Go converts to a stand-on scooter with adjustable T-bar. Just remove the seat and drawer for a stand-on scooter with T-bar that extends to grow with your child.
Retail Value $5.99
Perfect for any kind of weather, Copter Darts will get the kids out of the house and playing even when it is chilly. Use the darts to toss at a chosen target and see who can get the closest or use the provided game rules and point system on the packaging to play to win. These darts are durable, soft, and lightweight making them much safer than the original lawn dart design. They are sure to keep the kids out of your hair for a bit and get them outside and moving while working on their hand-eye coordination.
Disney Princess My Time Singing Elena of Avalor Doll
Retail Value $29.99
Elena of Avalor sings her catchy theme song and comes dressed in her signature outfit.
Air Wars Battle Drones 2.4 GHz Toy (2 Pack)
Retail Value $109
Let the battles begin! Load your weapons, launch your drone and knock your rival out of the sky. Air Wars Battle Drones comes ready to battle right out of the box with 2 drones, 2 remotes, and 10 weapons. Hit your opponents with Tornado attacks, 360 spins or try ramming them right out of the sky.
The progressive mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a melting pot where animals from every habitat live side by side and “anyone can be anything.” But when new rabbit police officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives in town she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of tough, hulking animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack an unsolved, challenging case even if it means working with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. But the case leads these two unlikely partners to an uneasy conclusion that Zootopia’s “evolved” society is being pulled apart by unseen forces determined to use fear to take control of the city by turning predators and prey against each other.
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is a live-action epic adventure based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories, inspired by Disney’s classic 1967 animated film and centered on Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Venture behind the scenes with in-depth bonus features that reveal the innovative filmmaking technology used to create the richly immersive jungle world and characters; Follow the journey of the film’s only on-screen actor, charismatic newcomer Neel Sethi (Mowgli); Delve into a candid and humorous scene-by-scene audio commentary with director Jon Favreau and meet the all-star voice cast who help bring the film’s colorful characters to life, as well as the musicians who accent the adventure with a majestic music score.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
The most explosive clash to ever rock the Marvel Cinematic Universe ignites a firestorm of conflict in the game-changing epic, Captain America: Civil War. In the wake of collateral damage, government pressure to rein in the Avengers drives a deep wedge between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), causing a catastrophic rift that escalates into an all-out feud. Against a backdrop of divided loyalties, their fellow Avengers must deal with the fallout. More than 60-minutes of thrilling, exclusive bonus material includes: an inside look at the evolution of lead characters Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, a behind-the-scenes exclusive on the making of Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” never-before-seen deleted scenes and hilarious outtakes.
Beauty and the Beast
Twenty-five years ago, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast broke ground as the first animated feature film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for best picture, and now this tale as old as time joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. There is a host of all-new bonus extras including a rare opportunity to gather around the piano with some of Disney’s greatest composers, including Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”), Stephen Schwartz (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas”), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”), Robert Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s upcoming “Moana”) as they sing and share how they’ve personally been inspired by the film’s award-winning music.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” forever changed the landscape of children’s literature; Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland embraced this fantasy world filled with peculiar characters; and Tim Burton directed a visually-stunning, live-action film that mesmerized audiences worldwide. In Alice Through the Looking Glass, the all-star cast from the 2010 blockbuster is back with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter who’s desperately searching for his family; Anne Hathaway as Mirana, the kind, mild-mannered White Queen; Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth, the short-tempered, big-headed Red Queen; and Mia Wasikowska as Alice, the heroine at the heart of the story. Sacha Baron Cohen joins the ensemble as Time, a magical being that is part human, part clock, and the late Alan Rickman—to whom the film is dedicated—is the voice of Absolem, the blue Monarch butterfly who metamorphosed from the blue caterpillar Alice in Wonderland.
From the Academy Award®–winning creators of Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” (Best Animated Feature, 2003) comes an epic undersea adventure filled with imagination, humor and heart. When Dory, the forgetful blue tang (Ellen DeGeneres), suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) take off on a life-changing quest to find them … with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark. Bring home Finding Dory, the movie overflowing with unforgettable characters, dazzling animation and gallons of bonus extras.
“The BFG” unites the talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg – to bring to life the classic tale of a courageous little girl named Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) and a gentle and charming Big Friendly Giant (Oscar®-winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Spielberg employs a new, hybrid style of filmmaking blending live-action and performance-capture techniques, resulting in genuine, heartfelt performances and super-photorealistic animation. Families and fans will be swept away by this spectacular adventure and delight in extensive bonus features. Spielberg’s directorial debut with The Walt Disney Studios was a labor of love, as he’s been a fan of Dahl’s for years. In fact, he read “The BFG” to his own children when they were younger. According to Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship; it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends; and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” “The BFG” is a Golden Phizzwizard* come true for Spielberg, Dahl fans and audiences around the world.
“Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”) as Grace, a forest ranger in the Pacific Northwest who happens upon 10-year-old Pete, played by Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”). Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) is Natalie, the 11-year-old daughter of Jack, a lumber-mill owner played by Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”). Karl Urban (“Star Trek”) is Jack’s bumbling brother Gavin and Oscar®-winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) portrays Mr. Meacham, an old wood carver who delights the local children with tales of a fierce dragon.
Surf and Sunshine has been provided with some of the items in this gift guide in order to share them with you. All opinions remain our own.