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Holiday Gifts for Kids

By Isabel Kallman

Last week we wrote about gifts for girls and last year we broke it up into preschooler and school-aged kids. Now, we’re just going to do a long list of items we’re loving right now that are great for boys, girls and mixed ages.
Marble Runs
If you’ve got a four or five-year old, now is the time they start appreciating marble runs. You know, you build towers with paths for the marbles and let them go. I love this game because as the kids get older they can build more complex structures. There are a lot of different marble run systems, I would choose one based on the the ability to expand, or for the cool accouterments if you’re buying for older kids.


Connectagons remind me of another favorite of ours, Magna-tiles… both of which are perfect starting at four years of age, but really kids of older ages continue to love.

Since we’re on a “building theme” here, theoretically the original Colorforms of our youth are the same thing but the building is of 2-D pictures with basic shapes. I never get tired of Colorforms.
Bugsby Reading System
We love Bugsby, this helpful interactive reading tool. In fact, we love its price best since it’s a better value than other products of its kind in the marketplace. You’re going to need additional books and I recommend our favorite sassy pig, Olivia. (disclosure: I am on the Advisory Council of VTech Kids.)
Our friends at Gift Hero turned us on to these great games that are fun and educational. Generally speaking, the American school systems are not great at teaching geography, which fascinated me as a child. I think these two games are dynamite: United States Bingo and Great States Jr.
Legos & Books
Are you swimming in Legos at home? Has your kid built and then taken apart the structure after carefully following the instructions? If you want to get a new life out of all those Legos, get this Cool Cars and Trucks book by Lego master Sean Kenney. It’s full of diagrams on how to construct various vehicles with Lego blocks, including pocket-size cars and variations on an SUV. This book is really for the hard-core Lego builders who have zillions of pieces at home already, since it doesn’t come with any. Another book to try is also The LEGO Book which is a comprehensive book about the history of LEGO, in addition to providing some building diagrams.
The Smart Portfolio
Have an artist on your hands? This Smart Portfolio facilitates tracing and freehand drawing by using a sophisticated projector onto a tracing desk. The set comes with image slides, colored pencils and tracing paper. All you need is a patient kid. And batteries, of course.
Video Games
holiday_toy_story_mania.pngEach year we try to feature a video game we love. When we asked Disney World experts for their fave rides at the amusement park, Toy Story Mania was on top of many lists. So, it comes as no surprise to me that Disney would replicate the magic as a video game. There’s even an iPhone app too. If you’re looking for another Disney favorite, we recommend Sing It: Pop Hits, which is a karaoke delight for all ages and a follow-up to last year’s hit. (Disney sent us review copies of these games along with a number of other video game titles).

In fact, we have a (one) copy of each of the following Disney games to give away thanks to Disney Interactive.
1- Disney Sing It: Pop Hits for the Wii (includes a microphone)
2- Toy Story Mania! for the Wii
3- Disney Fairies: Tinkerbell and The Lost Treasure for the Nintendo DS
4- The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendao DS
5- Wizards of Waverly Place for the Nintendo DS
6- Disney Jonas for the Nintendo DS
7- Disney’s A Christmas Carol for Nintendo DS
Just send us an email to and tell us the title in which you are interested in the subject line. You can enter to win more than one video game, just send us separate emails for each, otherwise… oy, the headache. This giveaway lasts through Thursday, Dec 17 at 11:59:59pm EST and a winner will be announced the next day with the items being shipped then. Follow our contest rules detailed here.

More Gift Guides!
Holiday Gifts for Girls
Holiday-Themed Gifts for Kids (2008)
Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas (2008)
The Advice Smackdown Holiday Baby Gift Guide
The Advice Smackdown Holiday Preschooler Gift Guide
Gifts for School-Aged Kids (2008)
Gifts for Young Kids: our favorites (2008)
Holiday Gift Guide: Sweets & Treats
Gift Ideas for the New Mom
The Advice Smackdown Holiday Beauty Gift Guide
Best Holiday Hostess Gifts 2008
Unique Hostess Gifts (2007)
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
Holiday-Themed Gifts (2009)
Father’s Day Gift Ideas


Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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