Mel’s Holiday Gift Guide: For the Kids!

In case you missed the gift guide launch yesterday, I’m doing something a bit different this year and posting my three annual gift guides right in a row instead of spreading them out. This way you can have all these {hopefully} helpful ideas in hand next week for Black Friday and all your future (ahem, last minute) online shopping.

Yesterday was all about our favorite games! And today it’s gift ideas for the kids in your life. This is certainly not a comprehensive list and it won’t fit the bill for everyone because the ages and interests of my kids are probably different from a lot of kids. But hopefully the ideas will be a starting place to explore some fun, creative gifts!


As a point of reference, my kids (4 boys + 1 girl) are currently ages 14, 13, 11, 9, 6. 

I feel like a broken record saying this, but just a reminder that none of the ideas below are sponsored! Just things I’ve found, bought/been gifted by friends and family, and loved to the moon and back.

Disclaimer: most of the links below are Amazon affiliate links (where I’ve most likely purchased these items), but feel free to shop around for the best deal!

Here’s a quick link to all the gift guides I’ve posted over the years

And here are several past KID gift guides (so many of the things my kids still play with are in these gift guides!):
Kids Gift Guide 2014
Kids Gift Guide 2015
Kids Gift Guide 2016
Kids Gift Guide 2017

I would love to hear any favorites of your kids over the last year! Your ideas are so helpful for others who have kids in different ages/stages than mine. Plus, sharing favorite things is the best thing ever! And selfishly, I’ve gotten some of our best loved toys/games/etc from your ideas!

Let’s Get Started! 


1. Smarty Pants Cards: my sister told me about these cards, and they are fantastic! Perfect for car rides and quiet afternoons, they’re so clever and fun, the kids forget they are learning. There are several sets sold by grade level – it helps to read the reviews on Amazon to see which set would be best. We love these!

2. Magnetic Mosaic Picture Maker: we’ve had this little creative kit for a couple years, and it continues to provide hours and hours of entertainment for Cam (6 years old), and usually one of the boys hops in to help/participate/torment. I think Cam still grabs it off the craft stockpile (yep, that pile is as chaotic as it sounds) several times a week after school. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of this one.

3. Fill in the Blank Love/Awesome Books: I don’t know that I’ve been this excited about a stocking stuffer for a long time! I came across these books and decided to get one for each of the kids for their stockings. There are TONS of different options (enough to get a different theme for each kid), and they are personalized by filling in the question prompts on each page. So creative – I can’t wait for Christmas morning!


4. Electric scooter: Cade (11 years old) got this scooter last year for Christmas, and to say it was the perfect gift for his fun-loving, crazy personality is an understatement. It stays charged for quite a while – and charges quickly when the battery dies. He’s ridden this thing in all weather and all seasons. 🙂

5. Pop Art Beads: our resident craft lover (and her mom) love these pop/snap beads. Cam regularly makes jewelry for all of us to wear, and we do so willingly (ahem, some of us). Again, another craft toy that has given hours of play around here. I’m not going to lie – they are a pain to clean up when they are scattered from here to kingdom come, but on the whole, they are worth it!

6. Coleman Sleeping Bag: at least two of our boys have this sleeping bag (birthday gifts for both), and it is wonderful. Durable (important for teenage scouters), warm, and lightweight. 


7. Card Magic Book: Walker (13) got this card magic trick book (it is really more like a kit) for his birthday, and he has spent hours and hours mastering many of the tricks. The kit comes with all the card decks a kid will ever need (several trick decks and several normal decks), and I am honestly shocked at the tricks he can pull off with these newfound skills! 

8. Parachute Cord Craft Book: my kids and their cousins are still obsessed with paracord; we gifted this simple but practical and easy to follow book to one of my sister’s sons, and it’s been so fun to see what he has made. My boys have learned a lot of new paracord crafts and skills thanks to this book, too.

9. Animal Drawing Book: Ty (9) asked for a book so he could learn how to draw animals. At first, this book seemed a little too involved, but he stuck with it, and the step-by-step instructions for each animal have made it so he has drawn some amazing and lifelike animals! If you are looking for cartoon-ish animals, this probably isn’t the right drawing book, but for lifelike animals, it’s fabulous!


10. Reading Light: know of any voracious readers? That can’t stop reading in the car once it gets dark? Or who like to make forts in their closets to read Harry Potter? We’ve owned a crazy amount of reading lights over the years, and this one has stood the test of time. As in, best ever. Even when the forts get strewn about the room in the cleanup process and the reading light accidentally gets sucked up halfway in the vacuum. 

11. Unique BYU Gear: if you are a BYU fan like we are, you might also be like us and get tired of seeing the same ol’ BYU gear around. I was so over-the-top excited to see this new online store with clever and original BYU t-shirts/hoodies. I laughed out loud at least twice scrolling through the shirts, and I’ve already put in an order for some BYU-loving family members. Also, if you’re a BYU or BSU fan, my kids are still selling their huge sports flags here

12. Doll House: a Christmas gift last year, Cam has this set up in her room and it’s the first thing she plays with when she has friends over to play. I did a lot of “doll house research” before buying this; I knew I didn’t want to break the bank, and this doll house has been so perfect and so much fun. 

13. Off Brand Go Pro: I have no doubt real, live Go Pro cameras are awesome, but guess what? We can attest that so is this off brand version; it was a gift for my 12-year old last year at Christmas, and we have more footage of trampoline tricks, riotous rides on the electric scooter, and crazy basketball shot attempts than I’ll ever know what to do with. Long battery life…and hours of fun.

14. Mini Waffle Iron: Cade (11), my aspiring chef, bought this with his own hard-earned allowance a couple months ago when we were at Crate and Barrel in Portland, OR. I was skeptical the low price tag would yield a reputable waffle iron, but this thing has been a total hit. Whenever we have waffles in the morning, he makes his own – and before I know it, he’s making miniature waffles for everyone while I stand abandoned at the lifesize waffle iron. He’s even made a “fried” egg in this, and it worked surprisingly well! Love this little gadget. 

15. Osmo: we bought this Osmo system at the beginning of summer as a resource for structured screen time, and it has been so much fun! It has been the biggest hit with the younger kids under the age of 13, but even the older kids get drawn in when the Newton app is turned on. I love that this system involves a lot of creativity – we have the games that come in the genius kit + the monster game and the coding awbie game.


16. 360 Rip Rider: our 360 rip rider died a slow death earlier this year after the kids had ridden it for almost five years, and it continues to be mourned every day. I think at least four of them are hoping it appears under the Christmas tree again this year. This isn’t a toddler’s trike. No, no, this is for kids who like crazy, spinning, fast rides on a trike that moves like no trike has ever moved before.

17. Disney Puzzle: we are huge fans of every Ravensburger puzzle we own (and we own a lot of them), and this easier, large-piece Disney puzzle is no exception. Cam loves this one and pulls it out very, very often to put together on the kitchen table (or smack dab in the middle of the entryway).

18. Binoculars: I have no idea why, but my kids are seriously obsessed with binoculars. All the boys have gotten a pair at some time or another, and binoculars are currently at the top of Cam’s 6-year old list this year. These are the BEST binoculars for kids. Great magnification and also shatter proof. Can’t beat that combo. 

I hope this list of gift ideas has gotten the creative juices flowing as you think of gifts for the kids in your life! Like I mentioned above, I’d love to hear any kid favorites you have in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.