Mel’s Holiday Gift Guide: Kids/Teens

magic book, moosh moosh animal, magnetic beads, crocs

Today I’m sharing some of my current favorite gift ideas for kids and teens! 

The ages and interests of my kids are not representative of every kid around, so this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but there are some great gems on here that have been hits with my kids. (Feel free to share any ideas you have for your kids in the comments!)

If you’re new to the gift guide, here are a few notes:

  • my kids’ ages are 16, 15, 13, 11, and 8 (first four are boys, the youngest is a girl)
  • nothing on this (or any other) gift guide I publish is sponsored; these are all things we’ve bought or been gifted by friends/family and ones we genuinely love (there are Amazon affiliate links below for the games I’ve bought from there)

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

And here are past KID gift guides:
Kids Gift Guide 2014
Kids Gift Guide 2015
Kids Gift Guide 2016
Kids Gift Guide 2017
Kids Gift Guide 2018
Kids Gift Guide 2019

*my kids are no longer toddlers, but the gift guides from a few years ago (2014-2018) include a lot of great recommendations for younger kids

FYI: the comment threads of all of these gift guides are amazing and filled with so many other game recommendations! 

foldology, marble run, burrito blanket
 
1. Foldology: {aff. link} if your kids like puzzles and origami (like mine do), this Foldology puzzle book {aff. link} is epic and super fun. It’s small in size, so it makes for great portable travel entertainment. You can’t redo/reuse the origami puzzle papers, but there are enough puzzles to make for hours of brain-wrenching fun.
 
2. Build-Your-Own Marble Run: {aff. link} I can’t say enough good things about this ROKR wooden model/puzzle kit. {aff. link} My son, Cade, was gifted it on his 13th birthday this year. It took him a few hours to put together, and he pulls it out all the time still (six months later) to play with. It is so clever – and yes, it actually works as a marble run!

3. Burrito Blanket: {aff. link} yes, this blanket looks more like a tortilla than the ones in my fridge, and yes, when your 16-year old wraps himself up in it, he looks like a human burrito. My brother sent this to Jackson for his birthday this year, and it immediately became the most coveted blanket we own.

personalized puzzle, kid table, killer card tricks set
4. Personalized Puzzles: we are a puzzle loving family, no doubt, and when one of you awesome readers told me about these personalized puzzles, I was so excited! They make such a fun, unique gift, and the quality of the puzzle pieces is way better than I expected. You can make a puzzle out of any personal photo!

5. Small Kid Table:{aff. link} Cam got this table for her birthday (a “table for my room” was top of her list), it is the perfect size. For crafting, for home learning school days, for reading, for make-believe fun. It’s also extremely sturdy (as in, I’ve used the chairs as step stools; don’t tell), simple and cute. 

6. Killer Card Tricks:{aff. link} a couple of my boys live and die by card tricks and cardistry right now. This simple kit of killer card tricks (complete with a special trick deck) has been super fun for them, and I’m continually impressed with how good they are at these tricks! It’s great for beginners and amateurs.

melissa and doug magic set, magnetic tile kit, share some kindness book
7. Melissa + Doug Magic Set:{aff. link} these Melissa + Doug magic sets have been a huge hit around here for my youngest (age 8). So much so, that we’ve gifted them several times to cousins and friends for birthdays. We have the Abracadabra collection and the Hocus Pocus collection {aff. links} – both are fantastic!

8. Magnetic Mini Tile Art Kit:{aff. link} these cute, clever magnetic tiles are easy to make, and this is a perfect set for the kid who loves crafting. It’s also kind of the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂 As in, Cam whipped up all these magnets and then promptly wanted to wrap them up individually and give them out to grandparents, friends, teachers, etc. Super cute.

9. Share Some Kindness Book:{aff. link} I could do a whole separate post just on books – we love, love, love books, especially cute, creative, thoughtful picture books. We still buy and collect great picture books even though my kids are getting older. This beautiful book about sharing kindness is a new favorite! My younger kids love the pictures and cute story; I love the message.

5000 awesome facts book, moosh moosh pillow, bean bag stuffed animal storage
10. 5000 Awesome Facts About Everything: {aff. link} such a fun, educational-but-entertaining book for kids of all ages! My kids pore over trivia and fact books, and this is one of their favorites. It is perfect for road trips or lazy Sunday afternoons. I am seriously constantly amazed at the facts they randomly spout out at the dinner table. 

11. Moosh Moosh Animal Pillows: {aff. link} Does the world (ahem, my house) really need more stuffed animals? Why yes, it does. Especially when they’re this cute and can double as a pillow. Don’t worry, I’m giving you a stuffed animal solution next. 

12. Stuffed Animal Bean Bag Chair:{aff. link} this stuffed animal bean bag chair has been a miraculous blessing for my son who has a mighty, somewhat ragged collection of stuffed animals (and it is saving my sanity, too). So far, no stuffies have been damaged or squished beyond recognition; he schleps this bag everywhere and is now conveniently able to use his stuffed animal collection as a bum-resting spot. 

albatross knife, pranklopedia book, patterned dress socks
13. Albatross Knife:{aff. link} my dad gifted my two oldest boys these unique knives when they earned their Eagle Scout awards earlier this year. To say my boys were thrilled would be an understatement. They take them fishing and camping and use them outdoors on our property. 

14. Pranklopedia: {aff. link} is this the dream book of every 11-year old boy or what? Ha. My boys love this book and have successfully executed many of the pranks (pray for me). The best part of this book is that the pranks aren’t mean-spirited or bullying. They are very much in good fun, and they make all of us giggle.  

15. Colorful Socks: {aff. link} my kids are into crazy, colorful socks, and these inexpensive socks have been going strong since last Christmas. We have these boys’ socks {aff. link} and my older boys have these men’s socks {aff. link}.  Cam is on her own with these adorable animal face socks {aff. link}.

doll suitcase, best friend necklace, kid cookbook
16. Doll Suitcase Set:{aff. link} this travel/suitcase set for American Girl-sized dolls is adorable. Cam couldn’t get over the miniature neck pillow and sunglasses; I’ve never seen her so excited. 

17. Friend Necklace:{aff. link} I love this beautiful, understated set of “friend” necklaces. Cam gave one as a birthday gift to her good friend this year (who is more like a sister to her) – the necklaces are a sweet representation of their friendship without screaming “We’re leaving you out!” to their other friends. 

18. Young Chef’s Cookbook:{aff. link} my 13-year old budding chef, Cade, got this cookbook for his birthday this year, and it’s one of the best kid cookbooks we have! The recipes are focused solely on baking, and they are solidly good without being overly fussy OR overly simplistic. 

daily ukulele book, crazy crocs, magnetic spek beads
19. The Daily Ukulele Play Book: {aff. link} any ukulele players in your family? This daily ukulele book is a great play along book with simple songs for beginner and amateur ukulele players. I’m pretty terrible at the ukulele, but even I will sometimes pick up one of my kids’ instruments and strum along to a few of these songs. It’s been a wonderful book for the kids!

20: Crazy Crocs: my boys are obsessed with bold, crazy crocs right now. Is that a thing where you live with teenagers…or just where we’re at? A couple of them have saved up their money to get a pair, and the other child has a tie-dye pair at the tippity top of his Christmas list this year. They’re pretty fun, and it makes me smile when I see my kids walking to the car with their bold, bright, plastic shoes. 

21: Magnetic Beads:{aff. link} my kids fiddle with these magnetic beads constantly, whipping them into little shapes and pyramids, and I have to admit, they’re kind of addicting for adults, too. They’d make a great stocking stuffer! 

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