As the holiday shopping season begins, here’s our guide to great gifts for kids this year. In the interest of full disclosure, all of the links in this article are affiliate links or links to DISDads.com sponsors. Our recommendations are the same, even if you choose to make your purchase from another vendor or without using our links.
1. It probably comes as no surprise that the first recommendation from a website that started as a gathering place for fans of a travel destination is to book a vacation. But there’s solid science behind our recommendation that the best gift is the gift of family vacation memories. More than a decade of research by Cornell University psychologist Dr. Thomas Gilovich suggests that, dollar-for-dollar, we derive more happiness from experiences (and particularly shared experiences) than we do from material things. Consider contacting site and podcast sponsor Fantastic Memories Travel / Mouse Master Travel to book your next family vacation as a holiday gift that keeps on giving, as the family participates in the planning process (and check our their “Choose your Disney Destination Bonus Offer for bookings made by the end of the year).
2. Bounce-Off Party! ($99.99) is a great (but more expensive) update to Bounce-Off ($17.25). The game is sort of halfway between beer pong (no beer is involved) and Connect Four. A challenge card is chosen, which sets the pattern required to win that round of the game. Players bounce balls onto the game grid, attempting to match the pattern for the game. The different patterns on the challenge cards ensure that each game is just a bit different, requiring a different ball arrangement to win the game. The Party! version expands the original, opening up play for more players. With both head-to-head and relay options, the six included game grids mean up to six players OR six TEAMS of players can play the Party version. (For Ages 7 and up. 2-4 players for the original game. The Party version can accommodate up to 6 – or more playing in teams).
3. I know that there’s a lot of Lego love out there, but for my money there’s no better building toy than Playmags ($89.99 for the linked 100-piece set). These are actually the slighly-less-expensive version of this sort of toy, but still well-made and playable. Geometric-shaped plastic tiles have magnets along the edges of the tiles. Careful placement of the magnets allows any two tiles to attract to one another along the edge. Resulting three dimensional structures are remarkably sturdy and stable. The originals from Magna-Tile are a bit stronger, so if your kids are hard on toys, they may be worth the price premium to you ($74.50 for the linked 48-piece set). These magnetic building toys are appropriate for ages 3 and up (and I’ve watched teens have fun building with them too).
4. Yes, I prefer iPads. Yes, I know that this is an older model. But the $34.99 “Black Friday Weekend” pricing for a 7″ Amazon Fire WiFi tablet that can take a microSD card for storage expansion is pretty darned hard to beat as a child’s tech gift.
Its specs aren’t top-of-the-line, but an IPS screen puts its image quality at the top of the line for a tablet in this price range. Frankly, it’s biggest hardware weakness is the mono speaker and lack of Dolby Audio. Out of the box, the 7″ Fire tablet only connects to Amazon’s app store. If that’s not enough for you, relatively straightforward instructions for just adding the Google Play store or fully rooting the device are pretty readily available.
5. Thames & Kosmos Electricity and Magnetism ($40.99). Though this kit carries an ages 8-15 recommendation, it’s probably more accurately good for ages 6-11. Those on the younger end can learn from and enjoy the experience of working with an adult on the 62 different experiments that are available. Those at the older end of the spectrum can safely explore the experiments on their own, without being bored by them. The well-organized kit divides the experiments into Electricity, Magetism, and Electromagnetism sections and includes 60 pieces to complete the various experiments. It should be noted that two rather important pieces are NOT included – those would be the two AA batteries that are necessary for any of the electricity-related experiments.
What are some of your favorite children’s gifts that you’re recommending this holiday season? Tell us about them in the comments!
a. None of the Amazon affiliate linked products were provided to the writer or DISDads.com for review purposes.
b. The opinions expressed about these gift options are solely our own and we have not been compensated to provide these opinions.
c. Mouse Master Travel is a site sponsor and podcast sponsor, but travel is a great gift regardless of which travel agency you choose or whether you choose to work with a travel agency at all.