Need help on what to get the kids this holiday season? Admittedly, probably not — if they haven’t given you their pages-long, annotated wish lists yet, it only means that they’re still writing them. But, no holiday season is complete without a few surprises (hopefully good ones), and there are few things as satisfying as sneaking on a great gift that a kid somehow overlooked. And, while you could just buy something involving Minecraft and probably be set, we think you can do a little better this year — here are a few of our picks.
Playskool Sesame Street Play All Day Elmo
We start with a loophole, because you can always get Elmo for kids who can’t write yet. Perennial holiday champ Elmo shows up to 2015 packed with over 150 lines and 8 games to keep kids entertained and loved until 2016 Elmo shows him up. Play All Day Elmo is on Amazon for $43.
Axis Drones Aerius
So, we could go on at length about why the combination of a drone and a person under the age of 13 is a bad idea, but I think you can work out the details on your own. Fortunately, there’s not much damage the kids can do with Aerius — it’s the smallest quadcopter out there at roughly 1″ x 1″ x 1″. It’s still got solid tech like 6-axis stabilization, though, so it’s no cheap, throwaway drone. And, uh, it can get up to 30 miles per hour, so while the size might not be a danger, don’t underestimate the havoc your kids can wreak with this thing. Aerius is available directly from Axis Drones for $35.
Collectible rubber ducks. Collectible means trouble for parents anyway, and adding rubber ducks into the mix only compounds matters. But, whatever trepidation you have in your head about these Rubba Ducks, multiply it by 100 — there is seemingly no end to the ducks available in this collection. Once I scrolled to the rubber duck made to look like a rook from a chessboard, I knew no amount clicking would get me to the end of that list before the day was done. We suggesting getting the kids one and then keeping silent about it. Each duck is $13 and can come in either a gift box or a collector’s display box.
You know what, honestly, the kids probably won’t like it. They’ll look at the Slinky, they’ll ask what it does, and they’ll give you a supreme look of indignation when you tell and/or show them. They’ll probably post something on tumblr about it. But that look on their faces when you drop that real history lesson on them, it’ll make it well worth it. Plus, it’s the 70th anniversary of the Slinky! Best time to give one since five years ago. You can get one on Amazon for $5.
We’ll give a little mumble grumble about there not being a Flipsie that wants to be a programmer, but otherwise, we’re on board with VTech’s cute new line of mini-dolls. Flipsies are a set of girls that each have their sights set on a different career path. They come with interchangeable and accessories and playsets that include magic buttons — sit or stand a doll on one of those buttons, and she’ll say something related to her career path. It’s cute and lighthearted, and should be fun at least until next holiday season rolls around. Sets range from $10 to $40 and can be purchased directly from VTech.
LG GizmoGadget from Verizon
The very best kids gifts are the ones that the parents get something out of, too. The GizmoGadget is a smartwatch with a 1.3″ color touchscreen that kids can use to send and receive calls and messages, gleaning all the cool points they can from their newly high-tech wrists. Meanwhile, parents will get a device that can track steps taken and jumps taken on a jump rope to make sure their kids are staying active, while having access to GPS features that allow them to keep tabs on their kids and receive alerts if they end up outside of designated safe zones. The GizmoGadget is available from Verizon stores for $150 and can be added to a Verizon family plan for an additional $5 per month.
For the budding director, you can get SpaceFlix. SpaceFlix is a kit that includes modeling clay, stickers, paper props, fishing line, and space-themed backdrops. Kids can probably craft a pretty good time out of just that, but combine it all with a smartphone and the companion app, and kids can make their own stop-motion sci-fi adventures and record them for their future portfolios. SpaceFlix is available from Marbles for $17.