Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gift ideas, ages 18 months–12 years

I have become accustomed to posting about our kids' Christmas presents after Christmas. It may not be as helpful to anyone else (although, when you can save stuff to your Amazon wish lists anytime, why not?) but I like it. So, if your kids are anything like my own funny little goblins, here are some ideas for you.

For three-year-old Junie, we got this little orange chair (except it was half price at the time…not sure I would pay $50 for it). She likes orange and she always wants to sit by us while we're having school, but there's no more room on the couch, so I thought she'd like having her own little portable seat. And she does like it, but I think Marigold (18-months) likes it even more. Maybe Goldie finds it more of a novelty to have a chair her very own size? Anyway, I kind of wish I'd gotten one for her too. There is much scrambling and scrabbling for position between them when Junie goes to sit down. I suppose Goldie will get the chair in a year or so, when Junie grows out of it, anyway.

Junie loves pigs, so she also got this little Pocket Piggies book, which is adorable. The pigs are teeny-tiny!

Goldie is still The Baby Who Has Everything, so she didn't get much. But she did get this little blue elephant, which is so soft and cute. She likes it the same way she likes everything soft and huggable—I don't know that she's gotten specially attached to it yet, though. But we always love the Jellycat animals. This one is one of our favorite stuffed bunnies ever.

Oh, twelve-year-olds! They are so awesome. And yet not easy to shop for. Luckily Abe likes puzzles of all kinds, and that's pretty much what he got from everybody this year. We signed him up for a four-session skiing thing with some of his friends in January, so that was his main present. But he also got this strange curvy puzzle cube to add to his collection. Of course he spent all day watching tutorials on how to solve it, although I said, "Wouldn't you like to NOT know how to solve it for awhile?" Nope. :) I also have it on Abe's authority that this cube is a good one to get for someone who has mastered the basic Rubik's Cubes and wants something more challenging.

Abe also got a book on HTML, which he is having fun working through and making a website. I suppose he is doing that with online software somehow? but I know nothing about the details. It didn't seem hard for Sam and him to set it up, though.

Malachi is amassing quite a collection of these Audubon birds from his Grandma (he got a couple more this year) and he loves them. They are really soft and they give authentic bird calls. I wanted to get a little nest for them like this one I saw a couple years ago, but it's apparently discontinued or something; I couldn't find one anywhere. So I used some faux fur to make one. I didn't know what I was doing. It's basically a circle of fur and a circle of felt sewed together with a circle of cardboard between them for stability. Then a little ridge of fur sewed around the edge. Anyway, the birds look cute in it.
Like every kid, Ky loves Legos, but what he really loves are the little Lego guys. He'll usually build a set of Legos and then just want to walk the little men around and have them do things. And there are never enough little men! (Minifigures. I think that's what they really call them.) So I knew he would love this set of ALL Lego people. They are SO cute! With all their little tiny accessories! Malachi loves them SO much.

In searching for another book, I found this one about the elements, which I got for Sam, but we ALL love it. It is fascinating! It has pictures and information about each element on the periodic table, and it's just amazing to read about what kinds of things we can use each element for. Especially the lesser-known ones! And it's written in a very readable, approachable style. Now that we've read it we want to buy this book on molecules also.

If you have a boy like my Seb, he will probably love this book called Cool Stuff and How it Works. Because it's from 2005 (10 years ago? What?!) and it's about technology, I was afraid it might be out of date, but it isn't. It shows stuff Seb loves, like cameras and jet engines, but also stuff that he said "I hadn't even wondered about yet!", like electronic tennis rackets and bionic limbs and voice recognition systems. 
A while ago Seb saved up and bought a used digital camera, which he loved SO much, but it was really old and stopped working about a month and a half later. He even tried buying a new battery for it, but we couldn't get it working again. He was a little bit sad, but then he decided it would be more fun to take it apart anyway, and thus had been well worth his $20. :) Since then, he's been saving up for a new one, but since a new one will cost a lot more than $20, he had resigned himself to waiting for a long time. We were quite impressed with his persistence (and with how carefully he had treated his other camera)! So, when we saw this one in his favorite color for $60 on Amazon (!) we decided just to get it for him. It is TINY! Smaller than his hand. And he loves it. I haven't looked at the picture quality that much, but since for him it's way more about fiddling with the settings, making videos, and figuring out how every part works, it doesn't really matter. 

Daisy loves her tiny Book of Mormon so much that as soon as I saw they had made all the standard works available in Pocket-Size versions, I knew we had to get them for her. They are tiny and adorable. Also, unlike her previous one, they have all the pictures in them! Hooray!

Daisy also got this penguin game, which is fun, and (the biggest selling point): she and Junie or she and Malachi can play it all by themselves! I love that. It's sort of like memory game? You peek under the penguins to find the different colored eggs. Really simple and cute.

One more thing the kids got that has been surprisingly well-received is these little babies. I love these little soft pocket-size dolls and I'd been thinking of ordering a few of them. The artist gave me a great deal for getting a bunch at once, so I asked her to send one in everyone's favorite color. I thought they were too babyish for the older kids but I just gave them anyway, and everyone seems to like how they all go together, or something. It has been pretty cute to watch Abe and Seb and Ky playing Babies with the little girls. They'll have the babies all lined up and make dinner for them, or they'll pretend they're Magic Babies and fly them around like airplanes, or they'll swaddle them up individually in tiny blankets and carry them around in their pockets. So sweet!

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