Christmas gift ideas 2014: 12 presents for the kids
Many children look forward to Christmas because, let’s face it, of the gifts. For you, dear gift-giver, it may mean having to be extra selective that the present you do choose is a good match for your child recipient.
It’s easy to choose the toy of the moment for kids. Stores are lined up with merchandise of every single shape and kind. There are many in line with a popular TV show or movie. Others are kiddie cult favorites.
For a memorable present, I usually prefer something that takes the child’s interests into consideration—not just the flash-in-the-pan trend of the season. My criteria can be simplified into 3 items:
1. THEME. Identify a recurring theme in the child’s sphere of interest, talents, and activities. Is the kid a builder, an artist, a make-believer? Zero in on the kind of toy that will light up the child’s eyes, not because of brands, but because you “get” him.
2. CATCH HIS INTEREST. How long can the toy be enjoyed? Open-ended toys—toys that are “passive”—are often my go-to. These are toys that usually have no lights and sounds, but require the kid-at-play to create, break, and recreate their own rules. This can be as simple as balls or building blocks.
3. PRACTICALITY. If the child is too young to show any concrete interest in one thing, think practical. This may even mean choosing something that is not a toy, but a useful item that mom or dad can use for the kid in his everyday life. To make it notable, select quality products that exemplify the thought you have placed on the child’s and family’s lifestyle.
With those notes, here are some choices that made my shortlist:
1. Lumad dolls by Anthill Fabric Gallery
“Lumad” is Visayan for “indigenous.” These handcrafted fabric dolls are wearing traditional Filipino attire. The characters are diverse and colorful: choose a Bontoc Warrior, a Marano, an Ibaloi, a Talaandig, a Kalinga Warrior, or a Maria Clara-inspired doll in a baro’t saya. All accessories are made of fabric except for some accents like feathers.
Each doll comes with a story tag about the doll’s ethnicity and background that will familiarize the child (and parent) about the toy’s inspiration. It also comes with some information about the makers of the toys – the HOME community enterprise. As a special touch, each doll is signed by its mother crafter.
The toys are made in Cebu, but ordering via HOME Plush Toys Facebook page is possible. A doll costs P799 – P899 depending on type.
2. Paintable canvas teepee by Think Tents
Kids love to have their own spaces. These teepees are perfect to house their various activities, whether it’s reading, writing, acting or even painting! The teepee is made of blank canvas after all, and its maker meant for it to be painted on and personalized.
A private creative space is always a special nook, encouraging quiet and imagination. The teepee can be used indoors or outdoors (in good weather).
They are best for older children; toddlers will need adult supervision because the teepees are not pegged on the ground. Otherwise, it’s a happy place for all.
Each teepee comes with a carrying case and costs P2500. To order, email email@example.com or check its Facebook page for more info.
3. Playtime Apron Tutu by Celestina and Company
Many little girls love to pretend to be princesses. This make-believe game is made better when dressed up, of course. These playtime apron tutus are both adorable and functional. Kids can wear their regular clothes and easily put on this dress-up apron. No need for a full costume change.
They’re pretty and detailed enough for playtime at home, to wear at costume parties, or for other special occasions.
Each apron tutu is fully adjustable up to three sizes and choices are available for little girls 6 months up to 9 years old! Choose and order via the Celestina and Company website. Prices range from P1680 to P1980 each.
4. Fishing Game by T-Mato (Teacher Made Toys)
A simple game that challenges kids in a fun way, this fishing game comes with 10 fabric fishes and one wooden fishing rod. The simple activity targets a child’s fine motor skills, focus and attention pan, and one-to-one correspondence. Playtime is the best time to learn after all!
It’s a good gift for children ages 1 to 7 years old. Set is P430. Get in touch with Teacher-Made Toys to purchase.
5. Si Jepoy Dyip
This 6-book series goes beyond reading – it transforms into a town! The books are about Jepoy, a jeepney school service, and his adventures in the town of Pag-Asa. A book comes with a vehicle character (Books 1 to 5) or the entire town and building structures (Book 6) to be folded out.
The story and the setting provide a very Filipino experience – it feels like going through a familiar place. There are too few books for kids that reflect who we are, so this is a real plus.
A handy tip: Make your own gift pack composed of one book, a small glue stick and kid scissors.
The maker, Jomike Tejido (of Foldabots fame), also has provided YouTube videos on how to construct each town, so for non-crafty parents, don’t fear, just find the instruction videos here.
The books are sold individually at P150, except for book 6 which is P250. Available at Precious Pages bookstores.
6. Dinosaur Cut-Outs
For every child who loves them, there’s no such thing as too many dinosaurs! This minimalist find at Muji is a cool addition to a dinosaur collection. The set is composed of four cardboard puzzles of favorite dinosaurs: the Stegosaurus, the Triceratops, the Diplodocus, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
They’re probably meant for display, but kids may want to decorate them according to their own vision – who’s to say they can’t?
Available at Muji stories for P525.
7. Look It’s About Me Book
How do you make a child feel special? Why not make him or her the main character of a storybook? That’s the whole concept of the “Look It’s About Me” book line.
There are a few storylines to choose from: Santa’s invitation to the North Pole, an underwater adventure, a great space race. In all, the child is made the protagonist by integrating the child’s name in the story. (Ordering instructions say that all they need is the child’s name and they take care of the rest.)
The personalized story book costs P1250 each, with 10-15 days delivery time, or a 6-day pickup time. Order online here.
8. Wonder Trix Trax Hammer Slammer
How can a ball get from one point to another without batteries and engines? This setup can ignite a curious mind and spark one’s imagination. It’s best for kids who like observing and experimenting repeatedly, and those who have a certain degree of patience.
It requires, first, the construction of the tracks out of wooden blocks before releasing five balls one at a time and watching a series of hammers knock them onto the tracks.
All Wonder Trix Trax sets available at the Discovery Depot for P2999.
9. Booboo Set by Indigobaby
Not all gifts need to be made of fun; some can be made of comfort and healing too. This care package contains favorites for children (and parents too!): Jar of Hope first aid gel, Jar of Love healing balm, and a small toy.
The Jar of Hope has been a favorite first aid go-to in many households for its many benefits due to its main ingredient, blue chamomile essential oil.
It’s helpful for fussy babies, teething, stressed out mommies, insomnia, insect bites, rashes, cuts and wounds.
The Jar of Love, in the meantime, is made of peppermint pure essential oils formulated to address cold, fever, flu, jet lag, and motion sickness – all without ingredients harmful to little ones.
You can purchase them individually: Jar of Hope at P425, Jar of Love at P415 . Or as a Booboo Set with a felt toy for P810, or with a stuffed little dog for P1200. Order via the IndigoBaby website.
10. Human Nature’s Tiny Bubbly Bundle
Bath time and kids are not always a good mix, but maybe they can think better of it with a favorite soap. The HHN Tiny Bubbly Bundle comes with two soaps: chocolate and gummy berry. The all-natural bath soap comes with the promise of being free of synthetic chemicals and harmful ingredients.
The set is for P159 (with a Christmas box), but each soap can be purchased individually for P74.75 each. Human Nature also has an online store.
11. Kawayantech’s Push Bike
Is your little one learning to bike? Experts say that the best way is the push-and-glide, as opposed to using balance wheels. The push bike is made for this purpose. It is a pedal-less bike to allow a child to enjoy learning to bike at his own pace. Every time he kicks or pushes his feet from the ground, he strengthens his core muscles for balance, and he is able to glide and ride for a few meters. When the bike slows down, he’ll need to push again.
The best part of using a push bike as a first bike is seeing a child’s confidence grow. With it, he has control of the speed and can put his feet down any time. The next step for this is a pedaled bike – no need for training wheels!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to order. Each pushbike is P5,000 and needs 2-3 weeks lead time to make.
12. Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Innovators book
This may not look like a gift that a kid would appreciate off the bat, but it’s something that will arm parents with many projects to create with them for a very long time. Tinkerlab.com is a popular website that features hands-on experiments and creative projects for children. Many parents and teachers use it as a resource.
The book spins off from the site and organizes the information and inspiration with pages filled with kid-tested projects that “value process over product”, as well as tips on how to have one’s own “tinkerlab.” This is a great gift for a family that loves to foster curiosity and exploration.
Painted background image from Shutterstock