2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Big Kids
Our coolest gift picks for the coolest kids.
As my kids get older, I find gift shopping so much more difficult than when they were younger. Back then, any new toy used to elicit so much excitement, even if they only played with it for a few minutes and moved on to the next. But now, YouTube has already told them what the newest, coolest products are (thanks, Ryan). They spend more time on their screens than anything else, so the best gifts need to hold their attention longer than their allotted screen time. They compare every gift they receive with what their friends have, so parents, grandparents, and gift-givers—you better keep up.
If you also have big kids to buy gifts for this holiday season—older siblings, cousins, friends, or maybe even a partner who is just young at heart—finding the perfect fit may not be as difficult as you think. We’ve scoured the internet and had our own kids test a few items to narrow it down to gift ideas so awesome, the recipients will think you’re just as awesome for thinking of them.
Interactive Learning Game
Compatible with an iPad or Fire tablet, the Osmo Genius Starter Kit is so much more than another video game. This interactive, hands-on learning system includes five different games that use real-life objects to make subjects like engineering, math, reading, and art so much fun as their lessons come to life on-screen. If all screen time could be this educational we wouldn’t have to set time limits. Additional games sold separately. Ages 6 to 10; $100
The Yoto Player smart speaker system is reminiscent of the tape players of our youth (or CD players for those parents who are not geriatric millennials like me). Insert one of the seven included digital cards (over 1000+ more sold separately) containing audiobooks, activities, music, podcasts, soundscapes, radio, and more for hours of screen-free listening fun. This little device packs a serious punch as a multifunctional night-light, audio recorder, radio, clock, and sleep trainer. Ages 3 to 12; $110
A real-life print magazine that teaches children about the news, current events, politics, science, sports, and the world around them in a fun, uncomplicated, kid-friendly way is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. The Week Junior is a colorful, information-packed publication that engages young readers and allows them to form their own opinions by providing unbiased facts. Ages 8 to 14; $50 for 25 issues
Crafty and creative kids can express themselves as they design customizable and inspirational messages (or even just their name) in cool and colorful ways with the new 3-in-1 LEGO DOTS Big Message Board. The possibilities are endless when they use three different message boards (vertical, horizontal, or square) as their canvas and over 900 colorful tiles, which can be used interchangeably with the rest of the LEGO DOTS kits (each sold separately). Be sure to also pick up the coordinating Lots of DOTS Lettering kit (sold separately) for writing messages in customizable fonts. Ages 8 and up; $40
Kids’ Book Bundle
These beautifully designed hardcover books for kids are unlike any others as they cover complex topics in uncomplicated ways to teach and empower the future generation. Akidsco books, aptly titled Books About … cover topics most other kids’ books don’t, such as racism, death, love, divorce, gratitude, emotions, and more, and intend to help initiate honest and meaningful conversations between parents and children. What’s more, given the heavy topics, parents and caregivers are able to see which lessons each book teaches before purchasing to ensure it’s an appropriate fit. Ages 5 to 9; $20 each or $45 for a Book Bundle of three
We know a cell phone isn’t exactly going to get kids off their screens, but if they’re going to be on screens anyway, at least you can know they’re doing it safely. The Troomi is the perfect gift for kids who are ready for their first phone, but not quite prepared to have the dangers and accessibility of social media and the World Wide Web at their fingertips. Parents have full control over apps, screen time, and who can text or call through the parent portal. As your child grows, the phone grows with them as you have the ability to add apps, web access, and other features whenever you feel the time is right. And my favorite feature is real-time GPS monitoring, which gives me peace of mind when my tween is away from home. Ages 8 and up; Phones begin at $190; Monthly plans start at $20
The PLAYMOBIL Wiltopia Family Treehouse is a great gift for imaginative kiddos who love pretend play. Building the treehouse is just part of the fun and takes a little time and focus. They thought of everything when designing these intricately detailed and colorful figurines, animals, trees, and structures, which once put together, bring the rainforest to life. As it interacts with an app, kids are taught about the animals living in the habitat, as well as some other cool extras. This playset gave my 6-year-old hours of uninterrupted imaginative playtime, and I would consider any toy that can do that a good investment. Ages 4 to 10; $100
Anyone who bought big kid gifts last holiday season knows that the Magic Mixies Misting Cauldron was all the rage, and this year Magic Mixies are back with the trending Magical Misting Crystal Ball. Little ones transform into magicians when casting their spells with the interactive magic wand. With a bit of practice—and sorcery—the wand creates a magical mist within the crystal ball, complete with mystical, colorful lights. A magic spell reveals a fortune-telling Mixie plushie within the crystal ball that can play games, disappear and reappear, and magically reset to play with over and over again. When they’re done casting spells, the crystal ball becomes a night-light. Ages 5 to 15; $85
There is no going back to the drawing board once you’ve found the perfect present for the most creative little artistes. The Crayola Ultimate Light Board Drawing Tablet is an oversized light board that can be reused and includes images kids can trace and color, and six brightly colored gel markers that glow when the light is turned on. Ages 6 and up; $33
Super soft and—well—squishy, Squishmallows aren’t ordinary stuffed animals. Kids of all ages love them, but these adorable, plush characters have become collectibles among older kids and tweens. These bestsellers make for cute decor, snuggly pillows, and comfy travel companions. Just try not to squish them! They are available in a variety of sizes and characters. Ages 0 and up; from $16
For little scientists interested in STEAM, Educational Insights Artie 3000 introduces basic coding skills in a fun, approachable, and artistic way. Using a computer or tablet, Artie draws what kids code using colored markers, activity sheets, or your kid’s imagination, making learning interactive and fun. Ages 7 and up; $50
Taco vs Burrito was invented by a 7-year-old, so you know your 7-year-old (or 8-year-old or 10-year-old) won’t hate playing it. Easy to learn, this quick and exciting card game is a family game night game changer. By adding ingredients to your taco or burrito to build the most valuable meal, this funny and addictive game teaches kids strategy, math, and even some culinary skills. Ages 7 and up; $25
While we don’t quite understand what it is about creating a concoction of household ingredients that turn into a gooey mess, you can’t go wrong with slime for this age group. Elmer’s Celebration Slime Kit gives kids everything they need to make metallic, glow-in-the-dark, crunchy, and confetti slimes for hours of creative, DIY fun. Ages 5 and up; $55
This smart puzzle cube connects to an app for interactive lessons, games, and competitions to help kids (and adults) master this classic puzzle while tracking their progress—plus their mistakes—and improving their skills. The GoCube Edge is a fun, hands-on game that teaches problem-solving and memorization skills, while also strengthening spatial awareness and confidence. Ages 8 and up; $100
Cool kids can cruise the culdesac (or hallways) in style on this self-balancing hoverboard. Novice and pro hoverers alike will love riding the SISIGAD Hoverboard day and night thanks to its colorful LED light-up wheels and the built-in surround sound Bluetooth speaker that connects to their (or your) phone. Available in 15 different colors to fit every kid’s personality. Ages 6 to 12; $150
We’ve got you covered when your big kid has outgrown typical little kids’ toys but still needs constant stimulation and entertainment. We promise they’ll think you’re the coolest gift-giver with the best toys and kids’ gifts on your Christmas and Hannukah shopping list. One thing I can tell you for sure is that no matter how badly your child needs a new winter coat, warm pajamas, or cozy slippers, these essentials certainly won’t earn you the extra cool points that a hoverboard will. (Trust me. I’ve tried.)
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