Gift Guide: For Boys and Girls

When thinking of crafty gifts for kids, especially for boys, it’s easy to be stumped. Do I really want to be that aunt, the one who gives educational gifts or boring gifts or wildly inappropriate ones for the recipient’s age?
Heck no, I don’t, so I scour the web, the craft shops, and the toy stores for ideas. Here are some of the best crafty gifts I’ve come across, most lightweight kits geared toward maximum fun with a little bit of accomplishment-based confidence building thrown in. And some are just plain cool.
These aren’t the usual knitting, beading, or Shrinky Dink kits, because I’m pretty sure we can all find those, or teach the crafts better on our own. I tried to go off the beaten path and at the same time keep these fairly gender neutral. But since I have two boys and no girls it may be slightly weighted on the guy side. If you know of some amazing kits that any girl would love, please post the deets in the Comments, or for that matter, any other kits for kids that rock.

Build Your Own Rocket
I would have loved this when I was a little girl, and I’m sure kids of both sexes and various ages will enjoy this wooden rocket kit, that comes with 14 easy to assemble parts, stickers, paint and brushes, varnish, glue, and even a splash mat to protect your surfaces.
At $14, this seems like a steal.

Handprint Plaster Kit
There are lots of plaster handprint kits out there, some cuter than others. Whichever one you choose, I’ve found that kids love making these; my teenager still baffles at just how small his hand was when he was 4 years old.
Some of the nicest looking to me have been an oval-shaped ornament, a heart-shaped plaque from Jo-Ann Fabrics, and the one shown here, which includes watercolors and ribbon so the kids can decorate their handprint.

Magic Set
Both my boys went through a “magic phase,” and I’m guessing most kids do at one point or another. This kit by Melissa & Doug is sturdy and nice-looking. They also have a deluxe set for those serious junior magicians out there.

Eye Can Kit
These bring art kits offerings to a new, fabulously arty level. You can make dramatic-looking printed images, melted wax drawings, or Japanese-style brush paintings, depending on which kit you choose. All the kits include instructions and project suggestions, plus techniques that professional artists use. And they come in a nifty reusable, easy-carry container.

Pirate Treasure & More

Who doesn’t love pirates? Well, maybe ninjas. But this award-winning, design your own kit might just win them over as well. You get a small paper mache treasure chest, felt paper lining for chest, eye patch, head scarf, sticker sheet, map-making paper, gold-colored coins, 3 “gemstones,” faux gold beads, paint and paint brush.

Fairy Wing Kit
Both my boys had filmy homemade wings to wear at some early point in their lives. Theirs were green and tie-dye, not pink, but they would have loved wearing them even if they had been pink. Wings are just fun! And this kit looks to offer a great set up for personalizing and decorating your own set.

Perfume Science Kit
Besides designing your own fragrances, this kit gives you the tools to make scented crafts and extract fragrances from plants. Eau du Tweener will be very popular, is my guess.

Bubble Gum Factory
Making your own gum, maybe even creating a new flavor, is just rad.

Blinkybug Kit
I’ve had great success with boys and girls alike building little bots of all kinds. These blinkybugs are easy to make, fun to look at, and have more personality than some of the other bots we’ve built. Plus their LED eyes light up, always a good thing!

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Paint By Numbers Kit
My one and only paint by number picture was of a dog that resembled the Pokey Little Puppy if my memory serves me correctly. Or maybe it was a kitten. Either way, it was fun to do and a little disappointing at the outcome end of things. That’s where this kit from Fred Flare comes in. Written by the actual inventor of paint by number, this kit focuses on masterpieces and lovely cityscapes and landscapes. Everyone at the office has been eyeing this kit — we’re all budding artists in case you didn’t know!

In the Maker Shed:


Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed. We’ve got all sorts of great holiday gift ideas, for crafters, kits for kids, science kits, craft kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.

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Sometimes helpful editor and digital media director at MAKE and CRAFT.

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