If you have children above the age of six, more than likely one of their holiday wish list items is tech-related. But that stuff ain’t cheap (nor is it good for the wee ones). Additionally, an iPad doesn’t exactly cover the floor under a Christmas tree nor does it last for eight nights of Chanukah. So, what’s a parent to do when they want to get their children something cool, keep them off the screens and save a bit of their college fund? Check out our non-tech gift recommendations below. Bonus: Many of these are from South Florida companies, so your investment goes right back into your own economy. Almost all of the websites have either discounted or free second-day shipping (especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member), so you can order now and receive them in time for the holidays.
There are your typical stuffed animals – often branded, younger-focused, and/or ugly – and then there are Twoolies. These gorgeous wool creations, designed by Miami architect (and mother) Sindy Posso, are made in conjunction with Mayan artists from the Tzotzil community in Mexico. Yah, they’re that cool. The brightly colored creatures, including giraffes, lions and dragonflies; range in size from small to large and are all custom made; no two are alike. If you have a child who loves stuffed animals but you can’t bare one more teddy bear, these are the thing for you. Or, if you need a gift for a super chic (slash snobby) relative or client whose child deserves nothing but the artisanal best, you’ve found your answer. Twoolies can be purchased nationally in numerous museum and toyshops, or locally at Genius Jones, Fontainebleau and more. Click here for a list of local retailers or grab them from Addison Kids online.
It’s safe to say that superheroes are here to stay. Yet, the violent backstories and over-the-top advertising of the mass-market options can leave a bad taste in some parents’ mouths. Enter HeroBoys, a collection of six, 18-inch action figures from a South Florida husband and wife team. Noticing the lack of positive role models in the boys’ toy market, Crissi and Ed Boland decided to create this life-size collection of superheroes, each with his own special back-story. The heroes’ super powers focus on positive things like helping the environment, having manners and being kind to others, making this a great gift for the younger set. The characters – like Blazo and Gusto – also have a super cool comic book series that can be given as a subscription to kids, and what kid doesn’t love getting mail?
Mr. Hu Said What Board Game
Studies show that play is extremely beneficial for the family dynamic as a whole, and nothing beats a fun board or party game to keep kids happy and make everyone laugh. Enter Mr. Hu Said What from Miami native and entrepreneur Eric Poses. The new game, from the creator of Loaded Questions, introduces a Confucius-like character who asks ‘philosophical’ fill-in-the-blank questions, all of which must be answered in accordance with a Chinese takeout menu. It’s a bit of food fun mixed with silly play, and is a fantastic way to pass time during the looooong break. Added bonus – this is an especially great gift for the big kid/preteen set, as they can play for hours with their friends.
Raise your hand if your child has complained since the second day of school that his or her lunchbox is not big enough/cool enough/doesn’t keep things cold/got lost. You’re not alone. PlanetBox is the modern solution to today’s lunch headaches. The super cool, durable, stainless steel containers make kids feel like they’re eating out of a robot. The line offers different styles, shapes and sizes – all of which have separate compartments to keep food fresh. The boxes come with your choosing of designer magnets and offer matching cases and ‘Bottlerocket’ bottles (the really exciting part for the kids). These truly are an investment that lasts, and you’ll be shocked by how excited your child can get by a lunchbox.
Sticker Mosaic Kits
If the song “She’s Crafty” was not written about you (or you can’t stand the mess of crafts), sticker and Mosaic kits are your new best friend. ALEX Toys and Orb Factory, both found on Amazon, are particularly excellent at putting together affordable and easy kits with a huge range of designs and styles that keep kids focused, happy and busy (no joke). From robots to butterflies to rockets, these are appropriate for a variety of ages and are a dream come true from beginning to proud-project-zero-mess end.
Otrio, from Marble the Brain Store
If you haven’t discovered Marble the Brain store, welcome to the world of thinky-but-fun kids games, crafts, and gifts. Otrio is a super cool and strategic, 2-4 player head-to-head game with simple rules but copious solutions. This game is like tic tac toe’s big sister came in with a beautiful wooden playing board and more challenging play. The game comes straight from the website’s “Brain Workshop”, which means you can’t find it anywhere else! Kids who love to think and compete will not want to put this one down.