Need Christmas Gift Ideas!

I’m trying to figure out how to get the younger people in my family educational, useful, exercise encouraging, and/or fun toys. I ruled out the 5 pounds of silly putty gift idea. (After all, what’s the use if you aren’t allowed to visit anymore?) I was looking at one of these, but they break the bank. (These things are actually pretty cool. My friend has one.) Right now, a whitewings brand paper airplane kit is in favor. These airplanes are made from multiple paper sections cut and glued together. They turn into highly accurate good looking airplanes. The whole idea would be to get my niece doing a delicate, technical crafts project followed by encouragement to get outdoors and fly the planes. Plus, it will hit her with a fun engineering-ish activity just while she’s still open to the suggestion. You guys think that’s something she would find interesting?

I’ve got four people who are difficult to buy for:
6 year old boy
11 Year old girl - this is the ecosystem/paper airplane one
13 year old girl (13 going on 24… &$%# MTV.)
17 year old boy (who’s on these forums! shhh!) He’s a senior right now.

I’m getting out of touch with you youngsters. What kind of stuff is ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ nowadays? (I always ‘hated’ when adults tried to use ‘slang’ by putting it in ‘quotes.’) I’m trying to avoid the dolls for girls sort of thing, and that’s what is making this difficult. Anyways, I would appreciate some suggestions or feedback.

I don’t really have any ideas for you…but it’d probably help people if you said how much you’re willing to spend. :slight_smile:

Actually, I just thought of one…Legos/K’NEX. I used to love those when I was younger…(actually I got one last Christmas :smiley: ), but yeah. They’re educational and fun, depending on the set you get (more so K’NEX than Legos probably). Though they’re not useful or exercise engaging at all.

Good luck.

I got this kit once that was a bunch of thin wooden dowels and a bunch of glow-in-the-dark 1cm wide rubber rings. You pushed the dowel through the edge of the ring and could build little structures out of it. I made a pyramid that still hangs from the ceiling of my room over 6 years later.

I don’t know if there’s a “World of Science” store near you, but we used to have one in our mall and it was full of really neat things that could get kids interested in science.

How about magnets? I always loved magnets as a kid. Get two ring magnets and a pencil and you have an anti-gravity device!

it’s tough without knowing interests and your budget… but the two youngest might enjoy putting together a birdhouse (or a bat house) and add a book on the subject or some birdfeed. Are they into cooking (6 year olds can cook with some help from an adult)? There are lots of cool cookbooks out there - wrap one and add a box of pasta and some sauce and a little container of parmesan cheese so they can make the family dinner one night. If the 13 year old is into fashion, she might like to draw some new designs - maybe a sketchpad and pencils might work.

But then again, I usually opt for gift cards because I hate to shop. (Think creatively, though, a movie store gift card with a big bowl and some microwave popcorn and a six-pack of soda… etc. )

I’m either in the $15 neighborhood, or the $60 neighborhood depending on if my brothers and I team up.

I would list a few interests, but I’m not too sure of what they like myself. I am really looking for something like Greg’s building kit… Something that will expand a new horizon, or be memorable, or just plain fun. A favorite toy, or a toy you can use later in life… Like an erector set. The cooking stuff is a good suggestion. I think I know what to get the little ones now.

Now, on to the 17 year old. Last year, I got him a tank of gas. This is like just giving him money, which isn’t thoughtful enough for me to do twice in a row. Plus, gas is way too pricy to do that this year. :smiley:

The CT Academy for Education has listed some mathematics and science gift ideas here.

Two words: model rockets. You can get a starter set for $20-$30 that comes with everything you’ll need. Fun and educational.

My first place to look would be here:

A couple other sites:

Just as long as you don’t launch a relatively heavy Death Star rocket on a B engine… not that I know anybody who did that… ::whistles innocently::

Lego Lego Lego (not that midstorms garbage). My borther and I played with lego all the time, I know it helped our engineering and spatial thinking. Example, first try ever, had only been driving for four hours, I nailed the parallel park. K’nex is a bit too limiting… Too bad erector isn’t around anymore.

There’s nothing like an E engine. Well, there was. IT was an E engine misfire in Nevada. That was fun.

Thanks for all the help! I’m getting some great ideas here!