Design

Gift Guide Part #1: Your Chatty Little Kids Who Know All the Neighbors and Ask for Ten More Stories Every Night.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

A first real chef’s knife, $49, designed in France for kids, along with a peeler and finger guard. (More options here, $15.)

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

A few of the year’s loveliest books, like This Is How We Do It, Jabari Jumps, City Moon and Sarabella’s Thinking Cap. $12 to $14.

11 Best Gifts for Kids

Cozy pajamas, $29.50.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

A remote-control cockroach, $9, to make older brothers jump.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

Classic games that are actually fun for the whole family, like Connect Four and Guess Who.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

A magic little truck, $15, that will follow any line kids draw, no matter how wobbly.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

A Wes-Anderson-esque stationery set for spies, $20, including eight cards, eight envelopes, sticker seals and two lucky pencils.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

Glittery nail polish, $25, that washes off with soap and water.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

My crafty parent friends swear by these tempera paint sticks that dry in 90 seconds, $20, along with a giant sketchbook.

10 Best Holiday Gifts for Kids

Candy bars with awesome flavors, like pizza, potato chip, popcorn and PB&J. $3.25.

P.S. This year’s gift guide so far, and last year’s gift guide for kids. Plus, an awesome birthday present trick.

  1. abrs says...

    Just found these fun blowup solar powered lights at REI (probably Amazon too)…the REI member told me it was featured on Shark Tank. The light is waterproof, shatter resistant and multicolored. Bought it for my boys for their bedtime night light. Plus it deflates so we can take it on trips and flights. Love something that has many uses! Hopefully they’ll have fun with it during living room campouts and make bedtime cozier. I immediately thought of this gift list when I saw it. Hope you don’t mind me sharing! https://www.rei.com/product/120699/luminaid-packlite-spectra-usb-solar-lantern

  2. Sara says...

    This guide is great! I hope you’ll also be doing a gift guide for older kids this year. That 9-13 year old range, where they’re over little kid stuff but not quite teenagers – what do you buy for them? I get books for every kids on my list but also like to get a toy or something crafty for each as well. I’m having a tough time this year with the older kids and could definitely use some advice!

    • Lana says...

      Yesssss! This age range is so hard.

  3. Melissa says...

    I have had the Opinel knife set for kids for over 6 years, and it’s still going strong. My oldest started using it at 3, and now my younger uses it. I love it- perfectly made for kids! Thanks for a lovely guide

  4. E.W. says...

    I love your gift guides and have been relying on them for years. Thanks for assembling such a great, fun, functional list! Have you given any thought to assembling some ideas for children to GIVE the adults in their life? Pinhole press certainly fits this but I wonder if there’s more? My oldest is now 6 so we’ve made ornaments, birdhouses, photo books, book marks. We need some new ideas that are affordable, both in terms of time and money, and meaningful so my kids are invested in the giving and extended family is invested in the receiving. Food doesn’t work because there are too many health issues.

  5. Lesley S says...

    Yay! Just in time for my nephew’s birthday this weekend. I’m going to pick Jabari Jumps up today. He’ll love it! You always have the best gift guides!

  6. Nicole says...

    Those tempura paint sticks are the bomb! I also highly recommend a mess mat so that you can let your little artist draw away and not destroy their creativity by telling them to stay on the paper or worry about your table :)

  7. Jocelyn says...

    These Xmas guide lists are always fabulous as you always include great items and fresh suggestions! – and great prices! However, could I just kindly mention that as someone who has a “need to see a therapist” level of fear/phobia regarding roaches, it was extremely upsetting to see. I had trouble sleeping afterwards and the image sincerely upset me. :(

  8. dd says...

    I’d like to share an idea that’s always worked for me with toddlers: Coffee table books with large, vibrant pictures. They come in so many themes and you can find them at any price point. My kids have enjoyed everything from Anne Geddes to architecture. They just love flipping through the photos, and they usually learn something on the subject along the way.

  9. Erika says...

    I already have 4 new gifts in my amazon cart for the “kids who have it all already” on my list. Thank you Cup of Jo Team!! xo

  10. Erika says...

    This is a wonderful guide! Thank you for unique and fun ideas.

  11. abrs says...

    I find I always turn to your list for wonderfully creative gifts for my boys. Thank you for helping me think outside the box!

  12. AJ says...

    Ordered “This is How We Do It” based on CoJ recommendation in another post. Highly recommend it! Upon learning that a Peruvian breakfast could include fried rice and hot milk, my 6 yo said, “that’s not fair! I want to have that for breakfast!”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha my kids thought the later bedtimes were so unfair! :)

    • Jody says...

      I got called out by my husband for going to bed earlier than some of the children ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Christine says...

      I buy “This is How We Do It” in sets of three so I always have one on hand for a gift. Such a well-received gift – thanks CoJ!

  13. Stephanie says...

    Love this whole list! Do you know where the little ladybug is from in the knife gift picture? I have two ladybird-loving kids that would live to find one in their stocking this year.

  14. Heather says...

    Love the Kwik Stix! They’re so much better than messy paints when my 2-year-old demands, “Do art project!” and it’s too cold to go outside. I even find them fun to draw with.

  15. Kate says...

    THese are great! Guess Who and Connect 4 are the exact games I got my 7 year old last Christmas – this year is going to be Twister and Simon!

  16. CJ says...

    How F-U-N! I just purchased Mr Boddington’s spy stationary, a few notepads and a set of pencils for my sweet nephews. What a wonderful brand that I had not heard of before. Thanks Jo!

  17. Such a great reminder about Guess Who? I loved that game growing up. Also very into the tempera paint markers will be checking those out for sure.

  18. Sarah says...

    I love your gift guides! I was thinking all of this was too ‘old’ for my kid, and then I found myself deep in the recesses of JCrew’s website, and their factory has a little boys sweater with elbow pads that I’m drooling over. I can be his ‘something to wear’ from our ‘want, need, wear, read’ Christmas rule! (But I live in a city, so that remote-control cockroach is TOO REAL for me and won’t be making it on ANY lists this year! :))

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha same!! i would pass out if i saw that thing running across our kitchen floor.

    • CJ says...

      I love the want/need/wear/read rule! Stealing!!

  19. Allison says...

    Aaaand I bought three things on this list. My niece will be in heaven. Your gift guides are so great!

  20. anne says...

    I got my 7yo some of the nail polish and she said it came off before the day was over! Maybe better for the 1-4 range..

  21. SO cute, I live in France and just saw that chef’s knife set today while out shopping. It really is quite popular here. At the schools, kids participate in the preparation of the food often. My daughter is 3 and in their matrenelle ‘preschool’ class, they went foraging for mushrooms as a class last week and then made tarts together for lunch!

  22. NSU says...

    I am also crafty, and I also swear by those Tempera paint sticks– the BEST.

  23. Rachael says...

    I have a four-year-old who is going to be THRILLED by that truck—thank you so much for the genius idea!!

    I posted my favorite kid gifts here (I have six kids so lots of ideas) if that’s helpful to anyone. I LOVE all the crowd-sourcing of gift guides; makes it s much easier!!

    https://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/2016/11/christmas-gift-ideas.html?m=1

  24. Oh my goodness I’m so excited Jabari Jumps was included– especially with This Is How We Do It, City Moon, Sarabella’s Thinking Cap! (Such good book company!) I’m such a long time reader and fan of Cup of Jo, so this really means a lot to me. Thank you:)
    And how did I NOT know about Paint Sticks?!

  25. I was JUST thinking today how I couldn’t wait for your gift list!! This is awesome!

  26. LaurenB says...

    YAY!!! You always have the best gift guides. I can’t wait for the rest. :)

  27. Love these gift guides and look forward to them every year!

  28. Sus says...

    Great suggestions! I don’t have kids myself but have lots of them in my life and always struggle to find unique gifts (that they won’t already have). At the risk of sounding way too PC, are we still playing Guess Who? I played it over the wkd with a niece and felt bizarre about calling people out and identifying them with their looks, race, gender, etc. My niece was even saying things like: “I don’t like her because of her glasses.” I’m not quite sure how to articulate it, but it just felt weird. Especially weird to be ingraining a 7 year old in stereotypes.

  29. I really love the chef’s knife (it would 100% be my top choice if it were my kid, though my sister is a little paranoid) but that magic truck is absolutely making it onto my list for my nephew, he’d love that SO MUCH.

  30. Katie Larissa says...

    My sweet little 10 yr old nephew apparently is ready to update his image…his Christmas list this year is “ripped jeans, sunglasses, a necklace with a cross on it.” ?

    • Michele says...

      LOL. Love this!

  31. Tania Barnes says...

    Awww love this so. My wee one would love that magic truck! And I love those jammies…I wonder if they make them for big people (I need to go click the link…)

  32. Sara says...

    I have so may questions about that pizza flavored candy bar! Anyone ever tried it???

    • Abbie says...

      Ditto!

  33. Tricia M says...

    I have to say I LOVE the remote control cockroach for some bizarre reason, although in all truth, it would totally freak me out! This is surprising as I am more of a book person really.

  34. Bets says...

    I look forward to your gift guides every year, I’ve taken so many of your suggestions and never seem let down! The glittery nail polish and markers look like great stocking stuffers!

  35. Agnès Mérat says...

    Great ideas! I can´t see the title/link for the first gift idea (the kitchen utensils). Is it me?
    Thanks for for your great work.

  36. Savannah says...

    We have a life size rubber cockroach that travels around our family scaring us and I’m thinking he needs a remote controlled sibling!

  37. Rachel says...

    My 14 year old sons and I still have Connect 4 tournaments and I, happily/proudly/delightedly, win a lot.

  38. Abesha1 says...

    Regarding the inductive truck, does anyone think it could follow a thick string or piece of yarn? Anyone have one and want to try, and report back?

  39. Anita says...

    I really like the emphasis on little things here, simplicity rather than splurging. This year I plan to get my kids Plus Plus blocks, books, and bathrobes (although I can’t find any that I like in my preliminary internet search – any ideas? – and I am contemplating sewing these gorgeous ones:https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2014/02/10/corinnes-thread-purl-soho-kids-robe/ ). In the meantime, I am fielding some random requests from my 4 yr old – a piece of chain (after seeing the spools of chain sold by the foot at the hardware store) and a trophy.

    • Heather says...

      So those robes are beautiful, but I have to make a plug for these ones I got off of Amazon that my kids went nuts over. I dithered over getting my kids bathrobes, but it has turned out to be a great purchase. We no longer use towels for them – just put them in their towel robes. They are so soft the kids just wear them around the house, and my one daughter even SLEEPS in hers. The only downside is that there have been some arguments about whether or not one is permitted to wear the bathrobe to preschool. We got the turquoise for all three of our kids, and our bathroom is so much tidier now that we just have three robes on hooks instead of a zillion wadded up towels: http://amzn.to/2yCQCss

    • Robin says...

      Omg I love those sewn robes! My son would love one. Given the number of unfinished projects in this house, I’m going with the amazon link. Thank you so much, he will love it! May almost make up for me not getting him a length of chain ;)

  40. Emily says...

    City Moon is the most wonderful picture book I’ve read this year. Perfect holiday gift!

  41. LOVE LOVE LOVE this series! Great ideas and I can’t wait to see the rest :)

  42. Still getting over the fact that we’re quickly approaching the holiday season. Like, what the…….

  43. Erin says...

    My 6 year old will LOVE that remote control cockroach. Great ideas, thank you!

  44. Emily says...

    These are great!! I have three little boys and I just ordered several items from this list. Looking forward to the next gift guide! xxE

  45. These are all such clever kid gift ideas! I especially am happy to know about that nail polish, I love that it’s made in France and that it washes off!

  46. Lily says...

    These are always the best!

  47. Jenny says...

    I love every one of these suggestions, and they are so unique!

    Cheers!

  48. Purchasing that chef’s knife immediately! I’m running out of ‘recipes’ that use sliced bananas (e.g., something that my son can cut with a butter knife). Love and second the recommendation for Jabari Jumps! Was my first post on the blog I recently started about books featuring children of color.

    • Angela says...

      We have the same thing on my son’slist because I’m in your same boat. Um…bananas, avocados (pit already removed, of course), and um…???? Lol

    • Sam, thank you for the kind words about Jabari Jumps! I’ll check out your blog– it sounds great!

      (sometimes my four year old cuts up pasta. haha. Also he does a lot of spreading with knives… which yeah, not as fun. I wish he liked bananas!)

  49. City moon is so beautiful and lovely – we have been doing moon walks around Brooklyn on clear nights with jackets over our pajamas after my older one’s baby sister goes to bed. It’s so fun and special for her since she’s “old enough” for a moon walk.

    • Love that idea! How fun to have family moon walks together.

  50. I STILL love Connect Four! They have giant Connect Four at the Royal Palms in Brooklyn and I played the last time I was there ?

  51. Lisa says...

    You write “gifts for chatty little kids” but all I see is “gifts I want to buy myself pronto”

  52. Go-to box for any of my friends’ kids: subscription box for learning STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts with such cute characters that instruct the creative DIY projects!!
    kiwico.com

    • Susan says...

      Nassem, I’d love to hear any other gift recommendations you might have as a Montessori teacher! I was a Montessori student as a child and have always loved its approach to children.

    • Hey Susan! So cool :). I was also a Montessori child! Great places to find something the children in your life might love are http://www.MontessoriServices.com and http://www.HowWeMontessori.com.

      Not sure what age range you’re looking for, but in Montessori, we try to stick with real, child-sized items made from real materials. Anything that allows younger children to participate in home life (we call it practical life), are usually very exciting and well-used by little ones. How We Montessori is organized wonderfully by age range, so you may want to check that for inspiration.

      Good luck and have fun :)

    • Frances says...

      Kiddikutter knives look good too (available in Europe – not sure about US):

      http://kiddikutter.com.au/

      I’m giving my children a cookery themed stocking this year – so am looking at different options. The littlest won’t get a knife but I thought a playdoh knife would be a great alternative.

      I also love this cookbook for kids: http://amzn.to/2jqUAS6

    • Heather says...

      Teetering over the edge of the rabbit hole that is the How We Montessori site right now… Will I get any work done today???

      THANK YOU, NASEEM!! Finding so many great gift ideas.

      And thank you COJ. These lists are always A++

    • Good luck coming out of the rabbit hole, Heather! haha. How We Montessori is so wonderful! I hope you find lots of lovely things for the little ones in your life.

  53. This is my favorite!!! I’m not going to lie…my in-laws ask for a list for ME every year and I always pull things from this series.

    Also, you make me excited about having a little boy :)

  54. Thank you for this! Buying for 9 kids this year ages 2-12 so this give me a great start. I’m for sure getting the paint sticks! xxoo

  55. Lee says...

    Kwik Stix are game changers! Another alternative brand is Playcolor Tempera Paint Sticks (side note: they make fun metallic colors). https://www.dickblick.com/products/playcolor-tempera-paint-sticks/
    Both sticks provide the look and feel of paint without the mess! Both have really satisfying color intensity and awesome velvety application. I would know, I am elementary and middle school art teacher. This is my jam.
    While I think messes are generally an acceptable and sometimes necessary part of making art, sometimes you just need a little less mess in your life. Go forth and make art, minus the spills!
    A word to the wise, don’t stack the art until it is dry. The painting done with these tempera sticks are a bit tacky for awhile.

  56. These are such lovely gifts! A lot of the older kids I know (around age 6-8) all are super into putties, thinking putty to be exact (tho I really don’t know the differences) There are make your own kits on the market that I think would be a fun gender neutral gift too.

  57. Sarah Beth says...

    omg! I was just wondering when gift guides would start popping up, and was literally just browsing your 2016 guides to try to find something good for my 23 year old sisters. I’m in my mid 30s and feel so uncool trying to find them something good! I’ll be anxiously awaiting your sister/bestfriend guides!

    • Angela says...

      Ha! Was doing precisely that yesterday looking for something for my 25 year old soon-to-be sister-in-law. Help us, CoJ!!