Design

Gift Guide #2: Your Goofy Kids Who Sing in the Bath and Write Earnest Fan Letters to the Cast of Full House.

Dragons Love Tacos pajamas

Pajamas with a bedtime story, $48. (More here and here.)

Caboodle

Caboodle, $17, for all their coins, lip balm, rubber bands and stickers. (I brought one home from work the other day and my boys LOST THEIR MINDS.)

bug bingo

Bug bingo, $27, for heart-pounding fun.

Wishing bracelet

Pearl wishing bracelet, $16. Leave it on until it falls off and your wish will come true.

primary sweater

The softest sweater, $24, in their favorite color. (I love this whole store.)

too many monkeys card game

Too Many Monkeys, $10, a game that’s fast and fun for kids and adults (no but for real).

astronaut ice cream

Astronaut ice cream sandwich, $4, a childhood tradition.

wooden sandwich toy set

Sandwich set, $20, to play restaurant, school, picnics and tea party. (The ice cream one is fun, too.)

flip sequin shirt

A flip sequins shirt, $15, because they’re just cool.

carmela full of wishes

A few of the year’s loveliest books, like Carmela Full of Wishes, Julián Is a Mermaid and Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes. $12 to $14.

pothos plant from the sill

A plant, $19. Toby got one this year and he adores it. He keeps it in his bedroom, waters it every Sunday and named it Jackson.

toy wallet

A wallet, $9, to feel grown-up but still be decidedly little.

P.S. This year’s gift guide so far, and last year’s gift guide for kids.

  1. There’s been Monopoly for the real estate tycoon wannabe, Operation for the surgeon wannabe. How about the first legal-themed board game for the lawyer wannabe? LAWSUIT! board game is for kids ages 8 and up.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! love this book.

  2. Mrs. K says...

    I bought the little pearl wishing bracelets from Catbird for my 11 year old to give to her besties but I was disappointed when they arrived….they are literally microscopic….the picture shown is deceiving in my opinion. Would love a pre-teen gift guide!

  3. Sarah says...

    Love the plant idea! We’re trying to start a tradition of picking out a plant for half birthdays from TJs. Pretty low investment and manageable for kiddos. As if on top of stickers and samples TJs could be any better :)

  4. Michelle says...

    On the caboodle – my daughter is obsessed with collecting random odds and ends, and in her mind they are a cohesive toy collection she calls her Huladoodles. I’ll be like, “is this trash?” And she’s all, “No, that goes with my Huladoodles.”

  5. Caitlin says...

    I love that Toby named his plant Jackson! I have a philodendron, and named it “Phil.” Much less creative! I split it at one point and let my daughter put one of the halves in her room. She loves it!

  6. Klara says...

    … and named it Jackson? I love Toby! :o) I named my banana plant Pedrito (it’s a descendant from the big plant at the office which I named Pedro) :o)

  7. Daniela says...

    I can’t wait to buy gifts for my boyfriend’s little siblings! Though we are in our late twenties his siblings are very young (the latest addition born in July!) and it’s fun to have kids around and buy gifts for :)

  8. Cassie Trueblood says...

    I love the list! It frustrates me that the site for the pajamas calls the Dragons love Tacos and Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site ones for “boys” and the Angelina Ballerina ones for “girls.” But I appreciate you not doing the same, Jo!!

    • t says...

      UGH!!! that frustrates me too! I understand labeling for navigation ease but as a mom of a princess, unicorn, sparkles, pink loving son we have taught our kids that in our family there aren’t any boy or girl toys or clothes. If they just labeled by color schemes it would be so much more inclusive.

  9. Kim says...

    So I think Caboodles really are back. My 14 year-old just got one and loved it. Then she tried to get a second while we are at Target. I thought she wanted it ironically, but she wanted it truly.

  10. Whit says...

    Post Title Typo: Part 2, not Party 2? Love the bug bingo! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!

  11. Jamie says...

    Absolutely great list, thank you! Just ordered Caboodles for my two teens, and fake money/wallet for my little nieces and nephies! Thanks again :)

  12. Kenzie Randall says...

    Jackson the plant! That is the cutest ever.

  13. Christina says...

    Jo, I absolutely love that this gift guide is for all kids, with no mention of gender-specific items (“for little boys,” “for little girls”). Quietly and sweetly, you are working to erase gender bias with your own kiddos and in this community. Cheers to you.

    • Sasha L says...

      So lovely. Thank you COJ team.

    • Robin says...

      Yes!!

  14. heather says...

    would love gift ideas for older kids (teenagers!) a lot of your suggestions seem geared toward young kids

    • I second this! Although my newly minted 14-year-old would love a Caboodle.

  15. Claire says...

    I want to read the earnest letter to the cast of Full House.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha we’ve sent most of them! i’ll see if i can find one. they are VERY VERY cute, i have to say. :)

  16. Marnie says...

    Yessss! Dilemma solved! My kids both want jewelry boxes, but they are all so small – or expensive! Caboodles are the perfect solution. Can’t wait to see their faces – my eldest LOVES organizing, so she will be in HEAVEN!

    For 2019 we have few kids scheduled activities in order to make space for more family fun time — so Too Many Monkeys is perfect! (Also bought Spot It!).

    With this post, consider my kids holiday shopping (almost) DONE!

  17. Emma says...

    Yes: Dragons Love Tacos! No: flippy sequin shirt- those kill me, all the micro plastics, such a waste, not to mention the consent issues when worn at school and people touch your body uninvited to flip your shirt. Big no on that one.

    • L.W. says...

      As an elementary school teacher, I came to the comments just to agree with this comment on the floppy sequin shirts. Lots of uninvited touching happens with those.

  18. Caboodles! Love. And my nephews would love that monkey game.

  19. Fern says...

    I’m REALLY loving the price point of this year’s gift guide.

  20. Bree says...

    Can I just say that I have had a crush on Toby for years? And his pet plant, Jackson, just confirmed it for me! What a kid!

  21. Kelly says...

    Caboodles! Oh man, I still have mine that I got at a birthday party in my elementary school days. It now holds specialty jewelry.

    Along the lines of the wallet and plastic food, I absolutely LOVED a toy cash register when I was a kid (I actually had two I loved them so much). One was more life-size, and the other mini with a teeny conveyor belt and handheld scanner that beeped! I may have shed a tear when they finally got sold at a garage sale (in my teens!), but I knew some other kid would get a lot of joy from them.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I also still have one that I was given in elementary school! I kept my makeup in it when I was a theatre kid in high school and now it’s holding my jewelry again.

  22. Ari says...

    I just bought my 7 year old daughter a Caboodle this weekend and she adores it! She gasped with delight when I opened it up for her. She then spent the rest of the evening arranging it just so.

  23. Elizabeth says...

    I couldn’t find a caboodle back when my daughter was around this age and so I got her a tackle box – perfect for your very own, special craft supplies, personal bandaids, rocks, etc – she still has it and it’s a little bit of a time capsule of that era of her life.

  24. Jess Mill says...

    I can not recommend those magnetic building balls and sticks enough! My parents got me a massive set when I was twelve and I loved it. Gave it to my two nieces almost 15 years later and now they love it. A fun game I play with my nieces is challenging them each to make the most realistic *insert most complicated design* and hear nothing but silence for hours. Probably the only thing that can compete with the ipad.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Magnetic-Building-Playing-Similar-Toddlers/dp/B01M1VPV6S/ref=pd_sbs_21_9?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01M1VPV6S&pd_rd_r=622ef608-ecc4-11e8-ac33-170c9d662742&pd_rd_w=Yw5wb&pd_rd_wg=4T9O8&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB&pf_rd_p=d4c8ffae-b082-4374-b96d-0608daba52bb&pf_rd_r=R5T6ENHS613NNHH12PZN&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=R5T6ENHS613NNHH12PZN

  25. Danielle says...

    All I can think of when I see the caboodle is Captain Holt on Brooklyn 99 calling it a “cah-boo-dale”. I laugh every time I even see the word

    • I can’t NOT call it that now, either. Love that episode so much…

  26. Sarah says...

    If your boys love caboodle‘s, get them tackle boxes! They have even more compartments! Great to store millions of matchbox cars !

    • Jess says...

      Yes! Agreed. My seven year old has a tackle box for his fishing stuff and he loves it so much (rearranging where things go, what fits best in which compartment) that we’re getting him a second one for Christmas for all his tiny treasures that don’t really have a good home.

    • t says...

      I will definitely stick to a caboodle (GREAT IDEA BTW) for my son who would love the mirror and the prettier color combinations over a tackle box thank you very much.

  27. Zoe says...

    Thanks for the great suggestions! A children’s book that we are loving reading at the moment is ”Shirley for President’ by LaShone Ormond. It has a message to young girls of color that they can do whatever they want to do. Inspired by congresswoman Shirley Anita Chisholm. Viva! And gorgeous comic-style illustrations by South African artist Frank Lunar: https://www.amazon.com/Shirley-4-President-LaShon-Ormond/dp/1986570576

  28. Lindsey says...

    “He waters it every Sunday and named it Jackson.” Ha!! That is too, too cute. I’m off to name my plants now. ;) What a darling gift idea! Something about taking care of another living thing makes kids feel so grown up. So sweet.

  29. I LOVE Primary clothes for kids! We are in love with their ponte pants — the perfect combination of looking nice + playability.

    • Sasha L says...

      Anyone else desperately wish they made grown up sizes? I want a lot of those outfits for myself!

  30. Sarah says...

    Haha Caboodles! We came across one at Target the other day (they had it in the Women’s clothing section) and my son went bonkers over it! He kept opening and closing it, and trying to figure it out, so much that he had a tantrum when I tried to pull him away. He likes toys that transform so I guess it kind of falls in line with that! What a great idea.

  31. Rachael says...

    Oh I love these ideas! Totally getting caboodles for all my kids—perfect for storing all those tiny treasures!

    Someone upthread mentioned Zoobs which my kids have loved!

  32. Erin says...

    Check out Zoobs (on Amazon), they are for building and my 4 and 7 year old boys are OBSESSED. I love them too because they are larger & easier to clean up than Legos.

  33. Renee says...

    I have to gush about the Caboodles too! I never had one but boy do I remember them! Does anyone remember Mrs. Grossman’s stickers? I am 44 years old and I recently joined her sticker club which is so. much. fun. You get a slim envelope of her stickers every month and they are so freakin’ adorable:
    https://stickerclub.mrsgrossmans.com/
    Sometimes I even share some with my 3 kids. All that to say that I will be buying a Caboodle to stash all of my stickers!

    • OMG Renee – I was also obsessed with stickers (and my caboodle) as a kid and now own a sticker club called Pipsticks (https://www.pipsticks.com/). The crazy thing is that I photographed next month’s subscriber giveaway just yesterday and it is literally two caboodles FULL of stickers (so the winner can share it with a bestie)…my childhood dream come true :)

  34. Mary Logan says...

    Dragons Love Tacos is hilarious. One of my all time favorite silly read alouds from when my boys were little.

  35. Elisabeth says...

    Caboodles! I loved mine in junior high, but never thought of getting one of the new ones for my 6 y/o son — but you’re right, it’d be PERFECT for corralling all his rocks, bouncy balls, goodie bag toys, notes, souvenirs. The lunch box he’s been using is stuffed to the gills and he won’t get rid of ANYTHING. Ordering now!

  36. Lindsay says...

    Would love to see the full house fan letters!!

  37. Mimi says...

    O. M. G! I had that EXACT Caboodle when I was 13!

    And we LOVE the Dinosaur’s love Taco’s book.

    And I think giving a child a plant is the most precious thing. They can grow with them. My little boy wanted his own at 3 years and he loves having his own plant to take care of and “make his room look nice.” My heart!💗

  38. Karmen Mannella says...

    Check out the sensitive plant — the leaves fold when touched. It is seriously the coolest thing – even impressing my 14 year old son!

  39. Hannah says...

    A Caboodle?! I want one, and I’m 33 years old.

  40. Lynn says...

    I love everything except the bracelet. Subconsciously teaching that littering is okay by wearing disposable jewelry just seems weird.

    • t says...

      I love the bracelet but my 5-year-olds are too literal so they will inevitably wish for something bit like a horse and then will be so disappointing when it doesn’t come true.

      Don’t even get me started on the dream catchers I brought them back from Sedona over the summer. Parenting fail.

  41. My favorite Christmas present was a plastic food set I got when I was 4. I spent YEARS playing with them, taking them apart, making menus for them and bugging my parents to order something. I still have my chicken legs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pastries and condiments. :) Definitely a great gift!

    Also, I had a fuchsia and teal Caboodle until maybe 10 years ago when I put it away, and ever so often I wish I still had it! So useful. So ’90s.

  42. Shira says...

    I love mermaid pillow and mermaid stuffed animals, but to be honest, the idea of a mermaid shirt kind of worries me, because I just picture people (even friends or relatives) coming up to her and rubbing her chest to play with the sequins.

    • Sid says...

      My daughters (5 and 9) have a bunch of these shirts (they’re obsessed and Grandma is overly generous) and they actually love having people come up and play with them. I think it’s a really great teaching opportunity for younger kids as far as consent is concerned – starting to normalize asking and giving permission as soon as possible with non-sexual touching before they have to deal with hormones, peer pressure, etc…

  43. Colleen Wenos says...

    As the mother of an 8 and 10 year old, this was perfection. I want to grab a couple of those sweaters.

  44. Rae says...

    I just came to the comments to say how brilliant the Caboodle idea is…and everyone else has commented the same thing. Clearly a winner!

  45. Margaret says...

    Wait…….Caboodles are back?! Hooray! I loved mine when I was a pre-teen. It was purple and I used it to hold craft supplies and then makeup. I wish I still had it! I am also excited to check out 5he picture books you recommended. Thanks!

  46. Cynthia says...

    My girls had Caboodles way back when and they loved them. You can’t go wrong with books and pajamas. I make my girls and my son-in-law flannel pj pants every year for Christmas. I’ve been doing it for years for my girls and when my youngest got engaged, I started including her fiance and now he’s my son-in-law.

  47. Colleen S. says...

    I bought myself a Caboodle a few months back. Although I was a teenager when they were first popular, I had no need for one. Now, it’s my makeup holder. I don’t have a lot of makeup, but I like that everything is all together now.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i love them so much!!! it came as part of a press kit (for these razors: https://mybillie.com/) and everyone in the office was SO delighted.

  48. Rebecca says...

    Did you interview my 7 y/o twins for this post?!? They would go crazy for a caboodle (thank you for this idea!), they just got flippy sequin shirts for their birthday and are over the moon for them, and they have been asking for plants. Oh, and my aunt thrilled them a year ago when she gave them each a wallet with $25 in it. You nailed it with this one!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so glad :) :)

  49. Amanda says...

    Caboodles? I think I just list MY mind!

  50. Lucy says...

    CABOODLES! I haven’t thought about those in, oh . . . over 25 years! I was obsessed. My girls will be getting these one day when they are a little older. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Twyla says...

      Me too! What a trip to see Caboodles back!