Ask the Internet: What the Heck Do I Buy My Kid? Edition

by Ginger on November 25, 2013

in Rampant Consumerism, The Kid

For once, Jackson is proving to be sort of difficult for me to figure out Christmas gifts for. So I’m going to throw a few questions out there to you guys, since I know your brains work better than mine do!

So, some specific questions:

1. What are some of your favorite book recommendations for the 4 year old set?

2. Is your kid getting a “big” gift? If so, what are you planning?

3. Seriously, can I just snoop on your Amazon lists or something?

4. What’s your go-to gift for other kids (birthdays, nieces, nephews)? I’m trying to think outside the “it’s going to be annnnnooooooyyyyyyying” parenting mindset.

5. Do you have any games that you think are fairly good for a kid who is ok at taking turns, but not great at following complicated directions? Besides Chutes & Ladders, I hate that game.

Seriously folks, I need your help. For once, I have *almost* everyone else’s gifts figured out EXCEPT the kid. So lay it on me internet, let me soak up the wealth of your knowledge!

craftyashley November 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Our favorite game is Honey Bee Tree. I have an almost four yr old and I am stumped too. I’m thinking about a K’nex set. Or magnatiles. That’s all I got.

Sheila November 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Last year, we got Samuel one of those M&D magnet dolls, and he loved it. He likes Henry&Mudge and Mr. Putter books, as well as any Lego or superhero easy-reader he can get his hands on. We listen to a lot of Dr. Seuss in the car. We’re going to look at the snap circuits that Adell’s been talking about for this Christmas. He’s getting a Kindle Fire for his birthday this week, from my parents, and I’ll probably be on the lookout for some really awesome apps to add on for him for Christmas.

Erica November 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Crap I lost my whole last comment so here is a short version. Folkmanis puppets. Camera for kids. Candyland. Art supplies. Ant farm.

Alexis November 26, 2013 at 5:50 am

The Folkmanis Puppets! That is a great suggestion, my kids love those. For games Liz does well with Eleminis (simple card game, each time you pick a card and do what the picture says) and Enchanted Forest (roll dice, move spaces, try and match hidden pictures, like memory meets candy land). We are currently loving the Pinkerton books by Steven Kellogg and anything by Jan Brett especially the Gingerbread ones.

I confess, there may be Nintendo DS action here (even though it causes indulgent parent guilt on so many levels) so that will be our big gift. I am trying to stick with the need/want/wear/read guide to four great gifts and having done with it. I just wish we never had to have another piece of plastic enter this house…

Ann Wyse November 26, 2013 at 5:50 am

Oh! Four years old is the beginning of (as we call them) “little” Legos. For other kids this age, stick with the small boxes (yay! save money!) because too many pieces get frustrating. It’s like a 3D puzzle! if he’s not already playing with them, he’s going to love them, I bet.

If the child is more into the imaginative play, but less into the building/creating aspect, Playmobile also has some nice stuff. My kids are crazy for jeeps/tractors WITH trailers for boats or whatever. Playmobile doesn’t fall apart (as easily or as much) as Lego, and has lots of themes like Lego: camping, police, fire, etc… Also requires a little adult assembly, which can be frustrating when opening a brand new gift that the kid wants to play with RIGHT NOW!

Becky November 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

Ok, prepare yourself.

For go-to gifts, Ultra Stomp Rocket, Airzooka, Manhattan Toy stuffed animals.

For my kids this year:
Snap Circuits Jr.
Melissa & Doug Vet Role Play Costume Set
Melissa & Doug Police Officer Role Play Costume Set
(We already have the doctor role play set, which they LOVE.)
Book: Life-Size Zoo
Star Wars Jedi Force Playskool Heroes Landspeeder
Jedi Force Millenium Falcon

For games, Ren loves Go Fish. I saw today that Kohl’s has a really cool card set of Marvel Avengers for $4.99 that I would get if my kids weren’t already getting too much stuff.

Cherie Beyond November 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

1) I love the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. Our kids love to have them read to them and they segue nicely into early reader (since that’s really what they are). Our daughter is able to triumphantly read a few of them to her brother now and that? Is pretty damn awesome.

I also always have to plug Maine author Chris Van Dusen ( His books are lots of fun and the illustrations are AMAZING. Our favorite is the Circus Ship, but they really are all fabulous.

Actually if you have a local children’s author who is any good, explore their books. It’s lots of fun for our kids to read books that are based in their “home.”

2) We always do one big gift from Santa (the boy is getting a marble run and the girl is getting…something), one smaller gift (this year we got tickets to a show) and a book from us, and stocking stuff. Both our families do a lot of toys, so we actually keep our purchases minimal to prevent overload.

3) Ours are pretty minimal right now, so it won’t help much.

4) Books. We buy every child a book aimed at their level and interest (ask their parent if you don’t know). Reasonable cost, easy to ship, not annoying, doesn’t take up much space, easily discarded if they hate it. Books.

Another good idea: my SIL buys each of our kids a magazine subscription like Ranger Rick Jr. and that is a big hit. They LOVE getting mail every month.

5) My guy is very into Uno Moo right now. It’s very fast-moving, so you can play one round or many, depending on attention span. Our daughter liked Memory at this age, but the boy’s more “meh” on it.

Jesabes November 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

The big gift my four-year-old is getting is a bike. She has a tricycle right now.

On my Amazon wish list is:
Kaleido Gears
Gears gears gears
Snap Circuits Junior

I found them on some gift guide somewhere and thought they were good ideas, but I don’t know if we’ll actually be buying them (SO MANY PIECES). They’re on the list of ideas we gave to the grandparents, though.

Curly Girl November 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Ahh! Those Kaleido Gears! I had those when I was little and I loooooooved them. I was mostly done with shopping for Poppy, but we may have to do these.

Sarah November 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

My son will be 5 in January. He really likes the Henry & Mudge series, the Madeline books, and anything by Bob Staake, Audrey Wood (especially Rude Gaints), or Richard Scarry. We’re getting him a bike this year. He’s been asking for one since June, and his neighborhood friends all have one or are also getting one for Christmas. Games – he really likes Zingo and Memory. I like playing the cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom (Stone Soup, Seeds for Birds) but they aren’t his first choice.

Andrea November 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I second the suggestion for Uno Moo. Match color or animal, and no worries about holding cards, they are cute little animal balls.

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