I tried to avoid pink for the first 12 months of my daughter’s life, and what’s her favorite color now that she’s 2 – pink of course! No dolls or doll houses for the first 2 years of her life. I caved when the dollhouse was all she would play with at her playgroup.
I’m not against my daughter or son liking pink or dollhouses, but I want them to have a choice. Buying presents for my kids and sharing ideas with grandparents is a balancing act between their interests and expanding their possibilities.
Here are some of the items I’ve already bought or put on my kids’ wishlists that either help promote STEM or gender diversity. Note most of these are Amazon affiliate links, so if you decide to buy, help a girl out and buy from my link. However, several of these items are also available at our local toy store, Clothes Pony, in Colorado – I always support shopping local 🙂
Gift Ideas for Girls
Princess Awesome dresses, leggings, shirts. The dresses and leggings have POCKETS! The dresses twirl out when my daughter spins and she loves them. Plus checkout the patterns – STEM based goodness.
Dress up clothes – my daughter just loves to dress up so we have some fun hats, high heel shoes, super hero capes. This is me recognizing who she is and what she likes right now. However, I can throw in some other pretend items too that are more mom approved.
Ada Twist Scientist, Rosie Revere Engineer – books about young girls doing fun STEM things. Silly stories, good life lessons, positive role models. My son also loves these books (especially Ada Twist).
Lego – Lego has done a lot to cater to young girls. I absolutely love their Elves series. And remember, if your daughter is really into Ninjas, or Batman, or City then just buy her those sets.
Gift Ideas for Boys
Yoga Mat and Good Night Yoga book – My son has taken two yoga workshops; in both classes he was the only boy! I believe yoga is a great way to teach him to work through his energy and emotions, something that is often overlooked in boys and men. My son can struggle with shutting off his brain before bed and I’m hoping yoga with this book can help him calm down (we don’t own the book yet, but it looks awesome)!
Play Kitchen and Apron – I want to teach both my kids how to cook and build an appreciation of healthy good eats. However, I feel like most house and kitchen toys are targeted for girls. We bought my son one from IKEA when our daughter was born. The aprons for my kids we found on Etsy and they are easily adjustable with lots of fun patterns.
Hoot Owl Hoot – This is a cooperative board game that that both my 2yo and 4yo love. The rules and concept are easy enough for Ada, my 2yo, to understand. However, as Myles, my 4yo, plays more he begins to understand the strategy and apply his basic math skills to optimize his moves. He’s not fully there yet, but that’s why I love this game; it can keep the interest of my 2yo and has enough strategy and skill to challenge my 4yo for another year or two.Robot Turtles – This is a kickstarter game that my son loves. Again, he doesn’t fully understand the strategy, but it’s a game both my kids can grow into that teaches early programming and algorithm skills.
Some OOTB (out of the box) Ideas
My son Myles loves two different YouTube channels, Brave Wilderness and Action Lab. Ok he is also currently obsessed with hamster tunneling videos but that is not relevant for present ideas…NO HAMSTERS (or drum kits), GRANDPARENTS – both will reside at your house if given as gifts. You’ve been warned.
Brave Wilderness is an animal focused channel where the host occasionally does extreme insect stings. Action Lab does “home” science experiments. For Myles, since Ada is still a little too young (and Myles might be too…) we bought him the Coyote Pack Starter Kit from Brave Wilderness and the Action Lab subscription box. The Coyote Pack Starter Kit includes a patch and tag (which Myles was most excited about) but also a special notebook for writing down what animals he sees while hiking (still will need help with this). The Action Lab subscription box is quarterly and should contain some items to duplicate his experiments; the first one will contain an at home vacuum chamber.
The Tablet Debate
LeapFrog – A friend recently asked me if my kids had a LeapFrog LeapPad. I hadn’t looked into the functionality lately so thought I would take a look.
- The Pros: inexpensive ($88!), kid durable, kid focused
- The Cons: limited
- Memory – I’ve ready multiple consumer complaints about having to uninstall apps to install new ones
- App, book and video availability – while the LeapPad can have apps, books and videos the selection is much less than its rivals. My kids love the PBS kids apps and those aren’t available. My daughter loves the interactive Sandra Boynton books and those aren’t available. While I didn’t do an extensive search, some of my kiddos favorites aren’t available.
iPad – the quintessential tablet. While it has a huge selection of apps, ebooks and movies, the $399 price tag for the iPad mini (that is not kid durable) makes it an emphatic no for my kids.
Kindle with FreeTime – This is what we have for my kids. It has a low price tag, $99-129, and the bumper case makes it easy for my kids to hold and durable for the inevitable kiddo drops. If it does break, you have a two year warranty that includes breaks from drops!
What is FreeTime? With a FreeTime subscription for your child (1 year is included when you purchase the Kindle Kiddo bundle) your child has his own home screen targeted for them. It also removes access to settings and tablet configuration. Finally you can configure the time of day, screen time, and time spent in an activity, such as watching shows.
Headphones – a necessary accessory unless kiddo game music is your jam. We liked these because they limit the max volume for their ears and the headphones can be connected to each other if we ever have a single device streaming music or videos for them.
What are your additional ideas?
The grandparents usually clean out the wishlists pretty quickly and Myles’ birthday comes up quick in February.