Best Gifts for Kids This Holiday Season – Futurism

Part of the fun of the holiday season is seeing the joy on a child’s face when they open up a gift they love. Everyone wants to be the giver of the greatest gift ever, but when facing shelves upon shelves of gizmos, games, and gadgets in the toy aisle, choosing the best gifts for kids starts to feel like a lot of pressure. 
I combed through reviews, interrogated parents and teachers, and used my own experience as a parent of three to find the best toys for kids, toddlers, and teens. I found one common denominator: kids of all ages are into hands-on activity and movement, so sensory and STEM gifts are all the rage. So how do you get on the nice list for the rest of the year? Snag one of the best gifts for kids in 2021.
– Best Gift for 2-Year-Olds: Strider Balance Bike
– Best Gift for 5-Year Olds: Dig It Up! Dinosaur Eggs Excavation Kit
– Best Gifts for 10-Year-Olds: Geospace Walkaroo Xtreme Steel Balance Stilts
– Best Gifts for Teens: Kodak Dock Plus Photo Printer
– Best Sensory Gifts for Kids: Nickelodeon Slime
– Best STEM Gifts for Kids: Think Fun Laser Maze
– Best Gift for Kids Who Love Art: Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad
– Best Fidget Toy for Kids: iTechjoy Fidget Poppers
– Best Gifts for Active Kids: Razor RipStik Ripster
– Best Tablet for Kids: Amazon Fire HD 8
Key Selling Point: Little ones learn to balance as they coast around on this pedal-free bike. 
Active 2-year-olds won’t be able to contain their excitement when they see their very first big kid bike. The Strider balance bike is a must-have for the toddler to 3-year-old set. These bikes are just like regular bicycles, but without pedals. Rather than pedal, tiny tots keep their feet on the ground and push off to get moving. They’ll love coasting around, and you’ll be amazed how quickly they figure out their center of balance. Many kids who use balance bikes skip over training wheels and go straight to riding a standard two-wheeler.
The Strider balance bike’s adjustable seat and handlebars grow with the child from 18 months to three years. It’s both lightweight and durable—the stainless steel frame and puncture-proof tires weigh in at less than seven pounds, so even little kids can move it around freely. The balance bike is the best purchase I made when my first child was a toddler, and it’s been passed down to each kid since. Want to make the best gift for 2-year-olds a package deal? Add a fun helmet for safety. 
Key Selling Point: Excavating dinos from these clay eggs is a fun, focused, and educational activity for your favorite kindergartener. 
The MindWare Dig It Up! Dinosaur Eggs Excavation Kit is my pick for the best gift for 5-year-olds. The great thing about this kit is that it’s fun for everyone—even adults. I bought one for my son and before I knew it, the entire family was happily chiseling away at clay eggs, excited to find what dinosaur hid inside. 
This fun (and let’s just say, delightfully messy) kit comes with 12 three-inch clay eggs and chisels. After softening the eggs in water for a few minutes, kids use their chisel to chip away until they’ve unearthed their dinosaur. The kit also includes an excavation guidebook that helps identify and classify each dinosaur based on their traits and characteristics, so kids can learn as they play. This is a fun and outside-the-box activity that will keep even the most energetic 5-year-olds engaged and focused. 
Key Selling Point: Kids will love the challenge of mastering these adjustable stilts at every level. 
The challenge in finding the best gifts for 10-year-olds is discovering something new and exciting. Enter Geospace Walkaroo Xtreme Steel Balance Stilts. The unique task of walking on stilts keeps kids active and improves balance and coordination. Plus, what 10-year-old doesn’t want to be a foot taller? Kids will love mastering the stilts and discovering new ways to challenge themselves on them (I’ll just go ahead and suggest another helmet here).
The ergonomic handles on these stilts are designed to assist with balance. They’re adjustable from 12 to 17 inches, so kids can start small and work their way up as they grow more comfortable. These stilts are made from tubular steel and their thick rubber feet won’t mark up floors, so they’re great for indoor and outdoor use. 
Key Selling Point: This compact printer prints vibrant 4 x 6 photos straight from a smartphone.
Shopping for a tightlipped teen can be tough, so if you’re left playing a guessing game when trying to figure out the best gift for teens, the Kodak Dock Plus photo printer is a nice option for any personality. Even though teens have all their photo memories a swipe away on their smartphones, there’s something fun (and, OK fine, maybe a little retro) about having printed photos for scrapbooking, framing, or sticking in a locker.
The small and portable printer is easy to travel with and easy to use. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, and it connects with Bluetooth technology, so photos can print anytime and anywhere. The laminated 4 x 6 photos are fingerprint-proof and water-resistant, so prints are long-lasting. Even in the age of technology, this printer is a fun gift for teens who want to print their pics and have their memories in hand.
Key Selling Point: This slimy kit is ooey, gooey, fun to play with, and (surprise!) not as messy as you’d think. 
I got invited to 12 kids’ birthday parties this year, and I brought Nickelodeon Slime to every single one, because it’s one of the best gifts for kids! The slime is fun to squish and squeeze, and the different mix-ins add a lot of fun looks and textures that make for a mesmerizing and oddly relaxing pastime. 
This slime kit comes with 18 different colored slimes and eight different mix-ins, including pompoms, beads, sequins, glitter, and confetti. Kids can mix and blend the slimes and textures, create their own concoctions, and simply enjoy squishing it around. Another great feature: it peels easily off of hard surfaces, so playtime at the table makes for a simple cleanup (just don’t stick it to fabric surfaces). 
Key Selling Point: The laser maze is an intriguing and addicting puzzle game that kids can play alone or with a friend. 
Think Fun offers a lot of cool and innovative games that promote logical and critical thinking. Their laser maze makes the list of best gifts for kids this year because it builds those important skills—and it’s a lot of fun. The game includes cards with different challenge puzzles, along with a laser and a set of reflective pieces. The object of the game is to set up the reflective pieces so that the lasers bounce through the maze and hit the target. 
This one is recommended for kids ages eight and up and includes an excellent instruction manual with clearly explained directions. It includes 60 different puzzles at varying degrees of difficulty, so kids can methodically work their way up to more challenging mazes. STEM lovers will quickly become immersed in the fun laser mazes—not to mention, parents will love an opportunity for their kid to work independently. 
Key Selling Point: The tracing pad is great for beginner artists, as well as for more advanced art projects.
Tracing is a fantastic way for younger kids to practice fine motor control, and this light up tracing pad from Crayola makes it incredibly easy. This gift is recommended for kids ages six and over, and it truly can work for budding artists at any stage. Younger artists can start tracing basic line drawings and attempt more complicated images as they become more skilled. It’s even great for older kids who have moved on to different arts-and-crafts projects, like practicing calligraphy, making a cricut pattern, or designing a card for a friend.
The tracing pad has a paper-locking frame and illuminates images for easy tracing. The kit includes a graphite pencil, 12 small colored pencils. 10 tracing sheets, and 10 blank sheets. Kids can place the image of their choice on the drawing board and get started creating their first work of art. Plus, it weighs less than two pounds, making it easy to carry on car rides and airplane trips.
Key Selling Point: Fidget poppers are a fun toy to keep busy minds occupied.
A few years ago, fidget spinners were the big sensory gift of the holiday season—and in 2021, kids are still all about the fidget toys. When I asked teachers what their students are into this year, the answer was “fidget poppers” across the board, from elementary to high school. And what’s not to love? The little pop is so satisfying every time.
This particular set from iTechjoy comes in a few fun, colorful sets (for example, burger and fries or fruit and popsicle) and are made from a durable rubber that won’t crack or weaken. The bubbles offer a nice, sensory touch and the light pop helps relieve anxiety and stress. Fidget poppers are a simple toy for kids (and adults) of any age to enjoy.
Key Selling Point: This board from Razor is a cool, modern twist on the traditional skateboard.
The Razor RipStik Ripster is a smaller version of the original RipStik, making this a perfect fit for kiddos. This take on the traditional skateboard has two twisting decks rather than the one solid deck you’d normally see on a skateboard. Instead of propelling forward by pushing off with your other foot, riders gain momentum by rocking and twisting (similar to another kid favorite, the PlasmaCar). 
The compact and lightweight Ripster moves smoothly on high-grade urethane wheels, which can even be ridden inside without marking up floors. Its inclined 360-degree casters make for a carving ride reminiscent of a snowboard. Kids will grasp the physics of the ride and start picking up speed in no time. 
Key Selling Point: This intuitive tablet is easy for young kids to navigate and is packed with access to educational books, games, and videos.
If there’s one thing parents have had to admit over the past couple years, it’s that there’s merit in a little bit of screen time. The Amazon Fire HD 8 is the best tablet for kids who are learning to navigate a touch screen. It comes with a one year subscription to Amazon Kids+, providing access to thousands of games, books, apps, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more. 
The tablet’s kid-proof case is virtually indestructible and comes with a two year worry-free guarantee, just in case. Kids can spend hours combing through the educational content. To keep screen time reasonable, it’s also equipped with simple parental controls that can be tailored to individual preference—for example, you can set it so kids can’t watch videos until they’ve spent 30 minutes reading a book. Kids will love exploring this great educational tool. 
The holidays can be stressful, but gift giving doesn’t have to be. This year’s best gifts for kids promote hands-on activity, interaction, and movement, so this guide is a great starting point for finding perfect presents for the kids in your life. Plus, a lot of the items on this list are fun for all ages, including adults. From the best drones for kids to STEM toys and more, it’s all here. The holidays are fast upon us, so get that shopping done soon.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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