Parents@Play 2016 Gift Guide #1: Make It Yourself

Where has the year gone? It seems like we just finished ushering in 2016. But here were are, already getting ready for the winter Holidays. To help you through the often-daunting task of gift buying (and giving), here’s our first Gift Guide.

Dinosaur Skull Dig (Discovery Kids)

discovery kids dinosaur digIf you have a budding archaeologist around the house, he, she, or you will have great time excavating this scale model of a T-Rex skull. The skull itself is encased in plaster, and you’ll use the included tools (a wooden mallet, paint brush, and chisel) to gently liberate it. Besides learning about how archaeologists work (including how they clean up), you’ll also learn plenty about dinosaurs from the large poster. The kit also comes with a display stand. It’s for ages 12 and up and is available for $19.99 exclusively at Michael’s. Discovery Kids also makes two other science-based kits (Rock & Gem Dig Kit and Crystal Growing Kit).

Fright Factory (Tech 4 Kids)

tech 4 kids fright factoryHalloween is over, but creating gross, yucky, frightening creatures is a year-round activity. Fright Factory reminds us of a childhood favorite—kind of like an Easy Bake Oven—where you squirted goo into molds and baked the molds to produce bugs, eyeballs, and more. We still have burn scars (which we still believe build character). In this case, there’s no heat required, as the EwwGoo cures quickly and the “baking” process is light-activated. But the results—insects, reptiles, skeletons, rats, and more—are just as cool. It’s for ages 8 and up and retails for under $30. EwwGoo refill packs cost around $12.


Gemmies Design Studio (Tech 4 Kids)

alex gemmiesThis colorful kit comes with everything you need to make more crystal creations that you can imagine: 369 crystals, 134 rings, five templates, special tools, gem containers, a box for displaying your creations, instructions, and a lot more. And there are dozens of tutorials on the website that take young artists step by step through how to build specific models (animals, flowers, foods, and more). The Design Studio retails for under $23. You can also get Single Packs (for building one item) and Theme Packs. For ages 6 and up, with some adult supervision.


Knot-a Lion (Alex Brands)

alex knot-a-lionWith all the binge watching people do these days, there’s a lot of cover-hogging going on. But with this craft kit, those days are gone. It comes with everything your child (and you, if you want to help) needs to create an attractive, snuggly, lion pillow with a blanket attached. The finished product looks like a mini version one of those old fashioned lion-skin rugs, but a lot more colorful and without the ethical dilemmas. No actual sewing is required—all the super-soft fleece pieces are pre-cut and pre punched, so all you need to do is attach them using the special embroidery thread (which they call “floss”). It’s for ages 8+ and retails for around $30.


Lil Lockitz Memory Studio (Alex Brands)

alex lil lockitzEvery child has a story, right? So why not let her tell it. For hundreds of years, adults have used lockets to share precious memories. Many of them have become treasured family heirlooms and passed from generation to generation—not the kind of thing you want to give to a young child. But with Lil Lockitz, your youngster can create her own keepsake locket that’s as unique as she is. This kit comes with enough supplies (locket tops and backs, gems, charms, tweezers, stencils, and more) to create 10 completely individualized lockets. It’s for ages 5 and up, retails for under $23. Also comes in a variety of other specialty sets.