There are plenty of gift guides out there that’ll tell you the perfect holiday gift to give a kid whose parents you are not fond of. Passive aggressive gifts, if you will.
And that’s not hard to understand! Most of the “hot” toys are either loud or messy or difficult to assemble. Or they have a million pieces that break, or get lost, or require pricey add-ons. While I love seeing my son happy, there are certainly toys that make me cringe.
But, in most instances, people don’t want to give a child a present only to hear a sarcastic “Thaaaaanks” from Mom. (And if you’re trying to get back at a friend or sibling via their children, you might want to check your holiday spirit.)
So rather than buy a gift that you know will bug the heck out of a kid’s parents, here’s a round-up of holiday gifts that kids AND parents will love. (Yes! They exist!)
Take a look at gift ideas for kids — that parents will actually like too:
Gifts for Kids with Parents You Actually Like 1 of 24
Instead of ticking off your friends and relatives, give the kids some gifts that everyone can appreciate...
LITTLE KIDS (4-6) 2 of 24
Let the other Gift Givers hand out the Furbies and the electronic drums. Here are some holiday gift ideas for little kids that'll make their parents smile with appreciation.
Artist’s Surplus Art Jar 3 of 24
This one kit has everything a kid could ever need to get lost in an Arts & Crafts moment. Googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, construction paper, craft sticks — EVERYTHING!
Why mom will love it: A) It saves her multiple trips to the craft store (unless she has a Pinterest-worthy craft room or something), and B) It encourages art and creativity. And it also gives a convenient jar to store all of the art supplies.
Buy from Land of Nod, $29
Design Your Own Superhero Cape Kit 4 of 24
Seedling has a ton of awesome DIY kits, but this Superhero Cape Kit made me think of my own cape-wearing crusader. This kit comes with everything your kid will need, down to the craft glue. And it even includes some design tips.
Why mom will love it: There's really nothing cuter than seeing a little kid running around in a cape, and this one will be custom-made by her own little superhero. It's unique, it's thoughtful, and it's a convenient afternoon activity to fill the day.
Buy from Neiman Marcus, $45
Army Skaters 5 of 24
They look like the iconic green army men, except they're on skateboards!
Why mom will love it: If she has a "no guns" policy at home, this is a way for the kids to play with the little green army men in a less militaristic way. But beyond that, it's just fun!
Buy from Smoochie Baby, $7
Leap Reader 6 of 24
'Tis the age of reading! For the preschool or early elementary age group, this Leap Reader system helps build literacy skills — setting them up for independent reading and sight-word recognition. Kids can sound out words letter by letter, read sentences with characters they already love (like Woody or Lightning McQueen), trace letters and words, listen to audio books, and even play games.
Why mom will love it: Anything that encourages and helps out in this next milestone leap will be much appreciated. Teaching a kid to read can feel daunting, even with teachers helping. But tools like the Leap Reader help set kids up with the mindset that reading is fun — not a chore.
Buy from Leap Frog, $39.99
Tummy Stuffers 7 of 24
It looks cute and cuddly, but these little stuffers (in a variety of animals) are actually containers that kids can stuff their dirty clothes into.
Why mom will like it: It gets dirty clothes (or clutter) off the floor. It also makes clean-up time less of a fight.
Buy from Toys R Us, $19.99
BIG KIDS (7-9) 8 of 24
Older kids can be hard to buy for because you just never know what they're into this week.
Kid-Made Modern Comic Book Kit 9 of 24
A creative kit that comes with everything needed to write and illustrate a comic book.
Why mom will like it: Rather than reading a comic book or playing a comic-like video game, this gift encourages kids to flex their creative muscles. (And it'll keep them quietly busy for a nice amount of time.)
Buy from Target, $14.99
The Mysterious Benedict Society 10 of 24
There's a reason this book is wildly popular, and it's because it's fun, engaging, and captivating — even for adults to read! Kids follow a mystery story where they compile clues, solve riddles, and laugh through the adventure.
Why mom will like it: Finally a bedtime book that the whole family will be excited to read each night.
Buy from Amazon, $7.20
Spirograph Deluxe Set 11 of 24
Let someone else buy the Rainbow Loom and the LEGO sets. Show up with something a little more unique: a Spirograph set. These are "in" again! YES!
Why mom will like it: Beyond the quiet play and the Spirograph's mathematically artistic nature, there's the nostalgia factor. In fact, mom might want to take a turn, too.
Buy from Toys R Us, $16.24
Sweet Kendamas 12 of 24
This might look like a basic stick-and-ball game that the modern kid would toss aside with an eye roll, and yet this game has a loyal community of fans — with their own strategies and video tutorials. It requires strategy, focus, and practice.
Why mom will love it: If her kid is going to get consumed in an addictive activity, it might as well be away from a screen.
Buy from Sweet Kendamas, $29.99
Storymatic Kids Game 13 of 24
An activity where gets kids to create their own stories with prompts about characters and situations. Learning how to construct a story is a basic skill, and it's something that kids LOVE doing.
Why mom will love it: It's perfect for bedtime stories, car trips, and basic learning skills.
Buy from UncommonGoods, $30
TWEENS (10-12) 14 of 24
Tweens are difficult because you're left with two questions: "Is she too young for this?" or "Is he too old for this?" Here are some home run ideas...
DIY Lip Balm Kit 15 of 24
So she's not quite ready for makeup, but she's certainly dipping her toe in the beauty pond. This DIY kit is the perfect bridge between child-like craft activities and teen-like makeup sets.
Why mom will like it: It's made with all-natural, Fair Trade ingredients. BONUS: These kits give job skills to women in Washington DC living in transitional housing.
Buy from UncommonGoods, $40
Porkfolio: Smart Piggy Bank 16 of 24
Most tweens are starting to understand the cost of items they want (those items are getting PRICEY!), and they're having to start managing their own allowances to save and spend. The Smart Piggy Bank is so unique because it wirelessly connects to a mobile app that helps kids track their balance and set financial goals. (FYI: Tweens love their apps.)
Why mom will like it: It teaches kids about money and responsibility in a language they can understand.
Buy from Quirky, $69.99
Password Journal 17 of 24
Tween girls have a lot of feelings and dramas that they need to purge on paper, except a lot of that information would be humiliating for a younger sibling to get their hands on. The Password Journal unlocks with a secret password AND it's written in invisible ink that can only be seen under a special glow light. Besides that, it contains another secret compartment to keep love notes and special trinkets.
Why mom will like it: If it prevents a sibling smack-down, it's worth it.
Buy from Target, $21.99
RC Helicopters 18 of 24
An indoor helicopter that any tween boy would love to open on Christmas.
Why mom will love it: I don't know about mom, but there isn't a dad I've met who wouldn't love to play with a remote-control helicopter with his kids. Something about this thing turns a grown man into a giddy little boy.
Buy from Frys.com, $59.99
TEENS (13+) 19 of 24
It's easy to resort to a gift card, but here are some thoughtful gifts that won't make their parents groan.
Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones 20 of 24
Because all the kids want them.
Why mom will love it: Because she really doesn't want to spend over $100 on headphones for her kid to crank out some Top 40 tunes on the school bus, but the constant begging and complaining is getting old.
Buy from Target, $139.99
Polaroid Z2300 21 of 24
It works like an ordinary digital camera, except it instantly prints (like a Polaroid!) on sticker paper.
Why mom will love it: Maybe it'll keep her kid off Instagram for a few hours.
Buy from Photojojo, $199
1:Face Watch 22 of 24
The hottest (mirror-faced) watch of the moment. Bonus: They won't grow tired of it in 6 months! Even adults want to rock one of these.
Why mom will like it: Besides the fact that kids can't use the "I lost track of time! My phone died!" excuse, each watch supports a specific cause, and there are 8 causes to choose from. For instance, one watch will support 8 cancer patients, or provide 16 meals to the hungry, or give 1 year of education to an at-need child.
Buy from 1facecharity.com, $40
Muku Shutter Remote for iPhone and Android Phones 23 of 24
For the selfie lovers! This handy remote seamlessly pairs up with your teen's Bluetooth (no extra apps or purchases!) and will snap photos or record video up to 30 feet away from the phone. This means no more shaky-handed YouTube clips or arm-in-the-air selfies!
Why mom will love it: Because she totally wants one, too. Now she can actually be in the family vacation photos!
Buy from Photojojo, $40
iHat Music Hat 24 of 24
It's a beanie hat with built-in headphones, and it hooks up directly to an iPod/iPhone/MP3. And unlike other hats with (visibly) built-in headphones, no one can tell where the music is coming from.
Why mom will love it: A practical way to keep her kids as warm as possible? She's in.
Buy from Amazon, $19.99