Orange Marmalade’s Annual Non-Electronic Gift Guide 2016
November 27, 2015 by orangemarmaladebooks
My annual Black Friday tradition at Orange Marmalade is to cajole you — oh so winningly! — to resist the flood of electronic toys vying for your attention and choose juicy, life-giving gifts!
This holiday season give packages jammed with potential for creativity, recreation, and imagination. Gifts that spark wonder. Gifts that get kids moving. Gifts that promote community rather than riveting eyes to a screen.
This year, I’ve pulled together all my past lists so you can find them easily, with links, in a new tab at the top of the page. I have tried not to repeat myself over the years so there are lots more great ideas tucked in there. These are merely suggestions to get your creative-gift juices flowing. If it’s a hard-t0-find item, I’ve linked to a website that carries it.
Ages Birth to 2
If you’ve got a brand-new-to-the-Earth person on your list this year, these organic snugglies look mighty charming:
Nesting and stacking, putting in and taking out, making trains for small dollies…you can’t go wrong with nesting blocks. Here’s a charming woodland set:
A bucket is exceptionally handy. For sand and water. For mixing mud. For a hat. A chair. A drum…
Puzzles are yummy brain food. These are so beautiful, I think:
A road-rug is a long-lasting present. Kids will play with it for years.
A merry way to spend time relishing sunshine and breezes:
I don’t mention many board books on my blog, but here are several you might enjoy, plus one splendid book of nursery rhymes:
One Two Buckle My Shoe, by Salina Yoon — A bright, clever counting book with pictures that magically transform as you turn the page.
Pantone Colors — Arrays of nuanced colors will get you spotting Basketball Orange and Radish Red, and perhaps naming your own zesty shades.
Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes — Journey through the seasons with this lumbering fella, a toddler treat from Kevin Henkes.
Over the Hills and Far Away:A Treasure of Nursery Rhymes, edited by Elizabeth Hammill — a gorgeous, diverse collection. Read my full review of it here.
My kids would have been thrilled to hammer the real nails in this tack board set. I can’t believe this exists in our Land of Utmost Safety, but I’m glad it does!
Doll-house friends with varying skin tones. Yes, I love these:
A sturdy wagon is another long-lasting gift.
For scooting around the park, the neighborhood, or the basement on a rainy day.
I am adamant about bike helmets, and my son is a living testament to how they prevent brain injuries in the case of unforeseen crashes. Don’t ride without helmets.
My kids and I enjoyed this satisfying craft many years ago now, and they made gifts for others with it. Buy pillar candles and go to town decorating them with these wax sheets.
This is a grand age to be gobbling up books. Here are four of my favorites for this age group from this year of blogging:
The Teddy Robinson Storybook by Joan G. Robinson — a chapter book that would make a great first read-aloud. My review is here.
Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson — probably my favorite 2015 picture book. The review is here.
Beastly Verse, a variety of poems illustrated by JooHee Yoon — if you think poetry is dull, just crack this one open! The review is here.
Creaturepedia, Adrienne Barman — eye-popping color and wonder in this unique catalogue of animals. The review is here.
Some ideas never grow old. You can buy stilts or make your own.
If you live in the snow belt…go nordic!
Puzzles are a great group or solo activity.
This cooperative game looks fun. Can you work together to keep the town humming during a blizzard?
Building immense, complicated worlds is a lovely way to spend time alone, or with siblings and friends.
Wool felting is an ancient craft. Set your artist to work with a kit like this one:
Some children this age are happy independent readers, but all are happy to curl up with you and enjoy a good book together. Here’s a variety to suit this age group:
Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson — Read aloud these classic Scandinavian tales and enter a new world! My review is here.
Dory and the Real True Friend, by Abby Hanlon — One of the most endearing, spunky, imaginative kids in literature. My review is here.
Atlas of Adventure, Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland — Explore and dream together about our magnificent world. My review is here.
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold, Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen — I think it’s one of the most beautiful books of 2014. Poems and prints about wintering animals. My review is here.
In case you hadn’t noticed, coloring books for adults are taking over the world. Here’s a good one full of intricate designs to color with ink pens.
Build your own camera obscura?! Now that is a cool idea.
Hammocking is a thing, you know, indoors and out. Buy one for your child, or, you know, buy a bunch and try this:
This sounds like rambunctious fun for a wide age range.
Giving your child a piece of outdoor gear is a fantastic way to equip them for a life of adventure. A good daypack is one of the basics. Here’s one from REI:
Perhaps the most accessible musical instrument out there. Set up some beginning lessons and let ’em fly.
Here are just a few book suggestions for this age group:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition, by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay — This brand new edition, awash in atmospheric paintings, would make a grand gift for a Potter fan or newbie.
Canoeing with the Cree, by Eric Severeid — The astonishing and true account of a couple of adventurous teen-age boys in the 1930s. My review is here.
The Wacky and Wonderful World Through Numbers, from Barron’s Educational Series — Kids this age are fact-hounds. This lively volume is just the ticket. My review is here.
Where Children Sleep, James Mollison — In this year of refugees, take the opportunity to engage social issues with your kids. James Mollison’s photography powerfully opens up the world . My review is here.
Happy Holidays to you all!