Do you, too, find yourself scratching your head as you search for the perfect gift for your kids? You know, the one that will make them declare (in their own way, of course) that you’re a cool parent who really gets them? Yeah, us too. Unfortunately, so many kids toy and clothing sections are — still, bafflingly — categorized as “for girls” and “for boys.” In 2019! And that just doesn’t cut it. What happens if you have a kid whose interests transcend gender norms — aka, pretty much any kid? Time to think outside the gender binary and shop for these perfect kid gifts for tomboys, tomgirls, and kids of any gender under the sun.
Often, we’ll label girls who are uninterested in dolls or dresses “tomboys.” The term, which originated in the 16th century, has sexist and racist roots: While initially intended to describe a girl who “acts like a spirited boy,” The Atlantic reports the term later acted as a vehicle for white supremacy as concerned white folks used it to encourage women to be active and healthy enough to reproduce so the white race wouldn’t dissipate under an influx of immigrants. Um, what?! Today, the term seems to have reverted to its original definition and is used to describe girls who play sports, love science or enjoy getting their hands dirty. But, um… Girls have always enjoyed these things. Some of them have even done so while wearing skirts. *Gasp.*
The point is gender norms are antiquated, period. Today’s kids should be able to explore their interests freely. And the gifts ahead are perfect options for any kid. Because all genders deserve to have fun.
A version of this article was originally published in February 2016.
Lego Spike Prime
Robots + Legos = hours of educational fun. The Lego Education Spike Prime set helps kids grades 6-8 learn how to code and build. We won’t blame you if you want one for yourself!
Lego Spike Prime set, $329 at Lego.
This adorable animation studio is the perfect gift for the budding director in your life. The kit from Hue comes with a camera, microphone, animation book, mini green screen and stop-motion software so kids can turn their visions into real short films. Watch out, Sundance. There’s a new generation of creators on the rise!
Hue Animation Studio set, $49.95 at Amazon
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
This high-definition tablet provides hours of entertainment for kids by storing all their favorite books, games and educational apps in one place. Plus, it comes with a plush case, so you won’t have to worry when they inevitably drop it.
Amazon Fire HD 10 kids edition, $149.99 (was $199.99) at Amazon
Instax Mini Camera
Smartphones are great for snapping pictures, but nothing quite beats a classic, handheld camera. Share the gift of (semi) old-school technology with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 instant camera, which prints adorably small portraits. Your kid can document their adventures wherever they go.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 instant camera, $59.99 at Best Buy
National Park Water Bottles
Encourage your wild child to stay hydrated while boosting her love for the great outdoors with these double-layer stainless-steel water bottles.
National Park Explorer’s thermal water bottle, $36 at UncommonGoods
Help her wear her team’s colors in style with a (reasonably priced) replica sports jersey. Rooting for your favorite team never looked so cool.
Preschool San Francisco Giants replica player jersey, $37.29 at MLB Shop
Lego Boost Robot
Why buy a robot when you can build one? The Lego Boost creative robot kit comes with 847 pieces and instructions so kids can create five different models (a robot, a cat, a guitar, a robot and an auto-builder). Each activity allows kids to expand their STEM skills as they learn the basics of engineering and coding.
Lego Boost robot kit, $159.95 at Amazon
Makey Makey Classic Kit
Use everyday items like bananas to make countless inventions like video game controllers and piano stairs with Makey Makey classic science kit for kids. The projects help kids learn about the basics of engineering and inspire everyone to channel their inner inventor. Plus, the kit was designed by a couple of MIT grads, so you know your mini-Thomas Edison is in good hands.
Classic science kit, $59.99 at Makey Makey
Not Parent Approved Card Game
Millions of people love Cards Against Humanity; however, it’s not necessarily the most child-appropriate game. That’s where Not Parent Approved comes in. This entertaining tabletop game is modeled on games like CAH and Apples to Apples but doesn’t include all the raunchy stuff. Who knows? Your kids might enjoy playing it so much they may even ask you to join them. Now, wouldn’t that be a holiday miracle!
Not Parent Approved card game, $24.99 at Amazon
Traveling in style has never been easier thanks to Penny Skateboards. These boards come in a variety of sizes, from 22- to 36-inch decks, and a plethora of cool designs, like retro palm. Helmets and kneepads are, unfortunately, not included.
22-inch skateboard in Retro Palm, $109 at Penny Skateboards
Crosley Record Player
Rejoice! Vinyl isn’t dead. Pass along the gift of quality music experiences with a kid-friendly record player. And if your kid absolutely must stream her favorite tunes through a digital platform like Spotify, she can with the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Bluetooth connection.
Crosley Cruiser Deluxe turntable, $59 at Amazon
Razor A5 Lux Scooter
Electric scooters are popping up all over the country, and while they’re a convenient way of getting around, they don’t run cheap. Keep your kid active and moving with the new Razor A5 Lux foldable and durable scooter. Trust us. Even the adults on their Limes will be jealous.
Razor A5 Lux scooter, $79.99 at Target
Starlight String Art
Bring a little bit of space into your kid’s room with this out-of-this-world glow-in-the-dark string art craft. Bonus: This project doubles as a night-light.
Creativity for Kids String Art Starlight kit, $22 at Amazon
‘We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices’ Book
Perfect for the activist in your family, this anthology features poems, essays and art from some of today’s most prominent, diverse voices, like Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) and Nina Crews (The Neighborhood Mother Goose). Just don’t be surprised if she tries to read even after you’ve called lights out.
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices book, $12.91 at Amazon
The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon fun yard games. This portable cornhole set — adorably shaped as a monster — is small enough to fit indoors and is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Portable cornhole game set, $36.99 at Amazon
Ultimate Ears Portable Speaker
Every great adventure needs a worthy soundtrack. Unfortunately, kids and expensive sound equipment (RIP to some of our best speakers and phones) don’t always mix. Thankfully, you can rest easy knowing the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom portable speaker holds its own under water.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom portable speaker, $69.99 at Best Buy
Galaxy Space Slime
Gooey, glittery and gross, this make-your-own-slime kit has everything you need for a good time.
Elmer’s Galaxy Slime kit, $15.95 at Paper Source
Robotis Play PETs
With Robotis Play PETs, kids can construct seven different robotic creatures using more than 120 pieces, including a bird, a dog and a polar bear. Little mechanics can reference two instructional guides — one old-school colorful booklet and one 3-D interactive app — for smooth yet educational assembly. Once they have their pet robots, kids can use a controller to put their creations in motion. STEM activities have never been so fun!
Robotis Play PETs robot kit, $63.15 at Amazon
Flybar Foam Maverick Pogo Stick
The bouncy stick from your childhood is back and better (we mean safer) than ever with Flybar’s foam pogo stick. Though quite durable (it’s made from metal), the outside is coated with a light foam that helps kids maintain their grip and stay comfortable during each use.
Flybar Foam Maverick pogo stick, $30.99 at Amazon
The holy grail of gaming is here, and it’s called the Nintendo Switch. This gaming console can be used at home, but it’s also portable for when your kids need entertainment on the go. It is a bit on the pricey side, but luckily, this bad boy breaks off into two controllers, so you and your kid can enjoy hours of virtual playtime.
Plus, they sell all sorts of games, so you can enjoy it when your daughter’s sleeping. We promise we won’t tell.
Nintendo Switch, $299 at Amazon
Franklin Sports 3-in-1 Indoor Sport Set
Kids may live for snow days, but they put a lot of pressure on parents to come up with exciting indoor activities. Thankfully, the Franklin Sports three-in-one indoor sports set has everything you need to entertain your restless athlete: two goal nets, two hockey sticks, a mini soccer ball and three hockey balls (two of which are small foam balls). Just keep the water and orange slices nearby for period or half-time breaks.
Franklin Sports three-in-one indoor sports set, $47.71 at Kmart
If you buy the Nintendo Switch, you’re going to need at least one game to go along with it. May we suggest Splatoon 2, a colorful, family-fun game featuring some really awesome girl characters. Through the game does encourage players to shoot, the characters only shoot ink, and there’s no blood or gore involved. Additionally, the game fosters team building and is given a thumbs-up rating by Common Sense Media.
Splatoon 2 game, $59.99 at Target
If your kid needs an escape, look no further than an easy-to-hang travel hammock. She can comfortably spend her afternoons reading, drawing or napping (let’s be real) in the open air.
Castaway Hammocks travel hammock, $47.15 at Amazon
Nike Legend Running Shoes
Every active kid needs a pair of stylish, sturdy and functional running shoes, and Nike’s Legend React model fits the bill. Thanks to a squishy sole, these kicks feel light and airy while providing plenty of bounce for kids on the go.
And if your big kid has outgrown the kids section, Nike also offers the Legend React in adult sizes.
Nike Legend React big kids running shoe, $90 at Nike
‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ Book
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a New York Times’ best-seller for a reason. This uplifting book of bedtime stories contains a collection of 100 stories about some of the most ambitious, ground-breaking women in history, including Amelia Earhart, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Simone Biles and Serena Williams. Go to bed each night feeling inspired!
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book, $14.99 at Amazon
So, your kid wants to fly a drone. As intimidating as the airborne technology can be — many models come with cameras, etc. — the Cheerson CX-10 mini-drone was designed with kids in mind. That means it’s smaller (fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand small), less invasive (no cameras) and inexpensive. This model provides kids with 4 to 8 minutes of flight time and comes with three speeds to make every moment more fun than the last. See you in the sky!
Cheerson CX-10 mini-drone, $19.99 at Amazon
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