Q • We're a couple married almost four years but do not have children. My husband served in the military and we have moved quite a bit. We have plenty of nieces and nephews of all ages, but we don't live near any of them. We're hoping to get some gift suggestions for Christmas. There's a lot of stuff to choose from.
From a reader • We have nine kids, and books are their thing. Here are some that they love: "Not Quite Snow White," by Ashley Franklin, about a bubbly little girl, Tameika. She captures your attention and brings you into the story. She has a “believe in yourself” attitude and expresses that no matter who you are you can succeed.
"Lizard From the Park," by Matt Peet, is a book that has twists and turns to keep kids hooked. A little boy, Leonard, finds an egg in the park. He has a fun-filled afternoon with his special egg and then out pops a not-so-ordinary lizard.
"Dactyl Hill Squad," by Daniel José Older, is a great tween read. It's a fast-paced story filled with emotion. There's a ton of dinosaur action and adventure.
"My Life in the Fish Tank," by Barbara Dee, is a good read for middle school aged kids but is also a great family discussion book as it addresses mental illness in a way that a child can process and relate to and is quite educational for siblings and others.
Mash Up Art Pack Paint + Pastel and Mash Up Glitter Art Pack, by iHeart Art, are awesome for the artsy kids. Technique guides and an art pad are included. The colors are vibrant. The glitter really shimmers. Check brightstripes.co for many choices. — Jasmine T. in San Diego
From Jodie Lynn • Here are some more unique gift ideas:
Sticker Mosaic Tiger, by Stick Together, is pretty cool and a well-thought-out family activity. A lot of stickers are utilized to create a mosaic-style puzzle. There are also other images to choose from. The fun thing is that everyone can be working at the same time in different areas. It's a fun twist on coloring and puzzles and provides several hours of fun that creates a huge picture when finished. If you're going to have a virtual Christmas with your family, these are perfect as they are now also offered virtually so everyone can pitch in.
The Talking Thomas & Percy Train Set is fabulous. It's motorized and kids love that they can control it. The interactive tunnel and bridge really help bring it to the next level and the sounds make it thrilling for them.
Barbie Color Reveal is a doll with 50 surprise accessories and kids seem to get more and more excited as they open one after another. It comes with a big sister and a smaller doll. Dunking the Barbie in the water creates a really cool effect.
Froggy's Lair - Frog Biosphere is a big hit with live African dwarf frogs. They are amazing to watch and provide hours of entertainment and come with a container, food, light, rock bed and Bamboo plants. See froggyslair.com for full details.
NOTE: Everything is available on Amazon unless it has a company link inserted.
CAN YOU HELP?
I'm struggling with the decision of whether or not to buy my 6-year-old a cell phone. Believe it or not, he's one of only three in his first grade class who doesn't have one. What are the pros and cons for kids this age?
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Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.