Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Imaginative Kids

Win grandparent of the year with these educational, fun and design-forward presents for youngsters

The most charming thing about childhood, once you’ve passed beyond it, is how boundless it seems. There is no dream that seems unreasonable or unrealistic, all your wildest ones—whether it’s riding on the back of a unicorn or traveling through time or writing your own novels—are entirely achievable. This sense of wonder and possibility returns as an adult spending time with kids—and shopping for them. Giving a child something that encourages and inspires them is a gift in itself. Whether the child or children in your life are bookworms, music enthusiasts, sporty rugrats, tech tinkerers, obsessed with space, dinosaurs or cars—or all of the above—there’s a special present for them in our Imaginative Kids Gift Guide.

The Experiential Camera

There’s arguably no better way to learn how a camera works than by building one yourself. That’s exactly what Bigshot offers: a kit for constructing a 3MP digital camera ($99) from scratch—that’s easy enough for anyone over the age eight. There’s a flash and an LCD display, but most fascinating of all is the lens turn-wheel allowing for panoramic shots and even 3D imagery.

Cloud House

A clean piece of modern toy design, the Cloud House ($200) from Rock and Pebble isn’t an average doll house. It’s an dreamland fit for kids who dream big. Composed of solid birch plywood (with a layer of water-based paint), it’s a safe place to daydream or shift around the accompanying figures, which are sold separately.

An Igloo on the Moon

Exploring the development of structures from early igloos to 3D-printing today, author of “An Igloo on the Moon” ($20) David Jenkins has created an informative, visually stunning work on how and why we build things. While the narrative was crafted to appeal to younger minds, the topics of environmental awareness and sustainability, as well as artist Adrian Buckley’s illustrations certainly resonate with children of all ages.

Australian Rules Football

To be a true “one-eyed” supporter of Australian Rules football means being an unflinching, unwavering champion of a team—even if they are the biggest losers in the league. Melbourne-based store Doomsday and heritage football makers Sherrin have united to create a one-eyed designed football ($26) for those exact fans of the game. Perfect for a little kick-to-kick or a game of catch day or night—thanks to the bright yellow night-game colorway.


It’s safe to say that the classic yellow and checkered New York City cab has entered the world of iconography. With Candylab Toys’ Candycab ($25) there’s a solid beechwood iteration worthy of the home. For kids who enjoy reenacting a good car chase, the Candycab makes for a safe and fun toy that keeps the taxi cab history alive.

DIY Synth Kit

Injecting fun and excitement around electronics, circuitry and coding, Technology Will Save Us offers DIY kits that teach you how to build a solar-powered moisture-sensor for your plants, a portable speaker from everyday household objects, a game console to play games you’ve created, and your own noisy synth ($40). Most noteworthy is the opportunity for customization and experimentation within each kit; it all ties in to Technology Will Save Us’ mission to change the younger generation’s relationship with technology from that of a passive consumer to an active maker and builder.

Godzilla Skateboard

In an attempt to share the original, rebellious spirit of skateboarding with a younger generation, graffiti writer and European skateboard industry veteran Dave the Chimp worked with Solid Skateboards to make a fun collection of decks for kids. This eight-inch Godzilla board ($99) is made from seven-ply Canadian maple and features the Japanese monster vomiting tankers, whales, people and trains.

Gallop Mini Blanket

Created by East London-based Donna Wilson, this adorable baby blanket ($103)—measuring 100cm by 68cm—is made from super-warm 100% lambswool and is knitted in Scotland. The blanket is available in three gender-neutral colorways and covered in horses, deer, moose and all kinds of trees—so your baby’s imagination will wander to forests filled with all kinds of magical creatures as they snooze soundly and cozily.

Astro Pillowcase Set

Encouraging exploration, curiosity and adventure, the kids’ collection from Arro Home is space-themed; with plenty of intergalactic illustrations to put little ones in an imaginative state of mind for bedtime. The 100% cotton Astro pillowcase set ($29) features suns, asteroids, uncharted planets and clouds, reminding tykes to shoot for the stars.

Space Patrol Commander 1950

A retro flying saucer, Tin Toy Arcade’s Space Patrol Commander 1950 ($24) throws back to the futuristic imaginations of ’50s Japan. The tin toy winds up and scuttles on its own, and also tacks course when it bumps into obstacles. There’s a charm to the vintage-inspired object and the design flourishes make an old concept relevant again, but most importantly: it’s fun to watch it rove around.

Mini Banjo

For the young and the young at heart, there’s nothing as magical as a song—or simply making a racket. Do both with this cute, bright red mini banjo ($38) from Poketo. Little ones can develop their motor skills on the four-stringed instrument, while grown-ups can do their best Angus Young impression—and its tiny, packable size (just over a foot long) makes it perfect for on-the-go jam sessions.

Dinosaurs Pajamas

Surely encouraging plenty of dreams about prehistoric adventures or perhaps a keen interest in the Brontosaurus, these bright green dinosaur pajamas ($55) from Bedhead are for all genders. Crafted from a cotton and spandex blend, the set offers plenty of movement for the little ones to sleep comfortably and are made in the USA.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image also courtesy of Candylab Toys