3DOODLER 2.0 3D PRINT PEN ($89.99)
Usually, if something extrudes heated plastic, it’s not the kind of thing you want your kids playing with — but the 3Doodler 2.0 3D print pen is an exception. With no software or extra gear needed, anyone in the family can conjure up a 3D masterpiece with this simple pen. There are more than 60 colors of plastic available for the 3Doodler, which means the sky’s limit when creating art, jewelry, figurines and more — you can even use the heated plastic to fix broken items around the house. The 3Doodler 2.0 is a step above its predecessor — it’s smaller, quieter and has a steadier stream of plastic. This is a gift that will keep the whole family occupied for hours.
GIANT BOWLING GAME ($11.98-$34.98)
A fun purchase for adults and kids alike, this giant bowling set lets you get creative with how you knock over the 29-inch-tall pins — will you throw the ball? Kick it? Roll it? Any way you choose leads to fun. Play indoors or out. The set comes with a hand-operated dual action pump that makes pin and ball inflation easy. You can’t strike out with buying this gift.
STOP MOTION ANIMATION KIT ($60)
Recreate fantastical worlds like those in classic stop-motion films like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with this affordable beginners’ Stop Motion Animation Kit. A collaboration between a popular toy company and a UK animation studio, this kit pairs the imagination-fueling fun of a building a toy with an easy-touse stop-motion camera and software to edit individual frames together and share the results. This kit has got everything you need to start making your own cinematic masterpiece immediately, including bendable figures. If you don’t care for the figures, let your creativity go wild and use Legos or clay!
THE IPAD PAINTBRUSH ($49.95)
Paint a masterpiece without the mess! This paintbrush uses synthetic hairs infused with conductive properties, but with the same taper, flexibility and strength as a traditional brush. The iPad paintbrush simulates painting in acrylic, watercolor or charcoal media using Apple and Android apps such as Procreate, SketchTime, ArtRage, Fresh Paint, Sketchbook, ASKetch and Brushes. The other end of the brush has a rubber stylus that enables sketching or handwriting on a touchscreen. Compatible with all devices with capacitive touchscreens including iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nexus, Samsung Tablet and more.
KINETIC SAND ($15)
It’s gonna be hard to give this one over to the kids — Kinetic Sand looks like regular ol’ beach sand, but with way more building power. It’s got a delightfully squishy texture and just enough malleability to hold the shape of simple sculptures and structures. Kinetic sand comes in a variety of colors, and there’s even a version that lets kids create rafts and aquatic creatures that float on water. Bathtime has never been so cool. Heck, keep some in the office for those days when you need to dream of vacation.
LED-LIT POI BALLS ($14.98)
You don’t have to be a raver to enjoy LED-Lit Poi Balls. Literally just a set of balls on string, this light-based poi set allows the user to create beautiful performance art. Each ball features three different programmed lighting effects and includes a replaceable button-cell battery. Aside from being challenging, energizing and generally tons of fun, mastering poi moves can help improve coordination, creativity and self-esteem — for kids and adults alike.
CONSTELLATION WATCH ($189.99)
What’s more whimsical than the night sky? Remember laying on the lawn and looking up at the stars and constellations, waxing poetic about tall tales of history and making up modernday fables using only your imagination?
Remember wishing upon a shooting star and following Polaris home after playing outside with your friends all day or after a drunken rager at Dakota’s house? Well, if you catch that vibe, then you’ll see the inherent utility and playfulness of the constellation watch. It provides astronomical data on constellations, stars and nebulae. It also tells time! Buy it at sharperimage.com.
‘100 FACTS ABOUT PANDAS’ ($11.99)
Did you know that the age of a panda can be determined by measuring the distance between its nipples?
And did you know that Prince’s “Purple Rain” was inspired by the “mixed emotions he feels about pandas”? That’s all according to the new book 100 Facts About Pandas, which entertains the adult and child in your loved one at once. It’s full of pictures of pandas, and authors Mike Ahern, and David and Claudia O’Doherty have made a string of books that appeal to adult sensibilities but tap into childhood issues. “There is nothing my panda and I enjoy more than reading 100 Facts About Pandas,” said Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. If that’s not a good sell, we don’t know what is.
THINKFUN COMPOSE YOURSELF ($14.99)
Give your little musician a toy that can teach and create. Developed by composer and cellist Phillip Sheppard, Compose Yourself includes 60 transparent music cards that children can combine to create different sounds. Use a computer program to playback your tiny composer’s masterpiece, or print the composition so it can be played on an actual instrument.
FLUXX 5.0 CARD GAME ($12.99)
Forget Cards Against Humanity — Fluxx is where it’s at for all the irreverent fun you want. This is the latest version of this card game with ever-changing rules. The basic rules are pretty simple: draw one card and play one card — but New Rule cards shake things up. Even the end goal of the game will often change as you play, as players swap out one Goal card for another. Can you achieve World Peace before someone changes the goal to Bread and Chocolate? For two to five players, the game moves quickly, taking only about a half hour to play. It’s best suited for kids age 8 and up.