It’s time for another “MPMK Gift Guide Glimpse”… For those of you not exactly sure what I’m talking about, this is a day when we highlight one of our favorite sections of the:
Because I realize that our MEGA gift guides are a lot to take in- detailed descriptions and age recommendations of over 400 toys, books, games, and more divided into 15 themed guides takes some concentration to get through.
I’ve heard from several moms in fact, both via email and in real life, who have already spent a good hour or two immersed in them.
So this year, I’m trying to help you navigate the guides by highlighting some of my favorite parts.
Over the next few months, I’ll be stopping in every once in a while to showcase a favorite section from one of the 15 guides. (Note this is not even a full guide, but simply a sub-section of one of the guides.)
My hope is that it will help you find the perfect gift for under the tree!
Today talking we’re art kits and books. There are so many cool options on the market this year that I had to create a whole new section just for them. I can’t wait to set my kids up for hours of creativity with these sets and books!
Best Art Books & Kits for Kids
Klutz Paper Flying Dragons Craft Kit $13.30 (6 – 12 years)
Our babysitter gifted my 6 1/2 year old son this super-cool book last year and he has had so much fun making the flying dragons and testing them out. From the publisher, “Made of sturdy card stock, these 12 fearsome, stunning dragons are ready to fold and fly. Use expert tips to build a custom dragon, then read on for fascinating dragon facts written by award-winning science fiction author Pat Murphy.” If you’re trying to picture what this is, think a punch out book that makes really good paper airplanes, except they’re dragons! This one is sure to be a hit with any kids who’s a fan of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and pretty much every other kid too from what I can tell. One of my favorite parts about the book/kit is that once kids construct their dragons, it provides ideas on how to make tweaks to achieve different flight path results. The book is also full of all kind of interesting facts about dragons and different dragon species. Parents rave about the beauty of the illustrations, the high quality of the paper, and the fact that even the tape is included!..
And if you have an airplane lover in the house or a Star Wars lover, be sure to also check out the classic Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes Kits and the Klutz Star Wars Folded Flyers, which also get amazing reviews!
Klutz Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters Craft Kit $16.99 (6 – 12 years)
If you have a Star Wars lover in the house, be sure to also check out this Star Wars version. From the publisher, “each of the six-starfighter designs has been rigorously tested by the Klutz Aerodynamics Team. And they look as great as they fly, because they’re made from full-color, custom-designed papers – representing galactic vehicle exteriors, authentic to the last bolt. With five copies of each design, kids can have a fleet of Y-wings and X-wings at their command.”
Spirograph Deluxe Design Kit $22.99 (7 – 15 years)
I get so excited when the toys I loved as a kid come back into vogue! I remember spending HOURS playing with my spirograph as a kid. The things you can make with this are unlimited but also so impressive looking. This one is a classic for a reason and the 50th anniversary edition has some cool extras including a carrying case with a built-in work surface and putty to keep the spirographs in place (so smart)… I also love, and will be buying for our daughter this year, thisSpirograph and Spirograph Coloring Book Combo Kit that comes with a spirograph set, as well as a spirograph coloring book, similar to the mandala style coloring books highlighted in this guide, and colored pencils.
The Mandala Coloring Book $9.19 (5+ years)
Mandala style coloring books have become all the range for helping adults to relax and relieve stress. So, of course, they are wonderful for children for the same things! One reviewer wrote of this one, “purchased this book for my five year old son as a gift. I am stunned with how he is able to put together amazing looking drawings with ease. He absolutely loves colouring them in. He is usually a very, very active child but this book has had an incredible calming effect on him. Not only whilst he is colouring but also when he has finished. He is incredibly proud of the end results and I have to say I am bowled over with the completed pictures. It’s become one of his new favourite pastimes and we as parents feel blessed with how colouring these beautiful mandalas has calmed his general behaviour! My wife and I have also become somewhat addicted to colouring and the effects that it is having on us.. so much so that we have bought two more copies so we can all colour at once! A truly beautiful book that will keep our family busy with 100 wonderful designs. I can’t recommend this book enough!
Sticky Mosaic Kits $14.79 (5 – 12 years)
I really appreciate that kids can open up these engaging mosaic kits and start creating right away. The sticker-by-number format is easy to master and kids will spend hours peeling and sticking the shiny and glittery stickers onto each sheet. I also love the vast variety of themes in these kits. From unicorns and card-making kits to dragons and pirates, there’s something for everyone… Also check out the over-sized My First Sticky Mosaic kits starts at $5.63 (3 – 8 years) to include younger kids in on the fun.
Fashion Design Portfolio $7.93 (7 – 12 years)
At first glance I wasn’t overly impressed with this fashion portfolio and accompanying stencils. But then I read the glowing reviews and remembered how much I loved sketching outfits like this when I was a girl and realized that I would have been elated to have a deluxe kit like this one! Plus, it’s a great price for what looks to be a very solid and popular toy.
My Little Pony Full Size Sketch Portfolio with Art Set $10.29 (4 – 10 years)
If your little girl is into stencils and design but not so into fashion, this My Little Pony sketch portfolio set is equally cool. I’m eyeing this one for my 5 year old this Christmas. I love the options to use lots of different tools, from stencils to stickers, to make each pony look unique. My daughter is loving both My Little Ponies and stencils right now so I know this will be a winner. Plus,she always adores anything that’s presented as a self-contained kit that she can pack around with her. (And I love stuff that works well in the car too.)
Lulu Jr. Book and Comic Book Making Kits starting at $20.97 (4 – 12 years)
These award winning kits allow your children to author, illustrate, and publish their very own book hard cover book. My daughter and I have been making books together at home for a while now so I’m excited to surprise her with this kit allowing her to make a professionally printed book. I also love the comic book making kit for kids who need a little encouragement in the areas of reading and writing. From the manufacturer, “Lulu Jr. allows children to become published authors,encouraging creativity, strengthening literacy and building self-esteem. Your child writes and illustrates their own original story that will be printed as a full-color, hardcover, professionally printed book. You choose whether to mail your completed book pages to us in the included prepaid envelope, or you and your child can create the book online. The final product showcases your child as the published author on the book’s back cover using our ‘About the Author’ feature. With Lulu Jr.’s award-winning book-making kits, IlluStory, My Comic Book and My Awesome Book, children can realize their potential as an author and artist. With 800,000 kits sold and over 15 industry awards, Lulu Jr. is the ideal destination for young authors. “… For younger kids, also check out the low-tech Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books kit that allows them to make three of their own mini-board books for only $10.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book $14.39 (3 – 8 years)
The hilarious Mo Willems plus lots of activities to keep the kids happy, what more do I need to say?
Doodle Cook $13.45 (4+ years with some adult help or reading age+)
I had the chance to review this unique coloring/activity book masquerading as a cookbook last year (see here for the full review). I was really impressed. What I liked most was that the “recipes” start the kids off with specific instructions (“draw four lines on the plate. Make the lines nice and straight”) but also include lots of open-ended components to encourage creativity (“Garnish the kebabs with colors or patterns”). It’s a big book too. Not only does it have 20 different recipes, but it measures nearly 10″ x 14″ in size, providing lots of space for your littles to express themselves. My son and I used this book for our special one-on-one time for nearly a month straight before running out of pages – he LOVED it.
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Share the list with your mom friends (they’ll thank you!) and don’t forget – you can also check out all 15 of our 2016 Gift Guides here or check out the one that you can use the most below:
All 10 of the MPMK Gift Guides, organized by your child’s interest, including:
Plus, our five guides organized by age: