Kindergarten, first, and second graders span a wide range of skills and knowledge so gifts for this age should balance fun and learning. Kindergartners who have settled into a school routine are working towards becoming fluent readers while second graders feel confident at school and are working towards expanding knowledge while first graders tend to be somewhere in the middle.
We know that the age recommendations on products is a rough guide and while the gifts in this gift guide range from 5+ to 8+ but I believe that you know your child best. Let your knowledge of their interests and skills drive your purchases this holiday season.
Remembering that the best books will be the ones that are just right for your child’s reading level and correspond to their interest in order to prevent frustration. If you’re wondering if a book might be right for your child, consult their teacher who could probably give you a great list of suggestions. Kids at this age have better control over their fine motor skills and love screen time so video games are always a huge hit. If you’re not sure what titles are really appropriate for those on your list, consult Common Sense Media to get an-at-a-glance look at what’s best suited for the kids you’re buying gifts for this year.
littleBits (kits starting at $99)— For years we’ve been in love with littleBits. With endless possibilities for creations and inspiration that comes from an active community who shares the coolest stuff they’re making with these magnetically connected wired building blocks and circuit board pieces, littleBits pieces and sets are the perfect gift for curious elementary ages. If you’re not familiar with littleBits, start with the Base Kit ($99) that includes everything you need to start designing. If you’re already a fan of littleBits, I’d recommend expanding your collection of Bits with the Gizmos and Gadgets Kit ($199.95) or Smart Home Kit ($249). Called the ultimate invention toolbox, Gizmos and Gadgets pieces allow kids to create things that spin, blow bubbles, make mischief, light up, and more. Automated smart home products are all the rage right now and kids can create their own 21st century connected home products that automate the curtains to open, feed your dog remotely, and get text alerts when you’re away from home and your dog barks, and so much more thanks to pieces in the Smart Home Kit. Yes, littleBits sets are an investment (you can also buy pieces individually via the littleBits site) but I truly love that my kids are engaging in scientific discovery every time they snap together pieces that teach them about circuitry and electronics while they create very cool things!
SoftShell Ice Cream Ball ($29.95)— It may be cold outside but that won’t stop your kids from wanting to kick, roll, and toss this ice cream ball as they make their favorite flavor of ice cream. This soft sided ball holds ingredients to make a pint of homemade ice cream after 25 minutes of active play. It’s a great way to get kids outside any time of the year! Comes in 4 different colors- blueberry (pictured), orange, raspberry, and lime.
LEGO Dimensions ($99.99)— For kids who love to build with LEGOs, this new video game is a dream come true. For years kids have been mixing and matching LEGO minifigs with vehicles during pretend play and LEGO Dimensions gives the the same ability to do so via a video game. LEGO Dimensions is all about mashups and mixing and matching characters, their vehicles, and skills in different worlds or dimensions. It’s a cool game that involves building that kids love and nostalgia for parents thanks to fun character sets and worlds in a fun family game where toys come to life. If you’re getting this for your kids this holiday season and friends and relatives are asking for gift suggestions, point them in the direction of Level Packs ($29.99), Team Packs ($24.99) and Fun Packs($14.99) that provide more possibilities for additional game play and access to more worlds/dimensions within the game.
Super Sunprint Kit ($22.95)— I loved these as a kid and while visiting the Maryland Science Center with Emily over the summer, I spotted these from afar and my childhood creations came flooding back to me! If you’ve never tried Sunprints, this very cool photo sensitive paper allows you to create unique works of art by placing objects on the sheets. Leave them outside in the sun for a few minutes and quick rinse of the paper with the image makes a permanent image.
Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box ($14.95)— Like a paint by numbers but with tiny square jewel stickers, the Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box keeps fingers busy for hours creating a glittery jewelry box. If butterflies aren’t her favorite, other styles include fairy forest, horses, and one shaped like a heart.
BrickStix (starting at $4.99 on Amazon)— Love LEGOs? These reusable sticker decals for Legos and building blocks are must haves because they add fun details to the LEGOs you already have. Affordable BrickStix (packs are under $10) come in theme packs like town, galaxy, home apocalypse, zombie, fairy, pets, and more and are easy to peel off and stick on other LEGOs for endless fun.
Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Stunt Sets ($39.95)— We never get tired of marble runs in our house because there are so many different ways to build. This colorful Q-Ba-Maze has 72 cubes, 20 marbles, and design ideas for your first build and is a great way to teach beginning physics to elementary ages. Looking for a natural wood version? I’d recommend the Amaze-N-Marbles Set ($34.95 and up).
Pie Face ($21.99)— Sometimes you need a good family game night and a chance to laugh and Pie Face provides both those things in a hilarious game that involves spinning, cranking the handle the number of times on the spinner, and waiting to see who gets splatted in the face with whipped cream! Whipped cream not included!
Just Dance 2016 ($59.99)— Fans of Just Dance will love that this year’s version gets the family up and dancing to songs like “Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez, “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo, and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor – to fun favorites like “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, and “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas, and more.
- The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home by David Cadji-Newby ($29.99)— Young readers will love this delightful book with a glow in the dark cover, rhyming text, and have fun discovering that this book is all about them as they travel through outer space with a hero and robot friend who have lost their way in space. During this incredible journey they meet wonderful creatures and characters who help them figure out where in the universe they are and because there’s no place like home, help them find their way back from space to their own home. My kids thought it was coincidence that the character’s name was the same as the character’s and had a look of pure delight as the book revealed that it was truly personalized just for them when they realized that our house and a bird’s eye view of our neighborhood was included. Parents can go to the LostMy.name site to create their child’s book and personalize it by adding your child’s first name, gender, choosing the look of the adventurer in the story, adding your address so it appears on the door illustration, and zooming in on the map to ensure that your home appears on the final pages of the story. You can also customize a special message to the child on the inside cover to make it even more perfect for gift giving. In addition toThe Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, Lost My Name is another personalized title by Cadji-Newby available for purchase from the LostMy.name site.
- My Grand Adventures- A DIY Journal ($25)— Budding writers will love authoring their own story about themselves in this adventure that features writing prompts, places to draw, and activities that will be fun to look back and read as the author grows up.
- Just Joking Animal Riddles ($7.99)— When our kids were kindergartners, they couldn’t get enough knock knock jokes and thought they were the funniest things ever. Thank goodness they grew up and branched out but they still love a great animal joke, especially when it comes from one of the Just Joking books. National Geographic does it again with a new book in the series that provides 150 hilarious and head scratching all animal riddles.
- Weird but True Food: 300 Bite Size Facts About Incredible Edibles ($7.99)— The “Mom, did you know…” is inevitable around our houses these days and is always followed by some fascinating fact about food from Weird But True Food. Not that I mind though. I love that Thomas and Emily can never get enough of the facts in this book no matter how many times they pick it up and thumb through it.
Need more ideas? Visit my past Elementary Gift Guides and other 2015 Gift Guides that will help you find the best gifts for all ages!
- 2014 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Early Elementary Ages
- 2013 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Early Elementary Ages
- 2012 Gifts for Elementary Ages (grades K-2)
- Gifts for Kindergartners and First Graders
- 2010 Holiday Gift Guide: Elementary Ages
- 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Elementary Ages
- 2008 Holiday Gift Guide: Elementary Edition
Samples were received for review purposes. Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. All images courtesy of the companies.