2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Discover gifts, experiences and in-their-honor donation ideas that tap into whatever it is that sparks joy in your little one.

Deck the halls and clean out the closet – the holidays are here and with them? A boatload of new stuff. No matter how many times you tell the grandparents, aunts and uncles, coworkers (or yourself), to limit the presents, you somehow end up with mountains of … stuff.

This year, start a new tradition. A few physical gifts and a few experiences — a class tailored specifically to your child’s interest, a special one-on-one day out with mom or dad, or maybe an in-kind donation to a cause dear to your kid, to help them remember this time isn’t just about getting.

Parenting hack – Did you miscount the number of gifts you got and suddenly realize at the stroke of midnight that Susie has 5 while Jimmy only has 4? Experiential gifts are the PERFECT gift to answer your holiday prayers. No need to face the crowds, just write your experiential gift idea down and put it in a super fancy envelope stuffed into the tree or put the envelope in the biggest box you can find and watch them guess what it could be!

For the Kid Who Loves...

Science & Tech

National Geographic Explorer Series Microscope

Featuring a 400x zoom and designed for younger kids, their scientific curiosity will be ignited as they get an up-close look at prepared plant and mineral slides, plus limitless blank slides. (About $35)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue

Snap Circuits Explore Coding Kit 

With the help of an accompanying free app, your tech-interested kid will be guided through more than 30 electronic coding projects, like building and controlling circuits for lights, fans and sirens. (About $60)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, Walmart

Or, Ditch the Stuff

Gift them with enrollment in a STEM-focused summer camp.

Plan a special day out together to visit the Michigan Science Center.

Donate to a science-based nonprofit in your child’s name.

Consider Girls Who Code, which aims to increase the number of women in computer science. girlswhocode.com

Arts & Crafts

Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Supply Library

Your little one’s creative juices will runneth over with this old-school kit of more than 1,000 vibrant pieces perfect for crafts, including Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, sequins and beads — all in an easy carrying case. (About $40)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bloomingdales, Michael’s 

Osmo Creative Starter Kit

Encourage that future illustrator with this interactive kit that works with an iPad or Fire Tablet and allows little artists to see their doodles on screen, receive real-time feedback and solve visual puzzles. (About $56)

Available at: Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart

Or, Ditch the Stuff

Gift them enrollment in an art class.

Plan a special day out at the Detroit Institute of Art or local art gallery.

Donate to an arts nonprofit in your child’s name.

Consider Art Feeds, where they curate art lessons for home and school that help kids deal with tough feelings and situations. artfeeds.org 

Games & Puzzles

Educational Insights Kanoodle 3D Brain Teaser Puzzle Game

This portable brain-teasing puzzle game features more than 200 2D and 3D challenges — from pretty easy to infuriating — designed to mold your kid’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. (About $14)

Available at: Amazon, Walmart

Clemens Habicht 540 Colors Sphere 3D Sphere Jigsaw Puzzle

Help your kid up the ante on traditional puzzles with this 3D rainbow-colored globe featuring 540 ombre hues. (About $70)

Available at: Uncommon Goods 

Or, Ditch the Stuff

Organize a scavenger hunt around your home or neighborhood chock-full of riddles and brain teasers.

Gift them a night to invite their friends over for a snack-filled game-night extravaganza.

Donate to a games-focused nonprofit in your child’s name.

Consider Child’s Play, which donates toys and games to children’s hospitals and domestic violence shelters. childsplaycharity.org 

Animals & Nature

Melissa & Doug Veterinarian Role Play Costume Dress-Up Set

Help aspiring vets get into character with this playtime costume, complete with scrubs, a mask, cap, talking stethoscope, syringe, name tag, thermometer, bandage and a cute stuffed dog. (About $30)

Available at: Amazon, Target, Walmart

Microsculpture: Portraits of Insects Book

Your nature lover is guaranteed to be enthralled by this book from photographer Levon Biss featuring vivid images created by digitally combining 8,000 individual photographs. (About $40)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Or, Ditch the Stuff

Gift them a special day out that includes a visit a botanical garden or wildlife conservatory.

Provide enrollment in a class to learn all about foraging or a nature-focused summer camp. 

Donate to a nature or animal welfare nonprofit in your child’s name.

Consider the Animal Welfare Institute, which seeks to alleviate the suffering of animals, tackling everything from factory farming to scientific research. awionline.org 

Cooking & Food

Best Choice Products Farmhouse Play Kitchen 

For the chef-in-the-making, consider this super stylish play kitchen set that parents won’t mind leaving out. It features a chalkboard for recipes, pretend utensils and plenty of storage. (About $70)

Available at: Amazon, Target, Walmart 

The Cookie Cups Pizza Making Kit

Your kid will beg to get in the kitchen when you gift them with this 12-piece pizza making kit, complete with all the tools and ingredients needed to make a 12-inch pizza from scratch. (About $34)

Available at: Amazon, Walmart 

Or, Ditch the Stuff

Gift them with enrollment in a cooking class.

Plan a special day out together that includes the restaurant of their choice and a visit to a farmers market or specialty store for ingredients to make something unique at home.

Donate to a food-focused nonprofit.

Consider No Kid Hungry, which works to end childhood food insecurity through school meals, grants, advocacy, research and more. nokidhungry.org