My two youngest kids have been enjoying the National Geographic Kids books. During the month of May Nat Geo Kids book is celebrating DinoMAYnia! This time around, they had the opportunity to check out a Dino themed book package.
My 12 year old was immediately drawn to the Nat Geo Ultimate Dino-pedia. He sat for over an hour reading through the book, excitedly telling me facts about different dinosaurs. Asking me if I ever heard of some of them, truth is, I really hadn’t.
When my 8 year old came home I told her we received some books to check out. she went over to the books and started sorting through them. She was drawn to the So Cool! Dinos book. This small book is packed with easy to read and understand facts about dinosaurs. It’s the perfect size to pack in a travel bag or suitcase for down time too. The colorful, well illustrated pictures in the book are very eye catching too
One of my favorite books in the Dino-packed package is the Weird But True Dinosaurs book. This book has 300 dino related facts. I was flipping through and found a lot of interesting facts right away. Did you know that there is a hotel in Japan that has robotic dinosaurs that work the front desk?
There are dinosaur books for all ages in this package. Something for everyone you might say.
Where Can I Get More DinoMAYnia Info?
Nat Geo Kids has a fun websites filled with DinoMAYnia games, videos, facts, and even a dinosaur personality quiz: natgeokids.com/dinomania
Greenlight let’s parents monitor and add money to your child’s account without runs to the the ATM. You can set parental controls and get immediate notifications when your child spends money. Immediately reward your kids, give them their allowance as soon as you think about it, get your kids involved so they can learn to manage their own finances. There’s so many benefits to Greenlight.
Right now you can get a 30 day trial of Greenlight to test it out for you and your child. After the 30 day trial it’s $4.99 a month service fee. After your 30 day trial you can also get a custom Greenlight card for your child that even has a selfie on it if you like. You can fund the account with $5, $20, or $50
I’m gonna be honest. I currently have 3 kids I’m giving an allowance too. Trying to remember to take out the money at the ATM on my way home from work or having extra cash on hand for incentive chores is hard. This would be such a convenience for me.
I’m gonna have to try this out myself. I know several people that already use Greenlight and love it. Do you use Greenlight? Have you been thinking about it?
This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission from actions taken through my links
Teens can be hard to buy for, especially if they’re not your child. Teenagers are exploring their own styles, like/dislikes, they still want to have fun but don’t want childish things.
As a mom of 3 teenage boys and aunt to a 14 year old niece, here are some fun ideas for teens. Some may appeal to boys more, some may appeal to girls more, and some have more universal appeal.
Shashibo Shape Shifting Box – Price Point = $20-$25
These cubes fascinated me the first first times I saw ads and video on them. I looked up youtube videos on them and I was convinced that I had to get one for each of my kids and my one son’s girlfriend.
The idea of the Shasibo is it’s a puzzle cube. Each with a different theme: Confetti, Moon, Elements, etc. etc. you open up the cube and it immediately starts changing shapes. It comes with a guide to help you create different shapes. The puzzle part is trying to create the shapes and eventually trying to get it back into a cube which doesn’t seem to be an easy feat.
One of the popular things right now is fidget toys. The Shasibo, while a puzzle cube also is being used as a fidget toy. These cubes are just about the same size as a rubics cube. They have been and and out of stock and many retailers with some designs being harder to find than others. The Confetti seems to be a popular one.
Color Fusion Nail Polish Maker – Price Point $25 – $50
This one would be more geared toward the pre-teens. The Make It Real Color Fusion Nail Polish Maker allows you to create over 200 custom shades of nail polish! Download the app for color matching technology and create a color to match that favorite dress!
It comes with everything needed and has enough supplies for up to 120 manicures or pedicures.
Mini Over the Door Basketball Hoop – Price Point $10 – $40
I don’t know any kids that doesn’t love shooting baskets in a mini basketball hoop. I have one and all 4 of my kids ages 8 – 19 play together. They play games like HORSE, 21, and challenging each other to make shots. These hoops fit easily over any door with a provided hook and most, if not all of them, come with a mini basketball. Some even come with a hand pump for the mini basketballs.
I know the price point is pretty wide but that’s because there are so many to choose from depending on your budget and how sturdy of a basketball hoop you’re hoping for. Some even have extra things like LED scoring or glow in the dark features.
SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop – this one is sturdier and is an Amazon choice. It comes with a mini basketball for $29.99. Upgrade to a glow-in-the-dark version for $34.99
Nerf Mini Basketball Hoop – This one is more budget friendly and it is made by Nerf. It also comes with a Nerf mini basketball. At only $8.33 it’s the most budget friendly basketball hoop on the list.
Waterproof mini bluetooth speaker – Price Point = $15 – $50
But my kids/niece/nephew/grandchild already has a bluetooth speaker. Yea so do my kids but, the mini waterproof speakers are great for a few reasons but I highly recommend getting one with a clip rather than a string.
My one son got one when he was around 13 or 14 years old. He would clip it to his backpack to take with him while riding his bike so he could listen to music. He’d take it to the basketball court or volleyball courts when hanging with his friends. He used it in the shower. He took it to the pool. And it’s all good because it’s waterproof, travel-friendly, and reasonably priced.
In fact, my husband liked the one my son had so I got him one for Christmas a few years ago. He likes to use it in the shower or when we go to the beach.
Downfall is the teen your gifting it to would need to have a smartphone to get the most use out of it. It can be used with a laptop, tablet or other bluetooth device but for grab and go purposes, a smartphone is best.
Amazon has a big selection. You can find them priced anywhere from $12 – $75. Some examples I’d consider buying my own kids would be:
I saw this as part of a virtual holiday toy expo a couple months ago. I knew I had to get one for my 12 year old. This is great for any kids who is either: Into video games, loves creating, wants to be a game designer someday, or loves their tech.
Pixicade allows your pre-teen/teen to create their own video game of sorts. You purchase a Pixicade kit. It comes with game templates, quick start guide, 2 QR codes to download the app (added value so you can buy 1 kit for two kids if you want), high quality markers, stickers.
There are two different kits Pixicade which is $19.99. Your pre-teen or teen can create up to 1200 games. Pixicade Plus $29.99 allows them to create up to 2000 games and comes with extra stickers, more game templates, and an extra set of markers.
Interesting story, it was created by a husband and wife team. The wife is an educator, illustrator and art teacher. The husband is a software engineer. They wanted to make it fun and educational. Encourage kids creative thinking and problem solving skills.
The kid you’re gifting it to does need access to a smart phone or tablet though to be able to play.
Pixicade website (They currently have a deal where if you buy one you can get 25% off additionals. If you’re only planning on buying one use code: pixicadeholiday to save 10% on one)
I would also check stores locally. I actually saw some at my local Giant Eagle about a week or so ago.
Honorable Mention – Dribble Up
So I like this idea but there’s two thing holding me back from giving it an all-in recommendation.
DribbleUp has smart soccer balls, smart basketballs, and other smart active devices. I think the basketball and soccer ball are great for kids that are all in on those sports. You use an app, scan your smart ball, and run though dribbling, kicking, traps, and other drills using the app. It helps kids hone in their skills, increase stamina, improve skills, and increase confidence. They can take live or on-demand classes with trainers.
So what is holding me back? Well right now they’re on sale which puts them at $50 for the soccer ball and $60 for the basketball on sale. Not too bad on sale but if they’re not on sale they’re around $99. The second thing holding me back is that the app has a $9.99 monthly fee. I also feel it would be a more personalized gift for the teen that’s all about soccer or basketball depending on which one you choose.
Here’s a DribbleUp Youtube video on the smart basketball to get an idea what it does
This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from some links in this post from sales made through them. Prices in this post are up to date as of the time of this post. Other stores may have certain items but I only included links in which they were in stock at the time of this post.
I wanted to highlight a small business subscription box for my post. Our new favorite subscription box has been Gramma in a Box . I encourage you to check their site out to read about how it got started. Cute little story.
Each month a box is sent to your house with a theme for the month. When we received the August box it was beach themed. In October it was Halloween themed.
Each box comes with everything you need to create two different treats each month. Each box has enough supplies to create up to 20 cookie and candy treats.
November’s box is, of course, Thanksgiving themed.
This box has been something my kids look forward to doing now. It’s so nice for me because I don’t have to buy supplies, I don’t even have to bake. Once in a while I have to melt chocolate for something but that’s about it. I just set the kids up and they get to it. I have a 12 year old and 8 year old that loves to do this. The cookie projects could easily be done by younger kids too.
Check out my instagram or TikTok for some videos I created for Gramma in a Box too!
This was my 2 youngest kids making the clam treats from the August box. They were so engaged with it. I love seeing them use their creativity. It doesn’t hurt that we also get to taste their artwork when we’re done too.
I received notification that our November Gramma in a Box shipped already. I told my daughter and she said “We get to do another one?! I love those boxes!”
I can’t wait to see what edible works of art my kids will create with the November box. Secretly I’m also looking forward to the December box. The projects have all been so fun, easy, and adorable.
Things to be aware of
Boxes start shipping by the 8th of each month so get your orders in early. They are a small business so they only make so many boxes, get them shipped, then start getting ready for the next box. It’s best to get your orders in early. They are usually gone by or before the 8th of each month.
I had the absolute pleasure of attending The Toy Insiders Virtual Day of Play for Holiday Toys. The one thing that was mentioned in the opening is that the toy industry is facing many of the issues that a lot of other industries are this year. That includes: delayed ship times, labor shortages, difficulty getting certain materials, etc. So the message this year is to buy early and buy “the” toy item your child wants when you see it. (If you are able to of course)
One of the items expected to be a hot holiday toy this year is Magic Mixies from Moose Toys.
During the Day of Play virtual event I showed the how-to video to my daughter and she was mesmerized. I posted a little info about it on my private facebook page and several of my friends and neighbors were telling me this is already on their kids’ wish lists.
What Is It?
It’s an interactive toy. You’ll receive a cauldron, wand, and ingredients to create a Mixie creature (included).
The short version: A magic cauldron that lights up, bubbles, and more. Your child adds all the ingredients and uses their magic wand to stir and tap the pot. Once all ingredients are added and all steps are complete, watch as the cauldron mists an reveals their Mixie creature.
The Mixie itself also interacts with your child and their wand. They can even do assist with the cauldron and spell book. Your child’s Mixie has 50+ sounds and reactions!
My favorite part? This isn’t a one and done thing. You can recreate the magic of revealing the Mixie over and over again.
I love that it has so much entertainment value and quite simply is adorable.
When and Where Can I Get It?
Depending on the site Magic Mixies will be released October 3 with Amazon listing October 1 for ship dates on pre-orders. Here’s some places and links you can find Magic Mixies.
You can check out the Magic the exact Magic Mixies video I saw right here:
I have more Hot Holiday Toy info coming up so be sure to subscribe to my emails, rss, and follow on social media!
This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my links.
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