Gift Guide: for the boy (ages 5-7)

I am not a boy expert, so for this post, I asked a friend to suggest some gifts for boys of ages 5-7. Thank you, friend! :) I think it’s interesting how the girl and boy lists are pretty similar. Kids from ages 5-7 seem to enjoy building things, reading books that involve imagination or interesting facts, and they like to engage in cognitive activities/games.

  1. LEGOs. As my friend states, “You can’t ever go wrong with LEGOs.” It’s no surprise because each set is made with such detail and it is satisfying to build as pieces snap into place like a 3D puzzle. And if that’s not satisfying, it’s only because it leaves you hungry to build more. [Star Wars: Anekin’s Jedi Interceptor, Batman: Pursuit of Joker]
  2. Hands-on, sensory/Stem activities. Kids at ages 5-7 are more creative than their younger 3-4 year old selves and can build animals, castles, and entire towns without instructions or guides. They begin to tell stories and use what they build to play with their other toys. It’s fun to watch and listen to what they come up with. *Note: Kinetic sand can get messy very fast. I recommend a large container in which to hold the sand and advise having the child play with it outdoors. [Kinetic sand, Magna-Tiles, brainflakes]
  3. Games. Kids are able to understand rules, follow rules, and play competitively as they learn to strategize and navigate moves. They also learn to lose and not take losses personally–not to make the same mistakes and understand why certain moves are not advantageous. Interactive games are fun and they love it when parents play with them. [Ticket to Ride, Battleship, Spot it!, SushiGo!, Bananagrams]
  4. Bows and arrows. This was a surprise and very original. Don’t worry; these arrows have rubber tips so they will not pierce through people/animals. According to my friend, her boys have been loving the Green Ember books and the latest one was about archery. I think it’s a great gift idea and I’m sure the boys will love it. They can later read other adventure books involving archery, like Robin Hood or The Hobbit, and imagine themselves as characters in the stories. [2-pack handmade bow and arrow set]
  5. Weaving kit. Another surprise! I don’t know why it surprised me to learn that boys could also enjoy crafty activities, when of course! Most kids enjoy making crafts. Funny and true story: My husband said he went through a crocheting phase when he was a kid. Yes, crochet–as in, looping yarn with a small hooked needle to make scarves, doilies, hats, etc. As mentioned in the gift guide for a man, my husband is the most barbaric man I know, and to imagine such a wild child sitting down, crocheting… haha, what! That simply validates how boys, too, can enjoy what would usually be perceived as girly activities. Such crafts promote concentration, patience, and creativity. Why not encourage boys to learn to sit still and concentrate without the use of video games. With the weaving kit, kids can make coasters, dust wipes, quilts, or weave different patterns just for fun. [Ultimate Weaving Looms & Loops]
  6. Chapter books or Illustrated informational texts. As mentioned above, the Green Ember series are a hit with kids this age. I was also recommended this series by another friend and she said the library provides free audiobooks to download (according to the library’s digital lending period). I downloaded the first book onto my phone and my daughter and I listened to it in the car as we travelled. We don’t go out so much, so I haven’t played it for her as regularly, but I also borrowed the book onto my Kindle and have been reading it with her throughout the week. Another recommended author was Julia Rothman. She writes and illustrates informational texts and there is so much to learn for curious minds. [Green Ember series, Last Archer: Green Ember Story, Julia Rothman Collection]

Thank you to my friend who recommended the items. I may have bought my daughter some of these gifts as well. ;)

Practical Gift Guide: for the Man

I was doing some Christmas shopping for family members this week, because apparently “Black Friday” started already and that’s when I like to get all my shopping done, so I thought I’d post something fun. These gift ideas are mostly tried-and-true, things we own or have thought useful. Some items are also included thinking of our parents’ generation–what I’d give my dad or his generation.

  1. Aftershave balm or lotion. If your guy is scruffy like my husband and shaves pretty often, he’ll appreciate a facial balm or lotion. It’s one of those things that guys don’t buy for themselves. My husband doesn’t have skincare products other than the Cetaphil lotion he uses for everything, and though it has helped him thus far, he has often come out of the bathroom after his weekly shave saying that his face hurt. This is a pain I will never understand, and it made me wonder why, after all these years of shaving, he has not bought himself an aftershave balm/lotion. That’ll be my gift to him this year. If your man doesn’t have or has very little facial hair, maybe he’d appreciate general skincare products. I don’t think many men know that there are products to help remove blackheads, prevent wrinkles, and basically clean your face. ;) [Nivea, Jack Black Cooling Gel, Art of Shaving unscented balm] [Clinique skincare set, Kiehl’s Ultimate Age Fighter]
  2. Wireless earbuds. Game-changer! I received mine a couple years ago, but if any adult in your life does not have one (and he/she uses the computer/phone regularly), I think this is a must. The more recent ones have longer battery life, better fit, etc. [Apple Airpods Pro, Bose Sport Earbuds]
  3. Sleek shirts and/or coat. After my husband and I got engaged, I saw to it that he rid of all his skater shirts. He also gradually faded out his flannel/plaid shirt phase. That’s the most change that has occurred in his wardrobe within the past ten years, but lately I’ve been noticing a transition into an I-don’t-care phase. He has embraced color and comfort, like turquoise t-shirts and elastic waistband shorts with fisherman hats. Maybe there’s a time and place for those things, maybe, and maybe especially this year because of covid, but I decided to upgrade his appearance. He is not a bad looking man, but somehow he has become un-handsome. haha. And to that note, I’d like to recommend these collarless shirts. I bought a white one for my husband and it looks good on him. I think they’re very sleek and modern, clean and simple, and they upgrade a look without seeming like he’s trying. Also, a nice (tailored/fitted) coat really does make a man look elevated and classy. Simple changes/swaps make all the difference. [Everlane linen shirt, Gap Oxford Band-Collar shirt]
  4. Pocket tools. My husband recently bought two of these things. Why? I will never understand, but it seems like it’s a guy thing. [8-1 Emergency Auto Tool, Wingman (Leatherman) Multi-Tool]
  5. Slippers. I’m sure the one he’s wearing right now is worn-in and comfortable, but it may be time to wash it or buy a new one. My husband also attests to the comfort and convenience of Crocs, but I won’t go that far. [Ugg Leisure Scuff Slippers, Ugg Ascot Slippers]
  6. Charging station. There are countless options nowadays: compact, wooden, modern, #/types of devices, etc. and you can find one that caters to what he owns. For example, my husband owns Samsung products, but he doesn’t use his smart watch anymore, so he may only need a charging station for his phone and earbuds. [Wood Valet charging station, Elago charging hub, JoyGeek 3-in-1 charging station]
  7. Blue light filter glasses. I bought myself and my daughter a pair this fall, but I didn’t buy one for my husband thinking that he’d think they were a gimmick, but when we received ours in the mail, he asked, “Where’s mine?” Whoops! [November Matte black with EBDBlue plus glasses]
  8. Snack subscription. This is for the guy who has it all and likes to try new things (and doesn’t mind monthly packages). Is there a guy like that? I don’t know. Maybe this is a bad idea; but hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time of making this guide. There are so many types of monthly subscription boxes, I’m sure you can find one to his liking/preference (meats, health-conscious, cheese, Japanese snacks, pickles, wine, etc.). [SnackCrate, Universal Yums, FitSnack, Mouth PickleBox, Cellar’s Wine Club, Try the World, GoldBelly BBQ]
  9. Heatonist Hot Sauce. If your man ever watched “First We Feast” on YouTube where celebrities are interviewed while eating spicy wings, then he might be interested in tasting those sauces. I bought a 3-pack last year for my husband and he enjoyed the unexpected gift. He did not enjoy tasting the “XXX” (the last dab) sauce, but the other two classic sauces have been to his liking. Even I, who cannot tolerate spicy foods, liked the flavors of the classic two. [Heatonist Hot Sauces]
  10. Ergonomic desk chair. If the chair he sits on is over 10 years old, it is time for an upgrade. In our household, my husband has acquired the nickname Wreck-it-Daddy. He is known within the family for breaking everything not out of clumsiness, but by sheer force and bestial conduct. He manages to break things that seem unbreakable, e.g., a back support mesh. This year, his desk chair has disintegrated. How is that possible, you ask? I have no idea; but he has managed to leave remnants of its pleather cover all over the floor on which he walks. If one can afford the luxury of a Herman Miller chair, then that would be a great gift. But for us middle class folks, affordable ones will suffice because I don’t know if even a Herman Miller can withstand my husband’s savagery. [Herman Miller Aeron chair, Ticova Ergonomic Office Chair]

Next up: Gift Guide: For the Lady