Gifts for every member of the family: Best of 2017

Welcome to the Joy Makin’ Mamas 2017 Holiday Gift Guide! I’ve compiled my favorite gift recommendations for every member of the family. Skip to the best gifts for: 

Preschoolers | Tweens & Teens | Active Teens & Adults | Kids who like STEAM | Cooks

Best gifts for preschoolers

spanish board books holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasBilingual board books

Outside Todo el Dia and Vamos, Body are cute, informative, and a great gift for bilingual toddlers and preschoolers. They are also perfect for children who currently speak either English or Spanish to expose them to a second language. simple phrases are paired with a mix of classical artworks, photographs, and illustrations.

ladybug magazine holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasLadybug Magazine

This periodical is perfect for both pre-readers and the adults who are tired of reading “Have you seen my cat?” over and over again. Get new stories and serial fiction in your mailbox every month.  Puzzles, comics, and longer form stories are a mix of new characters and serialized features that carry over from month to month. Peg + cat was a favorite with my eldest, and I loved the little cartoon insects who explained the harder words and concepts in the margins.

Koala Crate

I am basing this recommendation on our experience with another Kiwi Co product, the Tinker Crate. These high quality, hands on activities will bring a new creative challenge to your 3-4 year old every month.

Best STEAM gifts

space racers 2017 holiday gift guide Joy Makin' MamasSpace Racers Make Your Own Paper Rockets

This box set includes punch-out, build your own paper rockets and also a great deal of information about space travel and rocket design. It’s beautiful, well designed, and informative. Please note: The paper the pieces are printed on is standard weight paper, not cardstock or craft paper weight. Kids with excellent fine motor skills will have no problem building these rockets themselves, but younger kids or kids who have fine motor delays may find this activity frustrating.

space travel dice 2017 holiday gift guide Joy Makin' MamasSpace Travel Dice

This story telling game is a perfect family activity. This open ended, creative activity scales up or down to your kid’s ability level and is non-competitive. The activity incorporates language arts and science together. There’s something for everyone, and everyone wins!

junior explorer kit 2017 holiday gift guide6-in-1 Outdoor Exploration Kit for Young Kids

Encourage a spirit of adventure with these outdoor tools! They come complete with their own water-resistant carry bag, great for going “on an explore.” These items are made from high-quality plastic and I’m expecting them to hold up well to my very adventurous duo. They do not exactly treat things carefully, but these are up to the challenge.

popular science holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasPopular Science 

Popular science will introduce your kiddo not only to interesting new scientific knowledge,  but also how scientific discoveries are made. Every member of the family can enjoy reading (or having read to them) these articles that are written for laypeople. These are great dinner conversation topics!

Little Passports ReviewLittle Passports Subscription Box

It may not be possible to give your kids international travel all the time, but you CAN give them more world knowledge through hands on activities. This fun subscription full of hands-on activities will bring the world to your door once a month.

Monarch LIfe Cycle Toob Holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin MamasMonarch Butterfly Life Cycle Set

This cute little set includes each of the stages of monarch butterfly development. Add a few library books and you have an entire hands-on science lesson that is just right. Your little one will enjoy picking these up and practicing their caterpillar related vocabulary over and over.

Space Scouts Joy Makin' MamasSpace Scouts

International travel not enough for you? Bring outer space home with this subscription box. Chock full of puzzles, story telling, and toys that inspire creative play, this box will take your kiddo to the moon and beyond.

tinker crate build test and review joy makin mamasTinker Crate Subscription Box

If you have a creative kid who loves knowing how things word, this subscription box for kids ages 9-16 is just the ticket. A different engineering activity will come right to your door, monthly. You can select the length of your subscription, or give a gift certificate!

Best gifts for Tweens & Teens

ghost busters graphic novel series review tween and YA reads

Ghostbusters graphic novels series

I’ve put this on the “for tweens” list but any Ghostbusters’ fan would enjoy this series. My favorite thing about it was getting to enjoy it with my son and NOT cringing over the portrayal or treatment of women. The family that geeks together sticks together, so put these under the tree and plan to borrow them after the holiday.

cookie cutters and sled runners holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasCookie Cutters & Sled Runners

Every tween and teen has had times when they weren’t sure how to balance what they want with the right thing to do. Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella is about exactly that problem, as well as navigating being a teenager with a mental illness, and the rewards of trying new things.

Cloud Speech Bubble Dry Erase Board 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Joy Makin MamasCloud Speech Bubble Dry Erase Board

This light up speech bubble can be plugged into a USB outlet or run on AA batteries, and has hanger holes on the back. Perfect for a tween or teen’s room or door, the included stencils and dry erase markers make self-expression easy and fun. I have been using ours for reminders from me, but it’s only a matter of time before the dudes have taken it over entirely.

Best active gifts

trail blaze slackline 2017 gift guide Joy Makin' MamasSlackline Kit

I thought I bought this for my children and it turned out to be for me. The level of fun to be had with this thing is indescribable, and it’s also a really great way to work your balance and core. Share it with your kids and you can also practice turn taking, problem solving, and good sportsmanship. And you’ll be working all the muscles that will keep you from breaking a hip some day. This kit includes the training line and tree protectors! It’s also a great party activity.

mio link holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' Mamasmio LINK heart rate monitor

I was dubious about the whole idea of heart rate training, until I snagged one of these on sale. The LED changes color as your heart rate moves up or down through several zones. You can use the pre-sets or set your own, and never wonder if you are going too hard for your training goals again. This is sure to please any data-loving athlete on your list.

Road ID Bracelet holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasRoad ID Bracelet

Every person who runs, hikes, or otherwise takes their fitness on the road has heard of someone who had a sudden medical emergency, got hit by a cyclist, or otherwise had an emergency. Road ID is the industry leader for portable, weatherproof emergency contact info. Give your favorite athlete a RoadID band or gift certificate and peace of mind is a free bonus.

phone pouch holiday gift guide Joy Makin MamasWaterproof Phone pouch

This pouch floats when properly sealed, and is the cure if you are the kind of person who can’t be trusted not to drop a phone into the pool. (I might be exactly this person.) I have been using one for years, both before and after the expensive, so-called “waterproof” case I got as a gift failed and destroyed my phone, and this inexpensive, low tech item has never let me down.

yoga on the go holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasYoga on the Go

This mindfulness journal is sized for portability. The charming illustrations and calming color palette will help you find your inner namaste even if you are trapped in the tedium of a waiting room. The activities are approachable enough to share with a tween or teen, so it’s a double win in my opinion.

ceenwes wireless headphones holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasNoise Canceling Bluetooth Earbuds

Have you ever had your earbuds in when you dropped your device? Just me? Well it’s no fun. These wireless earbuds allow your device to stay in your pocket or bag, where it belongs, and give you great sound quality. No matter how hard you go on your workout, your phone will stay safe.

quick strength for runners holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin MamasQuick Strength for Runners

Get a group of runners together and bring up the subject of cross training, and a majority of them will admit they neglect it. Quick Strength for runners focuses on building essential muscle groups in short, quick workouts that don’t take up time that most runners feel is better spent on the road.

Best gifts for Cooks

poultry shears holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin MamasPoultry Shears

This kitchen essential may not be newfangled or have any buttons, but every cook needs reliable, workhorse tools. This pair is sturdy, attractive, and has a built-in church key. Combo tools like this not only reduce clutter in the kitchen, they are also handy when you do large-scale meal prepping, because fewer tools to misplace means you can work more efficiently.

coffee press holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin MamasCoffee & Loose Tea Maker

This is another low-tech kitchen tool that is easy to use, easy to clean, and doesn’t take up much space. (Not all of us are blessed with infinite kitchen storage or counter room!) Perfect for those days when you don’t need to brew a full put but just don’t have time to stop for takeout coffee. Plus, watching the coffee come up through the screen when you press the plunger is oddly satisfying!

Instant Pot 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Joy Makin' MamasInstant Pot

This year’s hottest cooking appliance is the Instant Pot. The old fashioned pressure cooker has been reinvented for modern life and the Instant Pot can put dinner on the table very quickly- a boon for busy families!

Kitchenaid Mixer holiday gift guide 2017 Joy Makin' MamasKitchenaid Mixer

This classic appliance is such a workhorse that any cook would be happy to receive one. I couldn’t love mine more, and the number of accessories available means you can use it for pretty much any kitchen task from kneading bread dough to making your own sausage. They come in lots of great colors, too!

My first order from Winc Wine ClubWinc Wine membership

This very accessible wine club offers gift certificates. Your favorite cook will enjoy getting a selection of wines tailored to his or her tastes, with tasting notes and more included in the shipment.

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About Meghan G

I like blues, punk, and crime drama. I love having boys, keeping active, and the outdoors. I'm a cat person, but I think dogs should have equal opportunities.

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