Christmas Cookies

26 Gift Ideas for Smart Cookies

The holidays are upon us. You probably know that toys for gifted kids are tricky.
I have some unique ideas that just may appeal to your unique child.
So, consider your child before you whip out that credit card.
One size does not fit all.
Read on.



ONE RULE TO REMEMBER: Disregard your child’s age when looking at the box.


The ages posted are for typical kids. You don’t have a typical kid. Your child might be the one who at age 5 can deduce who the murderer is in the game of Clue because he threw you false impressions along the way. Yes, mine! Think more about your child’s interests, passions, and temperament instead. You can always save that developmentally inappropriate gift for a year (or a month) down the road.



1. Ping Pong Balls-Creativity, Experiments, Imagination 
The possibilities are endless! Experiment ideas galore! Also, they’re great for shooting with a homemade weapon of some sort, can be customized with faces, jewelry, or clothes, or made into a game of their own with a pack of plastic cups. Cheap, easy, creative and imaginative.

2. Gravity Maze Physics, Logic, Kinesthetic learning, Patterns
Use pattern cards to get the ball through the stackable-changeable maze with a variety of levels of challenge. Thinkfun can do no wrong in my book.

3. Exploding Kittens Card Game- Weird humor
Like the way I added “card game”? Well, it actually is. Of course, the name caught my attention, but the description piqued my curiosity! Weird and fun. Works for me. Hint: You can thank the website THE OATMEAL for the images.

Exploding Kittens

4. Hot Glue Gun- Creativity
Yes, you read that correctly. No, I’m not talking about young kids, but I am talking about those responsible enough to handle it with adult supervision. Think about it: Crafts, projects, experiments, inventions….We all know how frustrating regular glue can be-our kids know it too. Give them a leg up, a new toy, and possibilities.

5. Garfield Books-Weird humor (sarcasm), Figurative language, Reading practice
Garfield comics are dripping with sarcasm, full of puns, satire, and other figurative language. I could never keep them in my classroom. Somehow, they always ended up missing. My kids have a full collection at home.

6. Minecraft Game Card for PC-Creativity,Coding, Mathematics, Keyboarding Skills, Spelling, Collaboration, Independence, Competition
Though your child will beg for more and talk your ear off, there’s nothing quite like Minecraft. It really is the future in so many different ways.

7. The Martian DVDSpace, Humor/Sarcasm, Inspiration
The movie is actually still in theaters, so I have no idea if it will hit the shelves by Christmas. If not, it’ll be worth saving some Christmas money for the new year. Profanity warning, but my 10 year old called it “the best movie” and for once, I agree!


8. Game Guides Technical information, Story Elements, Fun, Vocabulary
Game guides are a hidden treasure. When my boys refused to read, these filled the gaps. They devoured game guides for games they didn’t even own. They’re full of intricate language that speaks to gamers, but also chock full of above level vocabulary and technical information that supports game play with careful reading.


9. A SandboxSensory Support, Play, Independence, Logic Skills
While it might not come out during the winter, sandboxes really are a great open-ended independent learning activity. Think of all of the add-ons you can buy too. Then, visualize yourself sitting back with that iced tea while your child plays during the warm months.
PS Check Craigslist since it’s off-season. I know I’ve had one in good condition on there forever…

10. YahtzeeLogic, Pattern Recognition, Computation
I’ve noticed a trend among many of the Mensa recommended games. Many are “think-ahead” types of games where planning, strategizing, and pattern recognition come into play. Yahtzee is the cheaper version of the same type of game.

11. EquilibriumPatterns, Logic, Kinesthetic learning
It’s a fun block building activity that includes many different building challenges. It’s amazing to see how kids can discern which blocks match the shadows in the cards and make the building stand.

12. Scrabble-UpWordsLanguage, Creativity
Scrabble hasn’t changed much since the old days. It’s still a word challenge, but adding the ability to build words up on top leads to a new kind of creativity.




13. A Timer- Independence, Time Management, Experimentation, Measurement Tool
A simple timer is a measurement tool that can be used in so many different ways. Go for one of those versatile kinds like this one that counts up, down, has a stopwatch, and a clock.

14. Scribblenauts UnlimitedLanguage, Creativity, Logic
Both of my kids love this game. I love the fact that it uses lots of creativity (along with adjectives) to solve logic problems. It’s available on several different gaming platforms and the price is really reasonable!

15. The Giver DVD- Philosophy
This movie is a based on one of my all-time favorite books. It’s a thoughtful story about what happens when people are protected too much “for their own good”. It has some strong under and overtones, so watch it with your kids and talk about what they notice. Lois Lowry is the author and she wholeheartedly embraced the screen adaptation. It’s wonderful and on sale this Christmas!

16. Wreck This Journal– Creativity and Design, Independence, Writing
This journal idea is making the rounds in every store that sells books. It’s a way for kids to take a blank book and make it their own. No need to worry about staring at blank pages because it’s full of writing and designing prompts.

17. Dress Up Clothes- Creativity and Design, Performance
Halloween just wrapped up recently and who knows, maybe you can still luck out on some clearance costumes. Maybe you need to clean out your own closet or hit the Goodwill. Every performer needs several good hats, some scarves, and some crazy looking outfits.

18. Minecraft Crafting Box- Creativity and Design
Online Minecraft knows that your kids don’t live online (though they might like to), so they partnered with Lego to make a set to design the worlds offline too. Encourage your child to use his architect skills in the real world and then maybe transfer them online too.

19. Busy Beetles- Creativity, Tesselations, Patterns
Though I initially bought these to use with students during recess, it was an activity that they often gravitated towards during math centers too. They’re different designs of bugs and the trick is to fit them together- to tessellate them. It’s so easy that little kids can do it, but it’s a very soothing activity that seems to evoke identification of patterns too.

20. Calvin & Hobbes BooksCreativity, Weird humor
Calvin is one of those crazy kids that so many gifted kids know and love. He just gets it. Add another one to your library this year.

21. Perfection (and maybe Superfection-check eBay)- Geometric patterns, spatial awareness, competition
This is a competition game, but it could be played alone or with friends. Beat the clock (or not) by playing the correct geometric shapes in the correct places. (I was the neighborhood Superfection champ and loved it. I have a replacement one from the 80s these days.) perfection

Superfection Game

22. Bean Bags-Creativity, Play, Sensory, Experiments
Whether you’re talking about sitting on the huge ones that hug around you or the tiny ones that you can use in a million games (from knock over the bowling pins to the popular Toss Across game), bean bags are versatile. Make your own or grab some colorful ones from a teacher store near you.

23. 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (book) by Christine FonsecaReading, Understanding
This book is actually for kids in school, but if you’re homeschooling, don’t run away yet. It talks a lot about relationships and how gifted kids tend to view the world differently. There’s helpful advice from someone who understands gifted kids.

24. DiceCreativity, Mathematics
Though we tend to think mostly of dice involved in casinos or game pieces, they’re actually quite versatile. From practicing computation facts (also try Math Dice) to replacing lost game board pieces, they always come in handy.

25. Rush Hour by ThinkfunLogic, Kinesthetic learning
This is a game I bought back in 1997. It just won another award for it’s upgraded version. It’s a hands-on logic game where you try to unblock traffic so the cars can get out. There are several challenge level cards and it never gets old. Go check the Thinkfun website too. Tons of activities to accompany their games exist too.

26. THINKGEEK anythingHumor, Clothing, Weird Stuff
You’ve searched high and low and can’t find the “just right” gift for that ungiftable person on your list? Look here.



Why 26 gifts? I have no idea. I was shooting for 101, but wasn’t sure my word count would fit. Hope you found something good that will fit your uniquely gifted kid! Be sure to print a copy of the list and take it with you while you shop this season!

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