It’s that time of year to shop for the littlest humans on your list and I’ve rounded up my favorite gifts this year! My goal for 2018 is to share gifts that can engage the whole family, rather than gifting just toys (even though, you bet toys are still super cool for 2018 and JZ will be getting a few!) Enjoy these interactive gift ideas the entire family can enjoy way beyond the holidays and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for 12 Days of Giveaways featuring a few of my favorite items from this list!
Gammage Show Tickets
WICKED, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin-smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” From the first electrifying note to the final breathtaking moment, WICKED-the untold true story of the Witches of Oz-transfixes audiences with its wildly inventive story that USA Today cheers is “a complete triumph! An original musical that will make you laugh, cry, and think.” WICKED will be at Gammage April 2- May 5, 2019. For WICKED info and tickets click HERE
Discover a whole new world at Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical.
From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of ALADDIN, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” ALADDIN features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer). Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!),this “Fabulous” and “Extravagant” (The New YorkTimes) new musical boasts an incomparable design team, with sets, costumes and lighting. Running at Gammage from Jan. 31-Feb. 17, 2019 you can get tickets by clicking HERE
Green Kids Crafts
Green Kid Crafts delights over ten thousand kids across North America each month with fun, creative and eco-friendly craft and STEAM activities delivered right to their door. Every month’s Discovery Box is packed with 4-8 unique and engaging activity kits designed to foster a child’s creativity and confidence. Developed for kids ages 2-10, each month brings a new theme; past themes have included Mad Scientist, Nocturnal Animals, Volcanoes, Detective Science, and Outer Space. JZ LOVED learning all about the rainforest in his box and I’m not surprised that Green Kid Crafts has won a variety of awards including Red Tricycle’s Award for Most Awesome Subscription Service. Subscriptions start at $17.95 / month and make a great gift idea to give or receive! www.greenkidcrafts.com
PJ Masks Live
If your kids are familiar with the phrase “INTO THE NIGHT TO SAVE THE DAY!” then tickets to PJ Masks SAVE THE DAY LIVE is the perfect gift! On February 24, 2019 PJ MASKS LIVE is coming to Phoenix with an all new super-heroic, live musical show, PJ MASKS LIVE! SAVE THE DAY, featuring the heroic trio from your favorite series: The PJ MASKS! Watch Catboy, Owlette and Gekko along with their new friend PJ Robot, as they try to save the day from the sneaky villains – Romeo, Night Ninja and Luna Girl! Fluttering Feathers! Leaping Lizards! What a CAT-tastrophe!
Leaping, flipping and climbing – live on stage. I don’t know about your kids, but JZ LOVES to see the characters he frequently watches on TV come to life through live performances- and hey, it’s never too soon to start getting children involved with performing arts right?! The show features your favorite music and brand new songs you’ve never heard before so don’t sleep through it – watch the PJ Masks save the day, live on stage! Info and tickets available HERE or http://pjmaskslive.com/
Pangea Land of the Dinosaurs
This may be the coolest thing over and how luck are we as AZ residents and visitor to have it in our back yard? Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs is an indoor interactive exhibit and educational center located at OdySea in the Desert. Complete with more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that roam through exhibits and true-to-life recreations of prehistoric habitats, Pangaea is designed to transport guests back to the age of the dinosaurs. Guests can enjoy family-friendly activities, educational explorations, thrilling rides, high quality dining and more. Pangaea offers immersive activities that stimulate children’s imaginations and help them learn about the prehistoric world. Guests can partake in fossil excavations to dig for dinosaur bones and prehistoric fossils and tour guides are on-hand to provide guests with details and information about the dinosaurs they once belonged to. Children can also express their inner artist at the etching stations, where they create realistic drawings of several species of dinosaurs. Guests can also enjoy both stationary and roaming dinosaur rides, which allow them to experience our lifelike habitats from a riveting perspective.Other attractions include dinosaur face painting and sifting, which affords children the opportunity to pan for dinosaur fossils.
Just in time for the holidays, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs for the first time ever will be showcasing a themed Christmas showcase by transforming their indoor dinosaur exhibit into a Jurassic Winter Wonderland. This prehistoric holiday event will run throughout the holiday season (until Jan. 6th) and will feature thousands of multicolored lights, a real snow entrance, kids caroling classes, writing letters to Santa, snowman building contests with prizes on the weekends and meet & greets with the first ever Dino “Santa Claws” and his companion Rudolph “The Red Nose” Raptor.
For more info click HERE
Paw Patrol Live
X barks the spot in the new tour PAW Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first! The pups will need all paws on deck for this pirate adventure, including some help from the newest pup … Tracker! The show is coming to AZ in March at Comerica Theater and VIP packages are available for the biggest fans of Ryder, Rubble, and Chase! Bring the whole family and join the adventure- you have four chances to catch the action-packed musical in two days, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31. Tickets for all four performances start at $20 at comericatheatre.com, the Comerica box office and 602-379-2888.
It’s never too early to start coding with Botley, the coding robot who teaches the basics of coding through active play, completely screen free- no phone or tablet required (how rare and amazing is that?!) The easy-to-use remote programmer transmits your commands and can detect objects and be programmed to go around objects with if/then logic. He can also follow looping commands, take on obstacle courses, follow black lines and has hidden features to unlock!un! Children as young as 5 can learn to code with Botley, and with his advanced features, he’ll grow with them for many play filled years to come. Botley is ready to use right out of the box – he’ll have kids coding in minutes. If you kids are anything like JZ and would love to spend hours in front of a TV or iPad- Botley is 100% screen free and includes a 77-piece activity set – the only robot to offer that- pretty cool right?! Your child will get to learn early STEM skills while promoting critical thinking and problem solving skills. Find Botley ($79) on Amazon or by clicking HERE
Another super cool activity from Learning Resources is the Beaker Creatures science lab! The liquid reactor kit provide all the materials and liquids required to extract the Beaker Creatures from the mysterious Reactor Pods. After placing Reactor Pods within the Super Lab’s center chamber, kids send water whirling through the tubes with the help of two Hydroplungers, filling the chamber and triggering the amazing reaction. Once the reaction ends, kids can extract their Beaker Creatures collectibles and start classifying! The working lab set also comes with the equipment and instructions needed to perform amazing real-world science experiments inspired by the creatures and their home planets. How cute is the lab coat and goggles that is available too?! Perfect for ages 5+ this is a great way to introduce science at home in a fun and educational way. Beaker Creatures ($24.99) is available on Amazon or by clicking HERE
I think it always shocks people when they find out that we have an aquarium in Arizona- and even more surprising is that OdySea Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Southwest where over 30,000 animals (of 500+ species) call home. If you haven’t visited yet, I highly encourage you to-regardless if you have kids or not. The facility offers an entertaining, interactive, and educational experience for guests of all ages with highly engaging presentations of aquatic life with more than 50 exhibits. My favorite stops along the aquarium include the Otters, Penguin encounter, and Odysea Voyager- a sit down revolving theater of sorts that gives a close-up glimpse into the underwater world featuring sharks, sea lions, and giant sea turtles! Right now, through May 2019 National Geographic is presenting an exhibit called Monsterfish and it is unbelievable! This fascinating exhibition is a trip around the world with Nat Geo Explorer, Zeb Hogan, in search of bizarre and extraordinary species of freshwater fish. Experience stunning life-size sculptures, video installations, and evocative illustrations as you explore the unique biology and behaviors of these giant freshwater fish. Tickets to Odysea Aquarium are the perfect gift for the inquisitive child (or adult!) on your nice list this year. www.odyseaaquarium.com
Daniel Tiger LIVE
The grr-ific musical for little tigers and grown-ups alike is coming to Comerica Theater! The hugely popular Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE!, based on the #1 PBS KIDS TV series, has delighted live audiences on stages across the country. Now, in its fourth year of touring, your favorite characters are hopping back on board Trolley and coming to Phoenix with DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD LIVE: KING FOR A DAY! Daniel and all of his friends invite you to an adventure in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe where Daniel learns just what it takes to be King. The beloved characters come alive on stage to captivate you with songs to sing along to, magical moments, and SURPRISE guests along the way! It’s an event filled with tigertastic fun, teaching the valuable lessons of kindness, helping others, and being a friend. Don’t miss Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE: King for a Day… a royally great time on March 13th! Tickets and additional information is available by clicking HERE
AZ on the Rocks
Whether you are an expert climber or have never been harnessed in and attempted to summit a climbing wall, the AZ On The Rocks staff is dedicated to easing you through your climbing experience. Adults and kids alike can enjoy the gym and if you are looking to get your child involved in a great sport, then climbing might be the perfect fit. Located in north Scottsdale just off the 101 and Bell-AZ on the Rocks offers more than just rock climbing including yoga, ninja training, and a calendar packed full of special events. The family friendly rock and fitness gym offers approximately 14,000 + square feet of climbing terrain and family memberships are available year-round. For a unique gift, consider a gift certificate to AZ on the Rocks for the little thrill seeker in your life! Visit AZ On The Rocks website to learn more about all the classes and climbing fun or to purchase a gift certificate HERE
I can’t say enough amazing things about Kiwi Co. Although I am including this in my gift guide, I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to introduce JZ to everything inside these amazing subscription boxes. First, let me tell you a little bit about how Kiwi Co. works- The educators/makers/engineers/scientists make STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) accessible, engaging, and fun for kids ages 0-16+. The goal is to inspire kids to see themselves as scientists, artists, and makers and it’s obvious they’re constantly brainstorming and thinking up ideas for the coolest things kids can build and learn about.
Boxes are based on your child’s age and arrive with materials for 2-3 activities, a parent’s guide, instructions, and a kid friendly magazine. Everything in the boxes has been kid tested and it shows. JZ loved the Rainbow themed box where he made his own cloud pillow and rainbow tote bag using a unique staining technique AND he played for hours (literally!) with the transportation themed box where he made a truck ramp, construction zone, and tire tracks with water on a reusable surface that was mess free (woot woot!)
What I love most about Kiwi Co. is their ability to deliver fun and really cool projects for kids that are educational and get their brains firing. Plus, it’s so convenient that the boxes arrive at your door each month- I mean, c’mon have you ever tried to take a preschooler to Hobby Lobby to shop for the necessary items needed to complete a project? It’s nearly impossible and almost always results in either a tantrum or costing WAY more than you intended to spend. Who can relate? Anyway- For less than $20/month, I think Kiwi Co. is an absolute must try this season and beyond the holidays.
Here is the BEST part! Try a month of Kiwi Co. for FREE (just pay the $4.95 shipping) by clicking HERE
Brick Loot is a box subscription company for LEGO and Brick fanatics! Subscribers receive a monthly box filled with unique, custom and never-before-seen items that work with LEGO bricks and custom building. Every Brick Loot box is filled with LEGO and brick related items and I love that the brick loot gurus search high and low for the newest, coolest and most outrageous items you will not find at your local toy store! Each box contains 4-8 items and all items are handpicked by the Brick Loot LEGO loving team and sure to leave your kiddo with a BIG smile. Boxes are priced around $25/box depending on which subscription your choose and make a great idea for birthdays, holidays, and Father’s Day! To get your loot click HERE
Kid to Kid
If you have a kid you most likely already know about Kid to Kid but if you don’t…you need to! It’s the best resource to clean out your kids closet, make some cash, and find treasures at a fraction of the cost you’d typically pay at a retail store! Personally, I visit Kid to Kid on a monthly basis because let’s face it- JZ outgrows clothes daily- or at least it seems that way. Selling to Kid to Kid is easy, and you can get cash for clothes or any other unwanted items including toys. They take the best of all seasons and you never know what you can find there! Recently, I found 2 items that I had planned to get JZ for Christmas for less than what I would have spent on shipping just to order them!!! There are a few Kid to Kid locations throughout the valley but the Ahwatukee location is huge and has a giant selection of clothes- I’ll truly be sad when my little guy outgrows the Kid to Kid sizes because it is my go-to for all things kid! http://kidtokid.com/ahwatukee/
Eat to Explore
The eat2explore box might be secret to getting even the pickiest eater to expand their palate while learning about new countries and having fun in the kitchen. The magic of eat2explore is the wonderful family memories that you are unlocking with each box that arrives at your door. We are all busy parents trying to spend more quality time with our family….Everyone needs to eat, why not make it a fun family activity? Eat2explore was developed by a mom and the recipes are nutritious and kid friendly. In every box there are 3 recipes, spices, a shopping list, an activity sheet, pins, and a passport that goes along with the corresponding country. The first box we got was focused on the country of Morocco. Both JZ and I learned so much about the country and we enjoyed making kababs, a cauliflower/couscous stew, and savory shredded root vegetable pancakes. The spices were interesting and our whole family loved everything we made. Check it out HERE
If you’re looking for a sweet stocking stuffer but don’t want to overload your kids with sugar this holiday season, Zollipops and Zaffi Taffy are sugar free, non-GMO, gluten free, dairy-free, vegan, organic, kosher and mom approved! Known as The After You Eat Treat, enjoy one after every meal, up to three per day, for a cleaner, healthier smile. Dentists even approve these smart, yummy treat for your teeth. Born from the imagination of Kidpreneur Alina Morse, Zollipops®, Zolli® Drops, and Zaffi® Taffy are delicious organic treats supercharged with Xylitol, Erythritol, Stevia and other smile friendly natural ingredients. Available on Amazon or by clicking HERE