2013 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Gifts for helping kids be organized

Maybe it’s me, but I get as much enjoyment from buying and imagining my kids’ reactions to opening gifts as I get from witnessing the unwrapping itself. As a result, Erin assigned me the task for putting together the shopping guide for kids for this year. I’ve collected a number of gift ideas for kids of various ages and interest, from toddlers to teens. And, each of these gifts has a special organizing slant, of course.

  1. Foldie T-shirts. I am flat-out in love with these. The Foldie “educational” tee is very cute. The shirts feature adorable graphics and they have a secret. Specifically, they teach kids how to fold shirts in a very clever way. Flip it over and bring the sleeves together, and the image on the back becomes a whole new picture. Fold it again, bringing the bottom to the top, and a third image is created. It’s utterly delightful. I tried one out with my own kids and, not only did they love it, the lesson generalized to non-Foldie shirts. Perfect.
  2. The Swoop Bag. The fantastic swoop bag serves three purposes. First, it’s a play surface. When fully opened, this sturdy bag makes a great area for playing with LEGO bricks, wooden blocks, and so on. Second, it’s fantastic for storage. When playtime’s over, just zip! It’s closed. Use the built-in straps to close or hang it up. Finally, it’s super for transportation. My son has a mind-bending number of Skylanders figures which he brings to his buddy’s house. The Swoop Bag is a great way to transport them.
  3. Rainbow Loom. It’s a clever little device that lets kids make all sorts of bracelets with elastics. My kids sure love it, and that means I find tiny rubber bands all over the place. Keep them tidy with a multi-compartment container. It also helps kids more easily transport their “loom gear” to their friends’ houses.
  4. A can of chalkboard paint. Stay with me here. Last Christmas, we gave a pint of chalkboard paint to the kids, whose initial reaction was hesitant. A year later, they absolutely love it. My son is always changing the “art” on his wall, while my daughter has taken to using her wall as a calendar. She’ll note down what’s happening on a given day, like “ballet” or “play practice.” She draws goofy faces, too, but that’s the fun. Slap some on the wall, hand them a box of fresh, colorful chalk, and let them go wild without any paper mess cluttering up their spaces.
  5. Activity bags are great for older kids. Val Jacobs makes super dance bags, from multi-pocketed duffels to hanging solutions that can accommodate costumes, makeup, and more. CCM makes a very nice hockey bag that’s suitable for other sports, too. (While we’re on the subject, here’s how to keep odor out of sports equipment bags.)
  6. The chalkboard laptop. Seriously, how adorable is this? This handmade, wooden “laptop” features a chalkboard screen and keyboard, plus a slot for chalk where the trackpad is on mom and dad’s laptop. The whole thing folds up for easily for travel and storage, just like its computer counterpart.
  7. The crayon bandolier is adorable and handy. First of all, it’s super cute. And, secondly, it keeps crayons ready to go and not all over the table or floor.
  8. The Doodle Tablecloth. Since you’ve got the crayons out, break out the Doodle Tablecloth to complete the set. This lined tablecloth is machine washable and ships with a pack of eight washable markers. If you’re not willing to subject your entire tablecloth to Jr.’s artistic endeavors, consider the Doodle placemat set.

Want more gift-giving ideas? Explore Unclutterer’s full 2013 Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

14 Comments for “2013 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Gifts for helping kids be organized”

  1. posted by Verity on

    I love the chalkboard paint idea!

    I can completely see my kids getting into that!

    I could also see both my 2 year old and my 4 year old enjoying the swoop bag. Having a spot for their toys is important to them.

  2. Avatar of DavidCaolo

    posted by DavidCaolo on

    Thanks, Verity! Have fun.

  3. posted by Sarah on

    #2. The swoop bag, reminds me of the old sheet my mother had us use for our legos when we were kids (oh, the 80′s). Who knew she was before her time? For those of you who are handy with a sewing machine, this is an easy project if you want to add the ties. Or, an old sheet works pretty well too.

  4. Avatar of DavidCaolo

    posted by DavidCaolo on

    Sarah, very cool! Unfortunately, the only thing I can make with a sewing machine is a mess. :)

  5. posted by Babs on

    These are great ideas!

  6. posted by BeverlyD on

    There is a similar product called Lay N Go that comes in different sizes. I got 2 of the largest, one for Legos and one for train stuff (track, cars, bridges, you get it). My 7 year old loves them. He can open one up when he wants to play, then it takes less than a minute to clean it back up. No little pieces around to step on or lose.
    And…can anyone tell me what happens when you don’t want chalkboard paint on the wall anymore? Do you have to take it off (somehow) before painting another color or does new color go over it ok? After all, they don’t stay kids forever and I’d like to maybe sell the house one day :’)

  7. posted by Mason on

    I like the Swoop Bag and the Doodle Table Cloth.

    And you called them LEGO bricks, not “Legos”! You know your LEGO. :)

  8. posted by Pat Reble on

    Last year I gave my three grandchildren book bags for Christmas. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but they LOVED them, because they were made from recycled jeans and the girls adored them. There are lots of ways to make them – some of them are shown here:
    http://www.pinterest.com/quilt.....eans-bags/
    and I’m sure there are some on Etsy for those who don’t sew. I liked the idea of rolling recycling and a useful gift into one.

  9. posted by ROY on

    Isn’t these bags are cool?? This one would be the best for kids this Christmas.

  10. posted by WilliamB on

    How do you handle the chalk dust that (usually) results from using a chalkboard?

  11. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @WilliamB — I can’t speak for Dave, but I’m allergic to chalk and struggled with this when I first became a teacher many eons ago. (Only math teachers had smart boards back then.) Anyway, an employee at a school supply store showed me the way to a chalk dust-free existence: Liquid Chalk Markers http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

    No dust when you write and no dust when you erase (because you have to use a damp cloth). I never had an allergic reaction once I started using it and never had chalk dust in my classrooms. Plus, I like the way they write more cleanly than regular chalk. And, they don’t break on you mid-sentence.

  12. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @BeverlyD — ApartmentTherapy has your answer: http://www.apartmenttherapy.co.....oard-98053

  13. posted by Live More with Less on

    I thought this website was about uncluttering. But with the myriad of stuff that I NEED to buy to be more organised and uncluttered, this website should be called “clutterer” not “unclutterer”. Seriously, do I need to buy something to keep my phone charger cable organised???? And now this post about more toys and stuff you can buy your kids….really…more stuff. I think you need to review the original focus of your website. Is is a product review website? Or it is a website full of hints, tips and tricks on how to do more with less. Think about it.

  14. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Live More — For the past seven years, we have provided a holiday gift giving guide for our readers. It runs for two weeks and is usually six or seven posts in length. This year follows that plan and will end on November 26, as we announced in our first post of our 2013 holiday gift giving guide. The theme of the posts are aligned with our mission to help people unclutter and to be more organized. If you are going to give a gift to someone, the guide makes suggestions for items that are clutter-free, highly useful, and/or organizing focused. If you have been following along, then you are aware our first post was for Experiences, which take up no space in anyone’s home. But, sometimes, people want to give a tangible gift during this time of year, and so we are also providing ideas for physical products that align with our mission.

    Additionally, we are not a minimalist site. We are not a site that only posts about doing more with less — though we do discuss that as one of many topics we cover. We also cover organizing, time management, productivity, trends in simplification, architecture and furniture design, small living, etc. Feel welcome to read our About Us page to learn more about our philosophy and delve into the seven years of content we have provided for free to our readers.

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