Every October I think that I should plan ahead for
what the kiddos might want for the holidays, and every November I
panic because I have not gotten much farther in my plans in one
Buying gifts for children, either yours or someone else's, for
the holidays is an immense task. Big gifts may be reserved for
relatives, Hanukkah lasts EIGHT ridiculous nights and therefore
requires lots of presents, and on many occasions creativity is
trumped by convenience. Case in point, the $35 plastic aircraft
carrier I found in a toy catalog and got for my plane-loving
2-year-old that looked great in the glossy and crummy in
Because this column is about loving living in Chicago with
kids, I called upon a few experts to help come up with the best
Katherine McHenry is the owner of the venerable Chicago
Blocks Toys, with two locations in Lakeview and Wicker Park.
She knows kids' toys like no other and turned me onto a couple
amazing gift ideas with local flair.
Art kits from local women-owned company, Kidzaw, really caught my eye.
They help youngsters paint like the old masters Van Gogh, Matisse
and Monet through a variety of tools and easy-to-use techniques.
It's an interesting take on the typical kiddie art set. Plus, kids
can see the artists' work in real life downtown when they're done
with their own masterpiece.
McHenry also likes Magna-Tiles, created by
Valtech, located in Midlothian. I'm a big fan of those little
Ann Kienzle, of Play
in Logan Square, offered a few ideas, too. For the kid with a
humor, she suggests a hilarious plush toy called Shawnimals
Moustachio-it's a plush toy shaped like a mustache with a mustache.
It doesn't get sillier than that! (And they're handmade in Logan
Kienzle also recommends Doodle Chicago, a big ol' doodle
pad of our great city. I can't think of a better way to spend the
The author will be at Play Nov. 10.
Happy holiday shopping!
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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