William turned 10 recently, and he had his first Big Friend Party (that is, the party was big: his friends are all standard-issue sizes), and he got a lot of presents he liked. This is the sort of thing that seems like it would make a good resource, since it seems like I am constantly feeling desperate to think of a good gift idea for a child I don’t know—especially when MY child, who is allegedly a friend of the birthday child, shrugs when asked what the birthday child might like.
Toysmith Crystal Mining Kit (photo from Amazon.com). This was the biggest hit, I’d say. It was a block of plaster with crystals hidden inside, and Will spent several intense sessions working on chipping them out. It was a bit messy, but cleaned up easily. And there were more crystals in his chunk of plaster than were advertised on the box, which was pleasing. And now Will’s older brother is saving his allowance to buy his own kit, and Will’s younger sister has been saying she hopes she gets it for HER birthday. It’s under $10, so I’m also buying one for the gift shelf for future birthday parties my kids attend.
Klutz Create Anything With Clay kit (photo from Amazon.com). This picture doesn’t show that the book (1) is spiral-bound, and (2) comes with 8 chunks of Sculpey. Those are pretty major selling points, especially since Sculpey is so expensive: I can’t remember what I’ve paid for it, but my guess is that after subtracting the price of buying that Sculpey separately, the book hardly costs anything. Will was a little cheesed that the brown that came with the kit was a different shade than the brown shown in the book.
Painting on Rocks for Kids kit (photo from Amazon.com). I can’t tell if the product I’m linking to is the same as William’s: a customer has added photos of the rest of the kit William received, which includes paints and brushes and rocks and a carrying case in addition to the book, but the product description doesn’t include those items so….? I guess I’d write to Amazon before buying. Or, there’s also a Klutz version.
4M Brush Robot kit (photo from Amazon.com). Everyone in our family thought this guy was SUPER CUTE. The kit also requires two AAA batteries and a small Philips screwdriver, so I would tape the batteries to the box if I were giving it as a gift—I guess I wouldn’t go so far as to buy a screwdriver. Reviews are mixed: apparently there is some problem with quality control and making sure everything is in the box. Also, as people mention, the robot is small—perhaps smaller than you’d expect. For scale, the brush is a little larger than a fingernail brush.
Scientific Explorer Magic Science kit (photo from Amazon.com). This is one of the first things Will opened. It’s a nice blend of chemistry and magic stuff. As with the robot, above, the reviews indicate that there are some problems with making sure everything is in the box—but everything was in ours.