The holidays are coming! I’ve been a Professional Auntie for nearly 13 years now. My niephlets range in age from 9 months to 15 years, and one of the things that has solidified my role is a promise to all of their parents to never, ever give their children anything that 1) needs batteries or 2) makes noise. Toys that beep, light up, squawk, or move are the purview of grandparents, who ostensibly have a house where they can keep said items and thus spare the parents the literal headache. Plus, grandparents can get away with almost anything.
Enter the book-and-toy gift, a staple in my house. I recently spoke to a friend who is an art director for children’s books. He said that when ebooks came on the scene, publishers were afraid that physical children’s books would be the first to disappear. They quickly realized that this fear was unfounded; in addition to parents wanting to separate tablet or screen time from reading, the act of reading a physical book is a unique bonding activity that children were requesting.
With that in mind, I’ve searched for books that one could easily pair with a toy in order to compose the perfect analog gift for the children in your life.
Note: the prices listed are for just the toy part of each book and toy pairing!
Beloved author Bernette G. Ford passed away this year, and her final work was published posthumously. Uncle John’s City Garden is a lovely tale of urban gardening. Pair it with a child-sized garden playset from Cute Stone on Amazon. $50.
Kaepernick needs no introduction; this is a story based on his experiences as a child being asked to draw his family. Combined with a 100-sheet pad of newsprint ($8) and a set of Crayola washable markers ($14), you can inspire a new generation of artists.
Unicorn tries so hard to be perfect. It’s a good thing he has Kitty-corn as a friend, and even better that you can pair the second Hale/Pham collaboration with an Itty-Bitty Kitty-corn for the little one in your life. $20
Hopefully this robot won’t squash your kid’s teacher, but you never know! This programmable robot kit encourages kids to learn a bit of code as well as attempt to take over the world. Wait, what? ($30)
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