Ruth Spivak: Kiducation


Five Cool Gifts You Can Buy Online

Say goodbye to crowded malls, and hello to original stuff!

I'm a procrastinor and totally disorganized, but my holiday shopping is nearly done. While hordes of shoppers battle at the mall, I'll be lounging in my cozy slippers at home. I'll be all smug in my jammies and dishevelled hair, scoring some smart and amusing gifts for my kids. Ha ha, I'm so clever. No, lazy. No, clever! 

You too can smirk as you shop for cool gifts on websites most people don't know exist. You could walk all day at the crowded mall and never find these gifts, or you could give your fingers a little workout on the mouse. I'm about to share some great websites with stuff your kids will adore that will have adults asking, "Hey, where did you get that?" 

1. Family Playroom. Great selection of imaginative and educational merchandise. Bonus: They're Canadian.

My pick: Teach Me Time Talking Alarm Clock. Older kids can hit snooze like Mom and Dad, while younger kids  learn to tell time with interactive talking games. Interesting is the green glow that tells kids when it's "OK to Wake." Does this mean extra sleep-in time for parents on weekends?


2. Moonjar. Kids love collecting coins in a piggy bank. So, why not get them this attractive piggy bank that also teaches about budgeting? Each Moonjar has three compartments: Save, Spend, Share. A great tool for setting financial goals, and I love the built-in "share" feature to encourage giving. 


3. ThinkGeek From Minecraft apparel to Star Trek pizza cutters, this site has everything quirky and geeky. My pick: Da Vinci's Wood Catapult Kit. The ad says, "Lob a lump of clay over 14 ft.!" Based on Da Vinci's original plans. I'm sold.

4. Mama May i Handmade Toys. For something truly unique, go for handmade. You'll find some very special items here, so it's worth browsing. My pick: Fairy Friends. Hours of imaginative open-ended play with these dainty figurines. Made from wood, felt, and cotton. Several colours available.

5. BoardGames.Ca  Huge assortment of board games that go way beyond Monopoly. My pick: Qwirkle. Everyone in the family will enjoy this game of strategy. Create rows by matching shapes or colours, and score more points by combining tiles with other rows. It's sort of like Scrabble meets Dominoes, and so much fun. Ages: 6+


Happy Shopping!

Looking for holiday inspiration? Visit the YMC Holiday Guide to find everything from sweet treats and delicious dishes to DIY décor and favourite family movies. If it’s holiday related, you’ll find it here.