Bob Vila's Holiday Gift Guide: For Kids

Educational, craft-y, and just plain cute gift ideas for the DIY kid in your life.

  1. Sun Art Paper

    Restoration Hardware Sun Art Paper
    Create cool works of art with photo-sensitive paper—just place any object on the 4” blue square and leave in direct sunlight for a while, then rinse with water until the image appears. Objects with distinctive shapes, like leaves, feathers, and shells, work really well. From Restoration Hardware; usually $10, now $7.99.

  2. Ideal Frontier Logs

    Ideal Frontier Logs

    This nostalgic building set comes with 160 hardwood interlocking logs plus roof planks and chimneys. Recommended for building pioneers at least 4 years old. From Duluth Trading, $32.95.

  3. Fisher-Price Workshop Playset

    Fisher-Price Grow with Me Workshop Playset

    This 27” workshop grows with your child. As your child gets bigger, so does the playset, with its hideaway second tier. The workshop includes a drill press that makes realistic sounds; a real working vise; a hammer, screw driver and wrench; and a bunch of nails and screws. All pieces store inside the 21-lb. unit. Requires 2 AA batteries. Available at Toys R us, $69.99.

  4. Bob the Builder Ready-to-Read Boxed Set

    Bob the Builder Ready-to-Read Boxed Set

    This boxed set, perfect for preschoolers, includes six pre-Level One books and one Level One book, plus three bookmarks. From Amazon, prices vary.

  5. Green Doll House by Plan Toys

    Plan Toys Green Doll House

    Plan Toy’s Green Doll House received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award (a "green toy" accolade), thanks to its recycled rubber wood construction, and its many energy-efficient home design features–wind turbine, rain barrel, solar panels, and shade canopy. The house stands 22.3” H and includes 5 rooms of furniture. Available thru Yoyo Toys, $239.99.

  6. Construction Worker Role Play

    Kids Construction Worker Costume

    One Step Ahead has the tools for kids to get into construction mode, from work clothes (hard hat, tool belt, goggles, etc.) to heavy-duty plastic machinery like a 25” L turning cement mixer and tip-resistant wheelbarrow. Kids (ages 3 and up) will have good fun and a good workout in the sandbox. From One Step Ahead, $19.95-$99.95.

  7. Home Depot Tool Set

    Home Depot Deluxe Tool Set

    A complete set of plastic tools for the budding L’il Fix-It. You child is sure to look adorable as he/she goes around the house making pretend repairs. The set includes plastic moving jigsaw, reciprocating saw, power drill, goggles and 2 battery packs. The Home Depot Toy Tools are exclusively from Toys R Us, $29.99.

  8. The Original Muck Boot™

    The Original Muck Boot™

    For boys and girls, The Rover is an outdoor performance boot, designed to keep warm in and cold out, with a waterproof foam shell and perspiration-wicking lining. Available at Muck Boots Online, $59.95.

  9. Magna-Tiles

    Magna-Tiles Clear Colors

    Colorful tiles, magnetized on all sides, click together to form all sorts of shapes and 3-D objects. Grown-ups may find this building set equally, if not more fascinating. Available through Fat Brain Toys, $124.95.

  10. John Deere Soft Tool Box

    John Deere Soft Tool Box

    This Soft Toolbox with Socket Wrench and Pliers from John Deere is perfect for the young helper in your household! The pliable plastic toolbox features a sturdy handle, hinged lid, and easy-opening top.  It even includes their very own ratchet and pliers! Designed for age 18 months and older. Available at Tractor Supply Co., $25.95.

  11. Topozoo Dino Building Set

    Topozoo Dino Building Set

    What kid doesn't love dinosaurs? This imagination-boosting puzzle kit will provide hours of fun as they turn flat pieces of sturdy cardboard cut-outs into colorful, prehistoric figures. Made in the U.S., the Topozoo Dino Building Set is available from Sundance for $35.00.

  12. Crayolla Kid's Washable Paint

    Crayolla Kid's Washable Paint

    Help your child develop his or her talents as a painter with Washable Kid’s Paint from Crayola. These paints are ideal for adding vibrant colors to arts and crafts, posters, and school projects. They can be used on almost any surface and easily applied with brushes, sponges, stamps, stencils, and other tools. $6.99

  13. Craftsman Workbench

    Craftsman Workbench

    This Craftsman Workshop is ideal for the handy boy—or handy girl! The play tools and workshop, which come complete with tool caddy and peg board, encourage motor skills and imagination while kids pretend to work on whatever DIY projects they dream up. Available at Little Tikes, $114.99.

  14. UncommonGoods' MULTIBLOCKS

    UncommonGoods' MULTIBLOCKS

    MultiBlocks is UncommonGoods' first ever YouGoods contest winner. Designed by Brad Singley, these blocks were inspired by his father, a civil engineer who built toys for his children. Made in Michigan from scraps of basswood leftover from other products, these blocks feature laser-etched numbers and increments and are sanded to a satiny smooth finish. Set of 42 blocks is $38.00.

  15. The Erector Set

    The Erector Set

    Since 1913 Erector Sets, with their nuts, bolts, multiple metal parts, motors, and optional configurations, have been challenging young builders and inspiring creativity, logical thinking, and how-to skills along the way. With this special edition set, you can make over 25 moving models from forklifts to airplanes. Available with compartmentalized carrying case at, $94.95.

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