A decade or so ago, a kid would be crushed to be labeled a geek. Nowadays, some kids wear the term like a badge of honor. “Heck yeah I’m a geek! I like comic books and video games and science and tech stuff!” If you’ve got a geek kid in your life and you need some ideas for what to get them for a holiday gift, here are a few to get you started.
Disney Infinity 2.0
It seems like Disney Infinity is this year’s must-have game. At least it is in our house. Thanks to new character packs like Marvel Superheroes (including Black Widow and Gamora) and more female characters like Merida, Jasmine, Tinkerbell, and Maleficent, the game has improved over its previous version. Infinity 2.0 is available on Amazon for XBox 360, XBox One, PS3, PS4, and Wii U. (You can read more about Infinity and the new game characters on The Mary Sue.) Speaking of video games, I also highly recommend Minecraft if your kid isn’t already playing it. And if they are, then you can’t go wrong with Minecraft-related items like guidebooks and action figures.)
Hexbugs have been around for a while and they don’t show any signs of disappearing from the market anytime soon. These robotic insects are completely entertaining (I had fun just watching videos of them!) and your kids can create their own Hexbug habitats with gravity loops and barrel roll sets. My friend Jessie, a new mom herself, says this is her husband’s go-to gift when it’s time to shop for kids.
In case you hadn’t heard, Tamagotchis are back. Yes, those little keychain-sized pets that need to be fed and played with have returned. Last year, Furby made a comeback too. Those are great if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to see your kids playing with updated versions of toys from your own childhood. If you’re not interested in reboots, try a Zoomer Zuppy interactive puppy or an Animin digital pet.
If you plan on raising a tech-savvy kid, you’re probably getting them started on gadgets at an early age. Ubooly is a great way to introduce your toddler to mobile apps while also encouraging them to use their imagination. (If you’ve got an older child who is already into apps and mobile games, they’ll get a kick out of Ubooly too.) Ubooly, which was developed thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, is part app, part stuffed animal, part imaginary friend. Download the app to your device then place it inside the stuffed toy and let Ubooly guide your child through caves, oceans, and anywhere else their imagination takes them.
GeoSafari Junior Talking Microscope
Some kids are fascinated by creepy crawly things and a talking microscope is an excellent way to encourage their curiosity. This microscope for kids comes with prepared slides featuring various insects. As the child views each slide, they can turn a dial and a voice gives them fun facts about the insect they’re viewing.
The Kano computer kit gives your child everything they need to build their own computer. They build it, code it, decorate it, and use it. Powered by Raspberry Pi, the Kano comes with a motherboard, speaker, keyboard, cables, SD card, WiFi connector, and even a case and stickers to personalize it.
Klutz activity kits and books
I’m a big fan of the Klutz line of toys, books, and activity kits. My daughter has their fashion sketchbook and they offer a variety of arts and craft kits. But they also have some pretty cool science and tech stuff. Got a kid who loves sci-fi and fantasy stories? Check out the Magical Horses book. Got one who is into dragons? Let them build their own. And the Star Wars Folded Flyers take paper airplanes to a whole new level.
If your child or teen has their own phone or gadget that rarely leaves their hand, they’re probably always low on battery power. A mobile “powerstick” charger solves that problem. And if your kid is into bright colors and patterns — peace symbols, leopard print, polka dots— check out these Lisa Frank chargers. (For the music geeks, they’ve also got headphones and Bluetooth speakers.)
“Made with Molecules” jewelry
Although this one is something adults would love, Made with Molecules jewelry is great for teens! My lovely friend Kemi recommended it, saying that the estrogen molecule her sister gave her is “the perfect mixture of my love of chemistry & feminism.” If you’ve got a science-minded daughter or son, this would make a fun and unique gift.
I really do try to avoid labeling toys and stuff as “for girls” or “for boys” because screw gender stereotypes. But if you’ve got a daughter who has expressed an interest in comic books or a comic-book loving son who wants to read about strong women characters and you’re not sure about which ones she or he might like, here’s a list to get you started:
- Ms. Marvel – A new version of Ms. Marvel was developed earlier this year. She’s now a Muslim teenager from New Jersey named Kamala Khan.
- Princess Ugg – Think of Princess Ulga as sort of a junior version of Red Sonja, another redheaded badass.
- Princeless – If your daughter isn’t into the whole “being saved by a prince” storyline, she might like Princeless, which is pretty much exactly how it sounds.
- Marvel X-Men (2013) # 1 – This issue specifically is all about the women of X-Men, including Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Rogue, and (of course) Storm
- Wonder Woman – Because Wonder Woman. (I’d recommend the New 52 version but there are also WW “I Can Read” books for little kids and multiple WW series in both single issue and collected edition forms.)
Star Wars shoes and backpacks
Here’s another one that even the adults in your life might like. Vans has launched a line of Star Wars products for men, women, and kids. There’s the Yoda Aloha backpack and matching shoes, the Darth Vader/Stormtrooper backpack, and various styles of skate shoes featuring Star Wars designs and patterns.