This year, we choose gifts that kids will love, and some that will even bring the whole family together.
The Red Balloon
Between e-learning breaks and movie nights, kids of all ages will love these floor floaties to lounge on. Available in a cheeseburger, cupcake, rainbow or pizza design. And parents — they are washable!
$94, 1940 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
The DiPP!T Ball Pit
Looking for the perfect boredom buster this winter? From the Chicago creators of the highly-coveted designer inflatable pool comes the DiPP!T inflatable Ball Pit, perfect for bouncing and play. Available in three irresistible shades and ball color combos, the Ball Pit is free of heavy metals and chemicals, and made from heavyweight durable velvet vinyl. Each set comes with a set of balls for play, that includes one Golden DiPP!T, to spark curiosity and play. Preorder now—orders start to ship December 12th!
Activities Magnet Set
Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony
This activity set has all you need for some imagination — the box includes 76 colorful magnet pieces and 10 guide cards in a sturdy box with the included magnet board. Kids can create a bug or silly face, while developing their fine motor skills, color and shape recognition, hand-eye coordination and problem solving.
$22, 1901 Central St., Evanston
A godsend for frazzled parents relying on devices to bridge the gap between school and childcare, this is one program that will make want to see your kid on the computer all day. 125 interactive web-based lessons teach game development, web design, media art, and four core programming languages. Created by heavy hitters from the game and comic book industries, Codeillusion blends education with entertainment, teaching coding with the help of Disney characters and stories. Codeillusion Prime gives lifetime access to the online lessons featuring 14 original Disney movie scenes. For more of a splurge, Codeillusion Enchanted also includes an acclaimed role-playing game and story narrative plus an offline experience that includes a magic book, mystery puzzles, postcards and more.
Enchanted Package, $899
Prime package, $499
Get 40% off through Nov. 30
Culinary Activity Kits
Kids develop fundamental cooking skills while indulging their creativity and exploring cultures and cuisines from around the world via these culinary activity kits. Each box is themed to a different country—Mexico, Israel, India, Singapore, France—including recipe cards, non-perishable ingredients, activity sheets, cooking tools and more.
Michael Does Crafts
When Chicagoan Michael was laid off from his job as a senior recruiter at a digital agency as a result of the pandemic, he did a quick and creative pivot to producing high-quality tie-dyed masks and custom clothing. Customize pajamas, sweats, shirts and masks with your choice of colors and patches. Available in kids and adult sizes.
$55, michaeldoescrafts.com; use code BETTER15 for 15% off your order
Deep Dish Pizza
Send the best of Chicago to your favorite kiddos, or kids-at-heart. Lou Malnati’s is a crowd pleaser, and guaranteed hit when it arrives at your recipient’s doorstep.
Pizza packs start at $66.99.
With their eyes glued to screens most days, the kids are in need of an imagination break. In comes the Yoto Player, a new screen-free smart device that gives kids access to a world of music, stories, podcasts and more.
Vivofit Jr. 3
With most indoor activities off limits, keeping kids active will only get tougher as the weather gets colder. Help them set and reach fitness goals and even track sleep with a Marvel- or Disney-themed fitness tracker that also features games and interactive experiences.
CTA Chicago ‘L’ Train Toys
Building Blocks Toy Store
Chicago’s Building Blocks Toy Store has the best selection of officially license model CTA trains. Choose from the Brown, Blue, Red, Pink, Green and Yellow Lines, and speciality trains like the Holiday Train!
Starts at $17.99, 3306 N. Lincoln Ave. & 2071 N Clybourn Ave. & 2130 W. Division St., Chicago