December is the month we’re often scurrying around buying gifts for those we love, especially those young members of the family. But with so many options out there, what should you get? We wanted to help make it easier for you, and so went to some of our favorite local stores to find the best toys, books, clothes and other items to make any kid a happy one this holiday season. In the spirit of the season, shopping local is an easy way to give back to your community.
An independent, family-owned toy store in Baltimore, aMuse Toys carries only the best—well-designed, fun toys that are responsibly manufactured and, above all, safe. Located conveniently in Fells Point and Quarry Lake, it’s easy to find toys that will not only delight, but also educate. Don’t have time to shop in person? Buy online at amusetoys.com.
Lux Blox 450-Piece Set, $129.99
Perfect for: Lego enthusiasts
Does your child love Legos and building new creations on a regular basis? These blocks are the next step. Made up of complex geometric forms, these blocks can create all sorts of shapes that curve, bend and move.
Mark-Mat: Circus, $24.99
Perfect for: the next Picasso
Nurture your budding artist with this easy-to-clean silicone meal mat. The mat won’t wear and tear, and is easily portable for mealtime fun at home or on the go. Kids can color in the designs and create their own adventures.
Draw Circuits Maker Kit, $79.99
Perfect for: the budding engineer
If your child loves to figure out how things work, this will be the perfect gift. The kit includes all the elements you’ll need to learn about—and create—a working circuit. Connect all the elements with the non-toxic, silver conductive pen, and watch the fun light up!
Yellowscope Foundation Chemistry Kit, $49.99
Perfect for: fans of Bill Nye the Science Guy
Aimed at preteen girls, this chemistry kit is designed to encourage their scientific explorations. It includes instructions for 19 different experiments, but girls can also create their own. STEM is all the rage now, so give your daughter a head start, as well as the gift of fun.
The Ivy Book Shop
With the advent of e-readers and online stores like Amazon, independent bookstores are hard to come by. Thankfully, Baltimore is the exception to the rule and The Ivy Bookshop is one of the best in town. A one-stop shop for kids and adults for all your literary needs, The Ivy will help you find the book to please even the most particular and voracious readers. theivybookshop.com.
Nighttime Nursery Rhymes:
A Bedtime Shadow Book, $12.99
Perfect for: shadow puppet aficionados
Nursery Rhymes are a standard part of most childhoods, but this book allows you to experience them like never before! Each story has page “windows” that, when you shine a light through them, cast pictures in shadow on the wall as you read.
The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, $40
Perfect for: honey-lovers
Winnie-the-Pooh is a staple for most families, but this deluxe, full-color complete works will make bedtime reading that much more magical. Watch the wonder of The Hundred-Acre Wood play out before you as you read to your kids, or as they learn to read it themselves.
Perfect for: the stay-at-home explorer
This visually-impressive children’s atlas is full of cities, lakes, rivers and mountains, along with fun facts, historical notes and important figures. A good gift for readers of all different ages with lots of pictures and text to keep everyone engaged.
The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, $39 Perfect for: any Harry Potter fan
Pottermania is still going strong and it is almost a certainty you know at least one young Harry Potter fan in your life. Now, nearly two decades since its publication, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” has gotten a beautiful illustrated edition to become a must-have for all lovers of the series.
The Pied Piper
This children’s boutique is located in The Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore and offers high-quality clothes and gifts for kids of all ages. With a curated selection of clothing—from casual to special occasion—and a wide variety of prices, the perfect gift should not be hard to find. piedpierchildrenswear.com.
Holiday Red Dress, price varies
Perfect for: Christmas church service with the grandparents
Your little one will be the talk of the town in this cute new dress. Whether you want to dress up for a family Christmas photo, or you want a holiday-themed Sunday’s Best for Christmas Mass, these adorable clothes will keep your kids looking festive and comfy.
Ride-On Classic Red Fire Truck, $145
Perfect for: future firefighters
Toddlers are always on the move! This classic fire truck lets them move around in style, sitting atop this vintage-looking vehicle. With a working steering wheel and bell, your little one will be wheeling about in no time, putting out pretend fires and saving all those innocent dolls.
Curious George in the Box, $28
Perfect for: Curious George fans
Curious George is a longstanding children’s character and beloved by many kids. Delight the young fan in your life with this Curious George jack-in-the-box. Classic toy meets classic character for a perfect gift.
This kid-centric boutique offers a variety of designer clothes and gifts for newborns up through tweens. The store prides itself on offering one-of-a-kind experience and products, so come for the great shopping and stay for the delicious candy bar. And the store’s Greenspring Station location means you can get your other shopping out of the way at the same time. weechic.com.
EGG Reversible Vest, $98
Perfect for: fashionable outdoorsy types
It’s puffy vest weather, so why should your kids miss out on the fun? This cute vest is not only warm and adorable, but also reversible! Two different looks for whatever style your fashion-forward progeny is rocking that day.
Macaroon Scented Erasers, $4.50
Perfect for: studious cookie monsters
These cute stocking-stuffers are not only fun and lovely to look at, but also useful! Erasers from pencils are often used up before the pencil itself. You child will always have a way to fix mistakes with these cute macaroon erasers—just don’t confuse them for the real thing!
Kid Made Modern Smarts and Crafts Case, $19.99
Perfect for: a rainy day
When you’re stuck inside because of weather, kids can quickly get bored or antsy. This “smarts and crafts” case comes with everything you would need to keep them occupied—and creative—for hours: Pipe cleaners in multiple colors, beads of all sizes, googly eyes, pompoms, string and more!