Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

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“A book is always a good idea for a kid, but it’s even better when it’s something that feels like it’s just for them,” Firsel said. “‘Hide and Seek Chicago,’ is for children 4 and up and you can get it at the Book Bin in Northbrook for $14.99. Imagine a Where’s Waldo type book dedicated to teaching kids about Iconic Chicago locations like the Fine Arts Museum, Navy Pier, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. As your child reads through and searches for items in each picture they’ll become more familiar with their own city. And I say, go the extra mile and take this book along when you go to the actual locations to get them even more excited.” Purchase at Book Bin.
“This toy globe is on a whole other level,” Firsel said. “The Shifu Orboot has a companion app that can be loaded on to your iPad. This adds augmented reality, which allows kids to interact and visualize the world in 4D through voices, stories, poems, and regional music. They can explore over 400 locations and highlights over one thousand cool facts about cultures, monuments, inventions, animals and more. It’s $49.99 on Amazon and perfect for children 4 to 10.” Purchase at
“I’m obsessed with these stuffed animals. They look like something you might find in a toy store,” Firsel said. “Well, these are actually created from drawings. Jake in Romeoville and Matthew from Hinsdale sent these in. Starting at $115, the talented team over at can take any piece of art and turn it into a handmade soft cuddly stuffed animal. Look at how accurate it is.” Purchase at:
“ has a sister company called Petsies, where they can take pictures of your pet and turn them into plush items like pillows and stuffed animals. The kids will love actually getting to have their dog sleep in their bed with them all night! These start at $49.” Purchase at:
“Something we all crave is more one on one time with the younger ones in our lives,” Firsel said. “Try a cooking, baking or decorating class! Teens, tweens and even kids as young as 4 will all love this. It’s interactive, creative and, of course, very tasty. Wilton, in Darien, offers cookie and cake decorating classes that start at $15 – and most of those kids can be as young as 4. Sur La Table has various locations throughout the Chicagoland area and these will get you making everything from fresh pasta to fried rice. The classes there start at $59 and are for kids 7 and up.” Purchase at Wilton & Sur La Table.
“Teenagers are so difficult to buy for,” Firsel said. “It seems like all they ever want is a gift card or the hottest new iPhone or electronic. I say throw in a little something outside the box like a neon sign. Room décor is a top priority for teens since they’re in their rooms all the time. These neon letters are only $14 a piece from Amazon. They’re battery operated, or you can plug them in to a USB port. Get their initials like these for Matt and Cortney, a fun saying or even a sports team logo.” Purchase at
“I like including the younger generation in one of my favorite things to do – get glam,” Firsel said. “A great option now at a lot of salons, is to bring your favorite kiddo along for matching blow-outs. Get pampered and then head out on the town together. My daughter and I just went to Blo Blow Dry Bar in Vernon Hills and it was so fun. I love getting blow outs, and now it’s something we can do together. It costs $45 for the grown-ups and $32 for kids under $10 at Blo, which also has two locations in the city. And there’s plenty of experiences like this at other blow dry bars in the city and suburbs.”nPurchase at Blo Blow Dry Bar.
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