Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Heart Love Seattle Onesie available at Casita International on Capitol Hill

Holiday gifts A-Z: A largely local guide

Gifts locally made, available in local shops or supporting local causes

Editor’s note: This holiday gift list is not a paid advertising section. It reflects the research and opinions of the writer.

We should also warn you that it’s a long list. 

That’s because we’ve found great gifts for every letter of the alphabet to guide your holiday giving. Not all of these gift ideas are made in Washington, but many of them are and all have something besides the gift itself going for them. For example, many can be found in locally owned shops like Childish Things in Crown Hill or Snapdoodle Toys & Games with locations in Seattle, Kenmore and Redmond. Some are handmade or cooked by Pacific Northwest artisans. Several help great causes. And finally, a good portion of these gift ideas promote family connection, imagination, brain development and just plain fun. 

There’s something for everyone here, no matter your child’s age.

Acorn Sorting Game by Taylored Toys.

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Acorn sorting game

This cute acorn game from Portland-based Taylored Toys encourages tactile play and exploration, and helps to develop skills such as counting, pouring, scooping, fine motor, creativity, and self-regulation. Wooden toys come finished using food-grade mineral oil and beeswax to bring out the beautiful wood grain. Ages 3 and up. $21.95. Available online at Taylored Toys.

Art to hang

Artist Wais Ali creates rich acrylic paintings, prints, tote bags, and T-shirts inspired by his home country of Djibouti, East Africa.In 2021, Wais painted a large-scale pop-up mural in the Pick Place Market where he now sells prints that kids will love at the East African Fine Art stall. Great for the walls of kids who love animals.

Whimsical Prints & Books. Collage artist Kate Endle’s prints a perfect gift for babies, toddlers and whimsical older kids as well. Kate is also the illustrator for her husband, the musical artist Caspar Babypants, and will have autographed CDs of the new release, “Easy Breezy!” in her online shop and at her spot in Pike Place Market. Prints start at $20, original art starts at $85. 

Also at Pike Place Market: Artist Wendi Chen creates colorful personalized illustrations of kids, families, and pets! Wendy’s art prints, available online or at Pike Place Market, start at $25. Prices for commissioned portraits vary. Contact Wendi through her website.

Art classes

Give your child of any age the gift of expression through art. Seattle is home to numerous wonderful kid-focused art classes, schools and instructors, many of them working artists.To find the right class for your child, check out “18 Places for Kids to Paint, Sculpt, and Create Art.” 

An animal to love

A lot of dogs and cats were adopted during the pandemic when people had more time on their hands to provide pet care. And a lot of them have been returned to shelters and animal adoption agencies as “the new normal” has settled in. If your family has been thinking about pet adoption, and has the time and resources to commit to pet care, consider giving the gift of love to both an animal in need and your child. Google pet adoption for a shelter or adoption organization near you. And be sure to read “Kids and pets: what to know before adopting an animal on our website to ensure your family is ready for a pet.

Button storybooks from author Mary Olsen.

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A book with a mission

If you have a child who has been impacted by gun violence, Seattle non-profit RISE has stories that may help them feel less alone. The RISE Book Project helps King County families to develop children’s books addressing the unexpected trauma due to gun violence. The organization believes in the transformative power of storytelling facilitate healing and ignite a love for reading in children. Books are written by children who have lost a parent to gun violence, along with their surviving parents. The goal: to support to others facing similar challenges. $25 each. Email the thebookproject@rise4us.org to learn more about book purchases.

A book (or three) about buttons

A book about buttons! Reading Kirkland author Michelle Olsen’s recently released book, Sam’s New Sister, is a great way to help kids with new siblings cope with unexpected feelings. Make it a double book gift with Bonnie Blue Button is a Bully, “a lively story with a worthy message about kindness,” according to Kirkus Review. The story of how a button turns her pain into bullying — and how other buttons help her change through kindness. Olsen’s first two books, “Norman” and “Norman’s Gift,” were named Kirkus Review books of the year. Gift the whole set for your child aged 4 to 8. Paperback versions retail at $14.99 online. 

Books to rediscover Seattle by

Mary Jo Manzanares’ “Secret Seattle: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure Paperback captures the charm and whimsy and weirdness of the Emerald City. Your family will love this quirky guide celebrating Seattle’s historical treasures and outdoor wonders. $18.73. If cartoons are more your style, check out cartoonist Susanna Ryan’s“Secret Seattle: An Illustrated Guide to the City’s Offbeat and Overlooked History.” Perfect for family walks and interesting offbeat and off-the-beaten-path scavenger hunts. $18.39 and up. Both are available on Amazon.

City Kids Style handmade clothig.

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City Kids Style: Handmade Clothing for kids

City Kid Style is a company that makes hip and comfy clothing for kids, pets, and people. Items are handmade, one-of-a-kind, and sustainable – made from a mix of old and new fabrics, sewn and screen printed in Seattle. Check out the myriad styles online at City Kids Style.

Card deck with Seattle images

Whether it’s hearts or some other favorite, your family can get in a game with a Seattle-based card deck. The Seattle Art Museum Shop has a deck designed by Portland, Oregon artist Aaron Trotter which features 52 drawings of iconic scenes around Seattle. Ages 6 and older. $20. Available at the Seattle Art Museum or from the museum’s online store.

Chocolate

What is a winter holiday without it? Seattle is home to wonderful commercial and artisan chocolate makers, so stuff those stockings with a local maker rather than a conglomerate’s brand. Our top pick for moms, dads and the true chocolate connoisseurs in your family is Fran’s Chocolates. Fran’s chocolate perfections support local charities including Safe Crossings, YWCA and Neighborhood House. In the charitable line, we love Fran’s Dark Chocolate Sauce ($12.95). Available in store boutiques in Seattle, Bellevue, University Village, Georgetown and online

Or, make the kids laugh with a milk Chocolate Slug Sucker, made in Chehalis, Washington And accompanied by a packet of salt, and also available at the Pacific Northwest Shop in Wallingford. $4.99.

Cascadia & Cascadia Landmarks games

Take a journey to the Pacific Northwest as you compete to create the most harmonious ecosystem in Cascadia! No, not the new country that some Washington and Oregon residents threaten to create, but the beautifully illustrated game. Turns are simple — select a tile/token set and place each into your expanding ecosystem. Earn points by fulfilling wildlife goals and creating the largest habitat corridors. With variable scoring goals, each game of Cascadia presents a new spatial puzzle. Fun and educational for ages 10 and older. Cascadia — and it’s new expansion Cascadia Landmarks – is available online and at Snapdoodle Toys & Games locations in Seattle, Kenmore and Redmond.  

Curiosities

For more than 120 years, strange and curious things have been on sale on the Seattle Waterfront. The trays and shelves and nooks at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop are filled with animal bones, shells, and a whole lot of oddities that a kid with a curious mind is likely to find fascinating, gross and delightful. Shrunken heads, scorpions suspended in plastic, an old padlock from Alcatraz, framed butterflies . . .it’s a great place to collect stocking stuffers, particularly for scientifically minded kids ages 6 to 18. Did we mention the mummy? Prices vary, but fun can be found for under $10. Curiosities are available at the Seattle Waterfront store located at 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54, in Seattle.  

Superhero Capes 

We all wanna be a superhero, especially as kiddos. So why not give your jr crime fighter a cape and a mask to complete the dream? For kids 3 to 12 consider a Cape Set by World of Whimm, measuring 20.5″ from the back of the neck to the bottom of the cape and secured with a slim elastic band. I’ll cost you $62 but their excitement will be priceless.

Celebrate and encourage young crafters

If you have a craft-loving kid in the house consider creating a DIY crafting kit by collecting supplies from local shops (or give them a specific dollar amount gift certificate that says you’ll take them to the crafting store(s) to select their own bits and bobs). Check out these local shops: Alexander’s Bead Bazaar in Edmonds carries a wide array of beads, pendants, gems and other items for your jewelry makers. Scrap bookers may want to try Urban PaperCrafter also located in Edmonds. If your mini-maker likes knitting, traditionally or finger knitting, B Town Yarn has a location in Burien and an online shop. Running Stitch Fabrics located in Kent also has an online shop for kid interested in sewing projects. If they like a bit of everything Seattle Recreative in Greenwood and Georgetown has all kinds of material being saved from landfills — and classes too!

Donut cats by Marin Saylor

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Donut Cat

These little critters are sure to delight any child of any age. At 4″ across they are small, comforting companions. Handmade in Seattle’s Marnin Saylor, they are created from fleece and eco-fi felt. $30. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Available online at Marinsaylor.com or in their store in Pike Place Market.

Duck Runner push toy, a classic!

The first time my grandfather rolled Duckie across the floor in front of my 3-year-old feet lo those 52 years ago, I was smitten. Duckie flapped the ground with leather feet as Grandpa quacked. For days I pushed the toy’s extended handle everywhere I went. Years later, my own kids loved Duckie just as much, almost as much as our pet cat. Such a simple toy brought decades of joy. Handmade by Fall City-based Deep Forest Woodworks, the Duck Runner push toy is a throwback — and in invitation — to simple memories and simpler times. Ages 2 and older,  $45. Available online at Duckrunner.com and at the Pacific Northwest Shop in Wallingford.

Don’t forget the dog!

Washington is home to more thn 70 companies that make products for dogs, from food to toys to leashes to treats to cool carriers, collars, and harnesses. Even dog gelato! So put something for the dog under the tree this year – a gift that supports the local community. To see a list of companies that made dog products and where they are located, go to seattledogspot.com

Dinosaur Memory and Disney Villainous games

For young dinosaurs fans: Don’t miss Dinosaur Memory, classic game of picture matching is back with t-rexes, triceratops, brachiosaurus, and more! Flip brightly covered tiles and find colorful pictures of your favorite dinosaurs from millions of year ago. Pick up the most matching pairs to win. $14.99 from Seattle’s board-game giant Ravensburger. For older kids, Disney Villainous Game speaks to the Maleficent in all of us. Not to mention that it won Toy Foundation Game of the Year award. It’s the perfect escape for moody tweens, Disney-loving parents and a whole family eager to exercise their competitive natures around the holiday table. Ages 10 and older. $39.99. Available on Amazon.com

Give them the experience of high tea at Queen Mary’s!

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Embroidery kits and other craft kits

If you’ve got a little maker in your house, Renton-based Tomato Tomato has you covered. The company creates embroidery kits that teach kids the basics of decorative stitching. $24. The also offer paper craft ($3 and up) and painting kits ($14.95 and up). Check them out at online at Tomato Tomato Creative. Also check out the crossstitch kids create by Seattle-based designer LaRu and good for beginners to experts. $25 at The Handmade Showroom.

Experiences

Do you really want to give them more STUFF? Why not give your kids the gift of adventure and togetherness in the form of experiences to look forward to? High tea at The Queen Mary tearoom, a concert your teen has been dying to see and which they won’t believe you’d ever consider seeing, a Pacific Science Center pass for your curious kid, a foraging class with a naturalist. How about a trip to Seattle Opera? Or consider a family membership at KidsQuest Children’s Museum where 25 innovative exhihits encouraging learning through play with an enphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

The possibilities are as wide as your kids’ interests, or your own. The cost of experiences vary, but the gift of experience is priceless.

Eggs! 

Did you know your family can keep up to eight domestic fowl on any lot in Seattle? Give your kids future eggs this year in the form of small chicken coop. Want more information? Contact Seattle Tilth or go to Backyard Chicken Seattle to learn from others who have started coops. Raising chickens offers great fun, a chance at responsibility, and other lessons to kids.

Clover Toys Flower Press.

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Fly a kite

But first go to Seattle-based Prism Kite Technology where kite crazy local designers offer a wide range of colorful kites, from single line flyers to dual line to power kites. Greater Seattle area offers several great place to fly. Great family fun. $30 and up. Prism Kite Technology.

Flower Press

The simplest gift idea on our list, the Clover Toys Flower Press in Ballard is made especially for this beloved children’s toy story. At 5 x 9 inches, the laser-cut flower press can squeeze some fairly large blossoms or other plant forms.  It’s made of draft board, recycled cardboard and rubber bands; although it can be used with any paper, the staff at Clover suggest printer and watercolor papers get the best results. Ages 3 and older. $16. Available in-store or online at Clover Toys.

Fair Trade: Local shops bring a world of gifts to you 

This holiday season, step out of line at the big-box retailers and give your kids handmade gifts from local stores dedicated to ethically produced items from communities in our region and around the world. Got someone on your list who would love a knitted hat topped with a unicorn horn or other animal-themed hats ($31)? Head to Fair Trade Winds in Ballard for an array. Fair Trade Winds also has what you need to start to nurture activism at a young age. Check out the books A is for Activism written and illustrated by: Innosanto Nagara and Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi (and check out our interview “Raising an antiracist: A conversation with Ibram X. Kendi!)

And at Casita International on Capitol Hill, wonderful locally authored baby books, clothing and other infant gifts are eager to put in an appearance under your tree. 

The Ultimate Geology Kit from Geo Kidz

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GeoKidz Kits Really Dig it! 

Got a digger in your family? Inspire a budding earth scientist to go deeper with a The Ultimate Geology Kit, created by Lake Liberty parents Melia and Justin Rice (Justin just happens to be a professional geologist). Kits include the right tools and guidance for fun and authentic scientific exploration. $29.95. Ages 5 and older with a parent, 12 and older on their own. 

Henry themed cups, shirt, art and more.

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Huggalugs hats, leggings and more

Huggalugs’ soft, stretchy leg warmers scrunch to keep baby’s legs warm, then extend to cover school-age calves and arms. Add a bandit-themed sweater and beanie for the full, too-cute effect. Based in Kirkland, Huggalugs can be found at specialty retailers worldwide or at Huggalugs.com.

“Henry” prints, cups, hats, plushies and more

The work of Ryan Henry Ward, who signs his colorful piece with the simple black-and-white moniker Henry,” can be found on more than 400 murals around Seattle. It can also be placed under the tree this year  – on canvases, prints, plush animals, hats, tee-shirts, stickers, posters, mugs, giclee prints or patches. Prices vary but you’ll find something Henry for everyone in the family from baby to grandparents. Find Henry art at Itsahenry.com

Hand warming mug

It’s New Year’s Eve and you’re gathered around the fire in the cold and dark. The kids’ teeth are chattering. What better way to warm up the celebration than with handwarmer mugs, handcrafted in the small town of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. Big and little hands will fit right “into the mug.” Left- and right-hand options. $26 each. Available in person or online at the Pacific Northwest Shop in Wallingford.

“Shifting Perspectives” Photobook of cars in unique settings by Anthony Schmidt

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Image collection: “Shifting Perspetives” by Anthony Schmidt

Have a car lover in your family? Young or older, the photos taken by Anthony Schmidt will capture their heart. Anthony is a 15-year-old Woodinville teen with a steady creative hand, a sharp photographer’s eye, and autism. He makes highly detailed model cars, sets them in ultra-realistic dioramas and then shoots stunning images of the scene. Anthony’s book “Shifting Perspetives” is a compilation of his newest images and costs $49.99. The book and Anthony’s images (framed, on a calendar, on T-shirts or other items) are available online at anthonyryanschmidt.com

Introduce them to ice skating

King County doesn’t get a whole lot of snow year to year, but there is year-round ice in Seattle, Shoreline, Lynnwood, Kirkland and other cities – not the least of which is the Kraken Comunity Iceplex where you can give your kids a cold-weather tradition: ice skating lessons. Kraken Community Iceplex offers classes for ages 3 to adult and an adult-and-child class as well. Starting at $224 for eight classes.. Lynnwood Ice Center and Sno-King Ice Arenas in Renton in Snoqualmie and Renton also offer kid classes. Most arenas offer financial aid for those in need.

Leather journals from No Boundaries Books

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The Juno Bassinet

Got a baby or grandchild coming into your life? Have an infant under three months you want to travel with in the new year? Sometimes great ideas — like a fully recyclable bassinet — are simply old ideas elevated to the next level. Literally. The Juno Bassinet was developed by Seattle dad Herman Chan and his business partner Thomas Duester and is partially inspired by a nearly century-old Finnish tradition. It’s a lightweight, paperboard infant bed that folds down flat, travels easily, is built “like a hammer” and designed to last through at least a few siblings. $140. Available online at hellojuno.com

Socially responsible jewelry

Local jewelry maker Boma became a Social-Purpose Corporation in 2019, committed to seeking social and environmental balance in their business. In addition, Boma runs a grant program that helps BIPOC jewelry designers, creative directors and entrepreneurs. Check out Boma’s animal, fruit, unicorn and whimsy earrings and other products. $26 and up. Available in stores throughout Seattle and online at Boma.

Handmade leather journals

Journals are an excellent way for children to explore their creativity, express their thoughts and improve their writing skills. Leather-bound journals at No Boundaries Books age beautifully and will stand the test of your young writer’s secrets and inspirations. Best for older tweens and teens who love to write. Large journals up to $85 and up, pocket journal $20. Available at Pike Place Market or online at No Boundaries Books.

Jellycat animals and books

These cute, cuddly creatures are certainly not locally made, but Jellycat London’s plush animals remain wildly popular this year. For one of the best assortments in Seattle, head over to Childish Things located in the Crown Hill neighborhood in Seattle. You’ll find not only a world of colorful, delightful, collectable animal toys, but also Jellycat’s wonderful line of “If I were a . . .” (rabbit, tiger, unicorn) board books. Jellycat animals start at $12, Jellycat books at $13.

Inside a kaleidoscope from Kaleidoscope Artistry

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A Kaleidoscope they’ll hold on to

A kaleidoscope is a magical thing — a telescope that reveals the ever-changing colors and patterns of ordinary things. The handmade scopes created by Friday Harbor artists Luc and Sallie Durette are works of art your child will cherish and carry with them through life. With dynamic interiors made of wood, glass, metals, ceramics, and acrylic lacquers, they showcase objects as diverse as tumbling dried flowers, imported beads, exquisitely detailed flame-worked glass and brilliantly colored hand-coiled wires. Best for ages 10 and older who will treat a scope with respect. $195 and up. Available online at the Kaleidoscope Artistry website.

FirstScope Signature Series: Moon by Robert Reeves

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A closer look

Give your child – or your whole family – the gift of looking at the natural world and the universe up close. Cloud Break Optics, located in Ballard’s Sunset Hill neighborhood, is the place to go to discover the wide world of binoculars, telescopes and other optical equipment. Sure, you could get great gear online. But it’s the shop here that’s worth the trip and a return trip for learning after the gift is unwrapped. The FirstScope Signature Series: Moon by Robert Reeves is a good stargazing start, with its wide field-of-view providing bright, sharp images of the moon’s mountains and craters.  It’s a great tool for panning the Milky Way and more. $71.95. School ages and older. (For younger ages, only with supervision – it’s not a toy, it’s a real telescope! A good set of binoculars starts around $69. Available in store or online at Cloud Break Optics

Bring your scope out to stargazing events held by Seattle Astronomical Society and learn from night sky experts! They’ll have scopes for you to look through as well.

The folks in The Magic Shop at Pike Place Market have been helping young magicians sine 1973.

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Tools for a budding magician

Located in Pike Place Market since 1973, the Market Magic Shop is the longest-running magic shop in the Pacific Northwest and 3rd oldest in the country! It’s a great place to find cards, coins, books, juggling equipment, tarot cards, clowning supplies, yoyos, jokes, gags, and more ways to introduce your magician-wanna-be to the art of mystery and illusion.

Metal Earth DIY metal sculptures

SeaTac-based Metal Earth makes intricate metal sculptures for you to assemble: everything from dinosaurs to the Space Needle, Star Wars to Looney Tunes characters. The amazingly detailed models are cut from 4-inch-square steel sheets. Pop the pieces out and bend tabs to connect them; no glue required. Kits range from easy to challenging. Does your teen love The Mandolorian? Consider sculptures from the series, including The Child model,  priced at $24.95. Ages 14 and older. Available online through Innovatoys.

New to you options are the thing at Sugarlump!

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Non-toys

You do not need to spend a lot of money to give great gifts. How about skipping the toys and offering your child a chance to create their own magical thing. Head to your local hardware store to load up on interesting low-cost bits and pieces of wood, piping, zip ties, odd nuts and bolts, strange doodads and building innards. Put it all in a series of boxes that lead to your toolbox with a holiday card that says, “Let’s create!” All ages. Prices vary, but ask store clerks for directions to the clearance bins or for unsaleable items to keep costs low. Need a different space to create? A membership at Seattle Makers, which offers both space for experimenting in DIY and also help, varies from no cost to $245/month. Go go seattlemakers.org.

New-to-them clothing and other great stuff

In these days of inflation, why spend an arm and a leg to put children’s clothing under the tree? Most of the gently used items you’ll find at Childish Things in North Seattle look brand new and it’s never too soon to teach your kids the value of not needing brand-new everything.  This little store packs a punch with hundreds of thoughtfully selected new-to-you items for sale, including maternity clothes, furniture, and more. Checks the boxes: Save money, save the environment, shop local! Prices vary. For more children’s consignment shops where you can find great gently used toys and clothing check out “Top-noth kids consignement shops” at Seattleschild.com. 

Space Needle mercury glass ornament

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Seattle Space Needle mercury glass ornament

Designed in Seattle, this Space Needle mercury glass ornament was created in honor of our local landmark.
The Space Needle, originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, has become synonymous with the city of Seattle and its visions of the future. Forty years later, in 2002, this unique painted glass ornament was designed by Seattle artist Jonathan Thompson to remind visitors of Seattle’s historic Space Needle and inspire more dreams of the future. Approximately 8″ tall. $27.99 at the Pacific Northwest Shop.

Dog Hand Puppet from Two Owls shop.

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Pike Place Market picks

Seattle’s historic downtown market is full of unique and local small businesses, each with its own gift ideas. Along with artists Kate Endle and Wendi Chen (see A on this list), here are a few shops to consider. 

Dog hand puppet 

This puppet is truly one of a kind since your kids will make it themselves, or with a little help from you. Zero waste kits are designed in Canada and come with everything needed to bring a puppet pup to life. Includes: Premium reclaimed wool, detailed Instructions and pattern, hand sewing needle and thread. Recommended for ages 7 and up. $20. Find them at Seattle’s Two Owls shop.

Storytellers Puppet Collection 

There are many legends of this mysterious Sasquatch, known for its huge feet and being sneaky! “Bigfoot” is a proud member of Native Northwest’s Native American-inspired “Storytellers Puppet Collection,” and was designed by Justien Senoa Wood, a Northern Tutchone, Dene artist. This 10+ inch tall puppet is ultra-soft, has movable arms and mouth, and giant floppy feet. Check out the whole collection at Native Northwest.

Baseball-themed kids guilts from the Washington Stars Quilt Guild

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Hand-sewn quilt

The Washington Stars Quilt Guild, based in Olympia, offers quilts for sale and has a wonderful array of options, including designs your kids will love. Wrap them up in a unique gift they’ll love for many years. Got a tween or teen crazy about baseball? Check out the 74 inch by 74 inch “Baseballs, baseballs, baseballs” quilt for $75, selection Baby quilts start at $60 and kids’ quilts range, on average, from $60 to $200. Available online through the guild.

Upcycled Messenger Bag from Refugee Artisan Initiative

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Refugee Artisan Initiative gifts

If you’ve got a child, tween or teen in your house who loves handmade necklaces, hats, scarves and other accessories, head to the Refugee Artisan Initiative. Gifts purchased here will look great and help refugee and immigrant women in the Seattle area build a new life. Crafters hail from countries all over the world, including Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Vietnam. All the profits from sales go directly to the workers. Two items tweens and teens are sure to love: They’ll stand out in school when they show up in 2024 with the Upcycled Messenger Bag ($110);  Noi’s fabric flower necklaces, start at $40. Available online through the initiative.

Recycled material kid shoes and toys

OK, we’re cheating again. Rothy’s, the maker of these very cool kid sneakers made from recycled plastic bottles, is not based in Seattle. But it is based on the west coast and in America’s top recycling town of San Francisco (keep trying, Seattle!). Wonderful colors and styles, soft and comfortable. All sizes. $55. Available at Rothy’s in University Village or online through Rothy’s website. 

Looking for eco-friendly toys made from recycled materials by local suppliers? Just ask the staff at Calico Toy Shoppe on Bainbridge Island or Curious Kid Stuff in West Seattle to point you in the right direction. The stores are family-owned and pride themselves on offering a selection of unique toys and gifts, many of which have a low carbon footprint.

Snooter-doots soft sculptured toys

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Snooter-doots soft sculptured toys

Kids of all ages will fall in love with the whimsical, soft-sculptured, collectible toy and dolls inspired by nature. The company, based in Ocean Shores, Wash. specializes in fantasical vegetables, bugs, fish, birds, animals, food, and friendly monsters. Prices vary, but most toys start at $62. Snooter-doots also offers DIY kits to make your own sculpted toys and onlines classes to get you going. Available at Snooter-doots.com

Sk8t Dad Summer

Yes, we know it’s winter. But give a dad in your life a great “my world has changed” read by Seattle’s Child’s resident cartoonist and “You’d Cry Too” artist Brett Hamil. Sk8t Dad Summer is a gnarly illustrated read. And also a sweet, funny, poignant little book that rides along one dad’s commitment to personal growth after a child comes along. $10, available online from Bird Cage Bottom Books.

Support your local toy store this year! Here’s one not to miss: Snapdoodle Toys & Games. This family-owened shop offers some products from local companies amid its wide range of toys and games. You can get all your holiday shopping for kids done in one stop. 

Simply Fun games

Bellevue-based game maker Simply Fun is on a mission to grow young brains. The company’s games are fun to play and they help bolster the life and educational skills kids are developing in the more structured settings of school and at home. Give the gift of face-to-face attention and togetherness. Our pick is SavannaScapes. The game is set in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem with its amazing diversity of animal life. Players take turns moving around the play area choosing specific tiles and placing them next to others to provide them with their needed habitats, creating an ecosystem. $40. Ages 7 and older. Available online at Simply Fun.

Wheelbarrow sloths T-shirts from Robot vs. Sloth

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Great Tees: Wheelbarrow sloths shirts from Robot vs. Sloth

Your little one will look great and catch a lot of smiles in these tees designed by Seattle artist La Ru. Screenprinted in Seattle by Gorilla Screen Printing on super soft District Made tees. Cotton/poly blend, so they should shrink when you wash them. Check them out along with a lot of other locally handmade, animal-themed gifts for all ages at Robot vs. Sloth. $28

The Trainbow by Nina Laden

This little book is one of the newest from one of the Pacific Northwest’s most prolific and beloved children’s book author/illustrators. This accordion cutout board book folds out to reveal a beautiful, colorful train with rainbow steam. It’s both a book and a toy. With The Trainbow, Laden offers a piece of her own childhood to her young audience. The rainbow-colored train depicted here was inspired by art Laden drew at age 6. Ages Newborn-3. Available for store pick up from Elliot Bay Book Company three days after online order. Or, available online at Bookshop.org.

Northern Lights Recycled Waterproof Winter Coat from Bootyland Kids

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Sustainably made kids Ourwear

The Northern Lights Recycled Waterproof Winter Coat us a cosy, fully waterproof coat that will keep them warm all winter long. Made with a durable, fabric that’s been constructed using recycled plastic bottles, with a breathable, organic sherpa lining on the inside.  High durability flurocarbon-free performance fabric. This coat and other sustainably made outerwear is available at Seattle’s Bootylandkids.com.

Fill your Flever dollhouse with tiny furnishings from Miniatures and More in Edmonds

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Very small things

Let your child of any age explore the world of small things in a home they build and decorate themselves (with your help, of course). A dollhouse can be as simple as a wooden box turned on its side or as elaborate as the Flever DIY Victorian Dollhouse available on Amazon. (Recommended for 14 and older to build alone; younger kids should work with a parent.) Along with a DIY dollhouse, give your child a handmade certificate that they can take to Miniatures and More in Edmonds. That’s where they can collect all the tiny things they think belong in the perfect tiny house. Prices vary, but start with tiny tables at around $8.

The Wooden Seather Station – Weather Chart – Weather Board from Mirus

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A world of wooden toys

Simple wooden toys tap a child’s imagination the way plastic and electronic toys often don’t. In fact, a study out of Eastern Connecticut State University found that when it comes to encouraging problem-solving, creativity and positive social interactions, simpler toys are best. More durable than most plastic toys, well-made wooden toys are often safer and more sustainable. Find them at: Mirus Toys (Vancouver), Autumn Creek Custom Toy (Clear Lake), Northwest Alpine Woodworks (Marysville), and Tom’s Woodshop (Silverdale). Check out “The wonder of wooden toys” at Seattleschild.com. Our pick for this year’s wooden toy: The Wooden Seather Station – Weather Chart – Weather Board from Mirus toys for $57.95.

Washington State Book Award Winners

Cover all the kids in your house with this year’s winners of the Washington State Book Awards contest. These titles are sure to please readers of different ages and stages. 

Picture Books

  • Old Wood Boat” by Nikki McClure of Olympia and the Salish Sea

Books for Young Readers

Books for Young Adult Readers

  • Howlby Shuan David Hutchinson of Seattle

Call ahead to your  locally owned bookstore to ensure these books are in stock. All are available on Amazon.

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If you’ve found a gift that starts with an ‘X’ or has an ‘X’ anywhere in it made or sold locally, we’d sure love to know! Email us at editor@seattleschild.com

Careful It Bites Yeti’s come in all colors and forms of fluff

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YOU (or them) as An Animal

There’s an animal in each of us – and it changes depending on the day. Local artist Michelle Lassaline invites kids and adults alike to be the animal they want to be. And she will capture that animal essence on canvas as part of her You as An Animal art series. Bring a photo of your child to one of Lassaline’s pop-up You as an Animal art performances in markets across the region. Or contact Lasserline through her website to find out how to have your child’s inner animal captured in art. All ages. Prices vary. Youasananimal.com. Check out “Imagine: You as an animal!” on Seattleschild.com.

Everyone needs a Yeti Doll 

This super-soft wooly Yeti makes a great companion and a fearsome pillow! It stands 13″ tall and is 11″ wide. Each yeti is hand-crafted in Seattle, in a variety of color combinations. But don’t stop at Yetis. Careful it Bites! offers a wide array of wonderfully unique and original plush animals and mini-monsters. Let them know if you have any color preferences. All ages. Prices vary. Available at Pike Place Market, Pacific Northwest Shops and online at Careful It Bites!

Give them the gift of land and see at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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Give them a zoo (and aquarium)

The best gifts are the ones that are not only fun for your kids, but support a good cause, like animal conservation. Give them the gift of a year of zoo visits by becoming a member at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma or the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Becoming a member family has benefits – including a lot of savings on multiple trips, discounts in the zoo shops and advance information about wonderful holiday events like WildLanterns display (at WPZ November 11 to January 22 this year) or PDZA’s Zoolights display (November 25 to January 2). All ages. Point Defiance Zoo family memberships start at $165. Woodland Park Zoo family passport membership costs $225. 

P.s. We know aquarium goes under A but since we’re talking creatures, consider putting a family membership to the Seattle Aquarium under your tree this year and help continue the aquarium’s marine conservation efforts.

More at Seattle’s Child:

Your 2023 Guide to Holiday Family Fun

 

 

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin with Kaiya DeCory-Keen