‘Tis The Season – Icon Vs. Icon’s Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Gifts For Kids!

The is nothing more appreciated than a helping hand during the holiday season. Let the staff of Icon Vs. Icon help you plan your shopping list with our annual gift guide. We’ve chosen some iconic brands, some up and coming brands, and a few items that will allow you to think outside the box to create or choose your own special gift.  Items range from a few dollars to several thousand, but most are geared towards people like us: regular working stiffs who just want to give a great present that won’t break the bank!  Start making that list, we’ve got the best roundup of gifts that everyone will enjoy! The first part of our series is “For Kids!” — Get a look at some unique items that may be the perfect gift to brighten the holiday season for the child in your life!

Moccasins For Kids

Moccasins
For the little ones on your list, think outside the box … box being the gift list they signed, sealed and delivered to Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick three times and recited to you at least a dozen. Instead of some new electronic thing-a-ma-jig advertised to no end on TV, buy them something practical yet totally hip and stylish.

Pick up a pair of handmade leather moccasins from Freshly Picked — freshlypicked.bigcartel.com. The adorable footies are available in a variety of colors, as well as suede, and are handmade when ordered!

Freshly Picked is run by Susan Peterson, who describes herself as entrepreneur, designer, seamstress and writer. Check out her blog, www.freshlypickedblog.com, which provides tutorials on everything crafty, from sewing to fixing furniture.

As the motto of Freshly Picked goes, these moccassins are “so hip it hurts!” I mean, come on, these cute shoes are worn by the son of fashionista Kourtney Kardashian! You may not be a fan but you gotta admit, the girl knows fashion!

Blee Inara

Blee Inara
There comes a time in every little girl’s life when they want to start wearing jewelry. Maybe friends at school do or maybe they’ve seen mommy carefully select pieces to match outfits. They want in on the fun!

So, what to buy? Obviously you want to make it special but also fun and specifically designed for kids. Blee Inara — www.bleeinara.com — has you covered this holiday season for meaningful, well-made pieces of jewelry in their Blee Kids section. There’s the blue and white beaded, stretchy bracelet with charms, including a teddy bear and rabbit. Or the large safety pin with a yellow ribbon and teddy bear charms. Their items are bright, cheerful and well made!

The company was started by Ivonne Kino, who’s been creating jewelry since 2000. She wanted to combine design, comfort and beauty in her pieces, all inspired by a sense of harmony, bliss, goodwill and peace — perfect for the youngsters in your life. A key aspect of Blee Inara is to layer the jewelry and create your personal combination.

When you hit up the website, also check out items for women, from bracelets, necklaces and wraps to the earrings, anklets and rings, they have everything!

Leap Frog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet

Leap Frog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet
Parents can breathe a sigh of relief as they regain ownership of their iPads and other tablets! The LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet has been on the market since summer and is high on Santa’s list for many girls and boys. Marketed for children ages 4-9, this tablet could easily work for younger children. It’s customizable for up to three kids, so multiple children can play at their level, and comes preloaded with four free apps: Art Studio, Pet Pad, Story Studio, and one of your choice. Additional apps can be purchased online and, as a bonus, Explorer game cartridges work with the tablet. This product follows along the lines of other Leap Frog items, it adds to the mental enrichment of your child with games improving or teaching reading, math skills, writing and art.

A stylus (and an extra) are included, and it also has a touchscreen and a tilt-sensor so the tablet is usable when held either up or down or from side to side. There is a camera and a video recorder that are very simple to use. Up to 30,000 photos can be stored on the unit or up to 120 minutes of video. After taking a photo your child, you can go into the Photo Lab app and use different functions to write on the photo, stamp it, morph the image, or turn from color to black and white. When connected to your computer, the photos, videos, or art can be emailed to friends and family or posted to social media sites.

Another item I really like is, like other Leap Frog items, you can track your child’s progress online with the Learning Path and see what areas they need help with. This is easily my gift of the year to give a child and, aside from getting your tablet back, you can also be assured the child you give this to will learn as they have fun! You can purchase this item at http://shop.leapfrog.com/leapfrog/.

Another Great Gift For The Holiday Season!

Rory’s Story Cubes
Ah, such a simple and brilliant idea. Kids (and adults) of any age will have a blast with these cubes! Unlike other board games, the concept here is very basic. You roll 9 cubes, with different pictures on all of their sides. After they land, you have to make up a story based on the pictures. However, you can change the rules to make endless ways to play. If younger children are using the game, playing as recommended is the way to go, but with older kids or adults you could have time limits or get to pass off so many of the dice to the next player and they have to continue making up a story using what they’ve been given. You could make up dozens of ways to play! When combined with the amount of different pictures on the dice, this is a game that would be used often and for many years. Players have to use their creativity and imagination and also decipher what the photos on the cubes mean to them and will end up using different narratives and developing characters along the way.

Games like this need to be developed and encouraged more often! Rory’s Story Cubes are made by Gamewright, which also carries other games to foster learning and using your mind in ways other than how to knock some pigs off of a screen (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Check them out at this location or visit this link to purchase the Story Cubes. Come on, they are only $7.99, and I can guarantee you will get hooked on this fun-filled game!

Insect Lore's Live Butterfly Garden

Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden
I love to mix a little bit of learning in with the fun of the holiday season when it comes to kids. With Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden you an your child will witness one of nature’s most spectacular transformations up close with this reusable, collapsible habitat.

Fine, transparent mesh lets you see butterfly metamorphosis up close. Product includes easy-to-use feeder and complete instructions for habitat. Butterfly larvae with food is shipped directly to your home. The habitat collapses for storage when not in use. You can adopt and raise a handful of caterpillars, watch them transform into painted lady butterflies, then lift the garden cover to release your beautiful specimens into the wild.

This exciting habitat makes a fabulous introduction to the miracles of nature.The larvae and food are available round the year. I haven’t met a kid (or an adult) who hasn’t had a blast with the set! The best part is that you can reorder more butterfly larvae and do it again and again! Priced at about $15 bucks, it is a learning experience that can’t be beat!

Jam out this holiday season!

Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
Looking for something for the child who has rock star dreams? Look no further than Paper Jamz Pro microphone which lets anyone sound like a pop star. Using cutting-edge technology to deliver a unique and fun singing experience to your favorite songs, the Paper Jamz Pro Microphone includes 2 built-in songs and the following enhanced features that help you sound like a professional recording artist. There are three pre-programmed songs into the unit which you cycle through by hitting the different Song buttons. For more songs, you can visit the Paper Jamz website to download new songs from their library or add your own favorite songs from your computer. Features include for the unit include: Perfect Pitch Technology (analyzes and tunes singer’s pitch in real-time); Solo/Duet Mode (sing with the artist or become the artist by turning the original vocal track ON or OFF); Auto-Harmony (doubles or triples singer’s voice and shifts pitch to create perfect harmonies); Auto-Vibrato (adds perfect vibrato to singer’s voice); Chorus (multiplies singer’s vocals to add depth); Auto (recreate original sound of song with real-time effects control). With this technology, your child will be singing like a pop star in no time! Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone, it is available in three colors (pink, neutral, and gray) and can be found at your local retailer or online shop. The unit provides hours of entertainment and the opportunity for experimentation for young minds. Who knows, maybe you are the proud parent of the next Lady Gaga!

The Martian Matter Alien Maker Spaceship Playset

Hasbro’s Martian Matter Alien Maker
Spaceship Playset

What kid doesn’t love aliens? I know I did and Hasbro’s Martian Matter Alien Maker Spaceship Playset lets kids unleash some truly out of this world fun! As soon as they pop open this alien spaceship (which holds all of their supplies) they will discover all sorts of alien-making technologies, including Lunar Lava gel and reusable Meteor Mud compound, which are used to create alien forms.

They can mix and match the 14 different half-molds to create more than 90 different wacky alien combinations!. The alien creations can be placed in the spaceship’s pods to ‘fly’ the aliens home or the child can use the tools to flatten or dissect their alien creatures.

The Martian Matter Alien Maker Spaceship Playset comes with 14 alien half-molds, plastic knife, roller, tweezers, cutter, 3 two-ounce bottles of Lunar Lava gel, and 3 two-ounce cans of Meteor Mud compound. Refills of Meteor Mud can be purchased as well to keep the fun going! Priced at a mere $15 bucks at most retailers the set provides hours of creativity and fun for everyone!

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