Our Favorite Last Minute, Gender Neutral Holiday Gifts
It’s hard to believe the holidays are almost here! If you’re still in need of a kid-friendly gift, don’t despair. Not only do we have a few fantastic ideas for you, but they’re all straight from the 2012 UltraViolet Gift Guide, which means they promote fun, learning and, best of all, gender equality.
This year’s list of gender-neutral products was compiled from votes from over 300,000 UltraViolet members, so rest assured—these are gifts that people want! The whole list is a must-see, but to make it easy on you (because we’re nice like that), we picked a couple of our favorite gifts from each age group. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Kids 4 and Under
Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book: As you probably guessed from the title, this isn’t your average coloring book—it’s one that empowers girls AND boys. As you thumb through its pages, don’t be surprised to see girls operating large farm equipment, or even boys nurturing dolls. Needless to say, this coloring book rules—and by that, we mean it breaks all of the out-of-date gender rules.
Kapla Blocks: Building blocks are a timeless classic, but they haven’t always been considered a gift for both genders. These brightly colored blocks are the perfect way to help the favorite kid in your life develop dexterity and planning skills, not to mention a fun way to spark an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) that just might lead to a lucrative and successful career. Now that’s what we call a gift that keeps on giving!
My First Dinosaur Science Kit: What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? And when they’re glow-in-the-dark and DIY, well, that’s even better. The kit includes real excavation tools, a dinosaur skeleton, learning tools and books, as well as a build-your-won glow-in-the-dark dinosaur. One thing we love about this kit is that it appeals to kids with a variety of interests, including those who love puzzles and books or those who prefer spending time outside.
Maria the Scientist Paper Doll: This isn’t your grandma’s paper doll—and we love it! Transform Maria into a chemist, biologist, paleontologist or naturalist with a quick change of an outfit, then watch your kiddo spend hours inventing all sorts of stories and adventures for this pioneering paper creation. Check your local bookstore to see if they carry the kit—if there’s one thing we love, it’s supporting our favorite indie booksellers!
Nancy Drew Computer Games: This computer game is great for bookworms and techies alike. Based off the Nancy Drew mystery series, this action game keeps its audience fully engaged with interactive problem-solving challenges. It’s so much fun, in fact, that your junior detective won’t even realize the game is educational, too!
Roominate: We couldn’t help but cheer when we heard the Roominate team reached its Kickstarter goal, giving it some much-needed funding to help get Roominate into the hands of knowledge-hungry kiddos. Designed by two Stanford engineering graduate students who wished they saw more women in their upper level math and science classes, Roominate is a kit comprised of building pieces and circuit components with which a child can build, wire and decorate an interactive room. The rooms are attachable and stackable, so kids can build entire structures that they design and create themselves. We’re not going to lie—we may have put a couple Roominate kits on our own holiday wish lists, too!
Teens 13 & Older
Bend It Like Beckham: This PG-13 movie is a great coming of age story that focuses on one young woman’s struggle to pursue her dreams of athleticism. It touches on family dynamics, cultural differences, sports, and young adulthood, themes that are sure to speak to almost any young woman you know in some way. This movie isn’t just for girls, though! These same topics, which are often depicted in an approachable manner, will likely interest young men, too.
Persepolis: Aren’t books the best gifts (well, besides movies, of course). And books about key cultural aspects are even better. Important issues of social reform and political involvement are addressed in this wonderful graphic novel that’s as enriching to look at as it is to read. The autobiographical story follows Marjane Satrapi, the main character (and author), who faces tough wartime circumstances in the Middle East. Because of its more serious nature, this graphic novel is best suited for more mature readers—and, after they’re finished, they’ll hopefully be inspired to become more active in their own society. This is another gift that might be available in your local bookstore, so check there first to see if it’s in stock. And while you’re out shopping, pick up a DVD of the film version, too. The Oscar-nominated animated film, directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, is every bit as delightful as the graphic novel.
Before you finish up any last-minute holiday shopping, be sure to check out the rest of the UltraViolet gift guide for some truly amazing (and meaningful) gift ideas. And if you do decide to purchase anything from the list, we’d love to know what caught your eye!