Radica 20Q Artificial Intelligence Game

I played with an earlier version of this game, before giving it away as a birthday gift for my niece, and almost couldn’t part with it.

It’s a simple game. You think of something. It tries to guess what you’re thinking by asking questions. The astounding thing is just how well it’s able to guess correctly. You can think of an animal or an object or just about anything, and usually it’ll read your mind in 20 questions. You may have played the game before with friends, but having a machine to beat (or more likely, lose to) is even more fun.

This is a good car toy. It’s small and fun for all ages. For younger kids, it’s a learning experience as they will have to answer questions about what they picked out. It encourages abstract thinking and might even pique their interest in computer science.

Nebula Plasma Ball (Thunderball) Light

Rhode Island Novelty Thunder Ball, 8" Diameter
Here’s a cool gift idea for a kid who’s grown out of the “toys” stage. I say that as I think about myself in my early teen years. I used to visit a science store in the mall that had a plasma ball. It was really nifty and quite expensive. You touch it and the bolts of light inside move to your hand. It looks like lightning! You can even feel the energy inside and play with it.

It was mesmerizing! Amazon also has a “thunder ball” which is similar but has a mode that responds to loud sounds.

I’ve been reading the reviews on these, and it’s a paradox. The positive reviews gush with praise. The negative reviews are negative because it breaks. So it is a bit risky, but I don’t know where you can buy one that’s guaranteed to have a long lifespan. But nonetheless this “retro” science plasma light globe thing is so cool that I’d be amiss not to recommend it as something that just may delight the whole family.

An Easel and Painting Supplies for a Tomboy Artist

Royal Watercolor Painting Easel Artist Set

Does she love drawing and painting? An easel is a great idea for any girl who wants to be an artist one day.

There are many types of easels you can buy, including adjustable height ones for toddlers through school age, to adult ones for older kids and teenagers. When choosing an easel, consider the available space in her house, as well as how tall she is so that you get one that’s the right size for her. If space is an issue, you may consider buying a table top easel. I like this watercolor kit because it includes everything a beginner painter might need: an easel, brushes, paper, palette, and tubes of watercolor paints.

However, if you think she would like to paint outdoor scenes, then you probably want to get a stand up easel that can handle uneven ground, like the Pro Art French Box Easel.

For young kids, try an indoor easel that also has a chalkboard and dry erase board. That way they can enjoy it even if you run out of paper. Two kids can use it at a time, and this Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel has three adjustable heights and adjustable trays for holding paint and supplies. The chalkboard is great for playing teacher too. My sister and I loved to “teach” our dolls…. although being a tomboy, they were really all her dolls. Tomboys don’t play with dolls! I preferred to teach her but that didn’t work out as well 🙂

La Crosse Technology WS-9611U-IT Wireless Sun/Moon Forecast Station with Oscar Outlook


I am getting excited reading the description of this weather station! I never had an “Oscar” weather station when I was a kid. (Oscar is the name of the boy who dresses each day to show you what to wear.) BUT, my parents always had a thermometer outside the window, and I became interested in weather at a very young age.

I remember that in elementary school (maybe first grade?) we had to keep a weather journal for awhile and that involved watching the forecast on TV every morning. Later, I kept a weather diary for myself and in addition to keeping track of the weather, I wrote about the first signs of Spring and about hurricanes hitting Florida, where my grandparents lived.

Well, let’s go back to talking about this Oscar weather station.. It’s pretty full-featured. It has a forecast prediction based on barometer readings, sunrise and sunset times, moon phases, and indoor and outdoor temperatures. Now, like most weather stations that use barometer readings for prediction, it will not be right all of the time but this can be a fun topic of conversation. You can teach her to look outside at the clouds and try to figure out if Oscar is correct about the day’s weather. This is definitely an educational gift idea that would be perfect for kindergartners and older.

Canon PowerShot D20 12.1 MP Underwater Camera

Is the beach in your summer plans? Or maybe a trip to the water park? Here’s a one-of-a-kind camera. This camera can take pictures under the water. I would have loved this as a kid. I could have taken photos while swimming in my pond!

This is the perfect creative gift for any age. It is also shockproof, so I think it would be a great camera for young kids because it’s designed to withstand drops and bumps. A camera that takes high quality photos will be appreciated for much longer than a cheap camera designed only for kids. This is a great way to start her interest in photography.

Check out the sample photos to see what you can do with it!

Koss PortaPro Headphones

Here’s a set of tomboy headphones for her! Worn by tomboys all over the world, these have terrific sound and are sturdy enough to last many years.

On a serious note, these do have over 2000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating. I own these and would recommend them to anyone who loves music. Music has been my escape away from the world many times. These headphones fold-up into a small, lightweight package and they have a good sound stage and reproduce music pretty accurately. The sound quality easily competes with many $100+ headphones.

These also are great for listening to audiobooks, recorded lectures, cat videos, and more. That makes them a good going away to college gift as well.

My personal reasons for liking these are probably different from why she’ll like them. But, for me, it’s more than that they just sound good. I also don’t like stuff in my ear, so earphones are out of the question. I usually wear these when I take walks or clean the house, and whenever I travel I use these to listen to music before going to sleep. These are open, so I can still hear traffic or if someone starts to talk to me. They are also very comfortable, and I can wear them under a hat in the colder months. If I want to watch TV or play a video game without disturbing everyone, these can also hook up to my home stereo system. Once again, I can hear what’s in the headphones and what’s outside of them. Truthfully, these would be great for parents as well because they could hear if their child was calling to them. They are so versatile, that they may be the right tech accessory for many people on your list this year.

Portable Panda Speakers

Does she have a tablet, laptop, smartphone, or MP3 player? Would she enjoy a cute speaker system she can hook it up to?

This super compatible and super cute panda is a well designed tech gift idea that’s under $20. If she loves watching online videos with friends, then this will really heighten her experience. This panda will be the center of the party! Its ears are touch sensitive up and down volume controls and its nose will light up when turned on.

It works with Apple and Android devices, so it’s a perfect match for an iPod, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy phones and more.

Lots of fun for that social butterfly or movie watcher! So often tablets and laptops just aren’t loud enough…

BePuzzled Hanayama Cast Metal Brainteaser Puzzles

Have you seen any of these metal puzzles before? Somewhere I came across a few, and trying to disentangle two metal objects was sure a memorable experience.

For adults and children, this is a fun toy that doesn’t break the bank. As kids get older, it can become harder to find an affordable, high-quality gift that they’ll truly enjoy. While today’s teens love tech gadgets, they often come at a steep price.

Here’s something that they can spend hours playing with and challenging their friends with. This particular one takes somewhere between 12-25 steps to solve, and if you put it together backwards, it’s a whole new puzzle!

The real challenge here for you is to figure out which one(s) to buy. They do have reviews and levels, but no age suggestions. I selected the one with the most reviews… maybe you have a better sorting method?

Aspects Window Cafe Hopper Birdfeeder

Entertainment value for money spent makes this bird feeder the best thing I’ve bought in a long time. It costs about $20, and it can easily provide year round entertainment. I have chickadees and house finches visiting this feeder every day. It only took a week for them to find it (Chickadees are curious birds!). I’m sure my younger self would have loved this. We had a bird feeder outsite but having your own window feeder in your room is so cool that I recommend this as a gift idea for every child and teenager who loves animals. You get to see the birds so upclose that you can almost count their feathers.

House Finch at My Aspects Window Cafe Hopper Bird Feeder
I have been getting a lot of House Finches. A few of the female ones look sick. There is apparently a pox and eye conjunctivitis that effects house finches. This one wasn’t scared of me, so I was able to get close to photograph her.

A few considerations before purchasing as a gift:

– This needs to be placed on a window that doesn’t have a screen.
– Placing it on a window near a tree or bush might help the birds find it.
– Place it higher than 3 feet off the ground and 3 feet from a tree so that squirrels can’t jump up to it.
– Consider buying a bag of seed so they can start feeding the birds right away. Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite among most backyard birds.

Another similar idea is a window hummingbird feeder. If it’s summertime or if you live in an area that has year-round hummingbirds (here in Western Washington, we have Anna Hummingbirds all year round!), then this is a cool gift idea that creates less mess than a birdfeeder. No shells to clean up!

The hummingbirds actually come and stand on this feeder and will stay long enough to photograph! Click here for photos of these tiny birds visiting.

Pop Up Tent

This pop-up tent helped my 14 year old self enjoy going on camping trips with my family. It’s a single-person tent that’s super easy to store and use. It folds up almost flat for easy storage. When you want to use it, you just unhook the straps, and it “pops” to full size.

Older kids and teens always want privacy, and this is great for that reason. It’s small enough that it can be used next to a large family tent at a campsite.

I used this tent to camp out in my backyard and also at camp sites all across the country. It was a nice way to get some time alone and I enjoyed the peace and quiet… Although once I got scared by creepy crawly sounds outside!

A good “toy” for kids who are too old for toys. Good idea for any tomboy who likes outdoor adventures, or is part of a family who goes on camping trips.