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Holiday gift guide: Presents to delight children of all ages

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Gear for the A-Team

This military-themed baby carrier from Mission Critical outranks the competition — especially among fathers of infants weighing 8 to 35 pounds. In this carrier, baby can face towards dad or face out and enjoy reconnaissance of the great outdoors. The carrier also has a removable, washable liner and a sun shield. Available in three colors — coyote (pictured), black, or gray — this carrier deserves a medal for style meeting function. Mission Critical baby carrier, $179, www.MissionCritical.cc.

‘That’s What I Like’

“The Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Bruno Mars” album is the perfect stocking stuffer — or shower gift — for expectant parents. Soothing instrumental versions of Mars’s hit songs — “Uptown Funk,” “24K Magic,” “That’s What I Like,” “Locked Out of Heaven” and much more — are a balm for the soul during those long, early morning hours when baby’s awake and mom’s feeling blue. “Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Bruno Mars” audio CD, $16.98, www.rockabyebabymusic.com.

Multitasking monitor

For newborn babies to 10-year-olds, Urban Hello’s money- and space-saving Remi baby monitor actually serves a multitude of functions. With the help of its smartphone app, it’s a baby monitor, sleep tracker, sleep trainer, alarm clock, music player, and sweet nightlight. Ooh la la, we love its French design! Remi baby monitor by Urban Hello, $99.99, www.amazon.com.

The eyes have it

The Kid K’Nex Budding Builders Tub building set includes 100 pieces — including googly eyes — to create dozens of creations. Exercising the imaginations and fine motor skills of kids ages 3 and older, the colorful, interlocking K’nex pieces can later be stored in its sturdy container for easy cleanup. Kid K’Nex Budding Builders Tub building set, $39.95, www.barnesandnoble.com.

Eggciting minis

The Spin Master Hatchimals craze continues this holiday season. These Colleggtibles are an affordable, stocking-size alternative to pricey, full-size Hatchimals Hatching Eggs. First, kids — ages 5 and older — rub the heart on the speckled shell until the color changes, then they press on the shell to hatch the adorable, colorful, inch-high winged creature inside. Choose from seven collections: Cloud Cove, Giggle Grove, Meadow, Farm, Lilac Lake, Jungle, or Savannah. Hatchimals Colleggtibles 4 pack + Bonus by Spin Master, $9.99, www.target.com.

Purple reign

Show that kid ages 2 and older how beary much you care with a limited edition Rainbow Heart Care Bear, created in honor of the 35th anniversary of these furry fellas. This deep purple edition has a pelt flecked with silver and a sparkling rainbow heart on his belly. And its rainbow just may have a pot of gold on the other side: The packaging invites kids ages 12 and younger to draw and submit their design for the next Care Bear for a chance to win $3,500! Rainbow Heart Care Bear, $24.84, www.walmart.com.

Finish first

You couldn’t miss fans of the Entertainment One TV series “PJ Masks” sporting their costumes on Halloween. Now these devotees of the nocturnal pals Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko can enjoy the racecar play set of their dreams. In this set, the Night Ninja bus and Catboy in his Cat-Car zoom along the roadway, dodge pop-up Luna Girl, drive under the bridge, and burst through the museum. Kids set the vehicles in motion with one of two built-in launchers. PJ Masks Rival Racers Track Playset, $39.99, www.toysrus.com.

Doodle and design

With the new Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer kit, kids ages 3 to 8 use a dozen dry erase markers to color 51 sturdy, cardboard flashcards featuring home furnishings, walls, and floors. Next, they take a picture of their illustrated flashcard with the app, and their illustrations are imported into their digital playhouse! They can also decorate the clothing of eight characters, including Dr. Panda. Dr Panda Plus Home Designer, $39.99, www.amazon.com.

Feline fine

Fur Real Roarin’ Tyler is a wide-eyed tiger that responds to a child’s voice and touch with more than 100 sound and motion combinations. Tots won’t be able to resist letting this cat out of the (gift) bag, so it can be hugged and cuddled! Tyler comes with a squeaking chicken toy that he also reacts to. For kids ages 4 and older, this battery-operated, tail swishing, ear twitching critter promises to captivate. Fur Real Roarin’ Tyler the Playful Tiger, $94.99, www.Target.com.

Faux fun

Sweetlings’ Frost-A-Friend by Alex Toys includes everything your little pastry chef — ages 6 and older — needs to frost and decorate a cupcake, but without the sugar! In fact, this stocking-stuffer is not edible at all. In lieu of frosting, it includes a tube of whipped clay, a star tip (for professional-looking results), and a plastic cupcake base. After it’s frosted, shower Her Majestling with glitter, and use the included tweezers to embellish her with stickers, plastic sprinkles, and, of course, accessories such as a wand, crown, or collar. When the frosting dries, kids can play with their new friend. For more frosting fun, check out the Sweetlings Sprinkle Shop ($24.99). Sweetlings Frost-A-Friend HER MAJESTling by Alex Toys, $9.99, www.target.com.

That’s the ‘Spirit’

Out of the pages of the historical fiction novel “Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins,” by Suzanne Selfors (Little Brown and Company), comes this doll and horse set. Inspired by the book’s 12-year-old character, Lucky Prescott, and her horse Spirit — which also spawned a series that streams on Netflix, the set includes four carrots that the animal “eats” with battery-operated, whinnying gusto. (Additional accessories include a bucket, canteen, horse blanket, and an excerpt from the book.) Recommended for kids ages 3 and older that adore horses, the Wild West, and irrepressible heroines. DreamWorks Spirit & Lucky Deluxe Feeding Set, $49.99, www.toysrus.com.

For the armchair traveler

Savvy city kids will enjoy exploring the pages of “50 Cities of the U.S.A.” written by Brooklyn author Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero. It stands out for more than just its impressive size (13.4 inches by 11 inches). It’s a densely illustrated book of fun facts that kids of all ages will enjoy poring over for hours. Especially recommended for children in grades 2 to 5, it includes information about our nation’s great cities — from Boston, Massachusetts to Honolulu, Hawaii — as well as sidebars with family-friendly itineraries for how to spend your time in each location. “50 Cities of the U.S.A.” hardcover book by Gabrielle Balkan (Wide Eyed Editions), $30, www.thriftbooks.com.

Expecto the entree

Inspired by the wildly popular Harry Potter series of books and films, here is a set of ceramic dishes that will dazzle wizards and muggles alike at your next special meal. Each of the four place settings (which includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and 12-ounce cup) features the emblem of one of the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Kids will race to the table to claim the setting featuring their favorite house! The plates and bowls are edged with J.K. Rowling’s couplet for each house. For example, “You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.” All that remains is toasting the new year with a frothy butterbeer. Harry Potter Hogwarts House 16 Piece Dinner Set, $99.99, www.thinkgeek.com.

Posted 12:35 pm, December 1, 2017
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