It's really all about the kids this time of year. And we couldn't be more excited about our roundup of trendy, creative and fun gift ideas for the young people we love. Your gift will be watching their little faces light up when they see their cool presents. Happy Holidays!
Reporting by Mariela Rosario, Chris Hermosilla and Shani Saxon-Parrish
1. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Toddler
The Bundle of Joy:
It's so important for our babies to learn through their play. These toys will provide hours of fun while teaching little ones how to be creative and improve their motor skills. We're obsessed with the U-Mat ($49). The unique shape allows babies to sit inside the opening of the U, giving them access to the mat's 15 pockets containing theme-based cards. It's an amazing and innovative way to engage a child, and it comes in both English and Spanish versions.
And anyone with a baby knows that they're usually more interested in playing with your "toys" than their own. In other words, your cell phone is way more exciting than the brightly colored piece of plastic you just dropped a fortune on to keep them occupied, right? That's why the LeapFrog Text & Learn ($21.99) is so genius. You child can text with their puppy pal Scout, all while practicing letter matching and shape recognition. Now you both can handle your business in peace. We also can't get enough of the Crayola Glow Station ($17.98). It allows your little one to use a light wand and stencils to make glow-in-the-dark masterpieces.
2. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Books
The Little Librarian:
Every child requires a great bedtime story. Here's our roundup of the year's best Latino-themed and Spanish language kids books:
Where the Wild Things Are/ Donde Viven Los Monstruos (Spanish Edition) by Maurice Sendak
Fans of this classic children's book, recently made into an excellent film by Spike Jonez, will love the Spanish translation.
Arco iris de poesía: Poemas de las Américas y España by Sergio Andricain, Olga Cuellar
A collection of poems from some of Latin America's greatest writers. The poems are short and cover a variety of topics that children can relate to—a great literary introduction for the little ones.
Animal Poems of the Iguazu/Animalario del Iguazu by Francisco Alarcon
This beautifully illustrated book brings the animals of the Amazon to life for your kids.
El mejor regalo del mundo: La Leyenda De La Vieja Belen / The Best Gift of All: The Legend of La Vieja Belen (Bilingual Edition) by Julia Alvarez
This bilingual picture book from one of our favorite Latina authors is an original story about the Dominican folk character who delivers toys to poor children after Three Kings Day.
Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales
This book by award winning children's author and illustrator Yuyi Morales is a must have for anyone teaching their children the Spanish alphabet.
3. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Hamsters
The Trendy Tot:
Zhu Zhu Pets are this year’s Hot Christmas Gift for children under 10. These unassuming little electronic hamsters each have their own personalities; they can either be cuddly stuffed animals that purr when you pet them, or they can explore their surroundings by crawling and dancing on the floor if you put them down. There are four in all, along with matching hamster wheels, cars, tunnels, playsets and more—but they’ve rapidly gone from simple, inexpensive toys into the superstar, Furby–Cabbage Patch Doll–Beanie Baby category, so you might have a hard time finding one. Though if all else fails: eBay! Hamsters start at $10, playsets at $12 on Toys R Us (though all out of stock!).
4. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Glee girl
The Girly Girl:
To watch an episode of Fox's sensational new show Glee is to love it. So give your resident Rachel the gift of music with Glee: The Music, Volume 1 ($9.99), featuring the hits "Don't Stop Believing" and "Bust a Move," as performed by the cast of the show, of course! Throw in this über-complete My First Makeup Kit Deluxe Sampler ($89), which includes a ton of goodies from the brands you've grown to know and love, and your teen queen will be ready for her own spotlight in no time.
5. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Gamer
The Game Junkie:
The Xbox 360 ($299.00) offers plenty of great action, racing and role-playing games. You can also rent movies and TV shows, watch NetFlix streaming video, play your own music, listen to Internet radio via Last.fm, check Xbox-customized versions of Facebook and Twitter. Online play is a huge focus, and the kids can get together with friends and family for group fun. The Xbox 360 Elite bundle comes with a larger hard drive and two games, Pure and LEGO Batman. In addition, two of the hottest games for this holiday season are Forza Motorsport 3 ($50), an amazingly realistic racing game with dozens of exotic real-world cars to race and tune up, and Lips: Number One Hits ($53.99), a fun, party-ready karaoke game that comes with a wireless microphone and more than 40 songs from the top of the radio charts in pop, rock and R&B. Another super hot game this season is DJ Hero ($89.99).Your game lover will have a blast learning how to rock the turtables and get the party started.
6. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Twilighter
If your teen is totally Team Edward and just too cool for the human set, she'll appreciate something from this killer Vampire-inspired jewelry line from Demitasse Jewelry. The rosary necklace ($115) is delicate, cold and absolutely beautiful—just like our favorite vampire. And whether she has read the books or not, every Twilight-obsessed teen should have a box set of her favorite series. Chances are she'll want to read the Twilight Saga Collection ($44.99) over and over and over.
7. 2009 Gift Guide Kids - Skater
The Sk8er Boy:
Do you know a kid who spends more of his time on four wheels than on his own two feet? If the answer is yes then we have the perfect gifts for him! First off, hook him up with the new Tony Hawk video game, The Ride ($119.99), featuring a motion-sensitive skateboard, which will give him the chance to get in some practice without having to leave the living room. Top it off with this cool Dunny Patch Plaid Hoodie ($140) from trendier-than-thou brand Kid Robot and your little man will be riding in style.