Now that we’re adults, we get utilitarian presents for Christmas. Nice sweaters because it’s cold. Cooking gadgets that help you open wine bottles more easily. Maybe a pair of slacks. After people have finished opening their gifts on Christmas morning, they’re pretty much done.
Not so when we were kids. Christmas morning would be only the beginning, and the rest of the day would be filled with completing the activity from the gift that you had just unwrapped. Those were really the gifts that kept on giving—the gifts of kits for kids. I know that I always got presents that involved some sort of activity, whether it was science or cooking or archeology.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane once again and revisit some of the best kid activity kits:
Easy Bake Oven. The Easy Bake Oven was a favorite with little girls since the 1960’s. Yes, I know it was probably first created to turn little girls into great housewives, but it was still lots of fun. The little pans, the pre-made mixes and the first cookies and cakes that I cooked were not indicative of the terrible chef I would be today; instead, they were pretty tasty, if I recall.
Doodle Bear. I got a Doodle Bear for my eighth birthday, and I loved that thing long after I lost the replaceable markers and started drawing on the toy with Sharpies. The premise of the Doodle Bear was simple: a little plush bear came with washable markers so you could decorate him to your heart’s content, and throw him in the wash when you ran out of room.
Archaeology Dig Kits. These came in all kinds of variations, from the one that I had of a pyramid, to some of dinosaur skeletons, to miniature buried treasure. The kit would come with your surprise buried in some dirt/clay-like substance and tools that you’d have to use to dig your find out. It was always very exciting, even though you’d come across something pretty easily, and could just crack it out with your fingers.
Edible Slime Kit. This kit was ostensibly about science, but kids really wanted it because Nickelodeon showed slime every two seconds on all of its shows. With this kit, kids could make (usually green) edible slime, and gross out their parents and friends by taking a bit of it.
Friendship Bracelet Kits. This is pretty self-explanatory, but I wish I could find this book again. It gave some patterns for some pretty sweet bracelets that I’d like to put on my wrist right now.