Are you looking for gift ideas for the creative child or young adult in your life? I’ve put together a list of items that I think would make fabulous presents for anyone with a free spirit and a creative heart. How did I decide what to include on the list? I asked this kid right here:
That’s me when I was about 3 years old. My inner child is still hanging around, so it was easy to make a list by including things I loved as a child, things I still use today (even though I’m technically an adult), and some things I’ve got my eye on for the future!
If you want your gift ideas rapid-fire, I’ve made an Amazon idea list of them. But I’ve also listed the items here, along with my own reviews, details, or explanations of why I’ve chosen them. The links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from any purchase, which helps support this site. I hope this post gives you some new ideas and inspiration to make the creative kid in your life happy!
3 to 6 Year Olds:
I have incredibly vivid memories of using paint-with-water books when I was a kid. I loved them! They were like magic to me, and I’m sure my mother loved the fact that they don’t make a mess, because you only use water on your paintbrush. They let me practice holding a brush, and staying inside the lines. I’m really glad to see that they are still available!
These play mats are another mess-free paint-with-water item, but they are reusable. When the water evaporates, the mat changes back to plain white and it can be drawn on all over again!
I confess that I still sometimes play with a set of magnetic gears. They are also great for kids though, lol. They go on the refrigerator, and interlock in many different configurations. They are fun to rearrange and rotate, and in the process they help kids practice coordination and motor skills.
Kids always wish they could color on the walls, right? Now they can… on the walls of their own little house, that is! These fun cardboard playhouses come in several different styles, and are ready to decorate with crayons, stickers, or even streamers and other craft supplies. There’s plenty of room inside for a toddler or two to play and color.
The last item I’m recommending for this age group is a 5-in-1 musical toy. I’ve been drawn to music for as long as I can remember, and I loved instruments even when I was tiny. A combo toy like this gives kiddos a chance to try out different musical skills.
6 to 10 Year Olds
Who doesn’t love Rube Goldberg and his crazy contraptions? This book is all about Rube and his hilariously overcomplicated ideas for doing simple tasks. Kids will love the biography and imaginative cartoons.
These plastic beads look plain at first, but when you take them outside, they change into different bright colors. And they also glow in the dark! I still have UV-changing and glow beads in my jewelry-making supplies, and kids think they’re magic. You might also want to get a roll of my favorite stretchy beading cord to go with them.
I had two books by Klutz Press when I was a kid, and they were both huge favorites of mine. This book comes with all the parts you need to build 16 different contraptions. I kind of wish I was a kid again now!
Hair chalk is another item that I still use. It’s a fantastic way to give yourself a fun, temporary burst of color in your hair.
I put hair chalk in my hair when I was helping out at a kids’ camp, and I loved the look! It washes out when you’re ready for it to go.
I had a building set when I was little, and I made so many things with it! The possibilities were pretty much limitless, and it was so empowering to dream something up, and then bring it to life. I still feel that way about making things today, even though my methods and materials have changed a bit since then! This set even includes a motor that kids can use to power their creations.
You can also add on to your set if you want to make larger and more complex contraptions. I love seeing some of the wild things people can make with this kind of toy, like the kinetic ball machine in the video above.
10 to 14 Year Olds:
This awesome kit lets you draw your own comic book, send it off in the mail, and receive a professionally printed comic book featuring your own story and artwork! I actually bought one of these kits, but I’m not through drawing it yet. I thought it was a great idea and I couldn’t resist getting one for myself! I also spotted this kids’ guide to creating your own graphic novel, which would make a nice additional gift to provide some pointers and kick-start a few ideas.
I’m kind of laughing as I realize that I still use so many of the items on this list. I adore temporary tattoos, but here are a couple of fun ways to design your own! The glitter tattoo kit comes with stencils, or you can freehand a design. I’ve used my kit over and over to make fun glittery tattoos that last a surprisingly long time.
The other temporary tattoo option is one I haven’t tried yet, but it’s on my wish list. It’s temporary tattoo paper that goes in your printer! If you can print it, you can turn it into a tattoo, so try making tattoos featuring your own digital artwork, searching for free clipart on the internet, or using your favorite photos. It works with inkjet or laser printers, and I think it would be an amazing activity for a slumber party, just for fun, or even making custom accents for Halloween or a cosplay event.
I had a microscope when I was a kid, and I still remember how amazed I was looking at hair, fingernails, butterfly wings… pretty much everything is fascinating when it’s viewed up close. This microscope plugs into a USB port, so you can see your findings up close on your computer screen.
This assortment of beads is sure to kick-start anyone’s creativity. Kids can mix and match colors, create necklaces or bracelets for their friends, and practice honing their eye for design. You may also want to pick up a roll of my favorite stretchy beading cord to go with them!
One of my very favorite gifts that I got when I was about 12 was a keyboard like this. It displays notes on the screen, and the keys light up to help you become familiar with the notes. I played with mine for YEARS, and the built-in teaching modes gave me a kid-friendly musical foundation that I’ve carried with me (and built on) ever since. Fast forward to now, and I still adore music. I occasionally play keyboard and guitar for church.
Guys, I have a Kumi Kreator of my own. Yes, I’m positive that I’m an adult. It’s a braiding machine that makes friendship bracelets and necklaces, and I think it’s mesmerizing.
You can make different designs, depending on which slots you load with cord and what colors you use. It comes with 60 spools of cord and some easy-to-use clasps, but if you need more cord you can get refill kits.
I just had to include a fashion design sketchbook on the list! This one makes the basics of designing easy for beginners, because it comes with stencils, a color wheel, and some hints for drawing proportionately.
14 to 19 Year Olds:
These laser-cut wood kits look so cool! They’re like half puzzle and half sculpture. They come in many different styles, including marble roller coasters (like the one above), trains, animal models, rubber band guns, and music boxes, so I’m sure you’ll find something to make your young friend happy. Some of them work with a hand crank, some have motors, and some even have solar panels that power them! I think they look very steampunk, and sophisticated enough for any age. I kinda want one of my own!
This kit lets you decorate your own mug with the included pen. Set the design in the oven for 20 minutes, and the artwork becomes permanent. The mug comes in black and clear colors, and I’m thinking of getting one for myself!
I was about 12 when I first learned how to use a sewing machine. I started with my mother’s vintage machine, and when I ran that into the ground, my parents bought me a sewing machine like this one. These days I’m still all about the fashion design, and I love thinking back to the early days when I was a kid using my mom’s vintage machine on the kitchen table.
One reason I’m recommending this particular machine is because it comes with an instructional DVD. So if your creative kiddo likes to learn by observing, the DVD should make it easy to pick up on the basics of threading and using the machine. If they need some ideas for their first few projects, I have quite a few sewing tutorials posted (including some very beginner-friendly ones like DIY fabric flowers and my bath mat made out of T-shirts). You can also check out allfreesewing.com, which has a lot of tutorials for basic techniques as well as more advanced patterns and instructions.
I also have foam clay in my studio. You can use it to mold just about anything, and it air-dries to a lightweight and durable foam. Shape it with your hands, use a mold, or even sand your finished project to fine-tune the details. Use it to make Halloween accents, sculptures, cosplay accessories, handle and tool grips, or just about anything else you can dream up! It is soft, like silly putty, so be aware that it will slump and slouch if you try to make a sculpture with no support. It comes in a few basic colors, but the finished project can be painted any color you’d like.
The jewelry-making products that I recommended for younger children all used stretchy beading cord, but older kids are ready for a serious jewelry-making kit! This one has everything teens need to get started making professional-quality earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They can accessorize their own outfits, make items as gifts, or even sell jewelry at craft fairs. The 4-layer organizing box comes with a large array of hardware, tools, clasps, beads, and charms. (Over 2,000 pieces in total!)
I use my Dremel rotary tool for all kinds of things: shaping, etching, carving, polishing, sanding, cutting, and more. This set includes a bunch of different attachments which will be infinitely useful for any older teen who can use tools (and safety glasses!) responsibly. I use mine often when I’m working with wood, metal, or other raw materials.
This decorate-your-own water bottle kit would be great to encourage younger kids to drink more water, and I really think they’re cool enough for a grown-up, too! The BPA-free bottles come with rhinestones to customize the bottles any way you like, and they even have a carabiner for clipping to a backpack or purse.
Instamorph is another product that I currently have in my studio. It’s moldable plastic that comes in pellet form and melts at a low temperature. You put the pellets in warm water, and when they have softened, you can mold and shape the plastic into custom parts. The possibilities are endless, and you can re-melt and re-shape the same material if you want to! Try using it to make customized cosplay accessories, board game pieces, unique beads and pendants, stencils, stands and brackets, models/miniatures, keychain fobs, zipper pulls, or a thousand other things!
The last thing on my gift guide are these diamond painting kits. The technique is similar to a paint by number, but instead of paint you’re using colored rhinestones to create a stunning, sparkly picture. I particularly like the beach scene and the lovely dandelions, but diamond painting kits come in so many styles, you’re sure to find something that’s a perfect fit for your creative kid. You can even make your own customized diamond painting kit by uploading one of your own photos, and making a kit that’s one of a kind!
So there you have it, my gift guide for creative kids and teens. I hope you have some great new ideas for gifts that will make your young friend’s day, and if you have any other ideas or gifts that you loved as a kid, be sure to drop them in the comments section; I’d love to see them!