Christmas gift guide for kids and teens – & donating to charity gift appeals

If you're at home this month, why not take this time to get organised and start your Christmas shopping? My gift guide focuses on activity-based presents for kids and teens. I hope you'll find some inspiration for your own festive shopping right here...

Some items have been gifted

If you’re at home this month, why not take this time to get organised and start your Christmas shopping? You don’t need to rely on the big companies online, as you might still be able to shop with your local shops via mail order. Give them a ring or check their websites for updates on how you can shop with them. For example, if you want to order a book, you can go to to find local book retailers who will get sales commission on the books your order.

Today’s gift guide is focusing on presents for kids and teens – specifically activity-based presents, such as building kits and educational sets, and eco-friendly gifts, such as non-toxic wooden toys. I hope you’ll find some inspiration for your own festive shopping right here.

While I only have a handful of children to buy for in my own family, I really enjoy shopping for gifts to support our local family charity gift appeal. There are many youngsters out there who may not receive any presents this year so I always donate as many gifts as I can to The Benjamin Foundation. This year, you can post any gifts to them, ready for the charity to distribute to families over Christmas, or make a donation instead of sending a physical gift.

To make this even easier, Thumbs Up has teamed up with The Salvation Armyand Great Ormond Street Hospital to create The 2020 Charity Gifting Appeal. A small donation of just £5 allows Thumbs Up to send an amazing gift package worth £30 to teenagers and adults who might not otherwise receive a gift this year.

Here are some ideas for creative, scientific and fun gifts for kids and teens this Christmas…


Science project kits from KidzLabz are both educational and fun. I chose a Volcano making kit, which allows youngsters to build, paint and erupt their own volcano. I would have thought that was really cool when I was a kid! The instructions are easy to follow and it’s packed with facts about volcanoes too, so it’s thoroughly educational.

This Magnetcubes CoasterCubes building set is a STEM kit from and can be ordered online. It allows you to create a gravity-fed rollercoaster for marbles in any configuration you like. It contains small parts so the recommended age for this kit is 8+ years but I don’t think there will be an upper age limit – I know many people in their 30s who would love this!


Geomag is one of my favourite gifts to buy my nieces and nephews because it can be constructed in countless different ways. Plus, it allows kids to explore the forces of magnetism and the Geomag Classic Panels kit also contains 100% recycled plastic panels to make structures more sturdy and stable. Likewise, the Mechanics range allow you to build constructions which prose a challenge, such as ‘get the ball rolling’ with magnetic motion and gravity.

Ever wanted to build your own electric stunt buggy when you were a kid? For under £10, this kit from PrezzyBox is a bargain and is easy to assemble for kids from the age of 8+. There’s no glue and no mess and, once constructed, it spins and pulls wheelies – how cool is that?


Since it recently started broadcasting on Channel 4, I’ve become hooked on Taskmaster and have been watching past series. So when I discovered that there’s a Taskmaster game, I knew that would be a great gift for families to enjoy together. You need a minimum of three people to play and it’s full of fun challenges – I reckon it would provied a whole afternoon of entertainment.

Another game for all the family is Beat That! It’s a game full of quick challenges that take 2 minutes to learn and provide hours of fun. It can be played by kids and adults alike and there are 160 bonkers challenges in the box, so it’ll keep your family entertained for years to come.

If you like fast-paced card-matching game Dobble, you’ll love the Emoji Action game. It’s a race to get rid of your cards and can be played with just two players (or the whole family), plus it packs away into a small tin so it’s easy to store.


Do you remember doing junk modelling when you were a kid? Well, nowadays, there are DIY kits for that! This Junk Yard Drummer Robot kit teaches the value of recycling while being a rather cool, technical building robot building kit. When constructed it can create music by ‘drumming’ on waste items such as tins and packaging.


Is magic a skill? I think so! Anything where youngsters have to master a technique sounds educational to me and this Marvin’s Magic kit lets them learn new tricks such as the vanishing rabbit illusion, escaping blocks, rising cards and much more. It’s presented in a lovely wooden box and makes a traditional gift for cool kids aged 6+ years.


And while we’re on talking about the wooden magic box, let’s look at wooden games. Don’t Tip The Waiter from Kikkerland is a balancing game with a difference: it’s made from beech wood. I much prefer this kind of wooden game to plastic toys and it’s one that most ages can play together – it’s simply a case of stacking the wooden cups, plates, bottles and bowls onto the waiter before it topples over.

What do you think of this selection of educational games and activities? I hope this gift guide has given you some ideas for your own festive shopping if you’ve got youngsters in the family. Please let me know your own ideas for STEM kits or lovely wooden toys in the comments below.

These toys are all being packaged up and sent off to The Benjamin Foundation’s Christmas gift appeal this week, along with some smellies gift sets for the older age groups that the charity helps too. It makes me so happy to support such a wonderful cause and I hope you’ll consider sending them a small donation too.

Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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