Ask the Pros: Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids!

Cover image for Ask the Pros Series Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids with Eve and Lauren

Ask the Pros: Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids!

Transcript with links (plus links to items we didn’t cover) to follow:

A few things to note —

We linked to Amazon because it’s easier for everyone to find, but we highly recommend shopping through your local mom and pop toy and bookstores! We fully support shopping local and sustainable.

Also we didn’t give full titles with author names – not because we don’t respect the authors and the great work they do, but just to keep the text more simple. Thanks for understanding.

Lauren: All right, everyone. It’s Lauren with Let Me Organize It, here with my friend Eve, who is a teacher. We are back with the Ask the Pros Series and we’re talking to you about holiday gifts. The reason why I look so big up in this corner, and she looks this small back there is because we are socially distancing by six feet, but we wanted to make sure that you could see both of us. And hopefully you can hear both of us as well. So, you know how 2020 has been, we had every intention of doing this live and unfortunately, we’re having some technical difficulties with the WiFi and getting loaded. So we, that sounded bad, but getting the videos loaded, we might be getting loaded on some wine later (laughing), but anyway, we’re coming to you because we had so much great information that we want to share with you. And we’ve been putting a lot of thought and prep into this. So we are going to make this happen.

If you watch this and then have questions that we couldn’t answer live, please post them in the comments or feel free to reach out to me and I will get answers for both Eve and myself. And we will also be able to then to post the links of some of the things we’re talking about. So with all of that out of the way, we are focusing today on gifts for kids. Now, of course, we’re doing this because the holidays are coming up, and that this is not just for Christmas. This is for any of your winter holidays that you celebrate, but we’re also hoping that these will be great gift ideas for the future, for graduation, for birthdays, for whatever. Eve has broken these down into very organized categories, which of course I love because — we talked about this last time — teachers are very organized and organizers love to teach. So we make a great pair!

[Eve in background: We have a lot in common!]

Lauren: So first things first, I think what we’re going to cover — you and I are both really big fans of giving books. So let’s talk about books first.

Eve: Definitely. So that’s one of the three categories and I have tons of things to share. And the first that I was mentioning to Lauren is we first need to address the fact that 2020 has been a very hard year. Especially for kids, they’re hitting it really hard. And we they’ve been going through a ton emotionally and we need to be sensitive to that. So touching on that area, I have several books I’d like to point out; I’ll get that started. This one I use at home with my own 8 and 11-year old, “Siblings: You’re Stuck with Each Other, So Let’s Stick Together.” You can read that if your children are butting heads right now, there are some great suggestions.

Lauren: I love that. I wish I’d had that one when I was younger. My siblings and I probably could have used that.

Eve: My brother and I, too. This, one’s a great one; it’s a box set [A Little Spot of Emotion Box Set]. So Lauren, if you show it, just make sure it doesn’t (fall out). So this one has eight books on: confidence, anger, love, sadness, anxiety, all those in here. They’re really good. They (authors) understand the kids. So that one, okay.

Lauren: I also love, I mean, I’m obviously a fan of rainbows anyway. I think it’s 80s Rainbow Brite. This is way before I got into organizing and way before the new organizer show. But I think that this is so great because I don’t remember kind of touching on feelings a lot with books. And I think that, you know, all of us are having issues with kind of mental health and understanding feelings. And so having a way to read about it and then talk about it with your kids is super important. I love this idea. And then you have another one.

Eve: I have a few. Yeah, the rug has really been pulled out from them. And so we’ve got to be supportive of that. This one I like, because going along with the sibling thing, this one is called “Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry.” And kids to know that. No matter…[Lauren interrupts]. It’s really cute. The title’s in the inside.

[other great books not shared on the video: How to Take the ACHE out of Mistakes and Sorry (Really Sorry)]

Lauren: Sorry, I was going to say… This is actually points out a really good lesson because a lot of times — I don’t know why this is what the publishing world does — but the kids hate the dust jacket covers and take them all off. I’m often asked what do I do with them then? Because a lot of people want to keep them. But anyway, so that just illustrates that point. That happens all the time. Sorry (laughing).

Eve: So “Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry” — It’s just remembering to apologize, and never too late for that. This one’s great, also “Breathe Like a Bear” calming down. There were some meditation ones in here.

[another great option not shared on the video: Mindful Kids – 50 Mindful Activities for Kindness, Focus and Calm]

Lauren: I wish, too, that, you know, that they had taught this when we were younger as well. Because I’m seeing a lot of these kids now, a lot of my friends have kids and I’m watching them talking about taking deep breaths in and taking deep breaths out, and calming down. And I mean, I can’t wait to see what the world turns into in 20-years with all of these kids who know about self-regulation and meditation, and feelings – and, oh my God, we’re in for a great world, I hope.

Eve: And another one that I just love, it got me all misty-eyed when I was reading this. This is called “The Magic is Inside You.”

[Lauren: Aww!]

Eve: And it’s just building confident children. And especially with, like I said, with things shaky right now. So that’s another suggestion. And I think those go through, I have all kinds of other books, Lauren, but just go through like the feelings ones.

Lauren: Emotions… Yeah, absolutely. I think that that’s brilliant! And it’s such a great way to kind of start the conversation with your kids about how they’re feeling and talk about that with them. Awesome, so what if your kids are not super into reading, is there still a way to get kids excited about reading that don’t necessarily like to read the chapter books or…

Eve: For sure! I’d say — and we talked about this before but — letting them try new things and kind of, you know, testing it out and really giving it a chance. Magazines are great gifts for any time of the year. When my kids get magazines they are like, thank you, Grandma! And so there’s tons of them. Sports Illustrated Kids, they would come once a month. They’ll love that. Girls World — I’ve checked it. It is appropriate for pre-teens. Animal Tales, T-A-L-E-S, very cute. And these have been around forever, right? The Highlights [magazines].

Lauren: I loved those! I had a Highlights subscription completely. And it’s so funny how nostalgic we get. Because my friend’s daughter has them and I was like more excited to do the Highlights that she was (laughing), so yeah…

Eve: Exactly!

Lauren: No, those are great ideas! Love magazines!

Eve: Non-fiction readers for my students. So my 7 and 8-year olds in this classroom, they’re usually “ehhhhh,” but … the National Geographic Kids series are really good. So they’re leveled — 1 obviously being the less complicated and then going all the way up to 4. So they really get, if you think they don’t like nonfiction, give these a try. And “The Who Was”, or “What Was” series is good. And then, Lauren you have one that.

Lauren: Yes. And I have to say, I can’t tell you how many times I have been organizing in a client’s home and run across those National Geographics. And what’s nice is, you know, you start off with those when they’re younger and then you grow into kind of the National Geographic for the adults. You know, it’s a great company, a great subscription. There’s a lot to learn from those.

But yes, Eve, I’m so glad you brought this up because one of my favorite books as a kid was the series, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” And there’s — it’s going be hard to see because of the white in the light, but there’s — so many of these. And I think they’re coming out with newer versions, which is really great. But what’s cool is, you get to literally choose how the story goes. Even this says, choose from 19 possible endings. So you don’t just read the story once! And just like adults, kids love being in control. So you get to be in control of the story and how it goes. And I just love that there’s now 19 different ways at least to read this story and have different endings. So that’s also a really fun way to get your kids involved and interested in reading.

If they still aren’t super into reading, figure out a way to bring in other interests. So if they’re super into, you know, jungle animals, why not read about those specifically? Not just looking at movies. If they’re into sports, have them read the stats from the newspaper or player bios or get a book on their favorite team. And then also graphic novels was another one we talked about where, you know, when you’re a kid you’re really focusing on these picture books and now we move into mostly just words. And so sometimes it’s really fun to kind of have these graphic novels. And we were both saying, like how fun it was when we were younger to have Calvin and Hobbs and Garfield. And you know, they were fun things to read. You’re still reading. So the whole point is just to get them interested in reading and get them active in it. And what that leads us to our next category. Because one of the other ways that we get kids interested in reading is to create a cool space for them. So Eve, why don’t you kind of introduce us a little bit to that.

Eve: I’d be happy to, but can I introduce one more thing?

Lauren: Oh my gosh, of course!

Eve: So, just thought I’d throw this in there. One author that students – children — love over and over again is a man named Adam Rubin, R-U-B-I-N.

Lauren: Okay.

Eve: He wrote “Those Darn Squirrels“.

Lauren: Okay.

Eve: We read it over and over and over. It’s absolutely hilarious. And they’re sequels to this.

Lauren: Okay.

Eve: You cannot not laugh. It’s so funny. And “Dragons Love Tacos“.

Lauren: Oh my gosh, I’ve heard of this “Dragons Love Tacos!”

Eve: Yes! Yes, so if your child has not read that, for sure, they’re going love those. I can pretty much guarantee and there’s sequels to that. But yes, let’s get to the–

Lauren: Well, I think while you’re getting that stuff… I just heard on the radio recently, they were talking about, at what age do you stop reading to your kids? And I said out loud, “Never!” because then they can read to you, right? So keep this as a part of something that you do. Even let’s say you’re an adult that you don’t really like reading, you know, disguise that have your kids still read to you. I know a lot of kids who go through the Harry Potter series with their parents, their parents start off reading them to them. And then as the kid ages, they’re now reading to the parents, but then let’s create like a fun area for them to read in. So…

Eve: And so partner reading, too, so parents read a page, child reads a page. So creating that environment where they’re going be drawn to. So book nooks, there are… I’ve seen bookshelves. You could get these on Amazon (this version too), which also have like comfy seating, bean bag chairs. This one, I have a catalog as from Pottery Barn Teen.

Lauren: This looks like super cozy and fun.

Eve: Yeah, I want to sit in there!

Lauren: She’s like in this little pod.

Eve: Yeah, I want to sit in there! If kids can build a fort. I’ve seen ones where like there could be a little princess area and then they put their bean bag chair in there, get all snugly. There’s personalized bean bags. My son has a BB8 bean bag chair, just whatever they’re drawn to.

[other ideas not shared on the video: teepees and lace tents]

Eve: Some of their (her kids) holiday gifts — and I said to Lauren, I hope they’re not watching — So my son’s really into … You’d better not be watching! Surprise! (laughter)

Eve: Anyway, he’s really into Star Wars. So here are some bookends to just have fun with his setting up his book collection.

[another bookend option; a dinosaur bookend option]

Lauren: Yeah that’s super cute! And I love that idea of accessories for the books and fun ways to display the books. Because that gets them excited as well about reading and maintaining their library.

Eve: Definitely, and then these are some great stocking, stuffers, whatever. And don’t forget Hanukkah is starting in the 10th. So if you want to start shopping, get going soon because things can be back ordered, but these are great bookmarks and timers in one. So this one has Star Wars and — wonder for who — and then, but there are also pain ones. And these actually, I might use one of these. I mean, they don’t have to just be for kids.

Lauren: Absolutely so, Eve brings up a really good point. Of course, as an organizer, I’ve already done the majority of my Christmas shopping, it’s already wrapped and ready to go. I have a problem! I don’t expect this from all of you. So, or any of you really. But just also note that things are more difficult this year and that, you know, shipping might be delayed. So yes, if you see anything you like try to start getting these things ordered, there will be Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday deals so that you can take advantage of that coming up this weekend. And that’s one of the reasons too, that we wanted to get this video and to you as soon as possible.

Lauren: Yeah, I think it’s such an awesome idea, especially if you’ve got more than one kid, but the idea of building a fort that maybe can fit just the kids or can fit mom and dad, and then everybody going in and either reading together, reading silently. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would read her book to herself. I was like, how do you do that? And she was like, well, I’m just reading it in my mind. And I just remember thinking that was so cool. And just being around people, reading all the time. So make it a fun activity for them.

Lauren: Yeah, what else? Oh, so in addition to, thank you for reminding me. In addition to the cool bookends that Eve got, let’s talk about little, little kids. Now, one of the ways to organize for them is in rainbow order because they know their colors. If you want them to be putting their own books away, if you put it away in rainbow color, great. If not little kids do not read the spines of books, they look at book head on. So this is a great way to kind of flip through and they can see the cover. There are also and you know, you can label your bin here and — that’s a removable label. You can also buy those bookshelves that you see, like in the pediatrician’s office that shows the cover out front…

Now, “Oh my gosh, Lauren, I can’t put all my kids’ books in that bookshelf!” No, you can’t. You have to really curate it. Think like a teacher, do it for the holiday or the season or whatever that month is teaching. Honestly, kids don’t need that many choices. Yes, they need choices. And it’s always good for them to work on those skills of using, you know, being able to choose, but don’t give them 25 choices when 10 will do. So, just think about it that way.

Lauren: What else? Oh, speaking of your Star Wars bookends. I actually, so a friend of mine is really into storm troopers and I found the cutest like Storm Troopers that are pushing the books. And I’m totally thinking about getting that for her hope. She’s not watching, but she probably is. So maybe I’ll have to wait and send that to you. And when you’re at least expecting it, but yeah, like find a fun way to make your library, your bookshelf unique, and that will help kids as well.

Eve: And we did talk about the magazines, right?

Lauren: We talked about the magazines.

Eve: And that can be a gift anytime of the year, but…

Lauren: And yeah, for any reason, and especially for multiple kids, having multiple different types of magazines, every kid’s going to have kind of a different interest. Awesome, okay. So it let’s talk about learning fun. So we both believe that if you’re kind of having fun and laughing, you do better with learning. And also we have tended to notice when kids are given these fad toys at Christmas, that they don’t really enjoy them for much more than an hour or even their birthdays, Hanukkah, whatever the holiday is, they kind of play with it for that day. And then it, they kind of lose all interest. So what we’ve noticed as both, you know, a teaching professional and an organizer is that kids love toys that allow them to use their imagination and ignite their imagination. And to kind of, there are definitely toys  — and we’re going to cover them —  that are secret educational toys. So your kids don’t have to know that they’re learning while they’re playing with them, but they’re going to have fun with them. And I think that that’s great because there’s learning in everything. So Eve, I think you’ve got one that your kids currently really enjoy doing these days. And it’s also helps with English and, you know, writing things down (Mad Libs). So, and this is the thing too. Like I remember these as a kid as well, and we just like giggle our faces off. Because you use like the potty humor and the silly words and all of that. But yeah. So.

Eve: Yeah, I’ve got some of those.

Lauren: Mad Libs.

Eve: Yeah, definitely. Here’s a Hanukkah one. And this one, my 11-year old daughter did — pre COVID — but you could do it anytime over zoom even, right? With your siblings; at sleepover party. So they have them for —

Lauren: Every occasion now.

Eve: They have them for holidays, they just have them for anything.

Lauren: And I agree, I’ve seen so many of these when I’m helping organizing kids’ rooms. And it’s really funny usually when we come across it while we’re organizing, they want to sit down and do them immediately. So this is such a great way to get them reading, to get them thinking. because you know, you have to pick, you know, a plural noun and noun, an adjective. So these are obviously for a little bit older kids, but then you’re helping them kind of learn English and use those so that they know what they’re doing and that makes it super fun.

Eve: Right

Lauren: Yeah, Mad Libs are, I mean, they’re even fun for adults. Look, we can be silly and naughty, and whatnot and have fun with the mad libs as well. I’m sure there are Mad Libs for adults as well.

Eve: I have a ton of ideas besides that—

Lauren: Yeah, no, keep going!

Eve: Lakeshore Learning. Awesome! They’re nationwide. But, of course, you can order online and what’s great about their website is there’ll be sections where you could click on for this age, from six months old to 14-years old. And then it’ll kind of zoom you into which, what toys are appropriate. And then without them knowing they’re well, they’re having fun and learning at the same time, Melissa and Doug, if you haven’t heard of that brand.

Lauren: Well before you get to them, I just want to say thank you so much for turning me on to Lakeshore Learning. I love it! And then Eve just shared with me today that they have an outlet store and regular store in San Leandro, which happens to be near a Nordstrom Rack. But so it’s great. And I can’t wait to, actually, when I feel safe about traveling and going to stores again, being able to go and check that out because I have already purchased a couple items as gifts and I am almost more excited about playing with them and maybe the kids will be. Okay, so Melissa and Doug, this is another great brand. So what are you showing us with Melissa and Doug.

Eve: They have great puzzles and it looks them up and you’ll find endless things. Here’s the shoe lacing. I don’t let my second graders go on to third grade until — I mean, they can go, but I’ll go on like, come on, hurry up. They need to know how to tie their shoes by third grade, I just feel like that’s a must. And so Melissa and Doug are awesome. That’s great brand!

Collage — C-O-L-L-A-G-E has great playing cards and puzzles that you can, you know, personalize with your family’s photo. Those are great learning fun. We talked about the Mad Libs, board games, there’s all kinds – that, they’re adding, subtracting, and they’re having fun with it, too.

[Another personalized item includes Shutterfly’s Food Finds Placemat]

Lauren: Agreed. I think right now, I’ve been certainly doing more puzzles this year than I ever have in the past. With your kids, if your kids aren’t super into puzzles initially, it’s probably because we all expect them to just know how to do it. You’re going have to teach your kids how to puzzle. You’re going have to show them maybe how they have to flip the pieces over and how they have to look for the edges and how they have to fill it in and what to look for. So kind of narrate and go through it with them and try to do it as a family, so it’s more fun. And then yeah, board games, I mean, we’re all home these days and why not just add a little bit of fun into it? I mean, with Monopoly, you’re talking about money and adding, you know, you’re having to count your spaces. And also, I think we were talking too, isn’t there a company, where you can make your own board games?

Eve: Yes, so it’s called, I’m glad you brought that up. That is called Bare Books, B-A-R-E And you, I use them because my students, when they’re writing, I give them actually one and they put their final copy or final draft in there, but they make board games where you design your own. How creative is that? And I think puzzles as well. So they get to design their own and that’s just having a lot of fun and being creative and good thinking there. So yeah, that’s Bare Books.

Lauren: Great.

Eve: Another thing we were talking about is hand-eye coordination. So these have been around forever, but these are really fun. The weaving looms, and then you could buy those and then with the extra loom there, so.

Lauren: Totally gave these away as gifts during the holidays to like grandparents and aunts and uncles (when I was a kid).

Eve: Definitely a lot–

Lauren: Big time, popular thing.

Eve: So those are great gifts and coloring. They have some really good ones like, Oh, I already did that one. You know what’s these – here Lauren, you could show or you could find it.

Lauren: So, like, intricate.

Eve: So my daughter likes dogs, so we got one and then tons of colored pencils, great gifts also.

[Not mentioned in the video: Melissa and Doug Story Telling Paper, Melissa and Doug Drawing Pads, Ooly Scented Glitter Gel Pens, Ooly Erasable Markers, Kid Made Modern Confetti Crayons]

Eve: And one that I do not want forget is there are, I’ve seen on Amazon.  There are great kids’ baking kits.

Lauren: Yes!

Eve: If my daughter — I keep coming back to this, if my daughter – could be on anything, she’d be on Kid’s Baking Championship. And so these baking sets — and when the time comes, maybe you could put the link to the one I’m thinking about (link above: kids’ baking kits) – measuring; they don’t even realize there’s math. So and there, you know, flour is flying and everything like that, but that’s okay. They’re having fun and they’re learning through that so.

Lauren: Yeah, I love that idea. I remember one Christmas, I was given a cookbook for Christmas and I just was so excited to bake all the time.

Eve: Reading right there. So there you go.

Lauren: Reading; you’re measuring; you’re right! It’s all inclusive in there. And if you’ve got younger kids who have a play kitchen, you know, get them some of the fun wooden [food] toys [love this from Anthropologie], I think Melissa and Doug does that too. I’ve seen them on Target. There’s a really cute shop on Etsy where this woman [Dumpling Mart] makes these felt dumplings that look like real won tons, and they come in the packaging. And I just love that that’s super unique and fun and it’s, you know, it’s tactile and it’s a great, you know, you’re supporting a small business and that’s something too, that’s going last. That’s not something that’s plastic, that’s going to, you know, fade or break or whatever. You know, you can keep that for a long time. Also for younger kids, if you get them — studies show, if you get them involved in cooking in the kitchen and get them interested in food, that they’ll be more interested in trying different things. So I even just came across some handy [kitchen] tools that are made for kids. They have like a hole in the knife so they can put their finger in which protects their finger from getting chopped off. So there’s different tools and whatnot that you can use from any age to get kids involved in cooking and baking. And again, it’s so smart. Like you are, even if you’re cutting the pie, you know, you’re cutting it in half and then quarters

Eve: Fractions!

Lauren: Yeah, exactly fractions! And you know, why don’t you work with them to say, okay, like maybe the older kids, but like, all right, we’re going have this recipe. So what does that mean? You know, if you’re taking, you know, from two cups now down to one cups or, you know, bigger or more intense fractions than that. So yeah, absolutely. What else are we going to talk about we’re learning fun–

Eve: A couple more things watches (girl one, girl two, boy one, boy two). So you can, Lauren will show this. This was, is no longer being used, but it was when it was very loved. This has, ahh, soccer decorations on there. And do you want to point it out?

Lauren: So it’s going be hard to see, because I’ve got that light on there, but you can kind of see that the different; it’s not going focus. The different hands are actually different colors, but they’re also labeled hour and minute. And then it’s got a soccer ball as the second. And so it’s just really a fun, unique way to personalize it. So that’s another thing that we were talking about Eve is that the kids really love personalized stuff. Like it makes them feel like it’s really theirs and they don’t have to share it with a sibling or a friend. So anything that you can personalize and –

[Eve says something quietly]

Lauren: Oh my gosh, talk about that! Because that’s…

Eve: Okay, this is an oldie, but a goodie. So I saw this in Burlingame. The good news is — it’s called Five Little Monkeys and it’s a kid’s toy store, but I’ve heard, they’re everywhere. So I saw this, I immediately, I was like, “oh, am I going to get for my own kids?” Speaking and Spell. It was like 30 something dollars. Truthfully, sorry, I’m keeping it for myself.

[Lauren laughing]

Eve: In the late 80s, I was all over this, and I just got so excited, I like squealed. So, I’m like vintage! So if you could show that.

Lauren: Absolutely, I mean, I, as soon as she told me about this, I was like, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go get one as well!” So like obviously the 80s are having this comeback moment too. So like there’s Light Brights. There’s My Little Ponies coming back. I even saw, I think, you know, ads galore on social media, Hammacher Schlemmer — I can’t even say their name — has vintage Cabbage Patch dolls, guys. The Cabbage Patch Dolls are back! Anyway, so it’s super fun to see all of this stuff. So something else that we had on the list… Can you talk a little bit too about the Melissa and Doug time puzzle? Because I’m super interested in hearing about this one.

Eve: Yeah that’s for younger kids. It’s looks like a clock – wooden — and it has, you know, for those little guys with adorable chubby fingers, it has the handles on them. So it’ll have like the, it’ll say where the one is, it’ll say behind it five and behind the two, it’ll say 10, but they could pick it up and then underneath, it’ll have the same thing, but it’s just remembering where to put it back. So that particular one I know is for the much younger age.

Lauren: And the telling time.

Eve: Yeah, and the, and it has, like I said, those handles, so their little fingers can get a grasp.

Lauren: Well, and if you guys watched our last Ask the Pro Series, we touched on timers and how important timers were, and telling time and all of that. So clearly we have a thing with time.

One more quick thing that I want to mention before we move on to rooms and organization is I’ve been seeing recently an ad for another game called OuiSi. So it’s spelled O-U-I like the French word oui, which means yes. And then S-I for the Spanish word, yes. So it means yes, yes. But it’s pronounced, “we see.” And it’s kind of like we (pointing to us) see (pointing to eyes), which is exactly their point. And it’s all these different photos and you guys, your kids, and you can play it with any age group, but you basically, you are making the decision on what — it’s kind of like Domino’s, I think with pictures — and so you get to decide, which other picture it looks like the one that somebody else just put down and why. And so it looks really clever. And I’m hoping to do this one with my niece, who’s turning 10. I think I’m going to get it for her birthday, because I’ve got her covered for Christmas. I hope she’s not watching. She’s getting a puzzle in a book because I refuse to give into those LOL dolls and China —  fads from China and plastic toys. She plays with them for a few minutes and then they junk up the landfill. So I’m all about puzzles, books, fun stuff, quality time with family. Okay.

Eve: Awesome.

[other great learning toys not mentioned due to time include: Magna-Tiles, Baby Einstein Jumper, Baby Einstein Music Activity Table, Baby Einstein Crib Sound Machine, Little Einstein DVDs]

Lauren: Can you believe we’ve already been talking for almost a half an hour? It feels like five minutes.

Eve: I know. We’ve got so much to say Lauren!

Lauren: I know! So much to say, we’ll have to do another. Okay, so then we’ve got rooms and organization. So of course, you know, we have to both keep our spaces organized so that we can find what we need when we need it, but let’s help your kids do that, too. So Eve, what kind of fun tools do you have to share with us?

Eve: Yeah, for sure. Keeping your kids’ rooms organized, and they’ll love it. You’ll love it. It’s a win-win right. Everybody’s happy. So making it their own is really great. Erin Condren is one of my favorite websites for organizational items. They have great teacher stuff; personalized. So this is something I use with my kids. It’s got their name and then a checklist, and then daily to do’s. And then it says week of. Now one thing on Erin Condren is you could have it made with the daily to-do is already written there. I chose not to because like AYSO soccer is not happening this week. Or, you know, violin is over, or gymnastics is only for six weeks; and then I got a full pack. But you can, if you have a set schedule and then it’s a checkoff because if they see it they remember, and you’re not like nagging on them.

[Other items from Erin Condren: White Board Wall Organizer Insert, Monthly Panner, Desk Organizers]

Lauren: Right.

Eve: So that’s a fun thing. If you want kind of show that and that again is on Erin Condren and what else? Personalized notebooks. And those are on collage to love those.

Lauren: And remember, Collage is the one that we said that you can get like a personalized playing cards and puzzles. Like those are also, we’re talking about kids, but like how cool are those gifts for grandparents like doing a family portrait on a puzzle to send to the grandparents to put together.

Eve: Right. They don’t just have holiday cards and photo books. They have tons of stuff. Knock Knock is one of my other favorites. And some of these are not always appropriate for kids, so just be mindful when you order. But this one is My Awesome Week. And so like another checklist.

Lauren: And it’s even got this kind of like things for a pen right here, but you can kind of hold it. So yeah, they get to kind of write down and make it their own and kind of be responsible and accountable for what they’re doing.

Eve: Right! Today’s Plan of Attack. Most critical, would be nice and not a chance.

Lauren: (laughs) And yeah, I’ve seen a bunch of these, for adults as well. There’s like a travel packing list and there’s the what to buy from the grocery store list. So the Knock Knock pads are really fun. I’ve even, I think they have some folders too, that are like, This is Crap, Total Crap, Utter Crap or something like that. And it’s just fun for your, you know

[Another Knock Knock Pad — 5 Days a Week]

Eve: Here’s another one Lauren.

Lauren: So there’s like the little ones that say, like, this one says deal with this, so yeah.

Eve: Yeah, check them out. They’re really, really good. I don’t have the space in my house, but one thing I know my kids would love and a lot kids would love is like, I’m going to use the example, Pottery Barn Teens, they have these great desk lofts. Now this might be, you know, a birthday and holiday gift, and something, because these are quite expensive. But sometimes Lauren you’ve said like, you’ve seen them, people are getting rid of them or whatever, but they’re a bed like a loft with a desk underneath it, plus a built a bookshelf and a bulletin board. So it’s like all in one, I’ve seen them on — they’re expensive — but on Pottery Barn Teen. Having alongside that, having bulletin boards in their room. There are — you could get whiteboards and you know, like kids can have fun with the dry erase markers. And magnetic things, so you could keep, you know — it’s over in the corner of my desk right now and looking over there — but they hold onto the whiteboard where you could keep your pens and stuff in there.

[Flexa is another great company that makes lofted beds and fun furniture for kids]

Lauren: Right.

Eve: So those are just some gifts that I thought of that would be effort organization.

Lauren: And you know, it’s funny that you mentioned those lofted beds because I think it’s my sophomore year of college, I decided to live in a single and it was the size of a shoe box. Like people’s bathrooms are bigger than this dorm room that I lived in. And so we had to have a lofted bed where, you know, I slept in the lofted bed and then I had my desk and my dresser underneath it because there was no room anywhere else. And I kind of loved it actually. So kids really do, my niece has the same thing and they come, you can have like queen sized bed ones all the way down to, you know, twin ones. And then sometimes they have a bed at the top and then the bed at the bottom as well, even still sometimes with a desk. But yeah, once they have that desk area in there, like that can also be, you can, you know, close a curtain or something. So they feel like they’re in their little nook when they’re doing their work. And I think it’s a great way to help kids get organized and to use the space. You do have to have higher ceilings. So that’s one of the–

Eve: That would be a rude awakening.

Lauren: … the drawbacks with that. But kids do, they love it. You know, especially if they’re okay with kind of bunk beds and sleeping at the top of a bunk bed.

Eve: But there’s a good railing, so they’re safe.

Lauren: Okay, excellent. And then I just we’re checking our list because we don’t want to miss anything. Yup, you talked about the bulletin boards, dry erase boards, yep, the markers and everything. Yeah, kids love that. I mean, I think it’s better these days than chalkboards, which the chalk just gets everywhere and whatnot. So I think whiteboards are amazing.

Eve: Having good cloth bins to keep things in, again, label it.

Lauren: And label it, too, with if you’ve got younger kids label it with words and pictures. Either do stickers or Eve was mentioning, there’s all these places now that you can print this stuff on the internet and laminate it and whatnot. So she’s got some of those that she’s going to show, but yeah, just keep things organized, help your kids kind of get set up for success with all their stuff or their educational things.

Eve: Here are some samples. If you have the words plus the picture, that’ll just really be helpful.

Lauren: Paint brushes (words) and with the paint brushes (pictures).

Eve: It’ll get put back in that right spot, which is what organizing is all about.

Lauren: Dice (showing the Dice label with words and pictures).

Eve: I laminated those.

Lauren: Yeah, exactly. And that’s the other thing, too, is sometimes you can laminate them and then use the dry erase markers if you need to change what’s written or what’s in the bin sometimes. When you’re working with really young kids or, you know, have little kids in your home, again, call on the things that they know, they know colors. So maybe all of the trucks go in the blue bin and all of the balls go in the red bin, and help them with keeping their stuff organized.

And then just like we’ve made learning fun. Let’s make organizing fun. So, you know, I know your kids do this too, but like, you know, put on a playlist or something, some fun music when you’re organizing, make it a game, make — everybody gets involved and just make it a regular part of their routine. You know, it’s important that kids know that things don’t have to look perfect all the time, but in order to not trip over things in the dark or injure yourself, you know, you need to clear a path. You need to have things put back, especially too, take those moments of meltdowns when your kid can’t find something to say, this is why it’s so important that we put, you know, Teddy back in the green bin with all the other Teddy bears so that we know where he is next time; so that they can learn that. These are skills that they’re going to build on their whole lives, and that they’re going use as adults that they’re learning as young kids.

So hopefully we’ve given you some awesome ideas, not only maybe for your kids, but also for some of the other people in your life. And again, not only for the holidays that are coming up, but for any time of year. So if you have any questions, you can feel free to comment below. Or if you’d like, you can contact me Lauren at let-me-organize with a z it dot com. So lauren(at)letmeorganizeit(dot)com, and Eve I will be happy to answer any questions you have. Also, we have a lot of fun doing these. And so I’m sure this will not be the last one that we do.

Eve: That would be awesome!

Lauren: If you have any suggestions on what you guys want to hear about and Asking the Pros, the professional organizer and the teacher, we’d be happy to share more information with you. So with that in mind, we will link a bunch of the stuff that we talked to you. If you’re interested in receiving a PDF with links and all the information that we shared today, you can email me again and I’ll put the email address in the link below. But anyway, we hope you guys had a great time. Thank you for being with us and have a great holiday season. Thank you.

Eve: Be safe!

Lauren: Bye

[Eve waves]

BONUS — you’ve made it this far, you deserve a bonus!

I love following these two accounts on Instagram and wanted to share their holiday offerings as well.

@BigLittleFeelings has a FREE Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide (and don’t miss out on their awesome course). Kristen and Deena are the best friends you never knew you always wanted!

@ChalkAcademy has a great post on the 10 Best Open-Ended Toys that Promote Creativity and Learning. While you’re there, check out other awesome posts from Betty (she has other toy/gift ideas that even I want).

Lauren Mang
  • Davina Carboni
    Posted at 23:56h, 30 November Reply

    Thanks for linking the items, I can always come back here to shop for some of these things when our kids are older.

    • Lauren Mang
      Posted at 03:30h, 01 December Reply

      Thanks for watching the video – we hope it was helpful. I knew the links would be helpful – if only I can figure out how to get those on the YouTube video page! Haha. What are you thinking of buying? Care to share?

  • Tara
    Posted at 18:18h, 27 April Reply

    I found this blog very informative, keep up the good work. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Lauren Mang
      Posted at 18:20h, 27 April Reply

      Thank you so much! So happy you found it helpful.

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