Carrot spoon and fork
The matching carrot spoon and fork make it fun to eat your veggies — or anything else, for that matter. They're short-handled, the better to fit those small hands, and are stocked at the Los Feliz garden and lifestyle shop Potted. $12.50 at Potted (323) 665-3861.
Got a kid who is just getting interested in cooking? Kidstir may be the perfect gift. You can order either individual kits or a monthly subscription. The "Bake Me Happy" kit, for example, includes recipes for banana bread, popovers and apple crisp, with cool little background and experiment notes to play with. Included is a jar of Chocolate Swirl, a kid-sized silicone whisk and a totally irresistible silicone potholder in the shape of a puppy. $24.95 at Kidstir.
Kids can escape inside their own black-and-white, printed-canvas play tent in this graphic fort from Restoration Hardware. The tent is made from sturdy cotton canvas, folds up easily for storage and can be personalized for a $7 fee. $159 at Restoration Hardware.
Stilts always seemed so cool, but they're often hard for kids to maneuver. Geospace has come up with an S-band design to make it easier for youngsters to manage. The Walkaroo Jr. Lightweight version is meant for people 110 pounds or lighter. They have foam handles, and the foot rests can be moved as the walker gets more proficient. $46.99 at Geospace and at Amazon.com.
Curious Chef Kids caddy collection
This handy caddy includes everything your budding little chef could need in the kitchen. The 30-piece kit includes a non-stick rolling pin, medium and large silicone mixing spoons, stainless steel whisk, nylon cookie turner, nylon frosting spreader, pastry brush, poly spoon, vegetable peeler, serving tongs, ice cream scoop, pizza cutter, medium and large silicone mixing spatulas, six-piece measuring spoon set, six-piece measuring cup set and the small, medium and large nylon plastic knives (the knives have serrated cutting edges with blunt tips that easily cut food but not skin). The tool caddy contains it all. $79.99 at Curious Chef.
Hello Kitty Toaster
If you've got a hard-core Hello Kitty fan in your circle of friends (who doesn't?), he or she will appreciate this Hello Kitty toaster oven. Each morning, said fan will be able to start his or her day with Hello Kitty's sweet face browned into two slices of bread. The toaster features seven shade settings and four toasting modes, including one for Hello Kitty bagels. From $21.26 at Amazon.com.
Trek Superfly 16
There's no techie gift that surpasses a bike, and the Superfly 16, an orange-and-black kids' mountain bike, is light and cool, built so a little one can accompany the family on a trail ride. Comes with detachable training wheels. $309 at Helen's Cycles, 2472 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey and at its five other locations in the L.A. area.
(Bureo Minnow Skateboard)
The black mini-cruiser is made in Chile from discarded and recycled fishing nets, an effort to keep them from polluting the oceans. A cool feature is a hole drilled in the front of the deck, enabling owners to lock up before going where boards are not allowed. $149 at Patagonia stores.
Aire Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak
This blow-up craft holds two adults with a child — a good way to get exercise, marvel at nature and pass those values along to the next generation. It's sturdy and stable, with plenty of room for gear, and it's designed for lakes and calm river water. There's also a self-bailing floor. It fits in a trunk when deflated. $749 at REI and other outdoor stores, or at Aire.
Foreign Building Blocks
Forget ABC building blocks. Uncle Goose blocks are available in 21 languages, including Hindi, Persian and Hebrew. $47.99 at Tweak and Yolk, Uncle Goose.
miCoach smart soccer ball
Raising the next Beckham and not up to the task? Adidas has a soccer ball with a sensor that detects speed, spin and strike data that get relayed to the miCoach app that also has a library of videos with drills and coaching tips. The miCoach Smart Ball reacts like a conventional size 5 regulation soccer ball. $199 at Best Buy and Apple stores, or at Adidas.
Haptic Lab's Sailing Ship Kite
Kids and grown ups alike will fall for Haptic Lab's sailing ship kite, which is handcrafted in collaboration with Balinese artisans. The kites make beautiful decorative objects for the home, but do indeed fly. The larger kites ("Flying Dutchman" and "Ghost" ships) are $76; the smaller designs are $40 at Haptic Lab, A+R, Poketo, and Plastica.
Cell Lock-up phone Box
How's this for novelty? A holiday feast without any cellphone interruptions? No teenagers looking at their texts? No executives surreptitiously checking email? The Cell Lock-Up is a goofy item, with a goofy ad line: "because interrupting family time is a crime." But it might just be goofy enough to get everyone to put their phones in the gray plastic jail cell and set the timer for some holiday family time. $8 to $20 at Amazon.com and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Ikea play kitchen
Little chefs can practice their pretend cooking skills in the Ikea Duktig play kitchen. Adjustable legs allow the unit to grow with your child and hot plates with light diodes can be switched on and off. Coordinating products include cookware, utensils, vegetables and a tea set. $99 at Ikea.
Fabric bird house
Young birders will enjoy the soft-sculpture birdhouse by Brooklyn artist Tamar Mogendorff. Each fabric and wire sculpture is hand-sewn and features unique pattern and textures to encourage play and add warmth to any room. $120 to $185 at Tamar Mogendorff; Lost and Found.
Soopsori Breakfast set
The 17-piece Soopsori breakfast play set is made entirely from natural wood and finished with linseed oil so that it is both child safe and environmentally friendly. The egg, sausage and toast slices can be cut in half thanks to magnetic attachments, which are safely embedded and cannot be removed or detached. Includes sausage, egg, two toast slices, four assorted breakfast nibbles, two forks, one knife, two small plates, two cups and a calico storage bag. $65 at Lost and Found.