Christmas is only a few days away. You’ve got gifts for all the little kids in your family already, right? Or maybe you’re still scratching your head over that one kid. The one you never quite know what to buy for. You know they’re smart. You know they like to learn. And there’s a strong chance they’re known for making messes by taking stuff apart or ‘experimenting’. What in the world do you get that child? They’re not exactly the toy car, doll, or video game type.
Here are some books that should give them hours of entertainment and stimulation.
Last Minute Gifts For Kids
(and by gifts I mean books)
If they say “Ooh” when other kids say “Ewww”, then look no further than Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Chigna.
Animal Planet presents the ickiest, stickiest, blobbiest, and oddest animals in the world!
Did you know that an archerfish can spit water up to 16 feet? Or that the giant weta is the world’s largest and heaviest insect? Animal Planet’s fascinating exploration of animal oddities introduces young animal lovers to some of the most astonishing, gorgeous, and obscure animals in the world including some brand new discoveries! Packed with more than 200 vibrant photographs and fun facts about animals with unusual behaviors, strange appearances, and remarkable stats, this deluxe gift book is perfect for reluctant readers or anyone who loves totally gross and amazing animals. – Goodreads
Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool is definitely one of the books your little scientists will love! From the fishes from the depths of the ocean to the ssssslithering snakes, there’s something interesting on every page.
Has the recent election been a topic of discussion in your house? Whether you’re someone who is quaking at the thought of the next four years (or one of those people who think the president-elect was the right choice), Awesome America is a book to share with your little politician or historian.
Welcome to America!
With 319 million people and nearly 3.8 million square miles of land, there’s a lot to know about the United States. How can one person learn it all? Lucky for you, Awesome America is the perfect introduction. Packed with photos, stats, and fun facts on every page, this book has everything you need to know about what makes American awesome!
-Discover how American has changed through the centuries.
-Learn about the documents that are the basis for American democracy.
-Revisit the great moments that changed America, from the first airplane flight to the first lunar landing.
-Dive into culture with introductions to great Americans. – Goodreads
I wasn’t in the mood to read this book, but I’m glad I did.
Have you (or someone else) ended up with a few broken gadgets due to a certain child’s insatiable curiosity? Then get them How Things Work by T.J. Resler.
Ever wanted to take apart the microwave to see how it works? Crack open your computer and peek inside? Intrigued by how things work? So are we! That’s why we’re dissecting all kinds of things from rubber erasers to tractor beams! Read along as National Geographic Kids unplugs, unravels, and reveals how things do what they do. Complete with “Tales from the Lab,” true stories, biographies of real scientists and engineers, exciting diagrams and illustrations, accessible explanations, trivia, and fun features, this cool book explains it all! – Goodreads
How Things Work shows your child the inner workings of everything from Hovercrafts to refrigerators. No (dis)assembly required!
Is your son or daughter (or niece or nephew) forever spouting random facts at you? Weird but True! Sports from National Geographic will definitely be a hit, then.
Everything has its weird side — even sports! Add wacky stats, facts, and stories to your arsenal of sports trivia with this new slam-dunk addition to the very popular Weird but True series! With the Olympics on the way, discover tons more zany fun, focused totally on the subject of sports! So step up to the plate to get 300 ALL-NEW amazing facts plus photos. – Goodreads
Weird but True! Sports made the rounds in our house. All of us picked it up and read it through at different times. And it was a hit with each of us! From the goofy to the just plain awesome, it’s a great collection of wacky facts.
Are they starting to get into astronomy? Aspirations of being an astronaut? Try Our Moon: Exploring Luna from Elaine Scott
Since the dawn of human existence, people have gazed up at the night sky and wondered about the moon. Here the veteran nonfiction author Elaine Scott skillfully presents a wealth of captivating, kid-friendly information, covering everything from the newest theories on how the moon formed, to the recent, startling discovery of water on its surface and the very real possibility of future moon colonies. Illustrated with stunning, full-color photographs and packed with fun facts, this is the most complete and up-to-date book available on the moon. Includes glossary, bibliography, and index. – Goodreads
Our Moon: Exploring Luna is – honestly – one of those books that is fascinating no matter what age you are, if you’ve ever loved the moon at all. It’s well put together, with fantastic pictures and lots of great information.
But if Our Moon sounds like it would maybe be a little too simple, there is another choice. Discovery Spaceopedia is a veritable font of astronomy related information for older kids!
Blast off into space with Discovery Spaceopedia to explore our solar system and mysterious, far-off galaxies. Created with Discovery Channel’s leading space expert, Hakeem Oluseyi, Spaceopedia is filled with incredible facts, more than 400 full-color NASA photos, and profiles of groundbreaking astronauts and scientists including Neil Armstrong, Edwin Hubble, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Readers will learn all about black holes, orbits, constellations and more with special features on the Curiosity and Rosetta Comet landings, and the current number of earth-like planets in the universe that may have intelligent life! – Goodreads
I love this book. I can’t even begin to express how much I LOVE this book. Even if you don’t have a little astronomer in your life, you should get it for yourself. Discovery Spaceopedia is one of those books you can ‘graze’ on forever!
Maybe they’ve recently turned on to dinosaurs? It’s a phase a lot of kids go through! Dining with Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching is perfect reading the budding paleontologist.
Sure you know that T-Rex was the meat-eating king and that brontosaurus munched on leaves, but what else was on the dino dining menu during the Mesozoic era? In this hilarious book, paleontologists reveal all! Meet the ‘vores: carnivores, piscivores, herbivores, insectivores, “trashivores,” “sunivores,” and omnivores like us. Readers will be surprised and inspired to learn about all the crazy stuff dinos ate and they’ll get insights into how scientists can tell which dinosaurs ate what just from looking at fossils! Journey through artist and author Hannah Bonner’s whimsical world to learn how the dinosaurs and their contemporaries bit, chewed, and soaked up their food. – Goodreads
This book doesn’t just teach about dinosaurs. It sneaks in a whole host of information they might not willingly learn otherwise. Plus, the illustrations are surprisingly cute!
Speaking of ‘pedias’! If you mention the word “bug” and their face lights up, there’s really only one book you need to get. Discovery Bugopedia, of course!
Calling all bug-obsessed kids! Did you know that insects make up the largest group of animals on Earth–numbering more than 1 million species? From rhinoceros beetles and regal jumping spiders to helpful honeybees and noisy cicadas, Bugopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Insect is the ultimate visual guide to the creepiest, crawliest, and coolest creatures in the world!
With more than 400 color photos featuring amazing macro views and life-size images of insects, Bugopedia lets kids explore species they may already know of and introduces them to all 30 classes of insects. Discover how insects play important roles within our ecosystem and learn fascinating trivia about extreme bug behaviors, record breakers, and more from the science experts at Discovery. – Goodreads
There’s a certain 7-year-old girl that is receiving this for Christmas from our household (not my daughter, though. She’d run screaming.)
Maybe none of the above applies to the child you’re thinking about, but you want to get them something uplifting and encouraging in this decidedly uncertain world right now. Maybe you’ve got a little girl you want to encourage? Try Women in Black History: Stories of Courage, Faith, and Resilience by Tricia Williams Jackson.
Within the pages of American history are the stories of remarkable African American women who have defied the odds, taken a stand for justice, and made incredible strides despite opposition from the culture around them. Now young readers can discover their exciting true stories in this eye-opening collection.
From well-known figures like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks to women rarely found in any history book, Women in Black History explores the lives of writers, athletes, singers, activists, and educators who have made an indelible mark on our country and our culture. Perfect for kids, but also for adults who like to read about important figures and unsung heroes, this collection will delight, surprise, and challenge readers. – Goodreads
This book taught me how little I know about important females in recent history.
And finally, coming full circle back to animals, this is not a book recommendation. It is a series recommendation. The Animal Bites series from Animal Planet is perfect for beginning readers who want to know more about all sorts of animals. The pictures are amazing. The animals look like they could walk right off the page. The information is put in ways little kids can understand. I can’t say enough good about this series.
With more than 200 gorgeous animal photos of lions, giraffes, ibexes, flamingos, hippopotamuses, and many others, Animal Planet Wild Animals is a fun, habitat-by-habitat guide that provides kids in the first years of schooling with the perfect bite-sized view of their favorite wild animals. Arranged thematically with focus on animal behavior and family relationships, young readers will explore sections about animal bodies, baby animals, food, play time, conservation and more. Special book features designed for this age group include Quick Bites sidebars with cool animal facts, simple infographics, and illustrated maps of life in the African savannah and Amazon rain forest. – Goodreads
I love each of these books for one reason or another. I’m a little kid at heart, and I love to curl up with my daughter and share these books with her as much as possible. We have different opinions on what is ‘cool’, but there’s generally at least several things in each book we ooh and ahh over. Animal Planet, Time, and Nat Geo make some wonderful books that you need to check out (even if you don’t have a kid to buy for!) They’re great last minute gifts for kids. OR adults.