Perfect Birthday Gift for 7-Year Old Girl
June 26, 2009 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I need the perfect birthday gift for a seven year old girl. I don't know her well...i.e. what her interests are (so nothing too skewed). But she's clever and draws very well (though it doesn't need to be an arts/crafts item). I'd prefer something that would really make her eyes light up. But I need to be able to find and buy it easily tomorrow morning here in Suburbia (there ARE a couple "hip" toy stores not too far from here, if that helps). Preferably under $60. Thanks!!!!
posted by jimmyjimjim to Shopping (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If she likes to draw, a potentially awesome gift would be the Wacom Bamboo Fun - a tablet that lets you draw with a stylus on your computer. (My wife has one and loves it.) The problem is that it's pricier than you're looking for, but I'm suggesting it here in case it jogs anyone's mind for a cheaper alternative.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:32 PM on June 26, 2009

She sounds just like my kids were at that age!

For years, Aunt Jilly, a very close family friend, would always hit a local dollar store and get them some big drawing pads and and a huge assortment of either colored pencils or markers. I'm talking hundreds of sheet or paper and a gazillion pencils and/or markers.

My kids undoubtedly got more enjoyment and enrichment out of these gifts than they they ever did from the high dollar electronic razzle dazzle that many well meaning relatives bought them.

When you're artistically inclined and that age, this stuff is the equivalent of being an adult with an unlimited bank account.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:34 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I got mine a Bedazzler from Michael's and it went over pretty well.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:48 PM on June 26, 2009

I was just in a Michael's craft store the other day (may be common in your neck of suburbia) and noticed that they had some pretty cool craft kits in their kids section. Maybe check that out.
posted by amanda at 3:51 PM on June 26, 2009

I loved getting craft kits as gifts when I was kid. Sand art, jewelry, whatever. You have everything you need right there, and it was always the gift that screamed PLAY WITH ME RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND FUCK THE PARTY when I opened it.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:55 PM on June 26, 2009

I loved drawing as a kid. One thing that would really make my eyes light up - a HUGE set of markers or colored pencils. The more colors the better.
posted by orme at 3:55 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Wacom's a great idea, but I'm not sure she has a computer at home.

I do like the basic art supplies idea. To make it suitably birthday-excitement-worthy, maybe a huge, over the top selection of crayon or magic marker colors? Anyone have anything specific to suggest.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2009

When I was that age I really liked the Klutz books. They've got all kinds that are perfect for creative/crafty kids: A Book of Artrageous Projects, Chicken Socks Totally Tape, Window Art, and a ton of other ones. You can find them pretty easily at good toy stores and bookstores.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ha, having reloaded, I saw orme's post. I need to figure out what a bedazzler is...
posted by jimmyjimjim at 3:58 PM on June 26, 2009

Also, I always wanted the 96 Color Crayola Crayon set, and the Crayola Modeling Clay is lots of fun.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 4:00 PM on June 26, 2009

3-D chalk.
posted by Methylviolet at 4:01 PM on June 26, 2009

From Ms. Vegetable -

As a different idea, perhaps "The Daring Book for Girls" by Andrea J. Buchanan?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:07 PM on June 26, 2009

Trying to foster some creativity, I bought my nephew one of these 'Buddha boards'. They're really fun to play with, and satisfying, and no mess... I guess they've got a pretty fun website too (I bought mine in the National Gallery giftshop, but I think they're quite widely available)
posted by Flashman at 4:08 PM on June 26, 2009

Oooooh, when I was little, I would have been thrilled beyond belief to get a bead kit. Michael's / any craft store as well as Walmart / Target should have those, definitely under $60. Tangentially, one of my friends had a jewelry making party when we were about 10 yrs old, and to this day, I remember that as being one of the best birthday parties EVER. An origami kit also would have been pretty awesome at that age.
posted by booksandwine at 4:14 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Great stuff, everyone, thanks. Hope other gift givers read along.......
posted by jimmyjimjim at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Just found Rose Art washable non-toxic markers in a set of 100 (!) locally for a good price. Any reason not to get 'em?
posted by jimmyjimjim at 4:23 PM on June 26, 2009

If Michael's or some other craft store carries it, Shrink Art (also called Shrinky Dinks) can be a lot of fun. I had a blast making little creations at about 7 or 8 years old.
posted by mtphoto at 4:26 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about a rocket kit, or a chemistry set, or some other science-themed gift? No one seems to think of them for girls, but I'd have loved a chem set when I was that age...
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:26 PM on June 26, 2009

If you're going to go the markers/paper/craft basket route, you might want to throw in some stuff that kids love but no one ever thinks to buy like feathers, pom poms, sequins and pipe cleaners. Ooh...and googly eyes!
posted by jrossi4r at 5:27 PM on June 26, 2009

How about a kite?
posted by sciencegeek at 5:28 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Googly eyes, yes!!

you're a kitty: fine idea, but I wonder if you, a MF denizen, might be a slightly skewed sample!
posted by jimmyjimjim at 5:41 PM on June 26, 2009

Just found Rose Art washable non-toxic markers in a set of 100 (!) locally for a good price. Any reason not to get 'em?

Yes: Rose Art kinda sucks. Bad quality of inks--I can distinctly remember them feeling dry as a kid (likewise, their crayons are too waxy and not brightly enough pigmented). Go for Crayola--nicely pigmented, non-toxic, good quality. Seconding the suggestion for the 96 box of crayons, or if you want markers, consider some of their funky varieties. From their product page I'd consider getting the window markers or the color switchers.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:10 PM on June 26, 2009

Oh, and as I kid, I loved science-themed gifts. I had a grow your own geode kit and a rock tumbler at that age that I adored. Rock tumblers are good if you want something sciencey but still slightly stereotypically girly--they usually come with jewelry making accessories.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:13 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Why settle for a mere 96 crayons when she can enjoy the Telescoping Crayon Tower of 150 crayons?

My only worry is that she surely has she'd have to discard the old ones...and seven might be a bit old for crayons, so perhaps she'd prefer colored pencils...
posted by jimmyjimjim at 6:30 PM on June 26, 2009

Seconding 3D Chalk. It looks chintzy but it's a big, big hit.

I'm going to echo Chuck Jones here and say that quality drawing materials are definitely a big deal and highly underrated.

Also - Calligraphy set with instructions?
posted by ostranenie at 6:33 PM on June 26, 2009

So 7 may be young for an actual chem set, but there is cool science stuff out there. It doesn't have to be pushy, but it does have to be fun to play with. I remember at that age having a color/light toy set that did lots of cool stuff with prisms, gels, and more. Don't dismiss science out-of-hand because she's a girl. Even if this is a "skewed sample" all of the XX-people here were once 7-year-old girls, and we turned out all right.

If you choose to go with the crafts, I have to second the googly eyes and feathers and stuff. Also, macaroni and beans. Another fun gift I got somewhere around this age was costumey stuff for doing dress-up: feather boas, strange hats, etc.
posted by whatzit at 6:37 PM on June 26, 2009

My neighborhood Michael's craft store consistently has Glow Sticks in a $1 tube, which are fun after lights-out.
posted by ostranenie at 7:04 PM on June 26, 2009

Don't worry too much about her already having crayons--remember how much better a fresh, sharp crayon was compared to some pitiful nub with the paper peeled off?

If she's anything like most of the 7-year-old girls I know, she'll probably save new crayons for "special" projects and keep the old ones around for more mundane tasks. (It's a huge compliment when someone insists on drawing you a picture with the really good crayons.)
posted by corey flood at 7:05 PM on June 26, 2009

i second <>The Daring Book for Girls - thumb through it and find a couple crafts in it, buy those supplies - wrap 'em all separately, and voila!

also, seconding not getting rose art.
posted by nadawi at 8:11 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thirding Rose Art avoidance. That telescoping crayon tower looks awesome - and it helps with storage, too. I also really love the Crayola Slick Stix - those are some great crayons.
posted by clerestory at 9:10 PM on June 26, 2009


Also check out American Science and Surplus. Great selection of fun stuff.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:17 PM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: I got some Caran d'Ache watercolour pencils about that age and loved them. They're really good quality and I was blown away by the "it's a pencil, but dip it in water and it becomes all painty and blendable" realisation.

There's a nice, thirty-dollar set here.
posted by multivalent at 4:33 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not at all to diss all the other fantastic advice, but the Caran d'Ache pencils were a real standout...I doubt many people know about them.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 8:08 AM on June 27, 2009

If you're going for the Caran d'Ache pencils, make sure you also provide pads of drawing and water colour paper. (They are not the same!)
posted by DarlingBri at 4:33 PM on June 27, 2009

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