Monday, November 20, 2017

Gifts for Girls Who Love Fashion and Design (That Aren't Totally Annoying)

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Do you have a kid who loves fashion and design? We do, and over the years our family has been the recipient of lots of design-related toys, games, and activities for holidays and birthdays.

Some have been hits, and some mostly sat gathering dust until heading to Goodwill. Want to know the kid-tested favorites in our family? 

Here they are, the best design and fashion toys we've seen over the years, in terms of how long they held our kids' attention and the annoyance level they were to parents (because let's face it, the kids get a lot of annoying toys this time of year and you don't need any more of those.)

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Klutz Paper Fashions


Using the provided stencils, kids mix and match to create and cut out hundreds of tiny paper outfits. This set came with lots of patterned paper, real trim, and little wire hangers to display the finished products. Because some intricate cutting work is involved, I'd say it's good for ages 7-13. 

What the Kids Liked: Our girls could play with this for a LOOOONG time. I was surprised at how much creativity they could use, even combining different parts of different stencils to create all-new pieces. They briefly glanced at the instructions and ideas in the attached book, but mostly just dug in and started making outfits on their own. They liked gluing the finished outfits in a notebook, so I took the cute little hangers and used them for cardmaking.

Parental Annoyance Level: Low! This toy is geared toward kids old enough to clean up after themselves, so there was little mess and it entertained them for hours. Plus, you can save money on the paper refills buy just getting regular scrapbook paper with small patterns when you are running low if you don't want to buy the Klutz brand refills.

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Interior Design Lightbox Studio Set


Comes with a lightbox, a bunch of room templates, and outlines for over 100 pieces of furniture and room decor to trace. (Somehow all pieces appear in the correct perspective, no matter where you place them in the room which I thought was cool.) After stenciling in the features of the room, they color and give realistic textures to all the furniture. Good for ages 5-12.

What the Kids Liked: This was awesome for teaching art fundamentals like perspective in a fun way; my kids didn't even know they were learning. Guided enough so that even young kids and poor artists could produce amazing drawings but still freeform enough to hold their attention for a long while. They loved this toy so much that even when the lightbox was broken in a freak elbow-drop incident (not the product's fault, it was ours) they would still painstakingly hold the pieces up to the windows and trace them until we got a replacement lightbox.

Parental Annoyance Level: Low! No small pieces and no mess, but if younger kids were using it we had to make sure they remembered to turn off the lightbox. The 50 sheets last a long time. As an aside, I loved that it hooked my fashion designer daughter but broadened her horizons beyond just drawing girls in pretty dresses all day.

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Origami Chic: a Guide to Foldable Fashion

Origami Chic is a super-creative, original idea. Instead of the standard origami animals, this book shows you how to fold origami clothes and accessories. It comes with paper and a book of instructions. Appropriate for ages 9 and up. 

What the Kids Liked: We got this when our 9-year-old was in her origami phase and we were looking for something different. She had no idea you could make this stuff using origami and was really excited to try it. It's a little hard to learn origami from a book, so sometimes she needed to ask for help. Other times she did it herself and was happy with the end result (even if she did it slightly differently than the book told her to.)

Parental Annoyance Level: Medium. If you don't mind being on-call to help with instructions when needed, this is a great and entertaining activity for your kids.

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

My Style Studio


Kids mix and match different outfit combinations (and hairstyles) on a female figure, but instead of drawing them with stencils they trace them on tracing paper included in the kit. The outfit pieces are bold outlines on clear window cling-like material so they are easy to trace. Very easy to use for ages 7-12.

What the Kids Liked: They took this one and ran with it. They liked creating the outfits and enjoyed that they were drawing them on a person whose appearance they could also personalize.

Parental Annoyance Level: Medium. The one thing I didn't love about this kit is how all the little outfit pieces tended to show up on the floor afterward. They are small and clear so they were easy to miss when putting away. I probably threw some away by accident (and maybe a few on purpose, if I'm being honest.)

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

20 Ways to Draw a Dress

This is a really fun sketchbook. The name is misleading because it doesn't actually give step-by-step instructions for drawing clothing 20 different ways; it gives you a few basic pictures for ideas and room to sketch 20 more from your own imagination. Good for road trips and kids who like to doodle. Ages 6-12.

What the Kids Liked: If you give my kids a blank sketchbook it will probably stay blank. This one gave them just enough direction and inspiration to get them started. The sample drawings are fairly simple line drawings, so your kids should get the sense from looking at the sketches that they don't have to be amazing artists to enjoy this book.

Parental Annoyance Level: Low! This was a great toy and I loved everything about it. It reminded me of Usborne Doodle Books but with a fashion slant for kids who are into that kind of thing.


The Fashion Angels line has lots of themes, but I personally thought Pet Fashions was the cutest  especially if your child is an animal-lover. The book comes with 40 sheets of outlines of a girl walking her pet (there are sheets with dogs, cats, and horses,) and the attached stencils allow kids to draw outfits on both the girl and her animal. Great for ages 6-11.

What the Kids Liked: They loved that the book was spiral bound, so it stayed open easily for drawing. It was a fun twist on the standard fashion drawing activity to have a matching pet to dress up in addition to the model.

Parental Annoyance Level: Low! Easy clean up. The stencil pages come out of the spiral binding but tuck right back in for cleanup, making sure they stay with the book.

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Creativity for Kids Fashion Headbands


This kit combines fashion and creativity with hands-on crafting. Kids use the ribbons, flowers, and accessories provided to create up to 10 wearable headbands, and a booklet comes with the set to give them ideas for getting started. Good for kids ages 4-9.

What the Kids Liked: My youngest daughter was totally wowed with how many cute things she could create and wanted to put them all on one headband. My older one was a little more conservative and created some very elegant-looking ones using the ideas provided in the instructions. The style of most of the headbands is probably more geared toward kids at the younger end of the 4-9 spectrum.

Parental Annoyance Level: I personally would say medium to high because I don't like doing crafts and this set requires help from a parent practically the whole time. If crafts are your thing, though, you and your child will love this set. (Tip: use a hot glue gun instead of the included craft glue. It works better, and if you're going to be helping anyway, you might as well.)


I hope this list helps with your holiday gift-giving and allows you to find some quality, enjoyable fashion and design toys and activities for your children this year!

Reviews of 7 amazing fashion- and design-related toys and activities that have been my kids' favorites over the years (and I give you the scoop on whether they were annoying to clean up or use, because that kind of thing matters to parents!)  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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4 comments:

  1. This is a very helpful list. What about Fashion Plates? Where would you rank them on the annoyance scale? https://www.amazon.com/Kahootz-01300-Fashion-Plates-Deluxe/dp/B00IZN74H6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1511189242&sr=8-3&keywords=Fashion+plates

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    1. Hey, those look just like something I had as a kid and I remember using them ALL the time. We haven't owned them for our kids, but to me they look pretty self-contained. I would give them a thumbs-up.

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  2. Great ideas here. I seriously think "parental annoyance level" should be standardized on packaging, like serving size and grams of protein. :)

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    1. Contacting my senator about it as we speak. Once it's standard, I'd also lobby for a law that makes it illegal to buy things with a high parental annoyance level for other peoples' children (only your own!)

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