10 Design Objects That Can Also Double as Gifts for Kids

published Jul 16, 2021
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My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700-square-foot railroad style apartment in New York City. We enjoy the simplicity of living in a small space and creatively thinking about how to make the most of it. Our daughters share the largest bedroom in the apartment and also enjoy playing in their 14’ x 7’ hallway playroom. We even turned the pantry in our kitchen into a toy rotation closet!

Our physical space is limited, yet our girls are growing and have ever-changing needs. We like to use gift giving times as opportunities to bring new items into our space that meet their developmental needs and look stylish in our home. Like all kids, our girls LOVE opening new toys, but they also LOVE opening gifts that help to enhance their physical spaces. 

Here’s a roundup of some beautiful, original, and functional design items that can also double as gifts for kids! 

The saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but it’s hard to not fall immediately in love with the covers of the In Bloom Book Collection. It’s never too early to introduce your kids to the classics, and this set of four hardbound books include “Heidi,” “A Little Princess,” “Little Women,” and “Anne of Green Gables.” The book covers feature whimsical floral illustrations by Rifle Paper co-founder Anna Bond, and the designs are accented with gold foil stamps. 

Counting sheep has been a long-held strategy for getting kids to sleep. This delightful Sleep Trainer Alarm Sheep Clock just might help to simplify that strategy. The sheep’s eyes open and close and the clock face changes colors to indicate when it is time to go to sleep or when it is time to wake up. Our daughters have this clock, and they look forward to bedtime and watching its little eyes close! 

Kids love creating original pieces of art and the Rainbow Dot Art Cable is a beautiful and practical way to display their masterpieces. Colorful and modern, this cable features ten circular clips that allow you to easily add or edit out pieces of artwork for display. Considering that art storage is a constant question with parents (especially in limited spaces like ours), this is an ingenious solution to that organization dilemma too!

Add that special “branding” touch to a kid’s bedroom or play area with a personalized sign. Personalization is included with the cost of the sign, and signs can be produced in six different colors and include up to nine characters. This is also a fun way to personalize individualized areas in a room shared by siblings! 

Reminiscent of the classic “I Spy” game, the Play Time Art Print is a joyful piece of artwork that features brightly colored toys and gadgets. This piece of unique artwork would be an excellent addition to a gallery wall of prints in a child’s bedroom or play area. For adults of a certain age, it’s sure to inspire conversation and feelings of childhood nostalgia!

Inspired by public transit maps, these Subway Coat Hooks provide functional and kid-friendly storage. When not in use, these hooks look like a piece of artwork. The hooks are wide-set, giving each stored item ample room. When hung at a level accessible by kids, these hooks can support independence and allow them to access the items that they need, like jackets, hats, scarves or bags.

The Yoto Player adds a world of imagination to any space! This small, retro player provides children with a screen-free audio experience. The speaker is controlled by physical cards that feature stories, music, activities, podcasts, and more. The best part is that it’s totally kid-controlled, which lets them play independently. Our girls love to listen to stories in the afternoon for quiet time and find the classical music cards incredibly soothing to listen to before bed. 

A multi-purpose play prop, the Play Stand features a lovely rainbow canopy plus two stands that are study enough for kids to sit on. This Play Stand creates a magical space for kids to explore and can be used in so many inventive ways. Though it’s certainly a splurge gift, it’s one that will be used for a long time.

Lighting is an important design element in any space. This Little Lights Robot Lamp is playful and imaginative, with the bulbs woven throughout the design. The lamp is made of solid pinewood, features non-toxic finishes, and has a dimmer switch on the cord. Since they’re made of solid wood, they’re meant to be heirloom pieces, passed down through generations.

This golden T-Rex planter is sure to get a ROAR of delight from the little green thumb in your life! This prehistoric planter features an air plant and will add an air of design sophistication to a kid’s space. Kids can spin stories with their new dino pal, and air plants are easy enough to care for that kids (ahem, parents) don’t need to do much to maintain them.