10 Wonderfully Sketchy Gifts for Kids
 at The Sketchy Artist, written by April Ripka (owner)

I asked my two nieces, Edith (10) and Lyra (7), to make me a list of what their favorite things were in the store right now. Both of them have grown up with the store, and the store has grown with them. When it comes to what I've chosen to carry along the lines of kids stuff, they have both been inspired and inspiring. If you've been shopping at the store for the last 10 years you might have noticed how much the 'kids area' has changed throughout that time. I'm not going to deny that they have had some partial influence in that. I love ther list. It's not only them, but it's a great reflection on what kids around their ages love in the shop as well.


I literally hear squeels when kids see them. They beg Mom, they plea with Dad, and heck, they even SAVE up their OWN money to buy one. Yeah, these things are hot and the trend doesn't seem to be fading any time soon. Squishies are all over the place and if you have a kid between the ages of 7 and 12 you probably know what i'm talking about. Edi tells me the kids at school trade them with each other (except the ones she gets from Auntie). and she's the one who insisted I carry squshies in the first place. Lyra is into these, too, mostly because her older sister is. That, and she can't resist cute, squishy things. But then, who can?


Mischief Coin Bank

Ohhhh my gosh this thing is so cute. Being a Japanese thing, well, duh. I got this for Lyra last Christmas and she LOVED it. We all got a kick out of it, too. The great thing is, she actually has fun saving money now. Heeyyyy it' a bank that really gets your kid to save money! How? It's so darn fun to watch you just want to keep feeding it coins!
Put a coin on the 'plate.' Lid opens, kitty peeks out, meows and says something indescribable in Japanese (I think). grabs the coin with its paw and then goes back in the box.
On a personal note, I get a kick out of the wonky Japanese to English translations on the package it comes in. Good stuff.

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Bath bombs have been something of a trend so it doesn't surprise me that this particular kit was on both of their lists. I've made bath bombs with both of them from recipes found online, but nothing does it like a Klutz kit: everything you need is there, plus easy step-by-step instructions. The best part is that there's a variety of molds so you can make all sorts of fun bath bombs. There are a bunch of Klutz kits both of them have BEGGED for, so even if Bath Bombs aren't your kid's thing, you really can't go wrong with a Klutz kit - there's more to choose from!

Meito Puku Puku Taiyaki Wafers

I know they love a lot of the Japanese candy, and they looooove to taste test everything with me, but the Taiyaki waffers have become their addiction. Every time they come into the store they beg their mom for one. I don't even know if they really have a favorite between the chocolate and strawberry - they are both delicious. I admit, this is one of my favorite treats as well. An added bonus: Japanese treats have less artificial ingrediants and are taste buds beyond any candy we have in the states.

Lyra would like to add that the blueberry ramune is one of her favorites, too.
Oh, and ALL the kids love the Pokemon gum.


Art Supplies

They love art supplies already, but when it came to the list, Edi and Lyra got specific: clay, colored pencils and brush markers. Edi said clay and brush markers while Lyra said colored pencils. Truthfully, I was a little surprised at their specific choices, although the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Lyra is still little too young for the brush markers (she pushes down too hard) but she's all about the colored pencils, espcially after i gave her own official 'big girl' set for her last birthday. Believe it or not, kids evntually outgrow their markers, and colored pencils are a great way to teach them how to care for their art supplies. Both of them knew that when Auntie got them each their first set it meant I felt they were ready to have 'real' art supplies. Edi has since 'upgraded' to brush markers, although she still holds her 36 set of Polycolor pencils very dear.
I think it's quite clever that they zeroed in on these three things; they are hot items with EVERYONE!

Gelly Roll pens

Another cross-over from their lists. These used to be the SHIZNIT back when i was a kid. 30 years later and they are STILL an obsession. Hey, what can I say? Everyone loves a fun pen - especially ones that write in metallic, glitter, and even on black paper!

ps - Edi wanted to mention that she pretty much loves all cool pens. And fyi, the store is full of cool pens.

Mimi Pochi Coin Purses & Bags

This one was on Edi's list. Oddly enough, she doesn't have one, but her mother and I do. (Think she's trying to tell me soemthing?) I love that she picked this, though. Not only are they cleverly cute, they are also made out of silicone, which I love becuase they don't ever seem to get dirty. I remember having a coin purse when i was young...really wish it looked like one of these!
Exremely well made (duh, they're Japanese!) - perfect for kids AND adults.


Tiny Things & Plushy Things

This is probably a no brainer. My nieces have been attracted to cute, tiny things since I can remember, and I've noticed they aren't the only ones. This could even be on the grown-up list considering how I've seen people of all ages squeak just a little upon discovery. There are tons of tiny + cute things in the store and the combo is irresistable. I know...I'm evil like that. Tiny stickers, tiny note pads, tiny figurines, tiny bell charms, and even tiny colored pencils are popular finds with the kiddies.

And then we go opposite - big, soft plushy things! Plush characters from Japan are indeed SOFT as a cloud. What I love the most about Japanese plushies is the characters. Sometimes they are familiar and sometimes they are adorably atypical. But believe me, the kids LOVE these. The price is worth it.

No-Mess Color Stuff

Ok, maybe i shouldn't use the term 'no-mess.' We all know kids can make a mess out of pretty much anything. BUT, what if your kid could paint without the water mess? Yeah, exactly. Check out the Chunkies Paint Sticks - waterless painting, great for little kids that don't quite have the brush or water skill thing down yet. Draw on glass? Got something for that, too. I got myself a set of the Rainy Dayz a couple years back for my neices to draw on my sliding doors with. They LOVED it, and still use them to this day at their own house. Even my boyfriend went to town on my windows. The great thing is, I really loved that my neighbors had fun admring their artwork as well. The crayons are water-soluable so the clean-up is simple - but I rarely washed their drawings off unless they wanted to draw something new. The fact that they are really creamy make them super smooth to use on regular paper, too!

Tell Me A Story

When I asked the girls to pick a couple things they remember liking when they were younger, they both agreed on the Winkel (which is listed in our top 10 products list) and this great product from Eeboo. Grandma loves this, too! Available in 4 different themes, each deck contains cards that are beautifully illustrated with images that encourage children to tell a story based on what they see. It's great for the imaginaion and building story-telling skills. The way we used to play it is to have them pick three cards randomly and then tell a story based on those three. The fun part is listening to what they come up with!

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