With my family’s purse strings pulled tighter than ever, the tendency will be to do it all at a big-box retailer this holiday season. But, Kansas City has so many unique merchants and I think it’s important now, more than ever, to support them. SHOP LOCAL, if at all possible, I say! The metro has so many neat, one-of-a-kind, locally-owned stores brimming with interesting gifts. Why not visit a few and put together a unique gift this year? We’ve got some suggestions to make it easy on you.
- Reading Reptile create a Books Basket or treat a lucky kid to a Thursday Story Time at Reading Reptile followed by “select any book you’d like…and it’s yours!”—what a neat gift!
- A Train-Themed gift: The Learning Tree (Leawood, KS and Prairie Village, KS) has some wonderful trains and train gifts. Thomas the Tank Engine is there of course, but so are lots of other choices. Include a certificate for a special meal at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant at the Crown Center Shops, or head to the new location across the state line in Shawnee, KS (just west of I-435 on Shawnee Mission Parkway) . What kid wouldn’t love to have her meal delivered tableside by a train?
- Unleash your child’s inner mad scientist! HMS Beagle is a wonderful store in Parkville, MO–“The Ultimate Science Store” according to their website. You can introduce your child to science through a number of neat gifts from the basic chemistry set to a fantastic telescope. They even have a science club with meetings for K-8th graders! For the little ones–an easy introduction to science can be found by taking a trip toWonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City in Shawnee, KS, featuring arts and sciences exhibits for kids ages 10 and under.
- GO RETRO! Moon Marble gift shop, located in Bonner Springs’ Moon Marble Company, has some great toys and games that have withstood the test of time…remember Pick-Up Sticks, Chinese Jumpropes and the wooden paddle with the red rubber ball attached? Find all of these and more!
- Enrollment in a class at one of the metro’s parks and recreation offices or community centers is a gift that will last weeks and even months! Your little one can try something new like a beginner’s martial arts class, a dance or ballet class or even try something exotic like fencing! What a great way to spend the winter months. Try Blue Valley Recreation or any of the parks and rec departments listed in our Classes directory!
- Don’t Forget the Music – How about guitar (or other musical instrument) lessons at the School of Rock (North Kansas City), the Toon Shop (Prairie Village, Lee’s Summit or Overland Park) or the Music House (Overland Park)?
- Stop by Laura Little’s Candies in Prairie Village or Topsy’s Popcorn(multiple locations) for sweet treats for stockings
- Shop Etsy Local for unique, handmade items created by talented Kansas Citians like Kate Williams (crayon holders and pinafores), three red trees (terribly cute sock dogs) and Becky Kelly (very sweet paintings and prints for a nursery or little one’s room).
There’s another place you might want to check out– because uniquely Kansas City traditions are being resurrected with each year! Zona Rosa is a shopping district in North Kansas City at I-29 and Barry Road. KC’s holiday past comes to life as the 2000-lb crowns are hoisted into place–near-exact replicas of the crowns that decked the streets of downtown KC for over 20 years! You’ll also find the “Fairy Princess”. She first appeared in the Kline’s toy department in 1936! New this year is the return of the “Ice Igloo”. Modeled from the original Kansas City Museum igloo, a new, more spacious one has been constructed so the younger generation can make holiday memories of their own.
Let us know if you discover something fun and different to do with your family–we’d love to spread the word! Believe me, this site will be buzzing over Christmas vacation with parents looking for things to do with their kiddos!!!