Whether you have a gaggle of nieces and nephews or just one special kiddo in your life, they can be the best and worst to shop for. They like toys that break, need batteries and/or make the kinds of noises that make you forget all the cuteness that overwhelmed you in the first place. For those kids you love, look for a gift you'd be excited to watch or help them use. Rather than a trinket or the latest mind-melting video game, give that thing that says what they really want to hear: Adults are just oversized playmates.


Make a memory and share an experience with a real 3-D entertainment event. Children's theater is entertaining for adults and enthralling for kids. For the dramatic youth in your life, you could make it a night to look forward to with pretty clothes and maybe a post-show hot chocolate. The 71st season includes Scrooge the Musical, running through Dec. 18. In January, the theater presents Henry & Ramona, based on the characters by Beverly Cleary. Robin Hood; Bye, Bye Birdie and The Jungle Book will be worth the wait until spring. $8 for a child's ticket; $42 for a child's season pass • Spokane Children's Theatre • spokanechildrenstheatre.org/box-office


If you're looking for a game for younger children but want to skip batteries and tiny, easily lost pieces, this is a top choice. Animal Upon Animal comes with 29 colorfully painted wooden creatures, including crocodiles, sheep, penguins and hedgehogs. Two to four players race to stack their animals fastest. The young ones will be so distracted by the colors and critters, they won't even realize they're learning valuable coordination and motor skills with this game. $24 • Uncle's Games • Spokane Valley Mall, 14700 E. Indiana Ave. #2128 • 404 W. Main Ave


Feed their curiosity with a science kit. This one is equipped to dive into the mysteries of biology and microbiology and answer questions like "Is there science behind the 'five-second rule'?" It comes with real scientific tools, including petri dishes, tweezers, a pipette and a small magnifying glass. They'll study colonies of bacteria and fungi — harmless, of course — and next time they see you, they'll have all kinds of wonderful facts to share. $25 • Whiz Kids • River Park Square, 808 W. Main, Suite 320


Replenish their craft cupboard with your own gift basket of supplies. New fingerpaint, fresh markers or crayons, and tons of paper are all you really need for an afternoon of creative fun that doesn't involve instruction manuals or game boards. Never underestimate how much a child loves paper to color or markers that smell. Get creative and include origami paper, new stencils or calligraphy pens that will certainly impress them. $5-$55 • Spokane Art Supply • 1303 N. Monroe n

Re*Imagine Christmas Winter Festival @ Medical Lake

Sat., Dec. 14, 1-5 p.m.
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