The Best Gifts for Tomboys (Gift Ideas for Not-So-Girly Girls)
Finding the perfect gift for someone is always difficult, but shopping for the tomboy in your life can be a true challenge. You may be tempted to just get her something "normal for a girl her age" and move on with your shopping, but this is a bad idea. I know—I was that difficult girl. I was the girl who owned exactly one Barbie (it was a gift), defiantly insisted on getting the "boy" toy with my McDonald's kid's meal, and wanted a Creepy Crawlers Bug Oven instead of an Easy-Bake.
The tomboy on your gift list will not suddenly decide to like princess costumes and play-makeup just because she receives them for the third year in a row. Giving her "girly" gifts won't benefit either of you. You'll be upset when she rejects your "normal" gifts, and she'll be upset because she feels like you don't know her very well and don't value who she wants to be. She may also end up feeling guilty because she doesn't like your gift. In any case, she's not going to magically start loving ponies and dolls, so you might as well stop trying. By giving her a gift she really wants, you can not only make her happy in the moment, but you can also help her grow into a confident young woman.
The gift ideas in this article are grouped into four general categories for your convenience:
- For Girls Who Love Science
- For Girls Who Love Sports
- For Girls Who Love Making Things
- For Girls Who Love Reading
1. For Girls Who Love Science
Our society is biased against girls' interest in science. Observational research shows that while attending a children's science museum, parents were three times more likely to explain scientific concepts to boys than to girls. This happened whether a girl was accompanied by her mother, her father, or both. This needs to change, and you can do your part by choosing gifts that encourage scientific inquiry.
For general science fun, try . I used to work at a store that sold lots of educational and science toys, and this kit was always a favorite. With over 70 experiments to help curious minds learn more about the world around them and how everyday objects work, this kit is good for hours of entertainment. The bag is similar to the heavy-duty plastic zipper-top bags comforters and mattress-toppers come in (but much smaller, of course!) and is durable enough to provide long-term storage. Be Amazing Toys' Big Bag of Science
Science Project Kits
For more specific projects, I highly recommend anything made by Toysmith under the name "4M." They offer kits that show children how to construct a, a tin can robot, a miniature solar water heater, and much more. Each kit is fun, informative, and "green." When I worked in retail, these kits would fly off the shelves as soon as they were stocked. weather station
Many girls also enjoy building toys, like Legos, Erector Sets, and K'NEX. Many of these toys are adaptable to a wide variety of age ranges. With basic building options for younger children and more advanced designs with motors and robotic capabilities for older kids, a building toy kit can grow with your child as her interests develop.
2. For Girls Who Love Sports
Just because a girl loves the outdoors or a particular sport does not mean she loves all sports, so make sure to either get her either something you know she wants or something generic enough to be useful regardless of what sport she plays.
A High-Quality Water Bottle
All active people need a high-quality water bottle. The best water bottles are metal or glass because they are "inert." Many plastic water bottles contain substances that can leach into water, especially when the bottle is either new or old. While it is possible to find water bottles that are certified BPA-free (meaning they shouldn't leak toxins), you never know what future research might uncover. Until just a few years ago, most people didn't realize plastics had the ability to leak. If you stick with stainless steel, aluminum, or glass, you can rest assured the bottle won't be labeled dangerous next year.
Sportswear and Gear
All active girls need comfortable clothes to practice and run around in. Practice gear like shorts, sweatpants, tops, and comfortable socks are great for every athletic girl. If she has long hair, accessories like soft headbands and sweatbands can keep stray strands from falling in her eyes.
Outdoorsy girls may also enjoy non-traditional gifts like pocket knives, fishing poles, compasses, and camping tents. Even if her family doesn't share her passion for hiking or camping, a backyard campout is always a fun activity!
3. For Girls Who Love Making Things
Just because your attempts to get a girl interested in sewing or knitting didn't pan out doesn't mean she dislikes creating things. Try engaging her with other types of projects. I loved DIY kits as a kid and enjoy building projects to this day. It all started back in elementary school with a great Christmas gift and the Girl Scouts' Ms. Fix-it badge.
If she likes gum (and doesn't have braces), consider a make-your-own-chewing-gum kit. Be sure to get a high-quality kit that comes with all-natural ingredients. Making gum is a little messy, so be sure to use the provided disposable containers! I loved making gum and creating my own flavors, and I owned more than one of these kits. If she has braces but still enjoys candy, consider a make-your-own-chocolate kit instead.
I also highly recommend anything by Klutz Press. This company's activity books are fun, engaging, and come with all the supplies a girl needs for activities like face-painting, making giant bubbles, and the learning world's most popular board games. Other books can teach her skills like juggling or how to use a foxtail. Looking through the Klutz Press offerings, I think I've owned and loved almost every one at some point in my life.
4. For Girls Who Love Reading
What could be better for a strong girl than a book with a strong heroine? Even before I could read, my parents read me fables and fairy tales with strong female characters—there was no waiting to be rescued by some prince in my bedtime stories!
A Book With a Strong Heroine
Fortunately, many of today's most popular young-adult stories feature female protagonists. The Hunger Games is one of America's hottest books and features Katniss, an exceptionally strong 16-year-old girl, as its lead character.
Other popular books with female leads that you may know from their movie versions include The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. More traditional favorites, such as Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and Roald Dahl's Matilda, also feature independent heroines that will inspire your non-traditional girl. Additionally, virtually every book by Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix, Kristin Cashore, and Maria V. Snyder stars an admirable female lead.
Any of these books or authors are sure to present young-adult girls with believable female characters with plausible flaws, determination, intelligence, kindness, and the physical/emotional/mental strength to surmount whatever stands in their way.
Help Her Be Strong
People are too often afraid to encourage independent girls to pursue their own paths. As a society, we still cling to the myth that guys will be intimidated by girls who they perceive as stronger, smarter, or in any way "better" than them. Real men aren't afraid of strong women, and it's time we stop forcing girls into cookie-cutter molds. Being independent, loving science, or enjoying the outdoors doesn't mean a girl won't grow into a responsible, caring woman. By supporting her interests and passions—whatever they may be—you are helping her blossom into a confident, self-assured young lady who isn't afraid to be herself. Doesn't that sound like the kind of person you'd like to help create?
Are you a girl/woman with non-traditional interests?
© 2012 Natasha