Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Kids in Central Ohio

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These Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your kids from women-owned businesses in Central Ohio are fun, sweet, and, most importantly, delicious!

Guest Post by: Katie Sorokas

Valentine’s Day is all about loving on special people in your life and your little ones, tweens, and teens are no exception! Kids and teens alike will love chocolate, candy, a special shirt or craft, or bath bomb as a Valentine’s Day gift. And shopping local means loving on local business women and mamas as well!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Are you the type of person who goes all in on a family celebration with cupids, chocolate, and hearts? Or lets this holiday go by without a ton of effort and might pick up some discounted chocolate on February 15th? Maybe somewhere in-between with a dinner date for the grownups and pizza night for the kiddos?

While Valentine’s Day card and candy exchanges at schools may look different this year, you may be inspired to treat your kiddos to a fun and special celebration at home.

My little guy is just big enough to be talking about Valentine’s Day at preschool, and he is all about the red hearts and, most importantly, chocolate. We are always looking for an excuse to bake a cake in our house so we will be all forks into a decadently decorated cake on Valentine’s Day – and maybe a little treat yo self for the kiddos too! 

Rather than scoop up something from the Dollar Spot at Target this year, I am intentionally buying gifts and treats from local, women-owned businesses in Central Ohio.

Investing our dollars in our local economy, and especially to women-owned businesses, helps to grow both these entrepreneurs’ small businesses and keeps a workin’ mama’s dream alive another season. These dollars also stay in the local economy longer than a dollar spent at Target. 

Heads up – You may have to plan a bit more shopping local than you might at a big box store. These stores and shops are striving to make shopping local easy as pie (or cake!) with online orders and contactless pick up. Even if just a small part of your Valentine’s Day is full of small business love, you are rocking it by supporting a local mama and family. 

I hope these spotlighted businesses help you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little more love and fun this year! We could all use a sweet holiday filled with chocolate this season <3 

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Tummies of All Ages:

Donna’s Delicious Dozen (Gahanna)

Checkout the yummy specials on Valentine’s Day donuts or (my favorite!) a DIY donut kit so you and your littles can decorate together!

Mara Bakes (Columbus)

Let Timmura, an award-winning baker with a home-based bakery business, make your Valentine’s Day a smashing success with a “smash heart” or paint-your-own cookie kit! She is also offering up cocoa bombs and tea bombs! Check out her social media for more details!

The Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Company (Westerville)

The ladies at The Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Company will set you up with all you need to host a delightful and sweet (or delicious and rowdy depending on your crowd of tiny humans!) tea party. They have everything you need to sip and toast to a day of loving on the special ones in your life. 

Foraged & Sown (Online)

Foraged & Sown can supply you with some yummy locally grown tea as well to fill your cup!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For the Younger Crowd:

Wild Cat Gift & Party Store (Columbus)

With a section called “All Pink Everything,” Wild Cat has your Valentine’s Day decorations covered! And pick up a DIY coral reef crystal growing kit or dinosaur model kit for your little one while you are there!

City Folk Farm Shop (Columbus)

This family-owned homestead and farm shop will set your kiddos up for a Valentine’s Day outdoor adventure on the nature trail or a sweet garden to grow with love. Get your little ones involved in growing their own food right in your backyard (or on your windowsill!). Seed packets featuring a variety of pink and red fruits and veggies will fit right in this season. 

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Tweens & Teens:

Natterdoodle (Columbus & Online)

From sweet cards to fun stickers for those Hydroflask water bottles to whimsical workshops, Natterdoodle has you covered! Natalie, the owner, has a mission to “sprinkle positivity confetti” around the world, and her art and style will do just that with your teenager! The stickers are adorable and sassy – and the workshops will be a win with your teen! My fav is the Virtual Intro to Handlettering workshop! 

Originalitees (Online)

Show Ohio and your teen some love with an Ohio proud shirt from Originalitees! This Ohio-based business includes a variety of tees in men, women, and child sizes. 

Earth Elements

Treat yo kiddo to a spa day with bath bombs, face masks, aftershave lotion, and more from Earth Elements (and might as well pick up something for yourself)! Simple, natural skincare products and toiletries made in Columbus will shower both you and this small business with love! Check out their Valentine’s Day Gift Guide online for more gift ideas too. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Katie Sorokas is a mama on a mission to raise up women-owned businesses in Ohio. Showcasing mamas workin’ their goals and chasin’ their dreams makes her heart grow almost as big as a giant box of chocolates. When she’s not having a dance party or on an outdoor adventure with her two little boys, she is writing at Realistically Aspirational and setting up her new Ohio mini-homestead. Follow her on Instagram at @Katie_Heartland and check out her musings on mamas chasin’ goals at

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Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys

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Looking for a gift idea for a boy in your life that won’t just be tossed to the side after his birthday or the holidays? These are toys and books that have stood the test of time in our house!

This content contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my disclosure here.

My boys have a lot of toys! Too many toys, really! But there are some toys that were really worth it! This is a list of toys, books, games and arts and crafts supplies that my boys have played with consistently over time.

Yes, girls can play with and use these things, too, but I have two boys, three nephews and just one niece, so my adult life has pretty much been spent thinking about what gifts I should buy for boys! 😉

My experience in this area has thus far been limited to boys who are 8 and under and I want to make sure I give you an accurate idea of the ages for which these gifts are most appropriate. I hope this list of gift ideas for young boys gives you some ideas of presents that will stand the test of time!

Toy Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Bruder Toys CAT Excavator

gift ideas for boys: Bruder Excavator

These trucks have not only kept my boys attention for years, they are sturdy and built to last for years, too! My boys have loved the construction vehicles in particular and the take them inside and outside to dig, whether it be dirt, sand or picking up LEGO Bricks! You can see a whole list of Bruder Trucks here! Also popular with my boys are the trash truck and fire truck!

2. LEGO Building Set


toys for boys: LEGO Bricks

My boys are obsessed with LEGO® bricks! In particular, they love the LEGO CITY line: police, fire, construction, etc. The Mobile Command Center pictured above has been particularly popular with my boys!

The great thing about LEGOs is that they can be used over and over again in millions of different combinations. Some kids like to build sets and keep them together and other kids love to take them apart and build their own creations. Whatever your gift-recipient’s personality it’s hard to go wrong with LEGO bricks! Another great thing about LEGO toys is that there is something for every price range!

4. Magna-Tiles

gift ideas for young boys: Magna-tiles 

Magna-Tiles are another toy that my boys can play with for long spans of time. These toys are an investment, but they continue to be popular at home and at local play cafes and indoor play areas! We have a slightly cheaper version called Dreambuilder Toy Magnetic Tiles that work pretty well but are a little bit smaller.

5. Playmobil

Gift ideas for boys: Playmobil

My boys have been fans of Playmobil across all ages. This is another toy that has spanned several years of playing! Again, my boys are particularly drawn to the Fire and Police lines of this toy, but they pretty much enjoy any vehicle or building. The Playmobile Fire Station was a hit a few years ago for Christmas and it continues to be played with on a regular basis! My boys love the police car and fire trucks.

6. Road Ruggift ideas for boys: road rug

Do boys come out of the womb obsessed with Matchbox cars? I think mine did! One of the best places to drive your toy cars is on a “road rug”! A rug like this one and a pack of Matchbox cars will provide hours of entertainment! My boys have used their road rugs as an action scene for LEGO vehicles, dinosaurs, Playmobil cities and more! These rugs provide the setting for imaginations to run wild!

7. Matchbox or Hotwheels Cars and Transporter

gift ideas for boys: Matchbox cars

As mentioned in #6, Matchbox or Hotwheels cars are super popular with all ages of boys! My kids started playing with them at age 2 and they’re still playing with them! It’s easy to collect these cars in mass numbers and one of the things we have used to store them is this Toy Truck Transport Car Carrier

8. Wooden Train Tracksgift ideas for boys: wooden train tracks

Wooden train tracks have been played with at my house in some form for many years! Both of my boys have gone through their train phases and these tracks stand the test of time! There are a lot of related brands of train products that fit together.

The Thomas the Train line is probably the most popular train toy, but my boys have played with all kinds of trains! And no matter how many tracks you have you can always add more to make your scene bigger!

Check here for the wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train.

9. Kid Galaxy White House

gift ideas for boys: White House Play Set

This gift is a surprising one on the list, but recently my boys got really into learning about the US Presidents! When I shared about this in my Instagram stories, I got a lot of interest in this toy that friends of ours found for my boys, so I figured my boys are not the only ones into US history!

This set comes with a plastic White House that opens up and has 4 play rooms. There is a figurine for each president of the US and a set of cards with info about each president. It was amazing how much my boys played with this one!

Book Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. My Truck is Stuckbooks for boys: My Truck is Stuck

This is a funny, rhyming book my boys have read over and over! A great picture book for young boys!

2. Alphabet Trucks

alphabet Trucks book for kids

If your boys love trucks, they will love learning the alphabet with this book that features a truck that starts with every letter of the alphabet!

3. Cars Galore

Cars Galore Book for kids

Cars, cars and still more cars! This is another great car book for vehicle lovers!

4. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go Book for kids

A classic by Richard Scarry here! This book has scenes from all over featuring, you guessed it: vehicles!

5. Sticker Books

gift ideas for kids: sticker books
Books like these sticker books have kept my boys busy for hours! They love these books that have stickers to put on all the pages in the book. They especially love the Trucks and Cars themed sticker books! Friends of our family have given my boys these books as gifts and they even regularly look at them even though all the stickers are in place! 

Board Game Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. UNO Attackgift idea for boys: Uno Attack

My kids love playing UNO Attack – even if they’re making up their own rules most of the time! 😉 UNO is a great game for kids because it involves matching colors and recognizing numbers and it’s pretty easy to learn at a young age! Adding in the Attack feature is extra fun for kids! They love the suspense of wondering if and how many cards are going to come flying out!

2. Payday

gift ideas for boys: Pay Day

Payday is a classic game that is pretty easy for young kids to pick up! My kids have loved this game and love learning about the concept of money! There is a surprising amount of life lessons to be learned when playing this game! 😉 Introducing the concept of bills, insurance, jobs and the responsibilities of adulthood is never a bad idea!

3. Connect 4

gift ideas for young boys: Connect 4 Game

This is a really simple game for young kids to play! Even a 3 year old can play Connect Four! My youngest son recently made up his own version of Connect 4 where we took turns making a pattern. Maybe it’s not in the rule book, but I thought it was a great learning exercise that was fun for him at the same time! (As a side note, check out this awesome life sized, yard games version of Connect 4!)

4. Sorry

gift ideas for boys: Sorry Game

Sorry is another great game for younger kids! I am not a fan of this game because it always made me cry as a kid! LOL! But my kids love it so I will swallow my pride and play it with them. It’s a great way to learn counting!

Arts and Crafts Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad: Vehiclesgift ideas for boys: Sticker Pad

My kids have this sticker pad and love using the stickers over and over again to make different scenes! The price on this pad is very reasonable (usually less than $5) which is pretty good considering that the stickers are reusable!  There are several themes available for these pads including My Town and Adventure!

2. Water Wow! Reusable Coloring Bookswater wow! Gifts for boys

We recently discovered these books as they were gifted to my kids by one of their grandparents! This is another mess free coloring option that’s great for travel or keeping kids busy in restaurants or doctor’s offices and the like! You fill the pen with water and then you can paint the scenes and they turn colors! The great thing about this pad is that as it dries, the picture turns white again and it is reusable!

3. Imagine Ink Magic Ink Picture Books

gifts for young boys: Imagine Ink
These mess free coloring books are great for car rides and pretty much any time you need to keep a kid busy! My kids have had tons of these books and they love them! This is a great idea for when you’re traveling with kids or want them to be able to color without worrying about making a mess. The ink is clear unless used on the special paper within the book!

4. Crayola Washable Water Paints

gift ideas for kid: Watercolor Paints

You can’t go wrong with these classic water paints! Kids love to play and paint with water. We have huge rolls of paper that we just roll out on the table and let the kids paint on!  Don’t forget paint brushes!

If you’re looking for a great gift idea for young boys, I hope this list gives you a starting point! These gifts are classic and have stood the test of time in my house! If you’re looking for a gift for a boy that won’t get tossed to the side the day after opening it, pick one of these gifts that can be used again and again, even in different ways, as kids grow and change!


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Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys 


ICYMI: The 5 Best Membership Gifts for Columbus Kids

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Your Guide to the Best Family Movies & Deals with Marcus Theatres 

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It’s the most wonderful moviegoing time of the year! Whether catching a new release, finding the perfect gift or looking forward to the return of Disney classics in the New year, Marcus Theatres is your family entertainment headquarters.

Thanks to Marcus Theatres for sponsoring this post!

Your Guide to the Best Family Movies & Deals with Marcus Theatres: 

Keep reading to learn about all the fun in store, then make sure to visit the Marcus Crosswoods Cinema in Columbus and Marcus Pickerington Cinema in Pickerington! 

Must-see Family Films

The holiday movie slate offers something for everyone. Not sure what to see? This guide is for you! Click the links to check out the trailers for each film.

Animated Films: 

  • “Frozen 2” (PG) — Out now: If you haven’t seen this Golden Globe-nominated flick yet what are you waiting for?!  
  • “Spies in Disguise” (PG) — Out December 25: An adorable comedy about a spy turned into a pigeon who must rely on his nerdy tech office to save the world — voice actors include Tom Holland and Will Smith!

Action Films:

Drama/Musical Films:

  • “Cats” (PG) — Out December 19: Introduce your family to the beloved musical in a way like never before.
  • “Little Women” (PG) — Out December 25: The newest version of Louisa May Alcott’s coming of age novel that is packed with an all-star cast — a true Christmas Day gift!

Planning to take multiple trips to the movies this winter break? Make sure to take advantage of $5 Movie Tuesday featuring $5 movies, plus free popcorn for all Magical Movie Rewards members! (Tip: Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve both fall on a $5 Movie Tuesday this year!) And don’t forget about $6 Student Thursday featuring $6 movies and free popcorn for students and school faculty.

Gifts that Entertain

Looking for a gift that’s perfect for friends, family, teachers, babysitters and more? Try a Marcus Theatres gift card! They’re perfect for family outings and date nights alike. Now through January 5, receive $5 in FREE Snack Cash with every $25 gift card purchase in theatre or online. (Tip: pair a gift card with an Ultimate Popcorn Tub for the gift that keeps on giving!)

Gifts that Give Back 

While you’re busy checking everyone off your list, Marcus Theatres is also giving you the opportunity to gift a Magical Movie Experience to a Make-A-Wish Ohio child battling critical illness. Visit to learn more and spread some joy to a local family.

Mark Your Calendar for the Return of Disney Classics!

Once you’ve had your fill of “Frozen 2,” introduce your family to timeless classics with the return of the Enchanted Tales Series featuring classic Disney films at both the Marcus Crosswoods and Pickerington Cinemas! Kids and adults alike will agree that there’s something even more magical about seeing Aladdin race through the sky or Sleeping Beauty wake from her slumber on the big screen. Best of all, admission is just $6 per person! 

  • “Aladdin:” January 24-26
  • “The Lion King” (original): January 31-February 2
  • “Sleeping Beauty:” February 7-9
  • “Pocahontas:” February 14-17 


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