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A Family Therapist’s Guide to Gifts for Kids

3. The Box Girls offers a series of games to engage your whole family in fun, interesting conversations. The Box Girls started in 2002 when two moms began engaging their hungry kids with questions while waiting for dinner at a restaurant. From then on, the company has sold hundreds of thousands of their colorful gift boxes complete with sets of age appropriate holiday, party and family themed questions. A percentage of their profits is donated to charitable organizations.

The Christmas Box of Questions inspires great conversations by asking questions like “If you could kiss a person under the mistletoe, who would it be?” The Family Dinner Box of Questions, for ages 6 and up, sparks wonderful conversations by asking 82 thought-provoking questions such as “What qualities do you look for in a friend?” or “What is one way your mom or dad embarrasses you?” Truth or Dare (one for ages 9 and up and one for ages 12 and up) has been teen tested and mom approved. A sample question is “What’s the worst lie you ever told?” And The Family Dinner Faith Box of Questions asks things like “What do you think heaven will be like?”

Each box is easy to carry with you to a restaurant, to outdoor barbeques, on a weekend getaway or a family vacation. What better way to bond and share as a family than with conversations starters from

4. Kubit2Me is a new truth or dare game, especially for girls, that comes packaged in an adorable fuzzy cube. Truth or dare games can be sketchy, but this one takes the pain out of it by including age appropriate, healthy and fun truth questions and dare challenges. This toy was chosen as a Dr. Toy “Best Pick” for new products in 2009. The rules encourage girls to create their own truth or dare cards once they’ve played with the ones provided. A great idea, I think, as long as mom or dad has a say in which words and phrases would be inappropriate in the questions.

The game begins when one player throws the cube to another player. That player then takes out a card from one of the 6 side pockets of the cube. The cards have both a truth and a dare written on them, which the player must respond to. A truth example is: “If you got a tattoo, where would it be and what would your parents say?” And a dare example is: “Put a blindfold on the person to your right and have them put red lipstick on you.” You get one point for telling the truth and two points for taking up the dare, and you keep track of your points by wearing one rubbery bracelet for each answer that players pull out from the center of the cube. It’s silly, it’s super fun, and it’s just a good time for tweens, teens and even younger girls. (Look for it at

5. Family Time Fun believes in the value of the family dinner to improve family communication, improve nutrition and eating habits, improve dietary development among preschoolers and develop a protective factor for adolescents against tobacco, alcohol, drugs and low grade point averages. So they’re created a variety of games to keep families talking and laughing and enjoying each other at the dinner table.

Original Dinner Games (for ages 6 – 12) and Beginner Dinner Games (for ages 3 – 6) each have 51 game cards in different categories to teach kids creative and critical thinking, social skills, numbers, math and more. The original box includes games like “Guess the Macaroni,” “Last Bite” and “Pass the Pepper.” The beginner box has games such as “Magic Spoon,” using a wooden baking spoon or silver spoon. Each person takes turns saying “Magic spoon, magic spoon, if I had three wishes, I’d wish for…” And the game “My Big Day” asks you to tell your family about something new you did or learned today. They also offer Pizza Night Family Dinner Games (ages 5 and up) which comes in pizza box packaging with pizza slice game cards and two “Gather ‘Round” games with 132 games each both of which require two AA batteries and exciting push button action. There’s no better way to bring your family closer together than with these super cool games designed to be played while you eat dinner. (You can find these games at

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Joanne Stern

Joanne Stern, PhD, is a psychotherapist with a private practice emphasizing counseling with families, parents, couples and teens. She’s a teacher, consultant, speaker, and expert guest on parenting and family topics, including communication, discipline, self-esteem, addictions, eating disorders, grief, and loss. Parenting Is a Contact Sport: 8 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids for Life is her first book. A mother and grandmother, she and her husband, Terry Hale, live in Aspen, Colorado.


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11:43PM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

Thanks for this wonderful writing..If you want to get best online gifts for kids, then they are available at

11:42PM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

Thanks for this wonderful writing..If you want to get best online gifts for kids, then they are available at

9:48PM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Good idea!

4:47AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

Thank you.

3:22PM PST on Dec 22, 2010

thank you !

1:59AM PST on Dec 21, 2010


10:50PM PST on Dec 20, 2010

The manners course seems really useful for my children and my husband, who, god love them, seem to clam up when approached by others.

Still, I'm not digging that idea for a gift. The games seem ok but not stellar either.

How about family activities? Learning to ski together or ice skate or whatever will help bond your family, promote conversation, and give physical activity opportunities to everybody!

6:28PM PST on Dec 20, 2010


9:29PM PST on Dec 19, 2010


6:03PM PST on Dec 19, 2010

I know a lot of grown-ups who should take the manners courses, as well.

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