By Michele Meek, ShelfDig
No one can deny the convenience of online shopping. Even my grandmother is ordering gifts from Amazon now. Still, many of us want to support our local stores. And believe me, the stores want that too.
So a group of us created ShelfDig—a website that enables you to browse and search the store shelves right here in Providence.
This year, why not try to buy all (or at least most) of your holiday presents locally? I’ve compiled a list of gifts for babies, children and teens, and you might be surprised by the variety of gifts you can find right here in Providence, many of them even locally made.
Gifts for Babies & Toddlers
These cotton baby onesies make unique gifts. Each one has its own decoration—a series of hearts, a tiger, or Martian. Locals might especially appreciate the “Don’t Mess with Rhode Island Either” design with a little RI within an outline of Texas. | $22
Cool Pop Teether
Teething babies (3 months and up) will enjoy this colorful silicone teether in the shape of an ice pop. | $9.95
These porcelain animal ornaments created by New Jersey artist Beth DiCara make a charming decoration for children’s rooms (although they’re definitely for show, not for play). | $18
Baby’s First Book: Nesting Dolls
Rag and Bone Bindery’s best-selling baby book helps parents keep memories and mementos from baby’s first year. | $72
Milkbarn Swaddle Baby Blanket
These 100% organic cotton swaddle blankets decorated with white roses or little foxes are perfect as nursing covers or stroller blankets. | $27
Annicke Mouse: Handmade Stuffed Animal
Made from light brown organic cotton fleece, with a hand-embroidered face and striped cotton lining on her floppy ears, Annicke is perfect for newborns because it doesn’t have any buttons or strings. | $42
Gray Baby Kowali Kozyhat
Gray and black fleece hat for babies. | $22
Plush Mini Creatures
Handmade colorful soft toy stuffed creatures by Mr. Sogs Creatures. | $18-$46
Little Miss Austin: A BabyLit Counting Primer
Designed to introduce ‘little bibliophiles’ to the romantic world of Jane Austen with a stroll through one English village to meet two rich gentlemen and discover what happens when the five Bennet sisters encounter four marriage proposals. | $9.99
Let kids create their own superheroes with these locally-made shiny and whimsical star capes. | $26
123 Beach Board Book
A beach-themed counting book is perfect for Ocean State children and babies. | $7.95
Touch and Learn Preschool Playbook
Preschoolers can learn numbers, alphabet, spelling and more with this compact electronic learning device that looks and feels like a book. | $23.99
Gold or white-colored lion bookends can decorate baby’s room. | $40
Gifts for Children
Handmade Car Seat Organizers
A great gift for kids and parents, these organizers hang from the back of the front seat and contain compartments to hold pens, pencils, books, tablets and more to keep children’s activities (read: clutter) in the car more organized. | $39
Lacing Cards Children’s Art Set
Children ages five and up can practice ‘sewing’ with these Children of the World Lacing Cards set from Eeboo. | $18
Children’s Height Chart
This refrigerator magnet height chart helps keep track of kids’ height. | $12.95
Wooden Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set
A Melissa & Doug wooden cupcake set includes cupcake tray, cupcakes, icing tops, cupcake sleeves, candles, icing markers and oven mitt so children can celebrate birthdays any time they want. | $19.99
This variation on Bingo has been a favorite in our house. Both pre-readers and readers alike can play (recommended for ages four and up). | $19.99
Hand-Stitching Project: Owl
Crafty kids will enjoy being able to hand-stitch (with a little help, perhaps) their own stuffed animal. The kit includes pattern, instructions, and all materials necessary to complete the animal. Also available in Cat, Kangaroo, Fox and Whale. | $20
Skull Piggy Bank
These colorful ceramic skull-themed piggy banks can contain loose change in older kids’ rooms. | $15
Roominate Chateau Wired Building Kit
This Roominate chateau-building kit includes wires and designable furniture to teach children important STEM-related skills like basic circuitry, wheels and pulleys, and creativity. | $49.99
This classic Geomag product contains magnetic rods and nonmagnetic steel spheres that combine to create an unlimited number of structures, for ages three and up. | $36
Peruvian Musical Instruments
Form your own kid band with a bamboo flute, painted maracas, a wooden mallet and metal chimes, and other instruments. | $10-28
Shrinky Dinks Refill Pack
The old-fashioned technology of Shrinky Dinks still amazes. This refill pack includes six sheets of shrinkable plastic so children can imagine their own shapes and designs. $9.50
Set Card Game
This game of visual perception is officially for ages 8 and up, but we’ve played it with children as young as four (for them, we often take out one of the ‘layers’ – shading, shape, color, number). It’s as fun (and challenging) for adults as it is for kids. | $13.99
Make Your Own Bunny Puppet Kit
Children ages four and up can make their own bunny puppet with this kit that includes a plush puppet body, fabric puppet parts, non-toxic glue, and instructions, along with puppet show ideas and a stage scene ready to color. | $18
These locally designed pendants by Lucky Bird Studios and Fishcakes feature a variety of themes to suit any tastes, from ‘I Heart Pie’ to ‘I Heart Pi’. | $26
Small Earthlust Water Bottles
Kids will find these BPA-free stainless steel water bottles with bird, elephant and owl designs ‘very grown-up’. | $16
Ada Books offers gently used children’s books like Pairs: Twins and Other Twosomes, Mad About Monkeys and Leo: A Ghost Story. | Various prices.
Snap Circuits: Light
This circuit kit includes 55 parts that snap together with ease so children can make projects like a strobe light or lights that change to the beat of music. | $79.99
Toysmith Juggling Balls
A set of three colorful juggling balls is perfect for beginners. | $ 7.95
Gifts for Teens
Choose from a variety of colorful skateboard decks, then choose a wheel color and truck to design your own skateboard. | $50 for decks; $20-$50 other parts.
Here’s a pair they might not have already—a pair of vampire earrings. | $10
Fjallraven Kanken Backback
This iconic Swedish-designed backpack is durable and water-repellent, with adjustable straps. | $80
PARL Paw Print Bangle
Animal lovers will appreciate this handcrafted paw print bangle with 20% of your purchase donated to the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL). | $35
The Sharman-Caselli Tarot Deck
An illustrated Tarot card deck created for the first time tarot card user. | $24
Decorative Cell Phone Covers
Celebrate sports teams (Yankees, Bruins, etc), Superheros (Batman, Hulk, etc) and other themes with a decorative cell phone cover. | Various prices.
Ripped jeans, white jeans, or simple blue jeans by Joe’s Jeans. | Various prices.
Earrings from Around the World
Earrings in a variety of shapes, colors and styles from around the world. | Various prices.
A leather-bound journal (various sizes) makes a great gift for a budding writer or artist, or any teen that might appreciate the “old-fashioned” arts. | $32-42
Rhode Island Bag
This natural cotton canvas bag features a Rhode Island map filled with pictures, icons and city names. | $20
S’well Wood Collection Water Bottle
This stainless steel water bottle, painted to imitate wood, keeps drinks cold for 24 hours, or hot for 12. Plus, for every Wood Collection bottle sold, S’well will plant a tree. | $36-48
In this selection of remainder books from Symposium, you’ll find classics like Ulysses or On the Genealogy of Morals, along with books by Nabokov, Faulkner, Proust, Hunter S. Thomas and Chaucer. | Various prices.
Providence-based artist Margaret Hinge makes these handcrafted stone earrings. | $40
How about a shiny new bicycle? Find road racing, touring, upright hybrids, and mountain bikes in all colors and sizes. | Various prices.
Round Hanging Terrarium
Here’s an idea for an eco-friendly room design—grow a plant in a round hanging glass terrarium. | $30.50
Graphic novels and comic books, like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and Gahan Wilson’s Sunday Comics, fill this shelf. | Various prices.
Made from carved wood with white inlaid patterns, each of these hair sticks features a unique design. | $12
The classic sneaker still holds up—high-top and regular Converse sneakers in all colors. | $50
Or if you know your teen wants the Nike Air Huarache or the Adidas Tokyo Purple Sneakers or the New Balance 996, browse this shelf for designer sneakers. And when you buy local, it makes it easier to exchange for a different size! | Various prices.
ShelfDig enables shoppers to browse, search and discover online the products available in stores in their local community. A semi-finalist in the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, ShelfDig currently has partnerships with over 60 stores in the Providence area and launched to the public in the beginning of November 2015.