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Gifts of Knowledge

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Sure, Lord of the Rings action figures are hot now, but come February, will Junior even remember Frodo and Gandalf? The best holiday gifts for kids are the ones that will hold their attention well past Christmas dinner. Instead of Barbies and remote-control cars, the stock at Kidding Around (60 West 15th Street; 212-645-6337) runs to pottery wheels and ant farms—toys that teach and entertain. The children in your life will flip for presents like live butterfly gardens, junior cooking kits, spy cameras, and sets of blocks for building a mini-Colosseum. Stocking-stuffers abound, too: puzzles, design-your-own-jewelry kits, dinosaur figurines. You might even get your kid some modeling clay for fashioning his own little hobbit.


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