Remember that feeling of being turned loose in the mall or at the book fair with a fistful of cash burning a hole in your pocket? Whether you were on a mission to pick out something special as a gift or for yourself, the exhilaration and excitement were off the charts.

In the age of online shopping, those experiences are harder to recreate. Until now.

CAMP, the family experience company that helps answer the question "What should we do today?" just launched Present Shop—the first kid-centric e-commerce platform where kids can safely shop online for family, friends and even themselves. We gave it a spin and the verdict is in. It's "really awesome." (Big praise from a 9-year-old, right?)

The idea is simple. Parents set their kid (ages 3-12) up with a budget and take care of the boring adult stuff like payment info, shipping address and the occasion they're shopping for. After checkout, a secret code lands in your inbox. Once the child inputs the code, the fun begins.

Led by CAMP's animated mascot Scout the Bear, the guided shopping experience uses audio and visual cues that kids as young as three can navigate. He asks a few simple questions about the gift recipient to help curate the product offerings, making it fun without being totally overwhelming. The store is packed with hundreds of options from well-known brands like LEGO and Melissa & Doug and super rad Camp brand merch (like this "Father" sweatshirt that's perfect for his upcoming holiday), which guarantees there's something for everyone.

They've also eliminated tricky math, converting their budget into "coins." Like the arcade ticket counter, each gift is assigned a coin-based value so they can make on-budget choices. When they find exactly the right thing, they just drag it into the cart at the bottom and watch as their coins get used up.

When they're all done, they can design the perfect card to accompany the gift which (because they've thought of everything) arrives wrapped and ready to make someone's day.


I have to say, I tailed my kid at her school book fair last week and the firey determination in her eyes brought me right back to my own childhood. She poured over every single eraser, book and poster with the goal of finding just the right thing for herself and pal, and I felt eternally grateful for the 15-minute time limit (thanks COVID!) because without it, I'd likely still be there, curled up under a lunch table. Present Shop offers all that delicious autonomy without endlessly pacing the aisles or worrying that access to Amazon will send $2,600 worth of Spongebob popsicles (or worse) to your doorstep.

Whether you want to get a jump on Father's Day gifts or want to give them a special "you made it to the end of their strangest school year ever!" treat, Present Shop is well worth exploring!