Birthdays on the Horizon?
Give Kids the Gift of Fun With Thrifty (And Educational) Gift Baskets!
Written by Jason Kenner, onparparent.com
According to NBC, there are many benefits from good, old-fashioned play, like improved motor skills, better social skills, and enhanced creativity. But what gifts can you give kids that aren’t electronic, don’t require batteries, and are affordable? Believe it or not, there are plenty of great options that meet all of these criteria. Not only that, but these are educational gifts most kids will love! The secret is to create themed gift baskets that match their interests.
Thrift stores are a great source for really nice baskets and decorative tins. Check your local dollar stores for tissue paper, ribbons, bows, etc. They even have gift bags if you decide to forgo the baskets or tins. However, bags won’t last as long as a nice container that can keep everything neatly organized. Including little extras like a related book, magazine subscription, gift certificate, or tickets to a related event are like adding a cherry on top of the sundae!
Where can you find a kid who isn’t interested in cars? A gift basket of toy cars and some model kits that you can build together are all you need to start talking about cars. Show them various types of cars, and ask them if they’re interested in building a model car together.
The car project that you would have to give some thought to before asking — because it’s’ not so cheap, and you may want it for yourself — is if they want to build their own go-kart. According to Popular Mechanics, you can build one in a day for under $700, but this is definitely a project for older kids.
The Junior Scientist
Beginning scientists will really appreciate their own microscope or telescope. Unfortunately, a quality new instrument is often quite expensive. That’s why you may want to search for a quality used instrument in great shape on a site like eBay. With the money you’ll save by buying a used scientific instrument, you can stock the basket with the peripheral items needed to get your young scientist up and running! Slides and coverslips or star charts will do for a start.
A nice set of measuring cups and another of measuring spoons, a child-size apron, and a kid’s baking cookbook form the basics of a basket for a future baker. Add in a few specialty baking items like a bowl scraper, extracts, and lots of assorted sprinkles for a gift your young baker will enjoy for years to come.
Do you know a child who loves to craft? Craft stores provide plenty of inspiration when it comes to filling a gift basket. How about an inexpensive blank canvas tote bag along with an assortment of supplies for customizing it? Craft stores like Michael’s or JoAnn carry fabric dyes and paints, glitter pens, stencils, rhinestones, beads, leather lacing, and just about anything else a child might need to personalize their bag. If your child is older, consider giving them a macrame kit.
Kids naturally enjoy being outside, and as Bright Horizons explains playing in nature offers a wealth of developmental boosts. They learn to think hypothetically, build problem-solving skills, and gain resilience and confidence – not to mention developing an appreciation for nature! Put together some things that boost their outdoor explorations. An inexpensive camera, a bug kit, or even a treasure hunt you devise with a map and dollar store “treasures” can lead to hours of outdoor fun.
No, not video games! Think old-fashioned board games like Othello, Yahtzee, and Battleship, or even jigsaw puzzles. Better yet, if you give them portable versions of their favorites, kids can take them on road trips, sleepovers, and wherever else their friends gather. It’s a great way for kids to build on teamwork, strategy, counting, and verbal skills.
It can be hard to deviate from the world of digital toys. However, the benefits kids reap from screen-free educational gifts is incredible, and it can pay off in so many ways. And by participating in their learning, you can lay the foundation for some fundamental life lessons like learning to negotiate, to be a partner and to gracefully handle rejection or mistakes. All good traits that lend themselves to future adult interactions and even business transactions.
Encouraging your kids to set aside electronics is easy when you know what interests them. Think about what your child naturally gravitates toward, and capitalize on that spark. When you see the delight on their faces as they’re digging into their gift baskets rather than reaching for an electronic device, you’ll know you made the right gift choice.
At The Center for Proper Protocol and Etiquette, our mission is to instill the proper protocols, manners, and etiquette into each generation, so that they will have the confidence and power to reach the highest level of success in their personal and professional lives. Call 602-781-6170.