I spent the better part of this afternoon ‘purging’ toy after toy from my daughter’s over-abundant play room. Some had been used once or twice, others were basically brand new. It got me to thinking about where each toy came from – and most were gifts. Very generous gifts in which we are grateful for. But I started thinking about all the great things and experiences that would make excellent gifts and that wouldn’t end up in a storage box in the basement a couple months later! Here are my top ideas… I would love to hear yours, too!
2. Craft Supplies/Craft Date: Artterro offers some really great eco-friendly craft boxes with a variety of options.
3. Subscriptions: Magazines or monthly gift boxes make great gifts as kids can anticipate receiving something special in the mail each month.
4. Events: Movie tickets, tickets to a play, ballet, concert or sporting event (Mallards, Brewers, Badgers, Packers, and many more to choose from!) – so many things they can look forward to!
5. Quality Time: Let your child pick something fun! Go play a round of mini golf, take them bowling, go to the skating rink, plan a fishing trip, get a manicure/pedicure together, play frisbee golf – the options are endless.
6. Books, Games & Puzzles: We love to use the library – but it’s also fun to have books at home! Usborne Books offers a wonderful variety for all ages. Games and puzzles also offer fun ways to spend time together as a family (bonus: they are equally educational AND fun!)
7. Pet: But only if the parents are okay with this first of course! My toddler adores our four year old Boston Terrier. They have become best friends and not only that but having a pet can teach children responsibilities and how to be loving, loyal and caring. Check out the Dane County Humane Society or a local animal shelter to find a pet who needs a loving home.
8. Sleeping Bag, Pajamas, Popcorn & a new movie: I saw something on Pinterest for giving a child a new pair of pajamas, a movie and popcorn for Christmas each year! I love this idea and decided to take it one step further by throwing in a sleeping bag. Kids love ‘sleepovers’ in their sleeping bags whether they are at home, camping or at a friends house.
9. Restaurant Gift Card: Could be dinner, favorite cupcake shop, ice cream parlor or a coffee shop (did you know that Yola’s serves amazing waffles and has a play area?!).
10. Piggy Bank with a little cash: Start them early, teach them how to save money and the value of a dollar! Open a savings account for your child and help them learn money management. And if they want something special throughout the year, give them a chance to learn how to save up their dough so they can buy it for themselves! (Not to say you can’t help contribute to that stash by letting them ‘earn’ some money here and there for good behavior or helping out!)
11. Donation to a Favorite Charity: Teach your child the joy of giving to others who are less fortunate. If they love animals maybe you can make a donation in their name to the Humane Society or Animal Shelter. Perhaps they love nature – you can donate to the World Wildlife Fund. The Make A Wish Foundation is another great organization – there are SO many to choose from and your child will actually enjoy helping others when you emphasize how great they are making someone else feel!
12. Memberships: A membership to a place like the Children’s Museum, The Little Gym, Zoo (Madison has a free zoo, but not every city is so lucky!), YMCA, science museum or another place that your child enjoys can turn into the gift that keeps on giving all year long.