Amy Hannold, 247Moms.com
Everyone knows that often a child is more ultimately intrigued with the box an expensive gift came from, than its contents. So, let’s think “outside the box” as well. Fun, affordable gifts demonstrate we thought about our child’s interests, dreams and favorite pastimes.
Here are a few ideas:
Piñatas Aren’t just For Birthdays: with some time and paper mache you can create a fun-themed piñata (or purchase one at a party store). Fill yours with treats, messages, and small toys. A series of small piñatas can be a part of a day or week long hunt for treasures. Inclement weather is a great time to create a “progressive” adventure.
Directions on how to make an easy piñata: http://familycrafts.about.com/od/makeapinata/a/papermachepinata.htm.
A Priceless Gift for You, and For Your Child: a “keep ‘em busy” bag is a gift you’ll both be thankful for. Acquire a selection of puzzle books, coloring pages, storybooks, art supplies, and small games. On-the-go or while you’re at home on the phone – you’ll save the day with a ready-made bag of fun. Include a timeless treasure when you record their favorite stories (or write your own) for your children to enjoy time and again.
A Book for My Child: Like a “keep ‘em busy bag”, you can create a “fun book” for your child using online printable pages, copies of family photos, and letters to your children. Be as creative and ingenious as you can! Write them a story using their name, pet’s names and names of their friends. Cut and paste (either from clip art / magazines / etc.) pictures into your handmade books. Using 3-ring binders or blank paper journals, you can make your own learning books as well.
Let’s Pretend Box: Scour your local thrift stores, Freecycle.org in your community, hand-me-downs from your closet or other sources to create a fun box of costumes. Find harmless tools, props, and other inspiring items to encourage your child’s creativity. Once you’ve presented them with the box, encourage them to add to it. Provide them with empty boxes, sheets of cardboard, magazines, and other materials so they can make what they need to finish the costume.
“Trading Socials”: invite your friends to clean out their child’s closet for outgrown toys and clothes. Get together for tea and a swap of new playthings and clothing for your children. Certainly we all have clothes, toys or other supplies that never got used, or used enough that they wouldn’t delight another child.
A “Time With You” Jar: Think of all the things your child enjoys doing with you. Write these small pieces of paper. When you run out of ideas, include “coupon-like” messages, inviting your child to choose the activity. Present them with a cheerfully decorated invitation to spend time with them, doing the things they love. Time and encouragement: the greatest gifts you can give. The alternate of this craft would be an “I Love You Jar”, kept full of affirming, fun and cheerful messages. They have one place to go to hear they are special. Surprise them with some new words, scriptures, and favorite memories.