Each year, with the start of school comes invitations to classmates' parties.
When choosing a gift for the birthday girl or boy, I can't help to think about what I would like my daughters to receive.
A gift is a gift and very much appreciated. However, toys can be overwhelming. My girls are fortunate enough to have many. I would love for them to have something meaningful, something to enrich their minds, something unplugged!
Here are my best ideas that fit the criteria!
• Entrance tickets — ... to community theatre, the local zoo, a 3-D viewing of a popular movie, an educational museum.
• A board game — Not just any ol' board game, but one that is good for the entire family to play. I don't need to tell any parents that our childrens' time as little ones goes way too fast. Give the gift of a family memory that lasts forever.
• Art supplies — I hope this one doesn't need much explanation. See my blog post "Raising Creative Geniuses". Encourage that inner Picasso!
• A subscription — A subscription to a fun and educational magazine is a great idea. Once a year, both of my daughters sell magazine subscriptions for their Girl Scout troops. It's a win-win to support the Girl Scouts and to give the gift of reading ... all year round! You can get some 12-month subscriptions for under $20. (You will want to ask the parent of the child if this is OK first.) You know how exciting it is to receive something in the mail each month. Give that gift!
• Outdoor supplies — This one depends upon the season. Bug catching, gardening, astronomy, fishing or other sporting equipment — water toys, snow inflatables — sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or other messier crafts. All of these are great activities to get children outside and off of electronic devices.
• Lessons — This can be for a 1-time class in baking, magic, crafting, or acting. Hit up the community and see what is out there.
• Personalized gift — Know the key to looking like you put forth more effort than you actually did? Personalize your gift!
The gift can be as easy as writing the birthday boy's name on a lunch thermos, framing and decorating a special photo, or painting a monogram. My daughter, Ellia's personal favorite is giving a handmade "friend coupon book". The gift is even more special being completed by their little friend.
• PJs — Everyone wears pajamas! If you have children then you may have noticed that you don't get the same wear from pjs. They get abused more easily and tend to hit the garbage well before the donation bin.
• Wall decals or room décor — Being the birthday girl's bestest friend, your child probably knows what they are into. Why not go with that and buy some bedroom décor. Usually that is the last thing that the parents get to do, so you would be doing them a favor.
• Donation — I know many of you are cringing at the thought of not giving the birthday child "something," but trust me, you are. Having a birthday means that this child is going to get a hoard of gifts that they probably do not need. Give to a cause that actually needs it in the birthday boy's name.
If you know that the family is affiliated with a particular organization, give it to that one. (Make note of decals on their car or support pins.) The parents will appreciate it, you will feel better about yourself, and you are sharing the joy of "giving" in a whole different way.
Do you have a meaningful, enriching, or unplugged go-to gift that you give at child's birthdays? Please share.