Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Best Gifts for Kids- Please Tell Me Your Favorites!

Even thought Black Friday is over, I still have Christmas shopping to do!

Sometimes I have an "issue" with gifts. I just hate spending money on things that just get scattered all over or ignored :(. On the other hand, I am so thrilled when someone really loves and appreciates a gift I've given.

I know that giving is a valuable to the soul.  But, so is my hard earned money!!!!! I want to use it wisely.

So, I ask... what are the gifts you've given to your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or friends that have lasted and provided exceptional fun and durability?

Here are the gifts  my children  and I recommend. The things that have endured the test of time at our house....

1. Perler Beads:  Kids of all ages love Perler Beads. They keep all of my kiddos occupied for hours. They're especially fun to make with  THIS idea book.  I hot glue glue magnets on back of their creations and stick them on the fridge. They make fun Christmas ornaments, jewelry, stick ons for homemade cards, thank you gifts, and more.

2.  Sculpey Clay: We've spent hours and hours making little creations, toys, jewelry, ornaments, and hair pins, and key chains with sculpey clay. Look HERE and HERE for some of our ideas and tutorials with this great stuff. This is a fun activity to do with kids, or to let them knock themselves out. Though they'll need supervision and help baking. Age 4 is minimum, but even teenagers love this stuff!

3. Big Paper Roll: For $4.99 at IKea, all kinds of fun and creativity will abound! They last forever and kids love these. Especially after watching Ramona and Beezus :).

4. Friendship Bracelet Thread: I bought my kids this at Walmart for $3.97, and have been blown away by how much they've used it. We also have the fancy bracelet maker kit, but this kit with a few safety pins have provided even more fun than the expensive and fancy stuff.

5. Art Supplies: markers, crayons, paper, pastels, chalk, colored pencils, glue, watercolors, clay, yarn... just plain fun for any age, any gender.

6. Rainbow Loom: Yep, I'm on this bandwagon! My daughter received this for her 9th birthday, and she's become an total expert. So fun, and a great way for kids to learn creativity. Love it!

If the kid you're buying for already has a rainbow loom, they can always use extra bands!! (Inexpensive, and useful gift).

7. Huge White Board and Markers: Grandma and Grandpa gave this to my kids a few years ago, and it's been one of the biggest hits at our house. So many uses-- from homework to decorations to just keeping them occupied.

8. American Girl Dolls and Books: I know, I know... they are so expensive :(. However, there are some toys that are just made with such unmatched quality- these are one. I love learning with my daughter as we read the books, and I love watching her still play and sleep with dolls. The great thing about these dolls, is they're still cool for older girls. Kit's Kitteredge has lived at our house for 4 years, and she's still part of our daily life.
Clothes and accessories can be of cheaper quality, but I think these dolls really are worth it!

9. Keyboard: he great thing about keyboards, even very inexpensive ones, is that they have automatic songs, and variety in the keys. I can't remember a time when my kids didn't love to turn on the keyboard and dance, or use it as background music for a play they made up. They love to learn little jingles on it, and it's really come in handy to have music in our home.

10. Bey Blades: My 6 year old has LOVED playing with these. We've had them for over a year, and they're still a favorite toy... which is a miracle for him since he's sooo fickle with what he likes. They're inexpensive and keep boys entertained!

11. Tinker Toys: I know these are totally old school, but my grandparents gave my kids their old set, and wow, what a winner!!! When the kiddos are bored, I pull these out, and oh the creations they make!

12. Legos: Need I say more?

13. Mousetrap: For some reason this is a super popular game at our house. I often catch my older two kids up past bed time with this game :).

14. Clue: Another oldie but goodie. Definitely stands the test of time!

15. Reach for the Stars: When I was in college, a friend of mine told me that his aunt made up this game. I bought it, and played it with college friends.. though it is made for children (to help them build self esteem). We laughed until we cried while we played. So.Much.Fun. Now, when my kids choose a game to play with any adults, it's this one. It's just a small game made by my friend's aunt, but AWESOME!!!

16. Box of Dress-ups: The adorable picture above is by No Business Like Sew Business.
 I wish my dress up box was as cute!! I just have a big wooden box filled with hats, wigs, old Halloween costumes and lots of accessories. My kids have played with these more than almost anything!

17. Play Kitchen: The beautiful kitchen here is made by Ana White. Again, ours is not that pretty, but has been used constantly. I just wish I had the time and talent to make hers!  Every child needs a play kitchen.

18. Mailbox: This is a staple in our playroom. When my grandma had to leave her home to go to assisted living, she gave away all her stuff (such a sad day). When I asked my daughter if there was anything she really wanted from Grandma's house, she strongly requested the  play mailbox. I told her that someone else may have wanted it too. My daughter prayed for the mailbox, was so thankful when she got it. Kids of all ages have fun with it.

19. Cash Register: When my oldest children were little, my grandma was insistent that I get them a cash register. I remember playing with hers all the time, and now my children play with the one she bought for them. Comes in handy in so many games. A playroom is definitely not complete without one.

20. Homemade Quilt: Photo credits for this one go to Now and Then Quilts Etsy Shop.
This one isn't a toy, but I've seen from experience that these last the test of time. My aunt made me a "quillow" (a quilt that turns into a pillow) when I was 16. I loved it, and took it everywhere... and still do!! Now, 20 years later, my kids still use it all the time... and so do I! A perfect gift.

I would love to know what are the best gifts at your house?

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