Some Tried and True Gift Ideas for Kids

A friend was telling me she wanted to be extra thoughtful about Christmas this year, not go crazy buying "junk" and really stick to her budget. We bonded over the fact that we have both experienced the start of a good plan, panicked last minute, and bought too much. We exchanged thoughts and gave ourselves a pep talk about showing restraint with children's gifts.

Last year was my first truly successful year of getting a modest amount of the right things, gifts my kids actually used for more that 12 minutes. One of them commented, "We didn't get a lot of stuff this year, but it was still a good Christmas." They couldn't deny they were satisfied with what they got. They were all smiles!

Motivating us to have self control was the fact that we were staring down the nose of a job search and months of living off our savings. My husband was in the middle of a major career change, which turned out great, but not a fun process, FYI.

The cool thing is that most of those gifts received last Christmas are still loved and enjoyed literally - today - bikes and helmets, colorful puffer coats, and Alexa that constantly has an audio book going in my son's bedroom.

I know that every blogger and their brother has a gift guide this time of year.
These ideas are my 2 cents. These gifts are actual things we have gotten and loved. Tried and true.

 Here we go.

1. The start to a classic book series
Can't go wrong.

2. A sturdy water bottle
These are the best. Keeps the water cold and doesn't have a bunch of parts.

3. For and older child, an Echo Dot is great!
My 10 year old got one last Christmas. It's was the perfect way to give him some tech freedom without giving him a screen. He enjoys listening to music, podcasts, books, trivia. All parental controls are in place.

4. A watch
My 8 year old wears one every day. She always knows what time it is.

5. An awesome pair of cowboy boots.
My daughter has this exact pair. They are great looking and so well made.

6. Costumes. We love a costume.
How cute is this pioneer girl get up?!

7. Magna-Tiles
Go on and get the 100 piece set. The more the merrier. This is truly my #1 toy recommendation.

8. Favorite character/movie T-shirts.
We gave my nephew this Star Wars shirt for this birthday. He wears it a lot, just sayin.'
Great for stocking stuffers.

9. High quality art supplies. Faber-Castell makes my favorite water colors. I think things like this make the perfect gift for when you don't know what to get!

10. Also, in the art department. Kwik Stix paint sticks. These make the best kid art. The colors are highly saturated and mess free! We've loved these for years.

11. Did someone say balance bike?
These things are miracle workers. It will teach your kid to ride a bike. Great for ages 2-5. Don't fret if they don't take to it right away. They will come around to loving it.

12. U.S. States puzzle. Already mentioned it before, but it's the best puzzle.

13. A tin tea set. For half a decade we have adored this exact tea set. Still going strong.

14. Water Wows! Caroline received one of these for her birthday, and all my children fought over it constantly. So fun and only uses water. Great for restaurants or car rides.

15. Lastly, this swing is up there with the Magna-Tiles as far as I'm concerned. We have this particular one, and it's great, but there's lots of good ones out there.

That's all I've got. What's your best tried and true gift recommendation?


All links are Amazon Associate links. If you buy something, I will get a small commission.


Strategy for Reading to Little Ones - Linking Habits

I confess, I don't always enjoy reading to my children. But like exercise and home cooked meals, it's one of the things I value most, and I try to make it a priority.

Since I'm reading so much to my older kids, it's particularity challenging to read to my 4 year old. I never feel like it, and I certainly can't rely on myself to stick to a bedtime story. After dinner I'm a shell of a parent, here in body but not in spirit.


My strategy: linking this habit (reading) to a non-negotiable activity (in our case, leaving for school)
This is also called habit stacking in some circles.

4 days a week, I take Caroline to nursery school. About 20 minutes before we walk out the door, I tell her to pick out 2 books. We cozy up in a chair and I read to her for about 12-15 minutes. It's become a part of our routine as we prepare to leave the house. It's a sweet moment to connect before she leaves for several hours, and it's short!! There is an ending point. Ok, time to go to school.

I wish I had implemented this strategy with my other kids when they were younger - short and sweet read alouds linked to a habit. In the past I was hot or cold. It was 10 books or none. I think persistence and building the habit are preferable to occasional marathon sessions.

Other things you could link the reading habit it to:
read while the kettle gets hot or your tea steeps
read in the the carpool line when picking up an older child
read right before bath time
read during snack time
read when you pour your second cup of coffee, not the first - that's sacred 

Do you implement any strategies like this? How do you fit in reading aloud with multiple children?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...