While kids are always excited for the holidays, COVID is taking a terrible toll on family finances and buying gifts is a struggle for so many families. They need affordable gift ideas for the kids, now more than ever!
I have always believed that gifts don’t have to cost a lot but should be filled with creative potential for fun and my newest book — KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play (Wordeee Publishers) – has a Gift-Giving chapter with a myriad of ideas that will not “break the bank.” In fact, many can be bought at the dollar store.
What I like to do is theme gifts and package items together in a gift bag. Kids love to open lots of presents and when they cost only $1 each, the gift could cost $5 total with five different items. I made a musical KIDFUN gift kit with a plastic flute, harmonica, maracas and bells that I wrapped individually and put in a gift bag. It was definitely fun for the kids and doesn’t take a toll on funds that are needed so desperately elsewhere.
Living so many months in a pandemic, means families need creative ideas for fun. Carol Austin, Executive Director of First Up, a regional organization of early childhood educators, said, “This is so refreshing for families (especially for grown-ups like me) at a time when everything is so serious in the world.”
KIDFUN uses ‘stuff’ in the home for play – like paper cups, balloons, crepe paper, ping pong balls, rope, wooden spoons, scarves, hats and so much more. No electronics in KIDFUN games. And, today with so much screen time for school, kids do need a break from it.
Below are a few samples of KIDFUN gift ideas.
Kids love to see their name on – well, just about everything. How about giving them the tools to name things with a personalized stamp? They come in all sizes, styles and colors. Or buy alphabet stickers and they can spell out their name and yours to adhere to all kinds of belongings. Personalizing is big business, and it’s very affordable to order various sized pads of paper with your child’s name. Or, perhaps, a carved wood sign or a box with their name on it. Pens, too, can come with your child’s name. Wrap these all together in a Name It gift package – perhaps, with his name stamped on the gift wrap first.
For kids who like to dress up, think about a box of hats. A party supply store can provide all kinds of hats from a cardboard top hat, to a pirate’s three-corner hat, crowns for kings and queens and something that a cowboy would wear. As you are making your rounds about town, look for odd hats—a straw panama, a paper chef ’s hat, a sombrero. Collect them and hide them away until you have a box full.
Here is a gift that a child will cherish. I will always remember when my friend Maddy presented Erika, her niece, with Certificates of Fun, where each certificate was a promise for shared time together. One certificate can be for a movie or lunch, a trip to the zoo, the museum, or the beach. Staple a few of these together and it’s a KIDFUN Certificate Book that can be redeemed when the two of you can plan the time together. Remember, each certificate is a promise that must be kept.
Light up some youngster’s life with a collection of flashlights. These come in all sizes, shapes, and prices. Just recently, at the dollar store, I bought an assortment of flashlights that the kids loved. Wrap each one separately and drop them in a brightly colored gift bag. Don’t forget to include the right size-batteries for each flashlight. Check out games throughout KIDFUN that incorporate flashlights, like “Facey.” Cut out two eyes, a round nose and a mouth from a paper light. When it’s bedtime, turn off the lights except for a flashlight and shine the light right on the face in the plate. Point the plate to the ceiling and your child will love a visit from “Facey.”
FIRST UP, Champions of Early Childhood, will be happy to distribute KIDFUN books to deserving families. Simply order the book on Amazon and on the order form, send it to: FIRST UP, 1608 Walnut Street, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (If you’d like acknowledgement for your donation, FIRST UP would be happy to send a letter. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
Sharla Feldscher does virtual book tours and is available for KIDFUN Workshops. Learn more about KIDFUN by visiting www.kidfunandmore.com and facebook.com/kidfunandmore.
Photos courtesy of Sharla Feldscher