I love Christmastime. I love the sights and smells and activities and all that is the holiday season. One of the things I love the most is giving gifts to all of those I hold near and dear. I spend hours thinking about gift will be the perfect fit for the people on my ever-growing list. I also have three boys who have so. much. stuff. And tons of people who want to buy them more stuff every year. Enter "stuff anxiety." This year I have been trying to think of gifts that will either be useful, consumed, educational, fun, or otherwise played with more than once. They also have to be cheap because I'm frugal and in charge of keeping things under budget while still full of memories.
So without further explanation here are ten kit ideas to put together to spark creativity in children without taking up too much space. Also the majority of ideas can be found at your local dollar store.
For every idea all ideas can fit into a standard size plastic shoe box with lid, which makes for easy storage for busy parents. I bought my at Fred Meyer, 5 for $5.
Sensory Kits - Sensory element such as rice, beans, flax seeds, aquarium gravel, genetic sand, sand, dyed pasta noodles, or anything that can be scooped and poured. Other ideas to include are scoopers, funnels, cups, or cars or construction vehicles.
|Construction vehicles in aquarium gravel.|
|Rice bin - we dyed it yellow and added lemongrass essential oils for an extra sensory experience.|
Play Doh Kit - Playdoh in various colors. Other ideas to include plastic knife, safety scissors, printable play doh mats, birthday candles, shape stampers, rolling pin, and cookie cutters. We love making play doh birthday cakes from time to time.
|Play Doh "cake" with candles.|
Creative Kit - Ideas can include white and colored paper, safety scissors, googly eyes, Number Crayons, glitter glue, craft sticks, mini coloring book, clay, pony beads, yarn, sticker books, felt, stampers and ink pad.
|Example of a Christmas craft bin.|
Inventor Kit - This kit can hold anything you think a child might like to invent robots, crafts, and other cool things. Some ideas might include pipe cleaners*, craft sticks*, toilet paper tubes, nuts and bolts, cans, string*, and wood craft kits*.
Mad Scientist Kit - Goggles and rubber gloves are a fun and safe addition to this kit. Other ideas can include eye droppers, beakers, magnifying glass, science ingredients (like baking soda, vinegar, corn starch and food coloring), books about scientific subjects, printables for experiments you think might be fun like OOblek, volcanos, and walking water or other experiments.
|Mad Scientist Kit|
Bath Time Kit - Tub crayons or paint, fizzy water changing color tablets, soap, scrubby animal hand mit, squirting toys, scoops, cups, and funnels.
Active Kid Kit - Jump rope, balls or frisbee, chalk (to make relay lines, balance beans, shape hop, and hopscotch), balloons (to play balloon volleyball or balloon ping pong), and this printable active Simon Says game.
Outdoorsy Kit - Magnifying glass, bug catcher house, printable animal track chart or nature scavenger hunt, nature books, mini shovel, observation notebook and pen.
Music Kit - Any instruments you find that will fit in including a kazoo, harmonica, small drum, drumsticks, maracas or egg shakers, microphone, bells, recorder/flute, or tambourine.
Games Kit - Small games that can be played by kids about 3 and up. Spot it is our favorite! Also Uno, Skipbo, regular cards for war, slap jack or go fish, dice, banagrams jr., and small puzzles.
Cooking Kit - Small cutting board, child safe knife, spatula, wisk, mini muffin tin, apron, and oven mitts. Can also include favorite recipes and baking mixes.
Other ideas if you don't want to put together a kit but still want a gift that will be used: Books!, Legos (bricks that you can actually be inventive with rather than a specific designed set), Magnatiles or other magnet blocks, Playmobil sets, and special treats (chips, candy, iTunes cards, fast food cards etc.). One year my five year old really wanted Dill Pickle Chips since I rarely spring for chips. Boy was he excited on Christmas morning and I was happy to not have to store one more thing once they were gone.
What other ideas or suggestions do you have? Please feel free to leave a comment!