You might have heard the saying that you are your child’s favourite toy.
Well, it’s absolutely true.
But it’s nice to give a birthday gift that isn’t just a “hey, let’s hang out together,” cause let’s face it – kids love presents.
With so much cheap, plastic rubbish (there’s no other word for it, because that’s where it will end up sooner rather than later) demanding our attention and spilling off the shelves at malls, it can sometimes be hard to think outside the box for a gift that will last a long time, encourages creativity and is well-loved.
So here’s a starter list for you (by no means exhaustive!) I’msure there are loads of other wonderful ideas, and if you have one in mind, please just leave a comment below and share with us.
In no particular order:my favourite ways to give meaningful gifts to children:
Board games are something of the ultimate game. They can be played together, across multiple ages and numerous times. Some are educational. Some are just plain fun.
Our favourites are Scrabble, Articulate and Boulderdash.
The kid’s favourites are Eye Found It, Panic, cards and puzzles.
Outdoor play equipment is a valuable investment. It helps kids to stay fit and encourages them to be outdoors.
Our favourites are a sandpit and a trampoline.
If your kids are really crafty, they’ll probably appreciate a craft pack or, as they grow older, art supplies.
A craft pack can include coloured paper, crayons, stickers, stamps, shape cutters and sequins.
Art supplies might include paints, felt pens, an easel, canvases and quality pencils.
Books are one of those gifts that never grow old. Whether they are beautiful children’s books or novels, a good book will be relished and read again and again. Better yet, team the book up with a walk to the park and an hour spent reading with your child.
If you have relatives who want to pitch in towards a worthwhile gift for your child, why not ask them to contribute to music or sport lessons?
In our home, we have a dress-up box which is in high use. Not a day passes that I don’t see a cape or a sword or a tutu flit past.
You can make your own, scour op shops, buy new or repurpose other clothing. That pair of 70s boots you’re hanging on to will go down a treat in the dress-up box.
There are many practical gifts we can give a child, and if you’re buying for someone else’s child, it’s worth talking to the parent to see if you can chip in or purchase something that they need. Perhaps they need a new bike. Or some swimwear that actually fits.
Museums, aquariums, zoos, gardens, art galleries, concerts, plays;all of these things are considered experiences and are a meaningful gift for children that they won’t easily forget.
They say the best things in life are free, but it’s not true.
Time is a precious gift and we should try to give much of it to our children, making a special effort for their birthday.
It might be something as simple as an IOU voucher to spend all day with them, setting aside our own commitments and playing whatever games they choose. Or it might be taking them for a walk, or to the park, the movies, the pool or the beach. All of these things cost us our most valuable asset, yet will have the greatest impact on our relationship with our children.
If we are looking for a gift for a grandchild, niece/nephew or friend’s child with whom we want to forge a close relationship, these time gifts will be crucial. A sleepover, a special movie night with an aunt and uncle, a cooking and craft day with Grandma or a farm day with Grandad:these are the best gifts we can offer the next generation.
Freely and generously giving our time tells children that they are important, that they matter to us, that we are there for them.