Tired of Toys? Creative Gift Ideas For Children

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What we spend our time and money on communicates what is important and valuable to us.  This is especially true when it comes to children.  What do you want your children to place value in? People, time, and learning? Possessions, instant-gratification, and popularity? It will be challenging and counter-cultural to provide children with a simpler environment, but for many reasons it is beneficial for their long-term development, as discussed in this article.

Perhaps the challenge begins within yourself. Parents set the example and children consequently see how we live and what we value. How is it practically possible to live simply, especially around birthdays and holidays when we want to buy gifts for children?

Here are some creative ideas for gifts, keeping in mind what is age appropriate:

  • Lessons (music, dance, riding, skiing/snowboarding, drawing)
  • Memberships (museums, gym/swim, zoo, amusement park)
  • Subscriptions (magazines, book club)
  • Events (music concert, orchestra, sporting events)
  • Activities (youth or sports camps, indoor play area)
  • Recipe and Ingredients (cookies, muffins, pancakes)
  • Crafting/Building Date (sewing, pottery, weaving, painting, woodworking)
  • Arts and Craft Supplies (paints, crayons, sewing, paper, wood, tools)
  • Coupons (brunch, date nights, swing dancing, movie, skating)
  • Restaurant Gift Cards (their favorite)
  • Dress Up Clothes (princess, knights, Star Wars, Police)
  • Books/Journals (How-to, Guinness World Record, Fictional, Cook)
  • Clothes/shoes (fancy, sporty, comfy)
  • Outdoor Supplies (camping, orienteering)
  • Sports equipment (balls, rackets, sticks, skates, sleds, skiis)
  • Watch/clock
  • Games and Puzzles
  • Personalized Calendar (with photos, words of encouragement)
  • Trip (daytrip, roadtrip, overnight trip, Urban/Rural/International, State/National Park)

(This list was adapted from here.)

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Personal Note

I must admit, simple living is not easy for me and I have been challenged personally tochange my mindset.  What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of living simply? If you are currently living out of the 'less is more' mindset with regards to children, how have you managed to do so? Do you have any other gift ideas to add to this list?