gift ideas for littles …

“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.” – William Ralph Inge

And with that in mind, we hope to find gifts for the littles in our life this year that will nourish their souls, ignite their curiosity, challenge their minds and get their bodies moving.

I’m going to assume you’ve considered all the gadgets, all the fashion and all the usual suspects.

This is list of ideas that might seem off the wall …but we’d like to get you thinking outside the proverbial toy box.

IMAGINATION PLAY:

SCARVES … Abby found some $8 scarves at Target that she considered putting on our gift ideas for women (but they didn’t make the cut :).  And then I saw our 3 1/2 year old putting one of her many scarves on her rocking horse like a saddle so she could take a long journey into the desert.

A few of cool colored scarves magically transform into superhero capes, long hair, building material for forts, swaddling for babydolls, magic carpets to carry them to far away places, boats that carry them across the sea …in the hands of a child, the possibilities are endless.
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for about $5 from amazon.com, you can give the kids in your life their very own magic carpet … or tent wall … or superhero cape … or … whatever their minds can dream up!
CHALKBOARD PLACEMATS – do you struggle to keep your little one at the table when they’re done eating, but not everyone else is?  These chalkboard placemats from uncommongoods.com like a great idea … get their imagination juices going while they drink their juice!
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uncommongoods.com has chalkboard placemats for $35 … a great way to keep kids at the table while the family finishes eating …

SPY GEAR – I don’t know a little who doesn’t get a kick out of spy gear.  Spy-watches, night-vision goggles, “bionic” ears, lie detector tests, walkie-talkies.  Just cool.  And a quick search on amazon.com brings up 570 ideas!

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this “spyclops” is $32.50 on amazon.com … but there’s spy gear available from $5 to $60 … pretty much for any budget.

DRESS-UP – secondhand stores (in Bozeman, the Goodwill and Sack’s are fantastic for dress-up ideas) and craigslist.com and ebay.com are great places for cool dress-up ideas at really reasonable prices.

ART & SCIENCE:

ART EASEL – this is a funny one for me.  We’re working our way through easels because our kids love their art-time.  The P’Kolino easel (our first one) had a terrible, nearly unusable chalkboard that was way too frustrating for everyone in the house.  The guide that holds the paper down was loose and didn’t really hold the paper so we were constantly making messes.  Then we were given an Art Alternative easel, which is just fine.  But I’m going to admit to easel-envy for our nephew’s KidKraft Deluxe.  Seriously.  It’s awesome.  And “H” is 5 1/2 years old.  He’s had this easel for at least 3 years and it’s holding up beautifully.  And gets a TON of use!  So it might be more expensive (ranges in price from $95 – $190), there are deals to be found and might be worth a little searching.

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an online search shows that the kidkraft deluxe wood easel sells for anywhere from $95-$190. So it’s going to require a little searching to find the right deal.

ROCK CRAYONS – these are great, eco-friendly, easy to use, good for little hands that are learning to grip, great for older artists who want to make interesting art.  And for $9.25, they make a wonderful stocking stuffer or gift for a play-date pal!

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these cool soy eco-frienfly rock crayons are available at amazon.com for $9.25

SIDEWALK CHALK – We’ve tried a lot of different sidewalk chalks over the years.  And Crayola just does it right.  They are the right size.  The colors are vibrant.  They wash away pretty easily.  And are hours and hours of fun for kids of all ages (including moms in their 40s, who fancy themselves wanna-be graffiti artists 🙂

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crayola sidewalk chalk is available on amazon.com for $8.79 … seems like a good deal for 52 crayons!

GROWING CRYSTALS – We have a nephew who is a bit of a science nerd …and I use that term as a compliment in the highest order.  He’s 5 1/2 and he always has “experiments” running in their kitchen.  He grows crystals, incubates “aliens,” excavates for dinosaur bones.  I love checking out what’s “cooking” in the kitchen at their house.  Seriously.

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Be Amazing Lab-in-a-Bag Test Tube Wonders … for $14.51 … I can’t believed the reviews on this one. We have to buy this for our 5-year-old scientist nephew!

GAMES:

TWISTER (ages 3 – 93!) … seems pretty simple right? Hasbro suggests this is good for ages 6 and up.  But here’s the thing … super littles (like 3 year olds and such) love the challenge of this game, and don’t even notice they are learning left from right and developing their coordination.  Everyone loves Twister!

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available from amazon.com for $26.50

MONOPOLY (recommended for ages 8 up) … I know it’s a classic.  But there’s a reason this game’s been around so long.  It’s fun.  Challenging.  Educational.  And encourages family fun time!

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$16.87 seems like a bargain for the hours of fun this game promises … yay amazon.com for putting it on sale!

Obviously, there are so many other games … like Cranium and Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit … they are all family favorites in our house.  But as usual, we’re curious if you have fun ideas for kid gifts this year!

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