Gifts for the kid that has everything? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an 18 month old so I don't usually post here, but I'd sure appreciate some help! We have two cousins' birthdays coming up - one is turning 3 and the other is turning 4 - and I am at a loss as to what to get them. These kids have EVERYTHING, and then some. Every plastic, noise-making toy you could ever dream of, every book, every puzzle, etc. Realistically, I realize whatever we get them will probably end up at the bottom of the toy box. However, I'm wondering if there is some quality toy or activity set or *something* for this age group that their parents might have overlooked in their zeal to buy up everything at Toys-R-Us. Any ideas?

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#2 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:25 PM
 
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We have a new gift policy - give experiences instead of things.

This is what we have done for the last 4 parties we have been to (all 3 year olds):

1. paints picked out by the mom while we were out and about (this one doesn't count as an experience, but I had to list it because it happened)

2. Explorer's Kit for Three Year Olds - We decorated a bag with all the things (using stickers we had) that an explorer might use. We ended up putting inside the bag:
- a kit to make your own binoculars (homemade)
- various brushes, picks, and clay tools wrapped up with a sign that said "Paleontology Dig Kit"
- A cool magnifying glass
- A journal with directions to use it as a nature/exploration journal

3. A Garden
Included in a box that we decorated together with flowers etc. were:
-a bag of soil
-garden gloves
- a small jar filled with our worm compost tea with directions for when/how to feed the plants with it
- 3 seedling plants (she was turning three)
- live ladybugs
- and we made (out of an old chopstick) a garden art thing that said "<child's name>'s Garden!"

4. A gift certificate for 3 (kid also turning three) open studio art times and a book that we made. The book was this:
we (together with my two year old) brainstormed all the things that come in threes. He came up with:
3 horns on a triceratops
3 sides on a triangle
3 wheels on a tricycle
and I think there were a few others
I added:
3 letters in your name (coincidence that the kid's name had three letters)
3 candles on your birthday cake
3 Cheers for <kids name>! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

We made up a little book that said,
What Comes in Threes?
and on each page said
"Three sides on a triangle - 1,2,3!" and then we went searching together for pictures of each things, put it into the book, painted each page, and then sewed it together. We ended it with:
"Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!"

Those are the ones we actually did so far. Each gift was a total hit. The moms have each come to me privately and expressed how specail they were. And my guy really got into it. We spent a few days on each one and he was so proud!

These are the ones we have plans for:
A Cooking Theme-
- directions and supplies for a make your own chef hat set
- ingredients and recipe for something special (like vegan healthy muffins or something)
- a collection of our favorite recipes that Zeal likes to make on his own (with a bit of help, of course, but he thinks they are 'his' recipes
- and one or two special kitchen utensils

More later, kids waking.
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#3 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:32 PM
 
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and I just noticed that we are in the same town, so if you give that cooking thing, let's make sure it's not for the same person I am planning it for.

Also, I think tickets to an "experience" is awesome. My mom just bought (for my birthday), train tickets for us to Portland and entrance to the Zoo. How much better is that than some silly "thing" that will just end up somewhere?

I had another idea, but now it has escaped me. If I think of it, I will post it.

I'm also working right now about racking my brain for some type of "experience" for a little guy turning three who is really into trains and trucks. It's slowly coming to me.
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#4 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:33 PM
 
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This may sound silly at first, but what about a disposable camera? We gave all the kids one at our wedding (ages 3-12) and the pictures were great! Funny enough, the 3 yr old had the best ones! It was nice to see things thru their eyes. Maybe a little photo album to go with it?
What do you think?
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#5 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:34 PM
 
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Hey, I like that camera idea! You could even include stickers and what-not to do a little scrapbooking. That's cool. Thanks shenjall!
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#6 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:38 PM
 
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my nephew has everything, too. on principle i try not to participate in the buying of more toys. last year i put together some gift certificates - movie, bookstore, and the local children's museum. i included a note that said we'd love to do these things together. i felt really good about the gifts. hope this helps -

i love the disposable camera idea.
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#7 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:48 PM
 
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I remember the idea that escaped me!

What about a cd of favorite songs (if you have a cd burner) and a collection of materials and the directions for an afternoon of Making Your Own Instruments!

I forgot to add that I have a self-imposed birthday gift budget of 10 dollars per gift, and all of these that I mentioned we have done for under that "budget".
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#8 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 07:56 PM
 
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I think art supplies are always a safe bet -- since they get "used up." Its not like you can have too much!

I've been giving gift certificates to "build-a-bear workshop" lately. Do you have one of those near you? They are lots of fun!



.
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#9 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 09:15 PM
 
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How about a letter-themed box? We just moved across the country and Elliott (who is 4)'s beloved Aunt Brandy sent him an "M" box, because she Misses him. the box had:

a magnet
a monkey book mark
an appropriately-themed cd of music
moose antlers
money
m&ms
and a book about a Mighty Man (a Nigerian folk tale)


The box was a HUGE hit, and would be fun to fill with objects that start with the same letter as the birthday kid. Claire might receive:
crayons (homemade recycled ones)
a cd (again, homemade-able)
a cookie cookbook (and cookie cutters)
a small car
some stickers (of a C item)
and finally, some delightful candy--maybe an all-natural lollipop, or some organic chocolate,etc.

The box is fun, because it can be as expensive or as cheap as you wish.

paige
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#10 of 21 Old 07-22-2003, 09:58 PM
 
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Shelves to put all their crap on.
Things that get used up like crayons and other art supplies.
A donation made to a homeless family shelter or a food bank in their name.
Gift certificates for things to DO TOGETHER is a fantastic idea.
So is the disposable camera.
Maybe I will get a dc for my friend's son's fourth birthday coming up...
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#11 of 21 Old 07-23-2003, 02:08 PM
 
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I have been getting book for all my dd's friends birthday parties and they seem really well received. I like books and so does dd so we have fun picking out a paperback for her friends. I don't think you can have too many books !

Robin
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#12 of 21 Old 07-23-2003, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW, Thank you thank you thank you!!!! What fabulous ideas! I really hate buying useless toys for gifts just because I can't think of anything else and I have to get *something.* I'm definitely going to replicate some of your ideas - they are all so good!

zealsmom- I love the cooking idea...mind if I borrow it? As long as you're not planning on giving to any children named Aaron or Kaitlyn we should be safe!

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#13 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 01:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mere
zealsmom- I love the cooking idea...mind if I borrow it? As long as you're not planning on giving to any children named Aaron or Kaitlyn we should be safe!
No problem. Those names appear safe!

Also, I just thought that I should probably sew an apron to go with it- and then we'll puffy paint her name or something on it too. And I thought tht we would wrap it in a little table cloth to complete the theme. Sure beats wrapping paper.
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#14 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zealsmom, ...the apron, the tablecloth...brilliant! What more could a junior cook desire?

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#15 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 04:31 PM
 
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I have given gift certificates to the ice cream parlour... it is nice for kids to have something to share with their families. I usually include a picture of a family eating ice cream so that the recipient doesn't imagine himself digging into a super-deluxe banana split while mom and the sibs wait patiently for him to finish!

If you give a disposable camera, get the kind with processing included so the gift is really a gift and not an expense for the parents! My dd received one when she was about 5 and we all loved the results. She got a photo album too, the kind that the pictures just slip into a plastic sleeve, so it was very easy for her to make her own book of people she loved.
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#16 of 21 Old 07-28-2003, 02:01 AM
 
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Books.

My nephews are well off, and they have plenty of aunts & uncles who overload them with toys, and they've already got enough to supply a small country ... so I just get 'em books.

Whether they like them or not, honestly, I don't know & it doesn't matter to me.

Is that rude? Don't know.

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#17 of 21 Old 07-28-2003, 02:06 AM
 
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I had this dilemma recently and the child (4y/o) was moving to a new house. He sleeps with his sister, but he really wanted a dinosuar decorated room for himself- at least to play in. I okayed it with his mom and bought him stencils and stamps of dinosaurs and brushes and sponges to paint with. i got one of those room decorating kits with border stencils too. It was a fun shopping trip and now I'm invited to go paint with them too which is totally fun and cool.

I also like to get tickets to movies, theme parks etc/ okayed by mom of course and then take them on an outing. Then I get to be a part of the experience. Good luck!
Lauren
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#18 of 21 Old 08-15-2003, 10:54 AM
 
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I am so stealing some of these brilliant ideas! We have a birthday party to attend tonight and this little boy has lots of toys, but his family isn't well off so he's really not spoiled, he just has lots of people who love him. I wanted to do something he would remember instead of bombarding him with more toys. I like the camera idea and the idea of having Zen brainstorm with me what comes in 3's. We'll get started right away.
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#19 of 21 Old 08-15-2003, 11:36 AM
 
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great ideas here everyone. What I did for my godson one christmas I sent a box of all things to make a hand puppet...various socks (with those coloured toes and heels), yarn, buttons, felt... and wrapped the box and sent it off for him and his to enjoy making their gift at christmas. I think it was a hit they liked it so much that they used that theme for his bíurthday a month later with all his playmate.

I have a nephew turned 7 yesterday... I like the idea of the Explorer kit... can I steal that idea. (hope its still ok for 7 years old...I think they are into dinosaurs and all that)

Stephanie
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#20 of 21 Old 08-15-2003, 02:28 PM
 
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i make pillowcases using fun material. my son has a john deere and a construction site pillowcase. i've done airplanes, fish, dinosaurs... the possibilities are endless. you can get pretty cheap fabric, too. this gift is always a hit. plus, we use take the pillow cases with us when we travel, so the kids have something from home.

-amanda
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#21 of 21 Old 08-17-2003, 01:46 AM
 
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What is it with John Deere and boys? My ds has JD sheets and pillow case, and his cousin castigated an uncle for buying a Kubota tractor!

This, BTW, is a vote for the John Deere pillowcase!
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