Whether you’re looking for the perfect present for your child’s birthday or a great gift for them to give one of their friends for Christmas, you’re probably wondering what to buy. You don’t want to spend a fortune, but you want to make sure you find a gift they’ll love and put to good use.
Here’s six tips to help you choose great gifts for kids, that don’t blow your budget.
1. Useful gifts ideas
Kid’s gifts should be fun and appealing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be practical. Funky furniture to create extra storage in the bedroom is inexpensive and will almost certainly be used. Choosing practical gifts like undies and singlets, linen or storage in the child’s favourite colour, or with pictures of their favourite characters or animals, can turn a boring practical gift into a much-used treasure that help makeover tired bedrooms. If you’re buying for someone else’s child, have a chat to their parents to find out what they need.
2. Educational toys make perfect presents
Kids love to have fun as much as we love to watch them having fun, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be educational. Consider bulking out Christmas stockings with inexpensive pre-made craft sets in decorative boxes such as a dress up game or beading necklace set.
3. Children’s gifts that keep giving all year
Gifts that last all year mean the birthday or Christmas celebration comes every day. Think about a subscription to the local toy library for your pre-schooler- rather than getting one new toy for Christmas they’ll be able to swap toys and have new things to play with all year round. A pass to the local swimming pool or activity centre or a magazine subscription are gifts that give all year round from babies to teenagers (and many parents appreciate gifts that don’t require storage space!).
4. Christmas presents that don’t blow your budget
Giving gifts at Christmas can be a lot of fun, but it can also cause a lot of stress when it comes to paying credit card bills in January. But there are many great gifts you can buy or make yourself. Children will love them, and you’ll be able to give without getting a huge credit card bill in the New Year.
Kid’s gifts you can make yourself
If you feel like doing it yourself, why not recycle some flat sheets of metal (an old cookie tray is perfect) and make a magnetic blackboard (you could also make a set of character magnets to make this gift extra special). Or make a colour matching game with a few clothes pegs and free paint sample cards. Special food treats like coconut macaroons or chocolate truffles are also great gifts.
Cheap kid’s gift ideas
If you decide to buy a gift like a toy, you don’t have to blow your budget. Shop around and consider both new and second hand options- just because a toy has been used, doesn’t mean its poor quality. Buying a toy that another child no longer uses (and in some cases only ever used a few times) can save you a fortune. Check out the toy shops and online toy sellers to compare prices. For more ideas on how to find cheap toys for kids, click here. Make sure the toys you buy are age appropriate and safe. You may even be able to find free toys or books.
5. Personalised gifts for kids
Personalised gifts are often inexpensive but they can be amongst a child’s best loved items. There’s nothing like making a personal gift or having a unique personal touch added to a gift you’ve bought to let a child know you they’re loved. Why not try:
• Making a photo book – this is a great present for babies (who respond strongly to faces) and older children where the book or collage can be used to tell a story about them. Or create a photo collage by cutting up photos of the child you are making the gift for, and their loved ones. This also makes a great kid’s bedroom decorating idea.
• Making a book of special ‘me and you time’ vouchers that your child can use to book special time with you throughout the year.
6. The gift of giving
Christmas and birthdays are also a great time to help children understand the gifts that come to those who give. Giving to a charity at Christmas or on your child’s birthday helps develop their awareness of the world around them and their role in helping those who are less fortunate. Giving and sharing helps children develop empathy and social skills like sharing.
Select some charities that your child can relate to, and involve them in deciding which charity they should give to. For example, you could introduce them to a number of charities that support children in low income countries, or less fortunate areas of Australia. Show them pictures and help them read any written information. Let them choose one they would like to give to this Christmas. Take time to talk to your child about what the charity does. Talk about the similarities and differences between your situation and the situation of children who the charity helps.