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Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ve dusted off last year’s gift ideas list and updated it for 2013 with new recommendations according to the currents ages and stages of my own kids.
I hope to present you with a few thoughtful choices rather than an over-abundance of things that will be turn into next Summer”s “junk.” At my house we follow the Want, Need, Wear, Read philosophy and we try to stick with quality over quantity. You know I love toys that encourage creativity and the fewer batteries required, the better.
While you are making your lists, and checking them twice, here are a few great gift ideas for kids that are under $25:
1. Rainbow Loom
Rainbow Looms are one of the few recent trends that this handwork loving mama can get behind. Combining the friendship bracelet and potholder loom craze of my own youth, Rainbow Looms allow kids to make their own jewelry out of rubber bands. And kids are obsessed with them!
With an emphasis on dexterity, focus, math, and creativity, the rainbow loom makes this mom pretty happy. I’ll admit that part of the reason I’m so excited to give Jillian one for Christmas this year is because I can’t wait to play with it myself!
If you’d like to read another mom’s perspective on this neat toy, my friend Mariah of Playful Learning has written up a post on Rainbow Loom and Growing Up in the Digital Age, including some video tutorials done by her own kids. Kristen of Happy Mom, Busy Kids has a DIY tutorial for a simple loom, too.
2. A Journal or Sketchbook
As my daughter gets older, keeping a journal is important to her. As a journal keeper of many years myself, I totally understand. A new blank journal and nice pens or makers is a thoughtful gift for your tween or teen that doesn’t have to break the bank to be appreciated.
You could also go another route and print some of these FREE printable journal pages from Grace is Overrated and add them to a three ring binder. That, along with a package of new Sharpies, will be finding its way under the tree for my twelve year old this year and I think she’s going to love filling in the pages and decorating her the binder in her own unique style. (I’m thinking about printing a set as a gift to myself, too).
3. A Kiwi Crate Gift Crate
Kiwi Crate, one of my family’s favorite monthly subscription services, also offers single crates. These gift crates are under $20, come with everything you need to get busy creating, and would make a fun present for the creative child in your life. Kiwi Crate also has some mini-crates and stocking stuffer ideas. These are neat gifts for crafty kids ages 3 to 7.
4. Artterro Eco Art Kits
If you are looking for some crafty fun for an older child, my twelve year old loves the eco friendly art kits from Artterro. Their art journals, with the variety of materials to invite personal expression, are her very favorite. Last year we were given a wool felt kit to try and that earned two crafty thumbs up, too.
One of our favorite family games is Spot It!
5. Board Games
I love to give family-friendly games. A new or vintage game under the tree is always appreciated by my family. Family game nights bring us together for some friendly competition. There are some fun new games out there, and new versions of classics.
Plus, I keep my eyes open at thrift stores and during yard sale season for new-to-us games. Second-hand games have character, cool graphic illustrations, and are usually found inexpensively. Just be sure that you’re picking up a second-hand game that it includes all of its pieces.
6. Music and Audio Books
I believe that music and audio books are a gift idea that holds appeal for all ages. Last Tsh of The Art of Simple mentioned that her Dad burned a collection of CDs for her daughter of all of his favorite songs. Is that a seriously awesome gift for a kid, or what? Plus, what a cool way to bridge the generations.
Looking for some music and audio suggestions? Check out Jennifer Brown’s website Swing Whistle Zing.
7. Support Handmade
I love to give my children handmade gifts, even if they aren’t made by my own hand. Etsy is my favorite resource for this and Etsy Kids has an abundance of great gift ideas, no matter your budget.
A few great Etsy Kids items under $25 that caught my eye for 2013:
- Blue Ted Mohair Teddy Bear from Little Bear Company
- Mini Baby Waldorf inspired dolls from Polar Bear Creations
- Wooden Deer Family figures from Imagination Kids
Play silks are one of my favorite open ended toys for children and our tutorial on DIY playsilks continues to be one of the most popular on the blog. You can also purchase them from companies like Sarah’s Silks or browse through etsy.
To stay under the $25 budget, I’d recommend either a set of smaller playsilks (the handkerchief size) or one large multicolored silk. Both can be used in a variety of ways for play and are a kid favorite at our house.
Source for silk blanks if you dye your own:
I love to give books, the gift that keeps on giving in so many ways! We’ve recently discovered the Growly Books series, which my seven and five year olds are enjoying, and Jillian has been reading this Sherlock Holmes series for kids, The Sherlock Files by Tracy Barrett. My five year old loves The Jolly Postman and anything by Tomie dePaola.
And, books are another category where giving second-hand has a vintage appeal that is also budget friendly. Check out our Books & Music category for more recommendations.
Boys and girls need something to cuddle and love. I think dolls are great toys, and we have a few that have become like part of the family. If you have the time and the ability, a homemade doll is a lovely gift, destined to become a family heirloom.
If you’re looking to purchase a baby doll for your toddler, I have found the dolls from Manhattan Toys to be very good for their price point – we have the Sweet Pea Snuggle Pod doll and a Baby Stella doll and both have held up well to snuggles and everyday play.
For preschoolers on up, at this price point the dolls from North American Bear Company are well made and a good value in my opinion. My son has a Rosy Cheeks baby doll since he was four and my girls have especially loved their Big Sister dolls.
Looking for a big ticket item? My twelve year old is pretty excited about the Special Edition Harry Potter books with artwork by Kazu Kibuish. For younger kids, don’t these rocker boards from Bella Luna Toys look fun?
What are some of your favorite budget-friendly gifts to give to kids?