• Mallory G Foster

A Different Kind of Holiday Gift Guide

A different kind of holiday season is upon us and with a lot of uncertainty about what the next year looks like, our gift-giving list may be in disarray. If you normally opt for experience-based gifts but aren't sure if that makes sense this year, a friend recently sparked an idea - homemade activity kits. I'm currently obsessed with this idea because making the gift can actually become a week long family project - a great after-dinner-what-do-we-do-now activity that also taps into holiday values like kindness, joy, patience, etc. HG and I are definitely making a few of these and I am HOPING we can get them in the mail in a timely fashion (we are THE WORST about getting things to the post office and you should see how late held up our outgoing mail gets when I run out of stamps (nothing like a letter I meant to mail 2 years ago...)). Without further ado, here are some ideas!

  • Outdoor Exploration Backpack: This backpack could include: real or toilet paper tube binoculars, a bucket, a towel, a flashlight, a magnifying glass or jar (flip it upside down, add water, ta da! magnifying glass!), a notebook, washi tape for collecting leaves, and tweezers (you can make your own with tongue depressors and clothespins). Add on by working with the kiddos in your life to identify 5ish plants and/or animals that live in the gift recipient's area. Then, create your own field guide! You could do this in a mini notebook, blank book, or on index cards stapled together. Throw in trail mix with a sweet treat for a bonus! Weather specific things, like gloves or an umbrella or sunscreen could be handy too :).

  • The Story Teller Backpack: We're on the tail end of NaNoWriMo and still obsessed with story telling. If you have a story teller in your life, this idea might work! Fill a back pack with: notebooks and/or graphic novel notebooks, blank books for final drafts, writing utensils, and a magnetic poetry kit. Working with the kiddos in your life, create story telling dice or story stones. For dice, each dice can be a different story element (setting, characters, main events) with a different option on each side. We use simple wooden blocks to make these. For story stones, use stickers, doodles, or scrap paper to create little images of different characters and settings. Sew a simple circle draw string bag and put the stones inside.

  • The Artist's Tackle Box: We made one of these last year for HG and it is a HIT! We actually filled it mainly with half used art supplies we already had :). We got a wooden tackle box, collaged the inside, and added favorite materials. We did a wooden box so we can refill the box for years to come. Here's what went in last year: pom poms, paper straws, paint markers, paint brushes, watercolors, watercolor paints, glue, pipe cleaners, and wooden beads. Involve the kiddos in your life by asking them to make a list of drawing or creating prompts!

  • The Correspondence Box: HG and I recently got our lives together and put all of our stationery and stamps in a box so we stop losing things and I think this would be a GREAT gift! Stationery has gotten harder to find - you can look on Etsy. We were able to go to the mall and found some adorable Japanese stationery. You can also make your own - a GREAT make it together gift! Grab stamps or markers and stamp or doodle a border on paper. Decorate an address book and fill in your address. Add stamps and cool writing utensils. For younger pen pals, make a letter template if you'd like with ways to start a letter, some questions you can ask in a letter, and ways to close a letter. You could make address labels or just glue a card with their return address on the lid inside the box. Voila! A sweet little gift, perfect for a year #alonetogether.

  • The Superhero Kit: I know soooo many little ones who love dressing up as heroes! Tap into that with this kit. Add a cape and felt mask. You could use felt and markers or a felt badge kit to make one badge to stick to the cape and then let the gift recipient add more. Create a mini person (we like to use pipe cleaners or clothespins) or get a few wooden peg dolls (bendy ones would be great but they are hard to find). Add some scrap material so the gift recipient can transform their person into a hero! The kiddos in your life could create their own comic strips and "super deeds" prompts to include.

Make a kit to give? Share it and tag @watchwonderbloom! I can't wait to see what your family creates together! Happy Holidays!

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