The biggest packages under the tree might make your kids' eyes pop, but sometimes the gifts inside the tiniest boxes win the holiday. Just in time for Christmas, we have brought back some favorites and added some new suggestions for the little toys and charms that make our kiddos smile.
Loom bracelets are the latest craze among the elementary school set. Kids can use endless combinations of small colored, sparkly, tie-dyed, or glow-in-the-dark rubber bands to weave simple or intricate bracelets. The looms (in a girl version and a boy version) are about $15, and the packages of rubber bands will set you back about $3.
Charm bracelets can be cheap enough to be little kid friendly and are cute enough to worn with everything and, yes, treasured. The Charm-It Bracelets are a perfect starting point. The bracelets themselves start as low as $7, and most of the charms sell for $6. Best of all? The charms are super-easy to switch out, so it can be worn from preschool through sixth grade.
Smencils are a fun twist on the art supply trinket gift, and they come in fun holiday scents too. Pencils that smell like gingerbread or candy canes in a stocking? Yes, please! Or how about chocolate- and strawberry-scented pencils for Valentine's Day? These are pencils that you will want to keep sharpening until they are tiny little nubs. They also offer Smens (pens) and Smarkers (markers) in equally delicious scents.
If your kids liked the Tell Me a Story cards from Eeboo that we recommended last year, they might be ready to try the Storymatic Kids game. The basic idea is the same: young storytellers get a creative jump start from the cards. The Storymatic set encourages more complex storytelling while teaching about story elements like character, problem, and solution.
Uncommon Goods is a great place to buy gifts for anyone on your gift list and it's a great place to find little gifts for your littles that are, well, uncommon. Some of our favorites, especially for the boys, are this Ion Glow-In-the Dark Putty and the Kinetic Sand, a moldable way to bring the sandbox indoors during the winter!
And if you're looking for something a little less expensive...as in, free? Homemade tickets for fun outings can't be beat: a trip to the ice cream shop, a cupcake on the day of their choosing, popcorn and a movie (at home or at the theater), even a ticket to an afternoon at not-the-usual park can be a fantastic treat. And with a few markers and a little creativity, these homemade IOUs are sure to get a smile.
Steam escapes from the open mouth of the engine's stack as we pull away from the station. Chugga-chugga-puff-puff is all we can hear as my son's nose is pressed against the glass with the force of gale wind. With every ounce of his being given to thi... read more
Every year, in mid-November, a friend of mine who lives across the country sends each of my children an Advent calendar. She does this because she knows that otherwise I will forget all about Advent until four or five days into December, at which poi... read more