by Susan Caplan McCarthy
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Gifting kids with art or science kits allows them to do something they may not have tried before. Since younger kids will need help, this gives parents or adult friends or relatives the opportunity to spend time with the child while creating something edible, useful, or interesting.
These are less expensive ideas than many experiential gifts, such as tickets to professional shows or paying for a week of summer camp. While these aren't the traditional experience gift, they do encourage kids to act.
Gifts that Get Kids Doing Something
You can't go wrong asking the parents if there is something that the child would like to do that you can give as a gift. Depending on your budget, you could pay for an afterschool class through the town's recreation department or offer to purchase equipment the child needs to participate in sports.
You can also ask a child if they would like to receive a gift that they could donate to a local group - a replica skull for the local nature center or food and toys for dogs in the animal shelter.
Journal, Diary, Sketchbook or Diary
Add in some multi-color gel pens for kids who like to draw or write.
A gift the child can receive all year. Focus on one of the child's interests.
Root Beer Making Kit
This kit is easy to use, though kids will need to wait a while before sampling the soda they made.
Bubble Gum Kit
Kids will need help to make their own bubble gum with this kit, but they can share the results with friends.
Gummy Candy Making Kit
Science and candy. Again, kids will need the help of an adult or teen for this candy making kit.
Ice Cream Making Kit
Learn the science of freezing with this kit and get a yummy treat in the end. I've made ice cream with groups of kids and its fun and not too messy.
Start a Vegetable Garden
This kit helps kids start seeds indoors so they can then transplant the veggies-to-be outdoors to finish growing.
Grow a Wildflower Garden
Kids plant the flower seeds in the kit's starter pots and watch the plants grow.
Beeswax Candle Making Kit
The best thing about making these beeswax candles is that you don't have to melt the wax. You roll the sheets of beeswax in this candle making kit to form small candles.
Soap Making Kit
This soap making kit allows kids to craft items that they can then give away. This kit is from the publisher, Klutz, which creates fantastic products. I've never met a Klutz product that disappointed (I've even bought some of their craft kits/books for myself.)
Teach a Child to Knit or Crochet
If you know how to knit or crochet, you can spend some time with a child and teach them one of these lifelong skill.
Bake with a Child
Spend time with a child baking a favorite treat or cooking a meal to share with family. Get the child their own apron.
Tie Dye Party
Feeling brave? Buy a bunch of inexpensive tee shirts, break out this tie dye kit, and host a tee shirt decorating party for the kids (and adults, because you know they'll be jealous if you don't offer).
Do you have suggestions for other inexpensive gifts that come with an experience? Leave a comment below. You can find ideas for adults in this article.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm a professional organizer-coach with 26 years' experience as a teacher. I believe that an organized home isn't your destination but a step on the path toward the life you want to create. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; and speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.