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In addition to our our Top Twenty Toys, we also like to give our children useful tools. These aren’t necessarily tools in the sense of hammers and screwdrivers, although we’ve given those too, but something that can be used to accomplish a task or purpose.
Here are some of our favorites:
Light: headlamp, flashlight, reading light
I just asked Samuel to name the one tool that has been his favorite gift and his answer was a headlamp. Our guys use these all the time for camping and backpacking, but also for feeding cows, or doing any chores in the dark. Along the same lines, but not quite as adventuresome are reading lights and light wedges. I keep one in my suitcase and another in my nightstand for reading when the rest of the room needs to be dark. They also work well in the car and kids love them. You can also never go wrong with a good flashlight.
On Honeybee and Ladybug’s 11th birthdays, they each received an apron and a Recipe Notebook that had page protectors and dividers for the basic types of recipes: Breads, Soups, Salads and Sides, Main Dishes, and Desserts. I put copies of simple family favorites in each section. They loved this gift and continue to regularly add recipes. It cost nearly nothing to make and has given them a sense of satisfaction as they learn to cook. We have also given cookbooks, especially to Sweet Pea who loves to cook.
Other fun things are cake decorating tools and special baking pans. Mimi was the french bread making champ at our house for years and a friend gave her these nice pans.
Kids love getting mail! At various times our children have had subscriptions to Ladybug, Spider, Muse, Our Big Backyard, American Girl, Money, Kids National Geographic, and others. We also enjoy Family Fun magazine, which is a great bargain.
Tools: toolbox, pocket knife, cleaning tools
We’ve given a toolbox for the car with tools necessary for quick repairs, a toolbox with general tools, and even a toolbox with a small hammer, level, and picture hanging supplies. A pocket knife is a great gift for a responsible child. In our home, the small broom hand vacuum are considered lots of fun.
Knitting/Sewing/Crafting: sewing machine, knitting supplies, books
My girls all love to knit and are in the midst of some great projects. Last year we gave them a simple sewing machine to share which was a huge hit.
Nature: gardening tools, bird feeder, binoculars
Russ loves to garden with the kids and we all enjoy having a bird feeder. Binoculars are a great gift; we have three pairs that are always in demand.
Laminator, stapler, jumbo paperclips, label maker, page protectors, scissors, a ream of paper, pens and pencils — what’s not to love? A child with a label maker can be a great assistant when it comes to organizing.
Education: globe, map puzzle, sign language DVD
I can’t help myself, I love things that teach my kids and stimulate their minds.
Travel/Camping gear: sleeping bags, lantern, rolling suitcase, travel games
Kids love to have their own sleeping bags and suitcases, and fun travel games help pass the hours on a long road trip.
A number of years ago my parents took all of their children and grandchildren to see The Nutcracker in downtown Seattle. It was a fabulous and memorable gift. How about a concert or dinner out at a special restaurant? What about taking a class together, or going to a ceramics painting studio? Not only can we give our children a life experience, we’ll build memories that will last a lifetime.
Questions: What non-toy gifts have you given your children, or would like to give them?
Have a great start to your week, friends.