As any mom with a couple elementary schoolers could tell you, the birthday party invitations come faster than you can keep up with gift buying. That’s why I like to have a generic gift drawer full of great go-to gifts that are ready to go at a moment’s notice. I am not including any Wii or DS games, although they are always a hit. Here are some of my favorite non-electronic toys.
1. Apples to Apples Junior-this is wonderful for 7-8 year olds and up. The kids love the “anybody can win” aspect of this game, and it isn’t too painful for adults to play, either!
2. Mini Boden T-Shirts. Boden is a British company with the cutest darn T-shirts around. Because they aren’t widely available here in the US, it’ll certainly be something the recipient doesn’t have yet, and the quality is so nice that Mom will be pleased. There are tons of whimsical designs for girls and boys, and they are so “cool” that kids don’t mind receiving them…in fact, they really love them!
3 & 4. Shel Silverstein Poem Books – Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic are classics for a reason. They will be the best books in the recipient’s collection from here on out. The humor and sentiment in the poems is timeless, and can inspire even the most disinterested reader to give a poem or two a spin before bed. One of the BEST gifts a kid can ever get.
5. The Guinness Book of World Records. What kid doesn’t want to read about the tallest person alive, the highest score achieved in their favorite sporting event, or the fastest animal ever clocked? Every kid is sure to find some records they are interested in reading about, and maybe even interested in breaking!
6. Yamslam Game. Way too addictive for kids and adults, it’s like a combination of Yahtzee & poker with a cool felt rolling tray. Order it in bulk!
7. Find-It Game. It sound simple enough; a clear plastic tube full of little sprinkle pellets. But inside these pellets are hidden 47 little trinkets (think a safety pin, a pearl, a penny, an elbow macaroni) that you check off as you find them in the craziness. Both kids and adults will find it hard to set it down, and it’s a very original gift.
8. Sticky Mosaic Kits. Everything from fairies to dinosaurs to classic art can be turned into a super-cool mosaic just by peeling some paper. Art kits are always a good bet, because by their very nature, they are disposable. A guaranteed hit!
9. Make-Your-Own-Storybook Kit. What kid doesn’t like to draw, to color, to tell stories, and best of all, to read about THEMSELVES? One of the best-reviewed gifts out there, perfect for a rainy day.
10. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial DVD – The best movie from your childhood still has it! If you (and your recipient’s Mom & Dad) can get past a couple less-than-clean words, this is a wonderful movie for all kids and will surely go down as one of their favorite films ever.