Gift Guide for Kids - Quicken Loans Zing BlogIf you have interactions with any young folks in your life, you know that with the joys of childhood comes the not-so-joyous mess of toys. If you’re buying gifts for small fry this holiday season, we’ve got some tips for thinking beyond the latest popular plastic toys – something their parents (maybe that’s you!) will appreciate.

Fun Day Out

The gift of an experience is a rewarding gift for both giver and receiver! If your budget can afford it, a yearly pass to the local zoo or children’s museum is a great investment – usually, it pays for itself in a few visits, especially for families with multiple children. If you can’t afford a yearly pass, a day trip provides a wealth of fun and loads of great memories. If you’re not the kiddo’s primary caregiver, then it’s a nice way to give Mom or Dad a break, too.

If your budget is smaller, an afternoon of bowling or a movie is a great gift. Movie theaters will sometimes have special-needs screenings or special children’s showings if you’ve got a special-needs child, or you’re nervous about keeping a little one quiet for two hours. Plus, if you include popcorn or a trip to the ice cream shop after, you’ll pretty much be the coolest adult ever.

Go Paper-full

Put together a stationery kit to keep the fading art of letter writing going in the youngest generation. Hit up your local discount store for some cool-looking notecards or stationery and a box to hold it all. Add a book of fun stamps and some cool pens. You can easily print out some return labels for a personalized touch. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about thank you cards!

A calendar is a nice gift that’s easily personalized to a kid’s interests, with the perk of not taking up too much space. It’s also a nice way for a kid to keep track of his or her own schedule. Calendars can be found for as little as a buck at the dollar store. If you’ve got a kid in your life whom you don’t see often, writing a little message or doodle on each day is a great way to remind them that you’re thinking fondly of them!

Subscription Central

For a gift that keeps on giving all year round, skip the jelly-of-the-month club and go for a subscription that’s kid-approved. There are magazines for all ages, plus all kinds of other monthly gifts, like books, clothing, educational tidbits and craft boxes. Kids love mail, and they’ll love getting something new and interesting all year!

Get Crafty

Filling a plastic bin with craft supplies is always a hit! Rather than buying specific craft kits, find generic things like craft sticks, puffballs, paints, glue, yarn and stickers. Googly eyes are a must! You can even save your own egg cartons and paper towel or toilet paper tubes to add. Giving raw supplies with no instructions allows kids to use their imaginations to craft anything they want.

Lessons

Whether you know a little tap dancer or budding soccer player, paying for part, or all, of their after-school lessons or sports is a generous gift. If they’re not currently enrolled in anything, this is a perfect opportunity to try out something tailored to their interests. Try pottery classes for a creative kid, improv classes for the future stage star, or swimming classes for safety’s sake – with a side of fun.

Books, Books, Books

Books are the perfect gift; there’s a book out there for everyone! Your local children’s librarian can give you excellent recommendations if you’re unsure what to choose. For extra oomph, pair the book with something related; for example, give a copy of “Ramona and Her Father” along with a giant roll of craft paper, or a kid-friendly cookbook with the ingredients for a recipe and a date to bake together!

Scouting out books at used book sales or yard sales is a great way to get more books for less money. Keep an eye out year-round for new-looking books and build up a stock at home, which you can then personalize for each kid’s interests. A big book gift basket is a wonderful present and is a good go-to gift if you’re unsure of what to give.

Go Random

Use your imagination and think outside the (toy) box! A science experiment kit is educational and fuels an interest in science. Visit a thrift store and create a dress-up box with unique clothing items. Find a cool lunchbox or bento box and fill it with yummy treats. Find a fun, funky set of sheets for his or her bed. Socks might sound dull, but a stash of colorful, silly socks isn’t boring!

What are some non-toy gifts you love to give? Share with others in the comments!

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