Birthdays…they happen every day. But you don’t quite realize how frequent they are until you have kids and they get invited to birthday parties almost every weekend. So here are my top five suggestions for meaningful gifts that can spark creativity and experiential learning.
- To encourage creativity and literacy in the kitchen, try FRED Letter Pressed Cookie Cutters (Alphabet and Numbers sets). If you know a curious culinary kiddo, then these cookie cutters are perfect to inspire participation in the kitchen while adding an easy-to-access literacy lesson into the mix (literally!) They can work for a variety of ages and recipes, so a nice pairing could be a recipe-in-a-jar to enable an easy-prep baking adventure.
- To spark curiosity through crafting, create a Craft Crate. Go to the dollar store, find a fun box, and then meander through the aisles and add in crafty components (stickers, markers, paper, glitter, glue, etc.) It’s easy and inexpensive to fill up, self-contained, and it will inspire hours of imaginative thinking for the lucky little recipient.
- If you like buying books, search the collections of Andrea Beaty and Peter H. Reynolds. Beaty’s books, Rosie Revere, Engineer, Ada Twist, Scientist, Iggy Peck, Architect and Artist Ted are wonderful stories about young kids (and a bear…Ted is a bear…) finding their passion and becoming confident and true to themselves despite internal doubt and external criticism. Reynolds’ books The Dot, Sky Color and Ish are an imaginative trilogy that share uplifting stories about kids discovering their abilities to create art and that creative inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone.
- To support local sources of creativity, research local independent book stores and museums. Then buy gift cards from them! Here are some great RI bookstores to support. (Peter H. Reynolds also has a bookstore in Dedham, MA!) You can also check with your local library about discounted museum admission tickets. Give the gift of an educational/creative experience to your birthday buddy! It’s a wonderful feeling (for kids and parents) when you can find a connection to creativity within your community. Help make that happen for your next birthday bash!
- Encourage a broader world view with a creative travel gift! Luckies of London makes an interactive travel kit with scratch maps of the entire world organized by continent along with a paper journal. This is a perfect gift for a family who loves to travel (or simply loves the idea of travel)! The maps can be used to mark where you’ve been, where you want to go, or just to help engage in a dialogue about any and all the countries in the world. (It’s also super fun to scratch off the gold foil to reveal a new color and country info underneath!) Then you can kick it old school with the paper journal to handwrite and/or draw to document family excursions.
There are a lot of potential gifts out there that will make kids happy, but will they be memorable? Thoughtful? Educational? Useful to the entire family? Well, now, yours can be all of those things! Happy shopping, happy partying, and happy learning!