There are a lot of good reasons to be alarmed about the policies that are snarling supply chains, but Christmas shopping for the children in your life does not have to be one of them.
Toddlers would rather play with what they can pull out of your cupboard than a toy from a box. They want to get a hold of the stuff they see you use to make important things. Children of all ages want to be creators!
Here are some gift ideas that encourage creation. Think vintage-traditional-experiential.
- Paints, canvases, and brushes. Water-based acrylic paints come in small, inexpensive bottles and are easy for any age painter to use. Michaels and Hobby Lobby have weekly coupons and regular sales.
- Wrap up a mini bread loaf pan or muffin tin and add a free-style baking experience. Put out flour, sugar, soft butter, a couple of eggs and baking soda on your countertop and let your young baker scoop and stir in their own proportions with just a little guidance (“only a teaspoon or pinch of soda!”) Show how to grease the pan and, of course, help with the oven part.
- Stock up on fast-rising bread yeast packets (RapidRise Instant Yeast) and buy The Lost Recipe book from Brandy Pie Books. The reader searches for clues about a unique grandma to discover the long-lost recipe for her incredible toasting bread. The book ends with a simple recipe for children to make bread themselves without much waiting time.
- Make your own play dough from flour, salt, oil, food coloring and cream of tartar. Find the recipe here! It feels so much better to the fingers than store bought. Or make baker’s clay with just flour, salt and water for rolling out, cutting into shapes, and baking into ornaments.
- Make pudding (from a box or homemade). Spread it out in a shallow tray and encourage your children to draw shapes, numbers, and letters, and to lick their fingers along the way! For a different tactile experience, try corn meal or oat bran, instead.
- Buy some beads and beading cord. Pick chunky beads and easy to manipulate cord for the youngest beader. Boutique bead stores are most likely to have staff to guide you if you want to get intricate and are new to this; otherwise, there are plenty of sources online or shop in Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
- Clear out a cupboard and make it the children’s Supply Cupboard. Unveil the cupboard as one of their gifts and keep it purposed for them. Years to come, they will visit you and pull out the paints and canvases for a “sip and paint and tell” event!
- Make a tool kit and bundle in some real building materials that your child can construct into something interesting.
- Visit 2nd & Charles for pre-loved movies, books, and games. Some vintage “greats” to look for there or online.
- Akeelah and the Bee
- Little House on the Prairie—all of them!
- Anne of Green Gables—all of them!
- A Little Princess 1995
- Ever After: A Cinderella Story with Drew Barrymore
- FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
- Princess of Thieves with Keira Knightley
Watch with your children, and perhaps you can forget about supply chain problems and all the others for an hour or two.