I know there are lists out there for great Christmas gift ideas. Here’s mine, focusing on the kiddos:
1. A birdhouse and some birdseed, with a hanger of some sort.
We’ve had a birdhouse outside of our dining room window for the past few years, and the kids love it. So do I- I think it’s fun to see the various birds come and go. My sister-in-law got it for us a few years ago.
We watch the birds while we eat our meals at the table. Sometimes I try to really step it up a notch and get bird books from the library, so we can learn what kind of birds we’re seeing. Most of the time I just point out the cardinals and that’s about all I know.
Last year, when we lived in a second-story apartment, I bought a suction-cup attachment and it hung out our window over the roof below. It was something like this, but a cheaper one I bought at Lowes. We refilled the seed every few weeks and the kids loved it when the birds found our little second-story food source. Now that we’re on the first floor for meals, we bought a shepherd’s hook at Lowes in the plants/gardening section. We have that in the ground outside of our window, with two birdfeeders hanging off. Double the fun!
2. I made these bouncy balls with my nieces and nephews a few years ago. I bought the kit at Michael’s, not knowing if it would actually work or not. Sometimes those little kits are a complete bust. This kit worked really well and the kids all got to make two bouncy balls apiece. They bounced the heck out of them for the few days we were together. It was fun to make them together and also nice that if they lost it, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The most fun was making them together and then bouncing them down the stairs a bunch.
3. Last year for Christmas I made flubber. It’s a blob that feels wet when you touch it, but stays in…blob-form. It is fun to mix it all up together and see it get all gooey and weird.
I brought the ingredients to make it and the kids (ages 5-10) played with it a ton. My oldest nephew figured out how to use a straw to blow bubbles in it, which was pretty awesome. A nice aspect of this gift is that you get to play with it while you’re all together, but then throw it away when it’s time to travel back home. For family members who are traveling to be together, it might be nice to have an “experience” gift that doesn’t need to get fitted back into the minivan after Christmas, tetris-style.
Here’s how to make flubber:
Mixture one: 1.5 cups warm water, 2 cups Elmer’s glue, some food coloring. Stir together.
Mixture two: 3 tsp Borax, 1 cup warm water.
Mix it all together in one big bowl. Slooooowly the mess will come together and form a weird, gel-like blob.
I gave the kids cookie cutters to make shapes and play knives to cut it up. We have stored ours for a week or so at a time for repeated play, when we’ve made it at home.
Hope this helps if anyone is looking for a last-minute, cheapy (but in an inexpensive, not cheap way) gift!