It’s that time again…..
Walking into Target today, I see a row of Reindeer racing across the ceiling, Santa jolly in his sleigh behind them.
I’ve gotten the “Big Toy Book” in the mail, Sammy has been keeping it with him for the past few days.
I have been that parent who buys everything I can, because I need more, more, MORE boxes for them to open. That parent who, when finished wrapping the gazillion presents, suddenly feels there isn’t enough, and so dashes out for some more. I most likely will continue to be that parent, because I am weak.
I have insight into my weakness, and I think that must count for something. So, if you are stronger than me, do yourself a favor and read below for truly, the best gifts you can ever give your kids. Things they actually DO play with.
I should probably have prefaced by saying this list is really for kids under 6…. we can possibly stretch a bit beyond that, but my older kids would definitely not appreciate money in the way I am going to suggest giving it. I am not talking about any form of paper or plastic money. I am talking about coins. lots and lots of coins.
My kids have all had a healthy fascination with money, in coin form, as little ones. Jake used to hide coins all over the house, he amassed a small fortune before the age of 10 just from the change he would slip off the counters, and sometimes out of my purse. Sammy has probably 5 different banks, and he divides up his coins, mixed with all of his fake pirate gold pieces, into these banks, as well as various buckets, Tupperware containers, and really anything hollow around the house. Jenna has lately refused to go up to bed without holding her blankets, her pink unicorn, and money. She needs change, preferably silver, at least two pieces in hand. If I walk past a dresser carrying her, she will scream at me to go back for the money if she sees any laying around.
so, a pile of coins. A couple buckets. Good to go.
2. A box.
Big enough to hide in, and preferably with a mile of bubble wrap inside. Even the 13 year old gets excited when mom starts getting boxes from Amazon, they ALL love bubble wrap. Keep whatever was IN the box for yourself.
3. Little plastic pieces of crap.
Just sift through the bottom of your existing toy box. Grab the tiny Lego’s, Barbie shoes, and all of those little pieces that go to…something, something that will never be put together again. Stick them in a cute little box. You will be a hero. Now, you can take this up a level….do what I did one year and purchase about 300 tiny pink organza drawstring bags from Amazon without reading the actual size or where they are coming from (overseas). Get them, realize they are way too small for party favors, not to mention weeks late for the party….and give them to your 4-ish year old. Mega hit.
I have little pink organza bags filled with little pieces of plastic crap hidden all over my house. When he ran out of his own crap, he asked for some of mine. I am still finding these bags with all sorts of interesting surprises inside. (gummy snacks, plastic fish, disassembled watch…) It has been 1 year, and they have not gotten old. I throw away what I can, but there were 300….it will take a while.
4. Post it’s.
Assorted sizes in rainbow colors. This appeals to little ones, they love to write on each and every piece of paper, and stick them all over. I was looking in all the little containers we have in the house to find hidden coins, and stumbled across this gold mine. Recently, Sammy was my waiter, and was kind enough to take my order entirely on post-it notes, one for each item I wanted. He must have saved them because he wants to remember all my favorite foods. 🙂
5. Measuring Cups and Spatulas.
There is one drawer in my kitchen that no longer belongs to me. It has been commandeered by the young ones. From the days of sitting up and not crawling yet, to a rambunctious preschooler…that drawer has had a magical pull for the kids. They love to pretend, they “cook”, they decorate with utensils and cookware, and fill up measuring cups with money and little pieces of plastic crap.
I have toys that are not played with, toys that have never BEEN played with, toys that are more interesting to the kids when broken into pieces that will fit into a tiny pink organza drawstring bag…
So although I fully intend to waste more money this year, I will do so with a heavy heart. I already know that anything I buy will not hold a candle to the treasure trove of junk in my home that keeps the kids consistently busy day after day, and probably in total costs less than $100 to replace.