Monday, February 23, 2009

the one about the birthday gifts...

Another reason we love the kids' school is the parents. We have a great group of laid back, fun, noncompetitive, intelligent folks. The children reflect that. As do their birthday parties. My kids do not buy birthday presents for each other, much less for friends. We make our gifts and the recipients always love them. For example, one of their friends was having a party at a park that has a big fountain. My kids made a whole fleet of paper boats to sail in the fountain and paper admiral hats to go with them. The kids all had a blast with them. There are your standard homemade playdoh and bottles of bubbles which are fun. We have done cookie/muffin mixes in a jar which are actually a huge hit with kids and parents. As are "experience" gifts. Arranging with the parent ahead of time a date you can take the birthday child to the pool with you or a favorite of my kids' friends has been coming over to bake and decorate cookies. Or do a kid friendly cooking class. Be creative! Think about what kids like to do. Then take pictures and afterward make a little photobook and give that to the child. The computer is our friend. We print off fun labels for the bottles and jars. Some other favorites...

  • check out this website for really cool templates to make lots of cool stuff.
  • Custom cds- Each child makes a mix cd of their favorite songs. They design album covers and cd stickers. We package them all in a decorative envelope.
  • Library bags. You can buy some blank canvas bags quite cheaply at the craft store. Scan a picture your child drew into the computer. Add some text ie Suzy could spend all day with a good book and print it out on an iron on transfer. Iron it on to the bag. You can use a template to make a library card holder envelope from another piece of child's artwork. You could also make beach bags.
  • Customized Word Magnets. In a Word document, make a list of the names of the birthday child and her family members, your child's name and list nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles etc. Using simple present tense makes it simpler. ie Suzy happily dances with the singing hippopotamus. Skip a line between each line of text with 3 spaces between words. Then you can either print the sheets off and attach them to adhesive backed magnet sheets (cheaper) or you use printer friendly magnet sheets. We put them in a decorated tin.
  • Book Plates. Scan a piece of your child's artwork into a Word document. Format it for large shipping labels. Add text ie This book belongs to Suzy Smith. and duplicate it for each label. Print them out and separate them into a nice stack and tie with a ribbon. We usually include a gently read favorite book with a label already in it.
  • Stationary. Have your kids fill a piece of paper with a pattern. Like rows of hearts or rainbow stripes. scan it into your computer and fade the colors out. Fill a whole page with the design and add text ie From the desk of Suzy Smith at the top. You can also do this in landscape so you can actually have two sheets per page after you cut it in half. Print off ten sheets and tie with a ribbon. Then you can use a envelope template to make envelopes from colored copy paper or from other sheets printed with their design on it. You can use card stock and add some little note cards or thank you notes. You can also make smiley face sealing stickers from price dots.
I'm going to try to upload some images of these things so you can get a better picture of them. I don't have them on my new computer so I'm going to have grab them off the old one.

My point is simply that birthdays don't have to be filled with cheap junk and your homemade gifts don't have to be quaint. You can design some pretty cool stuff with your kids and the computer. I'm looking forward to figuring out what we can do with Photobooth!


Anonymous said...

What great idea's Kate! My kids don't go to alot of birthdays, but they are always wanting to make things for each other.

Anita in Australia

Rachel said...

Great ideas. Would love to see pics!!

Lewis family said...

Yet again, you inspire me!!!

Thank you, Cakes!!!

The Smith's said...

Those are all such great ideas. Thanks for sharing them!

Israeli Mom said...

Wonderful gift ideas - absolutely loved them. So much better than all the expensive toys that get broken a week later and tossed away.

For his 7th birthday, Ron got "horse riding time" as a gift from the mother of a friend who owns horses.