This post is the third in a series of creativity-boosting gifts you can give to the kids in your life. For more gift ideas, check out thoughts on unstructured play, space to create, innovative books, and opportunities to create together.
Gift #3 - The Unwrappables
The holidays come with many opportunities for gift giving, and kids often receive toys that are soon forgotten. Giving your child a gift that allows them to do or create something is a gift that keeps on giving. Here are some gift suggestions to help ignite imaginations this holiday:
- Art Supplies: Look for supplies without a very specific purpose, such as paint, pipe cleaners, fabric, tongue depressors, glue, tape, and post-its. These open-ended supplies allow kids to set the course of their own creative play, and can be used for an infinite number of projects. When kids have an idea, having the supplies they need on hand can help them make their vision a reality.
- Costume Basics: Jump-start imaginative play with basic costume pieces to get your child’s wheels turning. A plain cape can create a hundred different superheroes. A handful of hats can inspire a score of creative characters. An old scarf is a lasso, a pet snake, or a forest path. When a child is dressed unlike their normal self, they may feel more able to explore and imagine in ways they normally would not.
- Project Subscription Gifts: Several companies have come out with subscriptions for boxes that are delivered once a month, and allow kids to explore new concepts, projects, countries and people, and activities. Kiwi Crate, Make: Kits and Creation Crate are great places to start your search.
- The Write Stuff: If your child likes to write or draw, give them supplies to create their own book, a journal or notebook in which to write their thoughts and reflections, or fun stationery and letter-writing supplies. Help your child find a pen pal - you can collaborate to find a match through online networks like International Pen Friends and PenPal World.
- Puppet Theater: A puppet theater is a great way to open doors to all kinds of play-acting. Encourage your kids to create their own stories and act them out. You can also help them create their own puppets for the characters they create. The sky’s the limit to where their imagination can take them!
- DIY Kit: One of the best gifts my daughter has received is a fort kit from her grandma. Inside were lots of fort-making supplies: a colorful parachute for a light and easy roof, lots of clips to attach the parachute to furniture, glow sticks, a flashlight, old keys, a map, and a telescope. While simple, the kit has inspired hours of pretend play. My daughter has been a princess inside of imaginary castles, searched for land on pirate ships, and even traveled to far-off lands inside an airplane in the forts she’s created. You can tailor your kit to your child’s interests through the items you choose - the possibilities are truly endless.
Hope Adams is a Galileo Area Director in Orange County, CA. When she’s not encouraging young innovators - including her two kids - she loves expressing her own creativity through cooking, photography, and drawing.