We all want our kids to be happy with the gifts and treats they get on their big day. That goes without saying. But the truth is that the toy they seem to have been anticipating often loses its sheen shortly after they get it if all they ever get is toys. So, add a bit of variety to what you give them. Add a little value in ways they might not expect but are sure to love.
Do something together
Especially when the kids are younger, it’s the chance to do something together that can really mean the most to them. You can play with any toys, together, of course. Whether it’s helping them complete their first wooden block puzzle and heaping praise on them or taking the time to play pretend with some action figures. If you really want a special experience, think of a toy that’s best played with together. If you can make time out of your day to turn into a regular occurrence, that’s even better.
Create memories that last
The gift doesn’t always have to be something physical, either. When looking over what makes us truly happy, it’s more often about the experience than the gift. That’s just as true for kids as it is for us. So, create an experience with them and go on an adventure together. Take them camping. Organize a day in a hotel where they get to experience the kid’s ideal of the high life. Take them to see animals they’ve never seen before at the zoo. Make it a day for memories that they’re not going to forget anytime soon.
Let them find their own
Of course, we can’t really tell what memories and what trinkets are going to hold the most value for a kid. Sometimes, even the most innocuous of gifts or finds can turn into a treasure for them. Let them hold on to that treasure for as long as they can. Get them a memory box or even create one with them that they can use to hold all the stuff that’s most important to them. Of course, you can help them pick out things like their favourite books, photos, shells from the beach and the like, too. It can give you something to work on together. The box itself will become a part of their life that’s of great worth. In years’ time, the nostalgic value of it can’t be underestimated.
Let them express themselves
Kids have personalities just waiting to burst out and we don’t always give them the chance to properly express them. An arts and crafts box, whether it’s a packaged collection or just a bunch of bits and bobs you’ve picked up yourself, can hold immense value to a kid. They’ll find all sorts of uses that will undoubtedly make a bit of a mess. You can also pick DIY projects to work on together.
When they’re younger, science has about as much appeal to kids as art does. It lets them play with new materials, get a little messy, and learn a little. Starting a child’s curiosity with a science kit has a profound impact on the rest of their lives, however. When they get their first unexpected or exciting answer, they start thinking more about the what-ifs and the experiments they can do and the results they want to achieve. It teaches them to explore intellectually, which will always be a tremendously important talent.
Start a lifelong hobby
The imagination goes even deeper than science, however. The power of stories is perhaps one of the most impressive. Kids that start a reading habit tend to keep it, getting introduced to more ideas and more new thoughts. They become independent learners and lifelong book lovers. A great start to that are personalised books, reads that give them pride of place in their own story and keep them hooked to find out what happens to them next. Of course, for the younger kids, doing the voice is absolutely necessary.
Play is always best
You don’t have to structure a child’s experiences to make sure they’re learning from them either. A great deal of learning about their own physicality, of coordination, even social cues, comes from unstructured play. The best unstructured play, however, happens in a safe environment with plenty of inspiration everywhere. To that end, a birthday party held in an indoor play area with all their friends can be some of the most intellectually invigorating fun that your kids can have. Not to mention physically exhausting so you can be sure they’ll be sleeping sound when you get home.
Ask them what they want to do
If your kids are slightly older, they start having aspirations of their own. They have some ideas of what they want to be already. But have you seriously asked them what that is? What they would like to do? Asking your kids if they have any hobbies they want to get started with can be the key to unlocking a lifelong passion. Whether it’s getting them their first pair of goalie’s gloves or their first violin, their birthday can give them an opportunity to start a hobby you might not have known they wanted to start.
Gifts that keep giving
Of course, if you already have an idea of what your kid loves, then you can get them a gift that taps right into that. Even better, if there’s an available subscription model, it can be the gift that keeps coming back. The most traditionally obvious example is the comic book. A comic book or magazine subscription for something your kid loves can become the monthly anticipation, the gift that keeps adding value long after their birthday is over. For that, they’ll be even happier than if they got all the gift at once.
It’s the experience that makes the gift truly special, not just the gift itself. Think of the experiences that are going to mean the most and last the longest in their memories. That’s how you give them something they will truly adore.