I already have holidays on my mind, so this list is coming a bit earlier this year—
Here's our round up of favorite gifts we have gotten over the last year or so. These have brought us a ton of fun and have all been thoroughly enjoyed and played with. Here are the previous lists: 2012, 2011, 2010 which are still rock solid. This year I am planning a separate favorite books list, which I will post in a few days.
There are quite a few bracelet makers out right now and this one we love the best. It makes really nice bracelets very fast. These are rewarding to make without tying so many little knots, which is admirable but also can be frustrating. My 9-year-old got this for her birthday, the 11-year-old now wants one, and the 6-year-old can use it with help. The how-to video is really helpful, much more so than trying to read the directions.
Okay, this gift came for my 11-year-old from my brother and is very important in this house and has been used by everyone for all sorts of questions. I had one growing up and feel sheepish I didn't get one for them before now—a true classic.
This is a scrapbook/journal gift set—All 3 girls really like using photos (and pictures from magazines) to fill scrapbooks, but starting on a white page can be intimidating, which is why this book is so great. This set was given to my 11-year-old and she LOVES it as does the 9 and 6-year-old. It's nice to have all the goodies with it. If you have never watched the SMASH video, it's pretty dang cute, the girls sing the theme song all the time and it helped them see the potential of the book without me talking their ear off and getting all up in their creative space.
This family game was given to us a bit back and it's just so incredibly good—I feel it's a must have for every family. Everyone can play, there is no reading, our 6 year-old usually wins. Grammie loves it too. You can read about how to play it here, it's easy and wonderful. The beautifully illustrated cards can be used as story telling prompts just on their own, which is a great way to get them writing stories.
I bought this hand drill for myself, way before kids, and we only have one in the house which is crazy because it is by far the most popular tool we own. My girls were all using it as young as 4. Delia made some great projects with it last summer. With just some scrap wood or even with nice wood blocks—they will drill for hours. You can use this to drill through popsicle sticks too, if you go slow it won't split them. We use mini clamps for thicker wood and we also now work on top of a scrap piece of wood so our table doesn't get even more holes. oops.
Gel ink pens are big in this house and these are even more special—they work on white paper but are made for black or dark paper and they are just striking. They are better for outlining and writing, not coloring in. There's nothing like fresh pens and with a stack of black paper, or a blank skecth book with black paper—it's a magical gift.
Okay, a favorite books post will be coming soon. I hope this helps with gift ideas! I know many of these items can be found locally, I've linked them to amazon, but you can call around. We buy all our board games at our favorite local shop, Cloud Cap Games (you can rent them there, too) and around the corner is Collage (the Sellwood location) which has wonderful art supplies, black and colored paper, and many other tempting items.