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Around this time of year, every child asks their parents the same question: “Why is there a Mother’s Day but no Children’s Day?” And every parent answers the same way: “Every day is Children’s Day.”
Alas, even Mother’s Day is Children’s Day. Ask any mom whose cleaned up the kitchen after the kids tried to make her breakfast in bed. Likewise, how many drawings of mom can fit on one refrigerator door? How many hand-painted “I (heart) MOM” coffee mugs can one mother drink from?
Whether you’re 5 years old or 50, here are 10 ideas that won’t bust the budget and will guarantee a smile on her face…
1. GET-OUT-OF-CHORES CARD: What’s mom’s least-favorite chore? Make a homemade gift card offering to do that very chore for a week, month, or even a year.
2. SURPRISE PICNIC: Forget the mess of breakfast in bed. Leave the house. Secretly prepare all the food and stow it in the trunk. Then take mom to a beautiful spot, lay everything out on a blanket, and let her enjoy everything without having to worry about cleaning up.
3. PICTURE PERFECT: Find her favorite photo depicting her having fun with the family, print it out, and find a nice frame at a thrift shop – dollar stores even carry some decent 8×10 frames. Better yet, fill a photo album with family photos or, if you can afford it, buy an electronic picture frame. You can get a Polaroid 2.7-inch pocket/desktop digital picture frame for only $10, but the bigger models – like the Coby 7-inch digital picture frame – will run you around $30.
4. PLAY OUTDOORS: When’s the last time mom, or even you, went to the zoo? Mother’s Day means fine outdoor weather in much of the country. If she doesn’t like the zoo, how about a concert or play? Check your local paper’s website for free or inexpensive community events.
5. EXPRESS YOURSELF: The younger the children, the more cherished a hand-written letter. If they write about their favorite memories of mom, or the ways she’s made a difference in their life, it costs nothing and will be treasured for decades.
6. THE GIFT THAT GROWS: Don’t buy pricey dead flowers. Instead, buy a longer-lasting (and much cheaper) flowering perennial or other plant. Or spend even less by putting a pack of seeds inside a (homemade) card – along with a promise to help mom plant them.
7. DON’T FORGET THE POT: Taking that idea a step further, the kids can buy a cheap flower pot, paint it themselves, then fill it with a plant.
8. MAKE MUSIC: Make a CD of her favorite songs and hand-draw the CD jacket. If you don’t know all her favorites, ask Dad find them on iTunes and Amazon.
9. A TISKET A TASKET: Get a wicker basket at a thrift shop and fill it with Mom’s favorite things: lotions, chocolates, soaps, and such. Include slips of paper with your favorite memories and/or pictures of her favorite memories. This story from Wallet Pop has ideas to fill gift baskets at the dollar store.
10. BE A MOVIE STAR: This is the video version of writing something for your mom. Get all members of the family (even some of her friends, if possible) on camera to talk about fun stuff they’ve done with Mom. Put her on the sofa with some popcorn and watch it together.
Hopefully, when the kids grow up, they’ll appreciate Mom and all she taught them. Here’s how Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson remembers his mother teaching him about the value of a dollar: Everything I Needed to Know About Money I Learned From My Mom.