Buying gifts for kids can be incredibly entertaining. They don’t want ties or underwear, they want presents that are fun and lively and sometimes a little bit zany.
Here are some kid-approved gift ideas that are both cool and easy on any budget.
1. Craft supplies
You could buy craft supplies, or you could make your own set for less than half the price.
Head to the dollar store and look for construction paper, markers, ribbon, glue, beads and other crafty items. Arrange them in an inexpensive bin or basket and wrap it up with some wrapping tissue or cellophane for a fun and creative gift.
While we’re on the topic, check out: “21 Things You Should Always Buy at the Dollar Store.”
2. Temporary tattoos
There’s something about temporary tattoos that children love. It’s like being given permission to write all over yourself.
3. Coupon book
You can’t beat free, and you don’t have to spend a dime to give your favorite kids a homemade coupon book full of little splurges. Coupons could be for an extra hour of screen time on the weekend, a night off from chores or even a night of dessert before dinner.
4. Give an experience
You’ll guarantee good memories when you give an experience. Younger kids might not quite grasp the concept, so this gift is best for those who are a little older.
Create a certificate entitling the child to a special date with you. It could involve taking your niece to see a matinee or going fishing with your grandson. Either pick something you know they’ll love, or let them make the call — as long as it is within reason.
5. Makeup bag
Most girls love the chance to play dress-up, and that includes experimenting with makeup. Pick up an inexpensive toiletry bag and stuff it with sample-size makeup items. If the girl in your life isn’t quite old enough for makeup, you could include lotions, soaps or other bath items instead.
If you’re buying for a teen, it could be that a gift card for popular makeup chain Sephora is a better bet than guessing on makeup. Check out “9 Ways to Save Money at Sephora.”
6. A share of stock
Not all kids will appreciate this one when it comes out of the box, but if you make a wise choice, they’ll thank you later.
Buy a single share of stock and wrap up the certificate in a box or card. Then, show them how to follow the stock value and explain that eventually this $10 gift might be worth a whole lot more.
Some hardcover books can be pricey, but there are plenty that fall in the $10-and-under range. And almost every kid loves some type of book.
Even if they aren’t big readers, you can find Mad Libs, puzzle books or comic books that fit just about every level of interest.
What is it about kids and flashlights? From making shadow puppets on the wall to usurping Mom and Dad’s authority and reading under the covers after bedtime, flashlights are a gateway to a whole slew of cool activities.
Since these are kids we’re talking about, no need to buy top-of-the-line models. Get an eight-pack of colorful flashlights, and you’ll be good to go for the big family party.
9. Toe socks
Socks are boring, but toe socks are the bomb. Not only do they fit feet like a glove, but they come in all sorts of fun patterns. You can get frogs, cats or an array of colors. Personally, I’m partial to these bunnies. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to buy this toe-tally awesome gift.
If you’ve given a cheap gift that was a super hit with kids, tell us about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.