When money is tight or you are just trying to spend it wisely, it can seem like you have to cut back on things that while important, are not absolutely necessary. Buying gifts for the kids in your life can bring your great joy, but it can also leave a hole in your wallet if you are not careful. Luckily, despite what the TV commercials try to tell you, it is possible to make kids happy without shelling out countless dollars on poorly made, expertly marketed chunks of plastic slathered with logos. Kids can have fun playing with just about anything, as anyone who has witnesses the box the toy came in get more attention than the toy itself can attest. So read on to learn about some great frugal gifts for kids.
DIY Read Along Books
Kids love books, and they love being read to. While you can buy books that include speakers with recorded narrations or tablet computer versions, these are obviously more expensive than just buying the book. A great way to get the same effect, with a more personal touch, is to record yourself reading the book and then present both the book and the recording to the child as a gift. You can burn the recording to a CD, onto a smartphone, or just copy it to a computer they have access to.
Children love Playdough because of the color, texture, and because it allows them to use their imaginations. Buying the name brand version can get expensive, as it gets dirty and needs to be thrown away pretty quickly. Instead of buying it from the store and paying for a name brand and a fancy container, why not make your own? The recipe is below.
In a medium pot, mix:
1 cup white flour
¼ cup salt
2 Tbs. cream of tartar
1 cup water
About 10 drops food coloring
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
Add this combination to the pot and heat over medium for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Once it forms into ball at the center of the pot, dump it onto a clean surface or wax paper. Knead the dough as it cools. Store in an airtight container or freezer bags.
Sidewalk chalk is a great gift because it is cheap, washable, and it gets the kids out of the house and lets them use their imagination. They can use the chalk to write messages, draw pictures, and create games such as hopscotch and mazes. It also give kids a chance to draw on stuff, which for some reason is a desire which burns in all kids, so you might as well let them get it out on the sidewalk where you can wash it away easily.
Homemade Board Game
Sure Monopoly can be fun, but with kids, all the pieces end up lost or broken pretty quickly. So why not make your own homemade board game that you can replace the pieces to whenever you want. All you will need is some basic supplies such as cardboard, poster paper, scissors, glue, cardstock and access to a printer. Use the cardboard, poster paper, and markers to create the board and then create cards and a rule sheet on your computer and print them out. This is a great gift that you can really customize to the child. You can even include photos of them on the game board. For game pieces you can use old pieces from games you no longer play or you can get creative and use coins or interesting rocks.
So just because you are frugal does not mean that you cannot get the kids in your life fun, entertaining, and creative gifts. These are just a few of the many frugal gift ideas that are sure to wow any child just as much as the latest, newest toy.