What makes an awesome gift for a simple childhood? I say either experience gifts (like museum memberships or creative activities), or toys that encourage open-ended play. This gift guide can help: Awesome Gifts & Toys for a Simple Childhood.
Whether for birthdays or holidays, grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles are often wondering what to give the kids or grand-kids.
Feel free to share this gift guide (updated for 2020) with anyone who might need some fresh ideas. 😉
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Gift Ideas for a Simple Childhood
Gifts for Babies
Toki Play Mats can be used for all manner of activity on the floor. Super soft mats to help encourage play! For babies and beyond
HoneyBug gift boxes are wonderful for unique baby clothes, toys, gifts and gear, designed to stimulate young minds and make gift giving fun and stress free. Find beautifully made, unique gifts for little ones here.
Open-ended toys allow children to bring their own creative powers to the play. Here are a few of our family favorites from over the years.
In the younger years, my kids used these Playsilks in so many different ways. From forts to dress-up to scenery for skits.
A wooden barn and a Castle were are favorites when my kids were younger. Check out these cool castle blocks!
In the elementary years, these Kapla Blocks got more use than any other toy in the house.
This electronics kit allows kids to build over 500 projects including a voice recorder, AM or FM radio and more! Without soldering or tools. Great for hands-on learning. For ages 8+
These seem so simple but they are magical. Create a painting with water, and it disappears as it dries. My kids drew with one of these for hours every day at my Dad’s house one summer. So easy to use – just add water! For all ages
Getting a surprise in the mail every month is so much fun! Whether it’s a new book or craft kit, these can be great for the whole family to get involved.
Happy Hedgehog Post is a monthly craft subscription that sends Waldorf-inspired craft kits to your door. Each month’s envelope is tailored to a theme (past themes include Michaelmas, Bees, Candlemas and Stars). You can get a 3-month, 6-month, or annual subscription.
Making things together can be a bonding experience. Rudolf Steiner (the founder of Waldorf education) said that the purpose of handwork and crafts is to awaken creative powers that can be useful later in life in as many ways as possible. Here are a few favorites from our family.
Candle-making Kit with beeswax sheets for rolling candles.
These thread bowls are so sweet in this Thread Bowls Kit.
Sun prints are always enchanting with this SunPrint Paper Kit.
Children love new art supplies! Give the gift of new crayons or colored pencils for many years of drawing enjoyment.
This Modelling Beeswax is good for little hands to have something to do while listening to stories.
For many years, when the grandparents asked for a holiday gift suggestion, I would suggest an annual membership to either the local zoo, natural history museum, living history center, or arboretum. These make for such fun outings and the grandparents can even join you when they’re in town! Check out what’s available in your local community.
A subscription box for outdoor exploration. Real gear plus great activities in each themed box. You can read my review here: Take Homeschooling Outside. For ages 4-8 with parent, ages 9+ independently
STEM subscription box for kids because they’re naturally engineers! Investigations, inventions, and problem-solving. Award winning. For ages 8+
Cooking together with children has so many benefits! Check out the classes from Kids Cook Real Food. Benefits for both healthy eating and connecting with our kids! Check Kids Cook Real Food here.
So many fun classes in Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Quilting, Collage. If there’s a handwork skill you don’t feel prepared to teach your child, learn it together with Creativebug!
Learn chalkboard drawing, crayon drawing, and watercolor painting from two experienced Waldorf teachers turned homeschoolers. You can watch these videos first and then teach your child. Or watch and do together! A fabulous course – read my full review of Waldorf Art for Beginners here.
When my kids were 8 to 10 years old, we gave them real tools. We made a wooden tool box with them as a woodworking project. Then around age 12, we gave them each a pocket knife. Real tools for real kids!
And here is a Swiss Army Knife for explorers.
Kids love having their own tools for cooking and gardening. So much learning happens when they join in with us in our daily activities. Check out all that’s available from For Small Hands and Montessori Materials.
An Outing with Mom
Our children love one-on-one time with us. Give the gift of an outing with you alone – brunch, a trip to a coffee shop, an afternoon at the art museum. You could give a gift certificate with a card, and this just might turn out to be their favorite gift of all!
I love giving books as gifts. And I like to give each of my children at least one book as a gift every holiday.
Check out my list of Wholesome Winter Holiday Books for Children.
It’s such fun to receive a new edition of a magazine in the mail every month! We’ve really enjoyed the magazines from Cricket Media over the years. They have a range of magazines for different ages. Our family favorites were Cricket and Muse.
Board games can be fun for all ages. And when you gift a board game to a child, they get to invite others to play with them!
For specific Board Game recommendations, check out my gift guide for 10 Best Games for Family Game Night.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out Gift Guides & Book Lists for Simple Natural Families.
Simple gifts really make the best gifts. And remember, it’s not just about the gift-giving, but more about the experiences you share.
Happy celebrations holidays to you and your family!