DIY: Assembling easy gift kits for children and youth

Explore suggestions for do-it-yourself, budget-friendly gift kits that are geared toward exciting and educating children and youth.

As the holidays approach, many are thinking of them with budgets firmly in mind. Are you looking for a gift that sparks a child’s curiosity and imagination? Try putting together a personalized kit to reflect the interest of the youngster. The kit may be as elaborate or as simple as your budget and time allows. Here are a few ideas:

Baking Kit
A large mixing bowl will hold a children’s cookbook. Add measuring spoons, packaged puddings or mixes, or the ingredients from one of your favorite family recipes. Perhaps add a recipe box to collect new recipes. Include a blank book then the child can interview grandparents and other family members to make a family recipe book to be published for the family.

A Beauty Kit
Fill a basket with pretty soaps, shampoo, conditioner, clear nail polish and even a new toothbrush and toothpaste. A gift certificate to a favorite salon or bath and body store might also be welcomed.

Fix-It Kit
Obtain a set of basic screwdrivers and wrenches; add a discarded telephone or radio and let your child discover how machines are constructed. Perhaps wood scraps precut for a birdhouse or dollhouse, with instructions could be included.

Book Kit
Fill a canvas bag with a fancy bookmark and several paperback books (most libraries have used book sales). A new pen and notebook could be added to encourage your child to write their own book or journal about books they read.

Art Kit
Everyone enjoys paint, glitter, stickers, markers and crayons. Add a few cardboard mat frames to display any masterpieces. Purchase paper that will encourage a budding artist.

Map Kit
Fill a canvas bag with purchased or free maps. You might put world, national, state and county maps in your kit. Newaygo County Plat Books are also available. Add a “geography” aid such as a GPS receiver. Begin planning your summer vacation as a family. Travel books for children are available.

Bird Watching Kit
Use a sturdy backpack to hold the kit. Add a bird identification book and binoculars. Try adding the plans for a bird feeder and bird house to build for spring. A camera could be added to capture candid pictures.

An Alphabet Book
For the preschoolers on your list, you might make an alphabet book with each letter identifying something in your child’s life: “A” is for apples that grow on the farm, “B’ is for bath, “C” for car, cat or cookie. This could be done in an inexpensive album or printed out on card stock and either spiral-bound at a craft shop or punched and put in a three-ring binder.

These are just a few ideas to inspire your imagination. A personalized kit as a present makes a great gift.

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