When birthdays and Christmas approach, our family and friends often ask for gift ideas for the kids. Having four kids generally means four of each thing and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with “stuff”. I’m not against them receiving new toys, but there are also many non-toy options that are practical and loved by the kids. I also try to keep budget in mind when others ask for suggestions. As with anything, a favorite character or color always sweetens the deal. At this time, our girls are interested in anything princess while the boys like superheroes, pirates, and vehicles. If you are the parent of a toddler or preschooler, or are shopping for one this season, consider some of our favorites.
Earlier this season, we invested in rain boots and rain coats for the kids and they were worth every penny. Their new gear has been practical on the many soggy days we experienced this fall, and I think they will work for the few snow days we’ll see. The kids are also really proud of their gear and how easy it is for them to put on and take off themselves. They often choose to wear rain boots even on sunny dry days, which is fine by me since they don’t need any help.
Our kids are experts at stalling bedtime, but they have a few creature comforts that seem to help. Right now, the girls prefer wearing “dressy” nightgowns that look more like dress up clothes than pajamas. When our friends babysat one night, they thought the girls were trying to bamboozle them into allowing dresses for bed rather than pajamas. The boys aren’t as picky, but they have pajamas with capes attached that are super cute. Since we have a lot of tile in our house, the kids also like wearing slippers to keep their tootsies cozy.
Each of our kids sleeps with a dream lite pet that projects stars onto the ceiling at night. It helps them drift off to sleep, and is also comforting to them if they wake up in the night. The kids haven’t slept in sleeping bags overnight yet, but we’ve found them handy for family movie night, sick days, and time with the grandparents. We are also practicing sleeping on them for the day we finally take our first road trip.
The quads enjoy bath time and don’t mind brushing their teeth, but they prefer hooded bath towels and brush their teeth longer with power toothbrushes. They also enjoy wearing plush bath robes before and after bath, or anytime they feel chilled in the house. I have been surprised by how often they ask to wear their robes.
The kids are only allowed to eat in the living room for family movie night, and for those occasions, they use a lap tray to keep things tidy. Their lap trays are also handy for art projects and table top tasks such as puzzles or magnets. Since they share almost everything, the kids like having their own personal character dishes and cups that are not shared. Since the kids are getting too big to use our favorite sippy cups, we have replaced them with lidded, insulated cups with a straw they cannot easily remove.
Our kids benefit from getting out of the house to explore the world, but taking four kids out for something simple like ice cream can be expensive. We have greatly appreciated gift cards to local eateries and memberships to local attractions. Our kids also enjoy checking the mail everyday to see if their monthly magazine subscription has arrived. I often toss their magazines in my purse for waiting rooms, the car, or when we visit others. They are full of stories and activities to occupy them.
Memberships or tickets for local theme parks, zoos, or museums
Gift cards to restaurants with play areas
When it comes to shopping for young children, gifts don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. With the exception of memberships, all of the items on our list are under $30, with most in the $10-$15 range. Sometimes it’s the little things kids appreciate most. And, more importantly, we set the example for giving and receiving gifts with our children. Happy Shopping!
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