I don’t know about you, but out house is full of toys! Toys toys toys. And it is with a little dread that we head into our Birthday and Christmas season – it means yet more toys! Of course I want my children to have wonderful Birthdays and presents form a big part of this. But the growing pile of toys is quite worrying. I also don’t think it is “good for them”. Whilst we were on holiday, they only had a small bag of toys with them and to be honest, they didn’t really need them with us. I think less is more is definitely more when it comes to toys. So, when I am giving to others now, I try and find alternative gift ideas and look at it from a different point of:
Giving the gift of creativity!
The bonus is, that this gift is also a “consumable” – you use it up. Therefore, not adding to the toy mountain in children’s rooms.
The idea, as you have probably guessed is simple: a basic craft box plus (ahem) a copy of my book.
Photo by Evgeniya Brysyeva
What’s in our BASIC BASIC craft box?
(Pls note: I have added affiliate links to the list, this allows me to earn a cup of coffee and you get to fill your craft box! I have only added links to products I would use!). I often buy bigger packs and divide into gift packs or pick up value deals as I spot them.
- Scissors (normal, but smaller ones, don’t bother with safety scissors, they don’t work well and will frustrate the child)
- Paint brush (get a set of varying sizes, I pick them up whenever I see a good deal, even places like IKEA stock them)
- Basic paints (again, if I see some in my travels I pick them up, I have bought them in IKEA, Hobbycraft, Fred Aldous before, having said that, I have a preference for acrylics (the System 3 brand is affordable), however, if you are gifting the craft set, CHECK with parents first
- 2-3 Permanent Markers (check with the parents first! But permanent markers are great, as they really do write on everything and convert say an acorn into a little person in seconds, you can draw on acetate sheets and stones… they are very satisfying. Parents may want to store these separately to avoid wall marking disasters)
- PVA Glue (White glue) (get a GOOD brand, as a GOOD PVA glue makes ALL the difference. My favourite glue is a brand called “Anita’s Tacky Glue“)
- Masking Tape (not sticky tape – masking tape is great for shaping things like TP Rolls or sticking boxes together AND you can paint over it easily)
- Googly eyes (they are the best thing you can have for kids crafting. Googly eyes just transform ANYTHING into something fun)
- Craft foam (I just love it and it it’s is a great addition for decorating something)
- Coloured card (this can actually replace the card foam or be used in addition)
- Felt scraps (I got mine from the lovely Zing Zing Tree ebay shop! Scraps are usually sufficient for most of children’s projects. They also teach them about “not wasting” and seeing the value in small bits and pieces)
- Fabric scraps (yes, even if you are gifting, it is perfectly acceptable to add some fabric scraps – I like to cut up some pieces of old jeans/ shirts etc. Fabric scraps are great for small sewing projects and for making things like Stick Men!)
- A handful of feathers (well they just look fabulous and kids love them)
- Some ribbons
- The special **extra** would of course be a Red Ted Art book (The book is packed with lots of fun and thrifty ideas for all age groups. Nurturing creativity and stimulating your child’s imagination. You can buy it online from amazon.co.uk, internationally from Fishpond / Amazon.com or contact me for signed copies to make the gift truly special and personalised!)
The photo used here shows a nice wicker basket…. but I have given a plain box before and added instructions to “keep me and decorate me”, adding pretty decoupage paper as part of the gift.
Want to JAZZ up your craft box?
- Glitter glue or loose glitter
- Dolly Pegs
- Stick on gems/ shapes
- Beads in all colours, shapes and sizes – like Pony Beads or Perler Beads
- Large swatches of felt (for sewing projects)
- A basic sewing kit (I have an adorable one similar to this Cath Kidston Sewing Kit)
- Glue stick (for paper based projects)
- Decoupage paper
- Stuffing for small toys or felt ornament projects
Photo by Evgeniya Brysyeva
Finally… encourage the child to add some nature or recycled items themselves:
- Pine cones
- Lavender from the garden
- Apples (for printing)
- Potatoes (for printing)
- Loo Rolls for decorating
- Old newspapers
- Recycle tissue paper from gifts
- Walnut shells
- Dry flowers and leaves
What do you think of this as an alternative gift idea? So far, I have had GREAT feedback from the recipients of our craft boxes!
I know that the list looks LONG, but really, you can pick most of it up at your high street stationary shop. Also, if you have several children to buy for, you can buy in bulk and then divide it up among the different packs.