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The little book with BIG resources!

No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Psssst! Look {Inside} for a FUN GIVEAWAY!

We’re now *officially* less than 75 days away from Christmas 2017 (not that we’re counting or anything!) and our team here at iFamilyKC is excited to share some wonderful ideas, tips, and tricks for your family over the next few months. To kick things off, we’ve got some no-toy holiday gift ideas to keep the magic of the holidays alive even after the New Year. And, BONUS, we’ve got a giveaway RIGHT in this post! Take a look…


holiday gift ideas

No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

There was a time in my life when I thought my family might want to explore living in a larger house. Why?! Simply put, we thought we needed more space. Life was feeling a little crowded and it wasn’t until we realized we just have too much stuff that we made the decision that more square footage wasn’t going to solve the problem in the long run – it would just make it worse with time. So we went on a mission (a long road that we’re still on, to be honest) to simplify life and get rid of all the excess stuff. Now that the holidays are approaching, we’re exploring new ideas for holiday gift giving that don’t involve toys.

We’ve got a few go-to ideas that we typically fall back on but were ready for some fresh concepts for Christmas 2017. So, we took to our brand new Community Group on Facebook (shameless plug– have you joined the iFamilyKC Kansas City parent group yet?!) to ask you for your ideas on no-toy gifts you can give the kiddos (or adults!) in your life this year. Here are some of our favorites:

#1 Books

It’s always a good time for learning and I am a huge fan of gifting books for special occasions (and normally give them for kid’s birthdays, too). Reading provides children with the opportunity to use their imagination and dive deep into other worlds.

“A reader lives a thousand lifetimes…” -George R.R. Martin 

With hundreds of thousands of different titles to select from, the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to gifting stories for the holidays. If the special person in your life has a Kindle, tablet, or other e-reader, you could give them a gift card to purchase books onto their device. Depending on the age and reading level of your recipient, a book series can provide hours and hours of entertainment.

Some of my suggestions include:

  • Classic Children’s Books (all ages)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama Books (toddler)
  • Pete The Cat Books (preschool)
  • Ivy & Bean Books (school aged)
  • Judy Moody Books (school aged)
  • Harry Potter Series (preteen)

#2 Experience Gifts {We’ve Got a GIVEAWAY!}

Over the last few years, my family has become really big into giving experiences as gifts (mostly to each other) and, in addition to being incredibly fun for both the giver and the receiver, they also help to bring your family closer together in ways that you might not expect (#FamilyBonding).

Each year for my daughter’s birthday, we gift her a membership to somewhere in the Kansas City area and, because KC is so full of amazing options for families, it’s awarded us with the chance to check out some fun spots across the metro over the years. We’ve done memberships to the zoo, the local botanical gardens, and to Union Station in the past and each has given us the chance to spend time together as a family – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Many places that you can get memberships to here in the greater KC area offer tax deductions along with your purchase so you can consider that a little gift to yourself, too.

{Bonus!} Giveaway! 

We want to give YOU a head start on your gift giving this year and have a family four pack of tickets to the newly remodeled Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium ($28 Value!) AND a family four pack of tickets to Science City ($32 Value!) both at Union Station in downtown Kansas City.

Want to get in on the action?!

We’ll randomly select TWO winners (one getting Science City tickets and the other getting Planetarium tickets) on Wednesday, October 25th!

#3 Gift Cards

I’ll admit, until recently, I’d never been big into gift cards for the holidays but, now that my daughter is getting older, I am starting to see the value in all that they provide. Charlotte, who is six, absolutely LOVES shopping at the little boutique jewelry (and hair accessory, hat, makeup, toy, etc) shop in the mall. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the one I’m talking about, it’s been around since most of us were kids. Ever since I took Charlotte to get her ears pierced over the summer, she’s been obsessed with going into the store. I can understand why, it’s every little girl’s dream to have fun costume jewelry and adorable accessories all in one place.

The joy she gets in shopping for earrings, “makeup” (relax, it’s just lip gloss…we’re not there yet), and other little things that the kids enjoy these days is really special. When you give a child a gift card, you’re giving them the freedom to explore, to discover what they really enjoy, and the entertainment of shopping.

Here are a few places I suggest for gift cards:

  • Claires (they often have ‘Buy 3 Get 3 FREE’ sales so your gift card can go further.)
  • Five Below (with everything in the store UNDER $5, a little bit can go a long way.)
  • The bookstore (See #1 for more details)

#4 Subscriptions

One of the moms on our Community Group offered up a suggestion that I hadn’t thought of before. As adults, many of us enjoy subscription boxes that come once a month or once a quarter. Why not give that as a gift for the kids?! There are several great options for subscription services specifically designed with children in mind and many of them give you the flexibility of deciding how frequently you want to send the boxes (read: how much you’re willing to budget for).

We found some options that you might be interested in exploring as gift for this year (please note that we have not used these ourselves and, as such, do not provide our endorsement for any of the following) online:

  • Little Passports
  • Kiwi Crate
  • Doodle Crate
  • SproutKin

#5 A “Yes” Day

I recently read an article that discussed how utterly exhausted (and beyond happy) actress Jennifer Garner was after successfully completing a “yes day” with her kids. It’s a concept I’ve never heard of but is apparently based on the book with the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The idea is simple, spend a day with your kids and let them take the reins in planning what they want to do. You set limits (budget, time, etc) and rules for the day and then allow your kids to call the shots. If it sounds as exciting to you as it does to me, check out the book from your local Mid-Continent Public Library branch and consider giving it to your child this Christmas.

We’ll have an in depth listing of resources available to your family this season in our Annual Holiday Guide. You can pick a copy up starting November 1st in any of our 1,000 drop spots across the metro area or access it online. Also, be sure to join the discussion on the iFamilyKC Kansas City Parent Community Group on Facebook!

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Give the Perfect Gift with This Sea Life & Legoland Annual Pass Sale!

Happy Friday, Kansas City! We are down to the wire until Christmas arrives, and while we all figure out our last minute gifts, why not check out the Holiday Annual Pass Sale at Legoland & SeaLife Kansas City? It’s the gift that literally keeps on giving. The sale lasts through January 15th, but wouldn’t it be great to treat those you love to one of the best experiences in Kansas City? Check it out!

Give the Perfect Gift with This Sea Life & Legoland Annual Pass Sale!

 

 

Give the Perfect Gift with This Sea Life & Legoland

Annual Pass Sale!

 

Give the Perfect Gift with This Sea Life & Legoland Annual Pass Sale!
Need the perfect holiday gift?!
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Kansas City &
SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium
have the perfect stocking stuffer for your loved ones.
Right now Single Attraction Annual Passes are currently on sale for ONLY
$39.95  (plus tax)!
It gets better… Combination Annual Passes are also on sale – for just $75.00 (plus tax)!
Sale runs through January 15th, 2017.
To find out more and see what your special Annual Pass Holder benefits include or if you are ready to purchase, please visit either LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER HERE
Either link will allow you to purchase the Combination Annual Pass. Holiday Annual Pass Sale Promo Code is KCAPSALE16
This promotional code is good for both attractions and both special offers. 
Happy Holidays iFamilyKC readers! From all of us at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Kansas City and SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium.
Give the Perfect Gift with This Sea Life & Legoland Annual Pass Sale!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

Your iFamilyKC Team

 

emailsignupforblog3

 


Great Christmas Gifts Older Children Can Make

Charming Magnet Necklaces

What you’ll need:

  • 20-inch length of 1/8-inch braided elastic
  • 1-inch metal washer
  • Strong nontoxic glue such as Weldbond Universal
  • Small strong craft magnet ($3 at craft stores)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Artwork or photos on card stock
  • 1-inch-circle hole punch (or a quarter, a pencil, and scissors)
  • Metal bottle caps
  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic glaze ($6 at craft stores or plaidonline.com)
  • Fine glitter (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Make the necklace base by looping the elastic cord around the washer as shown, then gluing the magnet to the washer.
  2. To prevent bleeding or fading, apply a layer of packing tape to the front and back of your artwork or photos. Next, cut the images into circles with the hole punch (or trace a quarter over the image, then trim along the line with scissors).

Squeeze a thin layer of glaze into a bottle cap and press one of the cutout images into it. Let it dry, then fill the cap the rest of the way with glaze (adding a sprinkle of glitter first, if you like). Repeat to create a set, then let them dry overnight.

Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

 

Bowling Boys

What you’ll need:

  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • 10 wooden “boy” game pieces (available at craft stores or caseyswood.com)
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Ultra-fine permanent marker
  • Small rubber ball
  • Small plastic bag
  • Paper

How to make it:

  1. For each bowling boy, wrap the ribbon around the body and trim it to fit. Trim a length of tape to the same size as the ribbon, then use it to secure the ribbon to the game piece. Repeat with the remaining game pieces.
  2. With the marker, draw a face and hair on each piece. Package the boys with the ball in the small plastic bag. Staple on a paper tag with instructions to set the pieces on a tabletop, then use the ball to bowl them over.                  Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

Family Story Comic Book

What you’ll need:

  • 3 to 5 sheets of 8 1/2- by 11-inch white
  • card stock
  • 9 1/2- by 6-inch piece of colored card stock
  • 3- by 2-inch piece of cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Colored pencils

How to make it:

  1. Fold a sheet of white card stock in half lengthwise, then fold it in half again, short side to short side, and cut along this fold. Repeat with the other sheets to make as many pages as you like.
  2. For the cover, fold the colored card stock in half, short side to short side. Insert the white pages between the covers and staple them along the spine.
  3. Use the cardboard to trace 2 illustration panels per page. Have your child draw in the panels, then title and decorate the front of the book.

Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

Great Christmas Gifts Older Children Can Make
Submitted by Keri Nichol

 


Great Christmas Gifts Preschoolers Can Make

No-Sew Sachet

What you’ll need:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Fabric glue
  • Potpourri, such as lavender flowers or balsam fir needles

How to make it:

  1. For each sachet, place 2 matching 5-inch fabric squares back-to-back and glue the edges together on 3 sides. Spread the glue close to the edges to prevent fraying.
  2. Once the glue is dry, fill the sachet with about 1/2 cup of potpourri. Then glue together the open edges and again let the glue dry.
  3. Arrange the finished sachets in multicolored stacks and tie them together with a festive ribbon or yarn.

Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

 

Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments

Items You  Need:

  • Newspaper
  • Apron
  • 2 c baking soda
  • 1 c cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ c water
  • Sauce pan
  • Food coloring
  • Rolling pan
  • Cookie cutters
  • Straw
  • Yarn or string

How to make it:

  1. Lay several sheets of newspaper over your workspace area.
  2. Pass out one apron for each child who is making an ornament. If you don’t have extra aprons, use some old T-shirts.
  3. Instruct the kids to measure and pour 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 1/4 cups of water in a saucepan.
  4. Heat the ingredients over medium heat on the stove until they become the consistency of dough, stirring continuously. This is your job, Mom.
  5. Remove the dough from the heat and set it aside to cool
  6. Separate the dough so that each child has his own ball of dough to work with. Allow the children to choose a vile of food coloring to color their ball of dough. Drip five drops of food coloring into each ball and gently fold into the dough until the dough is one solid color.
  7. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 1/2 an inch.
  8. Cut out the ornaments with cookie cutters, pressing each one firmly into the dough.
  9. Stick a straw through the center tip of the ornament. Remove the dough from the straw. Set the ornaments aside to dry out. This may take several days.
  10. Thread an 8-inch piece of yarn or string through the hole you created in the ornament. Tie a knot at the end. Hang your ornament around the house, or wrap it up as a gift.

Courtesy of  www.TheBump.com

 

Cookie Cutter Candles

What you’ll need:

  • Cookie cutters (choose shapes that can stand up)
  • Honeycomb wax sheets in various colors (available at craft stores or at candlewic.com; an 8- by 16-inch sheet will make 1 or 2 candles)
  • Wicks
  • Scissors

How to make it:

  1. For each candle, use a cookie cutter to make 10 identical shapes from the wax sheets. Divide the shapes into two stacks of 5.
  2. Sandwich a wick between the two stacks, starting at the bottom and extending it beyond the top by at least an inch. Press the sheets together gently. If they don’t stick together, take the wax layers apart and use a hair dryer to gently warm each one before restacking them, adding the wick as instructed above.
  3. Trim the wick to about a half-inch. Stand your candle up, shaping the base as needed to make it sit securely.

Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

 

Beautiful Bottle Prints

What you’ll need:

  • Acrylic or fabric paint
  • Disposable plates
  • Paintbrush
  • Small plastic bottles (we like Aquapods and 1-liter Polar Seltzer bottles), partially filled with water, and the caps on
  • Scrap paper
  • Item to be stamped (see suggestions below)

Helpful Tip:

For easier dipping and more defined prints, use a brush to smooth the paint on the plate after every few stamps.

How to make it:

  1. To start, pour a thin layer of paint onto a plate; use a separate plate for each color. Smooth the paint with the paintbrush, then have your child press the bottom of a bottle into the paint and practice printing on a piece of scrap paper. You may need to help him press the bottle down to get a defined print.
  2. Once he gets the hang of it, have him print designs on the object he wants to decorate (put a piece of cardboard or thick paper inside anything made of cloth to prevent the paint from bleeding through). Then with his fingertip or the top of a bottle cap, he can make the flower centers. Let the paint dry completely.

Courtesy of  www.Spoonful.com and Family Fun Magazine

Great  Christmas Gifts Preschoolers Can Make
Submitted by Keri Nichol