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25 free activity gifts for kids

by Lynn

You don’t need me to tell you that money remains tight for many people as we head into the holidays.

But is it such a terrible thing that the extravagances of the recent past are history?

Is it really in their best interest to deluge kids with piles of material gifts that are soon broken or forgotten?

Whether it’s a money issue, a “spoiling” issue or an environmental issues, thankfully (in my opinion), more of us are being more thoughtful in our decision making around what constitutes a “good” gift.

So this year, here at Celebrate Green!, instead of inundating you with what to buy, we’ll be offering gift suggestions that cost little to nothing.

We hope our ideas will inspire you to consider alternatives. Maybe this is the year you buy your child his heart’s desire, but give him other gifts from your heart.

We’re starting with 25 free activity ideas for you and your child. Not every suggestion will be right for every family. We offer these as a jumping off point and hope you’ll add some of your own in the comment section.

And rather than make these one-time activities as you might with something costly, make a weekly or monthly date with your child so that the gift lasts through the year.

I suggest you make a calendar. Then write in your chosen activity for the year, decorate the calendar with photos, magazine cut outs or drawings and give to your child as tangible proof of your intentions.

1. Trip to the library.

2. Trying out new hairstyle .

3. Child gets to plan a menu.

4. Craft together.

5. Make dessert together.

6. Relieve your child of a chore like making his bed.

7. Playing child’s favorite games.

8. Outdoors adventure. Make a map or use a GPS to find a pre-hidden “treasure.”

9. Teach your child a knew skill she’d like to learn. Research the topic and create a fun learning experience.

10. Spend time with blocks–building, creating games. Let your child lead.

11. Visit a park or playground.

12. Play dress up, make up plays or puppet shows.

13. Volunteer.

14. Make movies .

15. Make up games together.

16. Build something together using tools.

17. Attend a free community activity.

18. Do something kind for a friend or neighbor.

19. Do a gardening activity–visit a garden, start seeds, collect seed pods, plant.

20. Set up/participate in a swap with adult and child friends–books, toys, clothes means new-to-you choices

21. Create a scavenger hunt for your child.

22. Create an obstacle course.

23. Visit a museum on its free day (search for your city+free museum days)

24. Plan a family celebration for a fun “holiday,” like National Family Stories Month or “Children’s Good Manners Month.”

25. Read one chapter of an exciting book together.

This post is part of the 2011 Green Holiday Blog Hop with Retro Housewife Goes Green. Visit this link for lots of great green ideas.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.

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