10 Gifts Under $10 for Kiddos

By Molly DeFrank

sonicMy daughter turned four last month. When my husband and I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and braced ourselves (and our wallets) for Disneyland or a pony. She responded quickly, “I want to go to Sonic! And can we please eat in the car?!” Yes, my child. Yes, we can.

This is the face of a birthday child who wants for nothing. This is the face of a child eating a $2 grilled cheese and some fries dipped in ranch. I know what you’re thinking: “Thanks for the Sonic story…where are the gift ideas?” Well, friend. My Sonic story is a critical precursor to the gift ideas, because you know what? As it turns out, my kid did not want or need a pricey birthday gift. I’d venture to guess yours might be equally satisfied with less this holiday season. In that vein, here are 10 gift ideas under $10 for kiddos.

1.) LUNCH DATE with mom/dad/grandma/grandpa. Give your child a cool, sticker-covered certificate good for a one-on-one date at the fast food location of choice. Remember these little beings cannot drive, so the freedom of choosing their food and company is kind of exhilarating.

2.) DISCOUNT MOVIE. Bling out some construction-paper ticket stubs with rhinestones. Wrap it up. Take that kid to the dollar theater. Boom.

3.) SECRET MISSION SCAVENGER HUNT. Set up a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Wrap your first clues and start time/date in a box along with a magnifying glass for your little special agent.

4.) MOM AND ME BAKERY. Get a box of funfetti cake mix and a tub of frosting. Throw in some sprinkles and decorative icing. Wrap it up all fancy. Now don’t forget to explain to your kid that you two are going to transform your kitchen into a bakery for a day. And also make sure you follow through. Otherwise you just gave your kid a wrapped box of groceries, you weirdo.

5.) A little PACKAGE OF SEEDS, POT and paint/markers/stickers to decorate the pot. You can plant the seeds together and watch your seedlings grow.

6.) CANDY SAMPLER PLATTER. Grab a bunch of little candies or yummy fruit snacks and put them on a platter from Dollar Tree. Cover that sweetness with cellophane and a big ribbon, then declare it a delicious experiment to determine your little person’s favorite treat.

7.) DOLLAR TREE SHOPPING SPREE. Give your kid a $5 bill and let him pick out whatever his sweet little heart desires…at the Dollar Tree. The thrill of the hunt and freedom to pick out his own loot will blow his little mind.

8.) CRAFT BOX. Check out the dollar aisle at Target or head back to Dollar Tree and fill a clear jar or box with all kinds of art supplies: googly eyes, glue, pipe cleaners, glitter, markers, paper, fuzzy balls, tinsel, and let your kid’s imagination take it from there.

9.) CAN YOU SEW IN A STRAIGHT LINE? My daughter saw some felt bunting (you know those little triangle banners?) and begged for it like it was a grilled cheese from Sonic. I’ll be buying some felt in her favorite colors, cutting them into triangles and sewing up personalized room décor. You can make this with hearts, stars, triangles, circles, whatever. Easy. Cheap. Awesome.

10.) Take your little dude to a real, live BASKETBALL GAME: at your local high school. Cheap, local and fun. You could even wrap up a little basketball so he has something to open.

Hope one or two of these ideas can help lighten your holiday load without lightning your wallet. And if not…well, you could always tell your kids that Santa got furloughed.

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