Author Topic: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews  (Read 3408 times)

GueroKC

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Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« on: June 14, 2018, 07:10:53 AM »
My wife is from a big family (she's the youngest 6). We have an ever-growing roster of nieces and nephews of various ages. What are some good gift ideas for them?

With such a large family, they are already overloaded with plastic junk toys. Us adding to that plastic toy horde isn't going to move the needle on the child's happiness.  It's not the spending the money that I'd like to avoid, I just want to spend it in a better way.

I've considered setting up a 529 or other savings plan and making a contribution each birthday/Christmas, which is clearly the most Mustachian path, but it's not very personal, and, since the family knows that we're doing pretty well financially, makes us look cheap.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 07:16:45 AM »
Books?  That's what I always wanted.

Memberships - to the zoo, the museum, etc.

Gift cards - to the child's favorite restaurant, to an ice cream parlor, etc

Time - if you live close enough, a "gift certificate" for an afternoon with you and your wife.  Go to the park, get a sno cone, have a great few hours making memories together.

caseyzee

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 07:17:12 AM »
Maybe you could give the gift of time?  A day or an afternoon with an Aunt or an Uncle could be lot's of fun.  Painting, a walk in the woods, a science experiment, so many ways to spend a few hours hanging out with a kid one on one.

CindyBS

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 07:22:16 AM »
My sister and I used to get magazine subscriptions for each other's kids.  It was nice b/c it cut down on all the plastic crap and spread the gift over the whole year instead of just Christmas day.

There are magazines for kids as young as 2, like High Five.  Many of the magazines have age levels so that the child can go to the next in the series as they grow, but it maintains the same style and theme. 

For under age 2, board books are nice. 

AMandM

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 07:30:30 AM »
IMO, there could be problems with setting up a 529 in the child's name, and none is that it makes you look cheap.
(1) It can come across as an implicit criticism of the parents--why haven't they set 529s up themselves?
(2) It puts you in the role of distributor of money to everyone else, which can create awkward family dynamics. Unless maybe you're never going to have kids and you and your wife become sort of junior grandparent types to all the nieces and nephews.
(2b) It might create expectations, which again could lead to awkwardness or resentment.
(3) I'm not sure money the kid can't touch will move the needle on the kid's happiness until he needs to pay tuition, and even then, it might be more for his parents' benefit than his.

I like books and events/activities. Even if you don't live near enough to take them yourself, you could give tickets to shows, museums, etc. I think there are kit-of-the-month type subscriptions, too, that a family could share.

OtherJen

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 07:44:58 AM »
I have three nieces and a nephew, all age 5 or younger. I usually give something to wear and something fun. Last year, the niece and nephew who are siblings each got a couple of fun T-shirts and a shared gift of a huge box of art supplies, including stacks of both white and construction paper. Yes, it’s more stuff but 1) it encourages imagination and creativity and 2) doesn’t last forever.

MayDay

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 07:56:13 AM »
Membership to a zoo or museum is great. Plus all the kids can share.

Books.

Art stuff can be good, but I throw it away/donate it regularly because we get too much.

Ask if you can buy shoes or a coat or something actually needed. Not just more outfits!

mbl

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 08:25:36 AM »
IMO, there could be problems with setting up a 529 in the child's name, and none is that it makes you look cheap.
(1) It can come across as an implicit criticism of the parents--why haven't they set 529s up themselves?
(2) It puts you in the role of distributor of money to everyone else, which can create awkward family dynamics. Unless maybe you're never going to have kids and you and your wife become sort of junior grandparent types to all the nieces and nephews.
(2b) It might create expectations, which again could lead to awkwardness or resentment.
(3) I'm not sure money the kid can't touch will move the needle on the kid's happiness until he needs to pay tuition, and even then, it might be more for his parents' benefit than his.

I like books and events/activities. Even if you don't live near enough to take them yourself, you could give tickets to shows, museums, etc. I think there are kit-of-the-month type subscriptions, too, that a family could share.

I think it depends on the family.
I set up 529's for 4 great nieces and nephews.
 I first sat down with their parents and asked permission to do this.  We discussed the logistics and investments.
They are all intelligent and kind people with whom my DH and I have a close relationship with and were very grateful and happy about the offer.

I make the check out to the parents for whatever occasion it is and they make the deposit to the account.

These kids gets a plethora of toys, books, games etc from other family members.
As to the being thought of as cheap?   I guess that's based on perception.
Most assuredly not the case here.

When they're preparing to go to college one day, as I assume they will,  I believe that they'll appreciate that there's some investment there to assist.

YMMV but in our family having the 529 is thought to be a good thing.

bognish

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 10:10:17 AM »
It seems that all kids like anything that comes with a carabiner: flashlight, waterbottle, carrying case etc. Somehow the carabiner increases the cool factor x 10. Legos are also a can't miss kid gift.

My sister just gives my kids 7 & 10 funny cards with stickers in them for holidays and bdays. She also sends them postcards when she travels or from her hometown a random intervals. Kids like getting mail, and my kids appreciate auntie thinking of them.

ixtap

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2018, 10:24:45 AM »
With 17 and counting, we give family gifts:
-state parks pass
-pass for a local park we know they use
-geocaching stuff for the hikers (checked that local geocaches were active)
-museum passes
-family board games once the youngest was old enough
-art supplies
-special oragami books

ematicic

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2018, 10:37:25 AM »
Always a big fan of those science kits too. Beginner microscope, electrical set to learn circuits, stuff like that. Depending on how active the parents are also, I like the park pass suggestion, or maybe swim or musical lessons. Maybe a few sessions to see if they take it up as an interest.

galliver

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2018, 12:04:14 PM »
Surprised no one has mentioned sports equipment/outdoor toys? That was a common gift for us growing up (usually from my parents though).

I'm not too well informed about traditional sports (balls, gloves, cleats, uhhh???)
Hiking/camping gear: good daypack, sleeping bag, headlamp/cool flashlight, ice cream ball, travel games?
Pool/water toys: noodles, inflatables/floaties, boogie board, inflatable boat/kayak, splashing/spraying devices, games
Other: roller blades/skates, ice skates, bocce ball/croquet (surprisingly fun in spite of its stuffy reputation!)

For activities, consider taking them rock climbing (as young as 3-4 yo), skating, trampolining (apparently very unsafe for <7yo though!), rafting (prob >10-12yo, w/swimming skills), kayaking/canoeing... Some of these are expensive to do regularly but IMO good life experiences and active/exciting/memorable! (I actually kind of hate rock climbing 'cause my family went ALL THE TIME but for a lot of people/kids it's novel and they get excited by it.)

honeybbq

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2018, 12:34:21 PM »
Another vote for family memberships. We get these from our family and love them. Aquarium, science center, art museum, etc.

BrightFIRE

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2018, 02:44:32 PM »
Always a big fan of those science kits too. Beginner microscope, electrical set to learn circuits, stuff like that.

I bought my oldest nephew (now 14) a few of those basic electrical/circuitry kits when he was younger - a few years ago, he rewired a lamp in the living room! I was so proud.

AMandM

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2018, 07:58:55 PM »
Also--this horse may already be out of the barn, but consider whether you want to simply skip some gift-giving. My husband is the oldest of 7, with a total of 23 nieces and nephews. None of DH and his siblings give birthday gifts to kids other than their own and maybe their godchildren. At Christmas we do a round-robin family gift exchange. As my kids grow up, they have the same basic plan in advance!

GueroKC

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2018, 07:02:26 AM »
Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone.

Most of the nieces/nephews are still younger than kindergarten age, so some of the more "active gifts" wouldn't work out. They also live in a rural area far away from the closest zoo, museum, etc.  I would love to gift passes or tickets, but it feels like it'd be a burden on the parents since it would require a long day trip at the least.

I see lots of good ideas for as the kids are growing up, but to be more specific, any great mustachian gift ideas for a two year old boy?

Thanks in advance.

kandj

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2018, 11:44:15 AM »
We've got a range of nieces and nephews from 3 months to 14 years old.

-For the 2 year old girl we just made her a mini picnic table from an ana white plan, she LOVED it and her parents did as well. Was a few hours of our time to build and probably a little more than I would have liked to spend but it'll be something she uses for a couple years and the rest of their kids can also use.

-The 2-5 year old boys have gotten wood toys for the last couple years. We made oversized wood trucks for a birthday, and I keep an eye out for Tegu magnetic sets on sale for them.

-The younger boys have also gotten one time passes to the local children's museum so they could have a fun cousins day. Other ideas I believe were mentioned are Zoo, kids aquatic center, other local children's experiences. We've also done a gift card to a movie theater for the older girls who were probably 6 and 12 at the time.

BrightFIRE

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 01:48:43 PM »
Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone.

Most of the nieces/nephews are still younger than kindergarten age, so some of the more "active gifts" wouldn't work out. They also live in a rural area far away from the closest zoo, museum, etc.  I would love to gift passes or tickets, but it feels like it'd be a burden on the parents since it would require a long day trip at the least.

I see lots of good ideas for as the kids are growing up, but to be more specific, any great mustachian gift ideas for a two year old boy?

Thanks in advance.

Do you know the "thing" he is into right now? For example, when my niece went through a phase of wanting to pretend to cook, I bought her a tiny chef's hat and apron and some wooden cooking utensils. It didn't cost much, but she loved playing "chef". If he's into firemen/trucks, you could get him a hat and a toy truck. And/or a cowboy hat, or whatever. Basically, a tiny pretend wardrobe.

I tended to stick with board books at that age - I was building up a library for all 3 of them. But I'm looking through my back orders at Amazon: a kid-sized easel with crayons or dry erase markers, Play-Doh set, sidewalk chalk, They Might Be Giants kids CDs "Here Come the ABCs" and "Here Come the 123s", jumbo floor puzzles (especially the firetruck!).

ToTheMoon

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2018, 01:57:13 PM »
I see lots of good ideas for as the kids are growing up, but to be more specific, any great mustachian gift ideas for a two year old boy?

Thanks in advance.

For this age group we almost always go with an inexpensive but durable flashlight, and a stack of batteries to go with it.  Seems to always be a hit with the kid, and that is all that matters. :)

socaso

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2018, 04:17:16 PM »
For a 2 year old, board books are great and you can often find them at thrift stores. Since it's summer, you could also hit a couple of local yard sales and get some inexpensive toys. When people have toys at yards sales they often advertise that. I got some very nice used toys for my son when he was that age. My big focus with his birthday and Christmas when he was that young was just a few gifts and then ask everyone to contribute to his 529. No regrets. He would get overwhelmed when there were too many toys and it's not like he remembers them anyway. The money will continue to grow.

It's very sweet that you want to give gifts to your nieces and nephews. When they get a bit older you might consider asking them if there is anything special they are saving for and make a contribution to that. When I was a kid I used to set a bit aside for things like summer vacations and summer camp. I would have loved a couple of dollars from a family member for things like that.

greengardens

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2018, 05:04:43 PM »
We’re in a similar boat. For a few years we bought gifts but it got to be too much. Now I just cut them a check and they either put it in their 529 or their savings account. Are our gifts not as fun? Right now, yes, but it’s less stressful than coming up gifts for each individual and the parents appreciate not having as much junk around the house. 

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2018, 08:50:30 PM »
http://paleochick.blogspot.com/2008/07/primeval-predators-animals-of-burgess.html

Not sure whether you can even buy these anymore, but why not spark their interest in biology and paleontology early?! (Wow, what a lucrative career it is!!!! <- sarcasm).

Seriously though, dinosaurs are overrated, cars are destroying the planet, airplanes are hella cool, but unfortunately, they are also destroying the planet, H. sapiens is also overrated AND destroying the planet (hence, avoid dolls, action figures, etc).

So, why not some Cambrian Burgess Shale animal toys?? Buy yourself Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould and explain some of it to them!

 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 08:53:38 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

ToTheMoon

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2018, 11:53:43 PM »
http://paleochick.blogspot.com/2008/07/primeval-predators-animals-of-burgess.html

Not sure whether you can even buy these anymore, but why not spark their interest in biology and paleontology early?! (Wow, what a lucrative career it is!!!! <- sarcasm).

Seriously though, dinosaurs are overrated, cars are destroying the planet, airplanes are hella cool, but unfortunately, they are also destroying the planet, H. sapiens is also overrated AND destroying the planet (hence, avoid dolls, action figures, etc).

So, why not some Cambrian Burgess Shale animal toys?? Buy yourself Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould and explain some of it to them!

@ObviouslyNotAGolfer

Ha ha, this is totally off-topic, but I am hiking into the Burgess Shale fossil beds on Monday (Mt. Stephen) and again in a few weeks (Walcott Quarry) and now I'm wondering if they will have these for sale at the visitor center.  Will have to keep my eyes peeled, my youngest would LOVE these - thank you for sharing!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 05:24:53 AM by ToTheMoon »

elliha

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2018, 12:25:39 AM »
My brother says that all small children always need a flashlight, tape and things to make bubbles with. If they don't something in this triad they should be bought that. And I think he is pretty much right about that. My daughter brought her flashlight to the playground once, she was followed by about 10 kids of various age who wanted one too and wanted to try hers. All kinds of ages, genders and cultures from about 3 to 12. I have never seen a child who don't love bubbles either. Tape I haven't tried on a large sample but I have seen a lot of kids enjoy that too so I often follow my brother's advice whenever I don't know what to get a friend of my daughter's and it has been a hit so far. Just make sure to buy an extra set of batteries than what is needed for the flashlight you get, the first days will mean intense wear and thereby the parents don't have to go to the story the next day.

I do agree that activities are a good gift and there are things that all kids will enjoy. If they are kindergarten age they are probably OK for you to take to an activity without the parents if you at least visit occasionally. A visit to an indoor playpark/playland/funland whatever they are called can be a good gift to both parents and children. If you think the kids are OK to go with you on their own offer that or if they are not offer to go with the parents when they use this gift. That way you will be several adults that can keep track of the kids and the parents might have a coffee in peace or just some time to talk and be undisturbed. I as a parent of a 2 and 6 year old can attest that I would probably hug and cry if a relative offered that to me.

kei te pai

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2018, 12:42:34 AM »
If you are going to send individual gifts to every child at every birthday, its going to become more expensive and more exhausting with every year. Maybe a family conference to see if there is another strategy everyone is happy with?

I would suggest something fairly generic like a book voucher for most birthdays, and maybe designate a "special year" for example age 7 when you host child and family for a weekend and do all the cool things in your city and have a special dinner.

OtherJen

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2018, 08:49:41 AM »
My brother says that all small children always need a flashlight, tape and things to make bubbles with. If they don't something in this triad they should be bought that. And I think he is pretty much right about that. My daughter brought her flashlight to the playground once, she was followed by about 10 kids of various age who wanted one too and wanted to try hers. All kinds of ages, genders and cultures from about 3 to 12. I have never seen a child who don't love bubbles either.

Yes! My niece and nephew are both crazy about bubbles. I haven’t given tape, but stickers are always a huge hit, especially if they feature a favorite cartoon character.

For the OP with young relatives in a rural area, what about a little gardening set? I loved to “garden” (i.e., dig holes) in the yard when I was little. Or an inflatable kiddie pool and a couple of bathtub toys.

ematicic

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2018, 07:15:14 AM »
Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone.

Most of the nieces/nephews are still younger than kindergarten age, so some of the more "active gifts" wouldn't work out. They also live in a rural area far away from the closest zoo, museum, etc.  I would love to gift passes or tickets, but it feels like it'd be a burden on the parents since it would require a long day trip at the least.

I see lots of good ideas for as the kids are growing up, but to be more specific, any great mustachian gift ideas for a two year old boy?

Thanks in advance.


Well perhaps to best represent the community you could get a toy wallet or toy cash register. As they start counting it does help them to use money to begin grasping numbers and fractions with the aid of money and my young kids love to play "store". Sure, it is not exactly accounting, but the familiarity helps.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2018, 07:37:09 AM »
Beyond stickers, even Bandaids with a favorite character on them are a huge hit with that age group!

Also, if it's okay with their parents, snacks.  At age 3, my son would have cried tears of joy if someone had given him a bag of cheetos that he didn't have to share.  (Honestly, he'd still be delighted at age 9.)

ontheway2

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Re: Gifts for Young Nieces/Nephews
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2018, 08:17:21 AM »
Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone.

I see lots of good ideas for as the kids are growing up, but to be more specific, any great mustachian gift ideas for a two year old boy?

Thanks in advance.

A dollar store bin with some construction paper, crayons, etc would be good at that age.  A kid size soccer ball or football. A piggy bank and little baggie of some change (as long as it isn't a choking hazard). Summer fun kit with a dollar store kite (same as Wal Mart ones for $6-8), some bubbles, chalk
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 08:18:57 AM by ontheway2 »