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  1. #1
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    Jan 2006

    Default Birthday Gift Ideas (8 year old)

    I am the grandmother of a soon-to-be eight year old grandson.

    Can anyone provide me with some ideas for a birthday gift for April,
    which is NOT commercial in any way. I would love to come up with a
    gift which is meaningful and based, of course, on a relatively low
    cost idea. I am very partial to ideas which are memory-based and/or

    For example, last year I gave Brady an inexpensive camera and a photo
    album, thinking it might spark an interest in photography. In the
    past, I have given him a craft box which contained all kinds
    of "tools" for his creativity. He loved you get the idea.

    I am just stumped, and I am tired of seeing the "toy of the moment"
    that he'll often bring when he visits. These marketing-generated toys
    have no intrinsic value and Brady can't even remember them a month

    after they are lost or broken.

    Help, please! Thanks.

    :- )

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Hi Barbara,

    You didn't indicate the city or region of the country you're writing
    from, but I know what you're talking about. Do you have a museum with
    a museum shop nearby? They often have the most *wonderful* and
    creative ideas for gifts! Equally good, some of the smaller
    bookstores have quality selections not only of books, but of many
    gifts at reasonable prices--or even packaged with a book related to
    the item--and these too offer a broadened memorable gift selection.
    You'll know the kind of bookstore I mean if you, for example, remember
    one like this. The one I remember that fits the bill is in Tempe,
    Arizona. It still comes to mind immediately even though I left there
    nearly seven years ago.

    Books with creative kitchen chemistry, or ideas for nature exploration
    will often have small but incredible, and far more sturdy, "gadgets"
    (not talking here about gadgets like we think of
    offense to anyone...junk, but rather along the lines of Inspector
    Gadget...the microscope, the compass...I know there were at least 5
    tools on this creative little thing one could pop in the pocket while
    off on other ventures.

    Create the "become a newspaper reporter" kit for him! You can get the
    newsprint, the pad for note taking, of course the pencil, and work
    *with* him to begin to develop his own little family newspaper that
    would be printed and distributed among the relatives each month. This
    could even correlate to the photography idea you had from that earlier
    birthday, and you could help him perhaps to learn more about the
    computer by turning out the printed form from your computer if they
    don't have one (and of course, that means you benefit from this one
    too because you get to spend some more quality time with him! lol).
    Feel free to ask me more about this thought.

    There is one toy that does tend to be commercialized, Barbara, but it
    can launch some wonderful adventures into his tomorrows: those toy
    ovens with the miniature cakes and cookie mixes. Add a kid-oriented
    cookbook to that oven, work with him or ensure that others will, and
    you will inspire the budding chef. Does that really work? Well, my
    #2 son just turned 19 on the 23rd of March...he was 7 or 8, as I
    recall, when I gave him one of these. I've taught each of my sons to
    cook, and I'd like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable in this
    field, given that I used to own an eggroll company and have taught
    Chinese friends to make dimsum (but I'm talented in cooking and
    baking, and that's my point)...but this particular son, of all of
    them, can now, IMO, cook me under the table. He can't bake as well as
    I do because he doesn't like to stick to a recipe, but he's the one
    who got the little oven and became inspired to create. To this day,
    btw, he's also a huge fan of Emeril (I hope I've spelled that

    Take time to wander through a store, even to consider the
    commercialized things they have. Something commercial, as you're
    looking at it, could spark a better idea that you'd enjoy giving Brady
    for that truly memorable gift.

    I'll be eager to hear what you come up with, but I do hope these
    thoughts will help you a bit in coming to that point, Barbara.


    Date: Thu Mar 27, 2003 5:28 pm
    Subject: Re: Birthday Gift Ideas

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006



    These are fantastic ideas and I am just so pleased to receive them.
    NOW, my happy "problem" is that I don't think I will be able to
    choose only one!

    Thanks so much. I will definitely let you know which one I choose.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    My ds spends hours in the "dress up trunk" mixing and matching items in
    order to change personnas. The items do not have to be anything fancy, most
    of the stuff in our's is from the dollar store (ie. bandana, unique belt /
    sash, sheriff's badge).

    Craft supplies are also a good way to encourage a child's creativity. You
    could include a good craft book which will give them specific ideas of
    things they can make using the craft supplies. Once again the supplies do
    not have to be anything fancy. I've learned to make sure to include lots of

    glue and tape.

    Lisa B.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    How about a beginner's fishing pole and tackle box? My 10 year old LOVES
    having his own version of Dad's things. Fishing is something they really
    enjoy doing together as father and son.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006



    I feel your pain sister! With so many birthday parties my DD gets invited
    to, I hate getting the "toy de jour" for them. I started going to the
    dollar store and making "kid buckets" 2 years ago. My first one was for a
    little boy turning 7. I got a big blue plastic pail and filled it with
    string, flashlight, batteries, marbles, magnifying glass, masking tape,
    padlock, cards, note pad, pen, etc. I picked up all the "boy stuff" I could
    think of that wasn't a toy - save the marbles. I then used paint markers I
    had at home and wrote Matthew's name on the outside of the bucket and
    decorated it up with simple squiggles, zig zags, spirals etc. I put a
    ribbon on the bucket and we presented it as the gift - no wrapping paper.
    It was the biggest hit! All the boys were clamoring over each other trying
    to see all the "cool stuff" in the bucket.

    I use the time of year to inspire the contents of the bucket. The Matthew's
    birthday was days after school let out, so I thought "summer adventure fun
    for a boy". For other friends it has been water guns, pool toys, Frisbees,
    balls, jump rope, jacks, side walk chalk, etc. As the girls are getting
    older I load up after Christmas on the little stocking stuffer type packages
    of lip gloss, bath soaps, lotions hair doo-dads etc. I go back to the
    trusty ole dollar store and get a cute plastic basket that can sit on the
    bath counter and hold all the beauty secrets. Same thing only different I
    have gotten "highly essential" *stuff*. The tap-on lights in fun shapes are
    a huge hit (don't forget the batteries!), zany diaries and pens, fun cups,
    stickers, stationery, craft kits, beading kits, key chains, necklaces,
    bracelets, puzzle books.

    Choose a theme, with girls it can be:

    Bath and Body-
    scrubbing puffs
    nail polish
    polish remover
    manicure set

    for boys:

    High Adventure-
    pocket knife

    Boys Bath and Body (younger boys)-
    character towels and wash cloth sets
    character soap & shampoo
    character tooth brush & tooth paste
    character or cool design band aids
    Underoos (character underwear)
    (A close family friend's son **LOVES** Buzz Lightyear. FP this birthday
    this year, I got him a spinning tooth brush, toothpaste, Band-Aids and glow
    in the dark PJs - all Buzz. Out of ALL his gifts he got, the spinning Buzz
    tooth brush was THE biggest hit! Go figure!)

    Mr. Fix-it-
    assorted tools
    utility knife
    tool box (presentation vehicle!)
    assorted nuts, bolts, screws, nails

    FYI - ALL the things listed above can be found at the dollar store or very
    inexpensively at Wal-Mart, Target, Big Lots, etc. These are very nice gift
    for very little money.

    Use your imagination! Think of the child and what and where their interests
    lie. Sports nut? equipment balls magazine subscription to SI Kids.
    Budding musician? CDs of their instrument or a different genre. Video of
    concerts or musicians documentaries. Book worm? EASY! BOOKS! book marks,
    can you make a book signing of a fav author? What better gift than an
    autographed book?

    Anyway, you get the idea. It isn't hard. I hate commercial toys, we have
    them, but not like some kids! I try to get DD things that she can *DO* or
    build on a collection of things she already has. Lately we are simply
    planning trips (big trips) as gifts to her and the whole family benefits.'s a secret but we just booked a 3 day Disney cruise in
    September for DDs August birthday present. She will open a small box on her
    birthday with her cruise ticket in it. We will have other small gifts like
    a waterproof camera and a couple pins for her to trade with. This is the
    best thing we have done lately. We get a family vacation and DD gets a
    *great* birthday present! We are doing the same for Christmas - a
    special surprise trip. We spend money on very special memories, not junk.

    Hope this helps!!
    Diane <>
    AIM: khakismum
    MSN: khakismum

  7. #7
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    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    I've loved reading people's ideas for inexpensive boys gifts. Very
    creative. We also have done the craft boxes, etc. by shopping at a
    children's resource center that sells recycled products.
    My goal is to put together gifts for $5.00 --almost impossible, and I
    only manage it about half the time--but here are a few more ideas.

    1)A coupon for time out with Gramma (Mom, Dad, aunt)
    Scan the local papers for coupons for 2 for one Sundaes at Friendly's,
    a donut and coffee deal at Dunkin donuts, Buy one get one free bagel
    sandwich at Mr. Bagel. or whatever.
    Make a special 3 by 5 coupon (decorate it with markers or stickers),
    put your coupon, the coupon from the paper, and a five dollar bill in the

    My kids love this--special time with just (Mom, gramma, uncle, or whoever
    ) makes them feel special.
    If you can't find a coupon, you can still get two donuts and two drinks
    at Dunkin donuts for close to five dollars.
    If you wish for something more tangible that he won't forget,
    buy a photo album for one dollar at the dollar store, bring your camera
    along and ask a staff person to take a picture of you and your gift
    recipient. Start a picture book of "Special times with Gramma".

    2)If you're outdoor people, take him on nature hikes or trips to a
    park(camera in hand)
    with a picnic lunch (again, a nice handmade coupon makes it a special
    gift--or buy an inexpensive lunch box,
    put the coupon inside, and explain that it is to be used only for hikes
    with Grammie, and schedule the first date right then.
    You could create a scavenger hunt list for the hike--certain wildflowers
    or cones and acorns or squirrels and birds or whatever you like) IF you
    don't know about them, find a guide at a used book store or library to
    bring along.

    3)A disposable camera at Staples costs under $5. My kids love taking
    their own pictures, and Grammie gave that gift to my daughter one year.
    (COmbine with a "Time with Gramma coupon" and chose a free destination to
    photograph something.......favorite trees, public art --our city has lots
    of outdoor sculptures and if you do a small amount of research ahead of
    time, he might learn a little local history painlessly!), even buildings
    he likes. (I'll never forget the day my 4 year old son told me he wanted
    to collect mountains--which developed into a small photo album of him/us
    on top of various small peaks.)

    4)Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates time based gifts. And gifts
    for less known eight year old boys are harder.
    When I have the money, I buy ahead from 1/2 price shelves at CVS, Target,
    even the local hardware store for the ages of my son and daughter,
    assuming that they'll be invited to parties during the year. Right after
    and before Christmas are the best times--you sometimes find 2 for 1 sales
    like this last year at CVS. If the gifts don't work out for other kids,
    they are there for Christmas or Birthdays for my kids (so I make sure I
    buy things they would like)

    5)As for commercial gifts, my son loves Bionicles, and so do his buddies.
    If you don't mind the fighting concept(at least I think that's what they
    do) they are about $7 ($5 last Christmas so I bought several) and are
    Lego based. The combinations my son puts together out of his own head
    makes me think we may have an engineer on our hands; always a clear
    explanation of what each alteration is for.,

    6)Chess set--and a promise to teach him.
    Hope this sparks some ideas for all those who need gifts for 8 year old
    boys (and girls)

    7)Oh, one more!! Might not work unless the boys family is frugal too--but
    in our family we exchange books we know each others kids may want (we
    even trade lists sometimes)--but the source is used bookstores, Goodwill,
    Salvation Army stores. If his family wouldn't think this is cheap (or
    maybe even if they woudl!) how about a trip to a special bookstore with
    Gramma--a used bookstore you've checked out for price and content ahead
    of time. There is one here which charges $1 for paperbacks so a $5
    coupon provides 5 books for a booklover if Gramma pays the tax!

    This list is so great! Thanks, Liss and others who make this work.

    Book and Nature lover and mother of two

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the group but thought I would share what my family has started doing
    for birthday gifts for friends. I buy them a ticket to the movie house plus
    a "medium special" of popcorn/soda. I can do this for less than $5 for under
    age 13 and less than $7 for over. The kids think it's great!

    Wife to Tom, Mom to 4 wonderful kids ages 17 to 10

  9. #9
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    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Wouldn't kids like a gift certificate for McDonald's or someplace like

  10. #10
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    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Laura: What a great idea. I'll remember that for my younger grandchildren. Like
    everyone else I never know what to buy. For my older grandkids I always buy gas
    cards. Teens can always use gas for their cars.

    Thanks for the idea...........Nan

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    I might be repeating myself, because, since I am so new to this
    group, I want you to know that I don't always know what I'm doing [go
    figure, eh? - LOL]I don't think my last message was posted properly
    by me.

    But I do want to ensure that I thank the folks who gave me such
    FANTASTIC ideas for Brady's birthday [eight-years old]. In all
    honesty, I don't know if I can even express how much it meant to me.
    You people gave me ideas which will "spill over" into other areas, of
    course. You're amazing!

    Thanks for taking the time to offer your advice and wonderful
    :- )



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