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According to the ASIC MoneySmart website, Australians plan to spend $955 over the holiday season, with an expected Christmas debt hangover of $1,666 to pay off afterwards! With the vast array of toys and gifts to choose from for kids, it can be easy to go overboard with the Christmas spending budget. Not to mention that often within a few weeks of Christmas, the gifts are no longer being used or played with, or have already broken.
As a mother that loves to travel and provide experiences rather than toys, I often find it hard to think of something to wrap and pop under the tree for Christmas morning that doesn’t add to the kids’ already overflowing toy boxes, while also balancing gift-giving costs versus saving for the next adventure. With this in mind, I decided to compile a list of thoughtful and practical gifts for kids. Most of these products are used – and loved! – by my kids, or I’ve received great feedback about them from fellow parents.
Actual birds-eye view of what I see every time I look up from my desk – rather motivating to see how much we have left to ‘scratch off’!
With my kids, I find that a visual aid is very motivating when it comes to helping them understand budgeting and saving for travel. The most effective tool I’ve discovered is this stunning World Scratch Off Map, which I have framed and is hanging above my desk as I type this (a motivating tool for me too!), as the more you travel, the more you can scratch off! It is also a wonderful way to track our family travels, provides inspiration for future holiday planning, and is educational as well, as my kids can recognise different countries on the map by themselves now.
There is also this gorgeous Australia Scratch Off Map that I have put on my wish list for Christmas, and would be perfect for those focusing their travels on just Australia, or for caravanning families doing ‘The Big Lap’!
When travelling with kids, having a good set of headphones is a must in my opinion. Another plus is that the sound quality is much better than the headphones supplied on planes. We currently own and use these Moki headphones (available in blue and pink) and have found them to be good quality and durable (believe me when I say that my kids have rigorously tested them out!). Tip: avoid noise-limited headphones if you plan to use them on flights.
These gorgeous, high quality journals perfect for the adventurous child to document their travel experiences, whether it is a weekend away, a lap around Australia, or an international trip. With journal pages, a reusable packing list, address book and activities to complete, it’s the perfect travel companion to help preserve those precious memories. Australian made and printed, you can purchase them from Caravanning with Kids. The Family Quiz Book would be the perfect companion present, with 255 pages of quizzes for the whole family to enjoy.
Lonely Planet travel guide books have been a go-to for years for myself, and now that I have kids, I love their range of travel-related books just for kids. With something available for all ages, kids can learn about the world with informative and engaging activities, stories and images, discover new destinations, or keep track of their travels and experiences in the Travel Journal. Our favourite books so far have been the Sticker World books, The Big Earth Book, The Travel Book and the awesome choose-your-own-adventure Around The World In 50 Ways.
My kids L-O-V-E receiving mail, and what better way to stretch out a Christmas present than by receiving one every month in the letterbox! Perfect for my general-knowledge-and-travel-loving son, each issue is packed with information, quizzes, puzzles, fun facts and beautiful photos, with topics ranging from space, animals, geography and culture. This subscription is suitable for kids between the ages of 6 – 14 years.
These quilted sleeping bags from Adairs come in a cute range of patterns, and even include a pillow! They easily roll up for transport or storage, and include carry handles. Perfect for camping trips and sleepovers.
Packed with carefully selected, high-quality items and tailored to specific age groups, a Very Busy Bag is sure to keep the kids entertained! Perfect for plane flights, road trips, relaxing while on holidays, dining in restaurants or even hospital visits. Everything is easily kept together in the reusable calico bag, and refill packs are available to purchase.
Kiwi Crate – Tinker, Create and Innovate provides hands-on learning, with science (STEM) and arts projects for kids delivered to your doorstep. Simply pick from the 7 different lines and then choose your plan (which can be paused or cancelled at anytime). With everything needed to complete the projects included in the crate, and easy to follow instructions, there is something to engage and inspire every child!
Trunki are a ride-on suitcase for kids that come in a wide range of designs, or you can even design your own! These are carry-on size, and feature a detachable carry strap. Best of all, they come with a 5 year guarantee.
Some other ideas for gifts include:
- This beautiful, interactive Lift The Flap Questions and Answers About Our World Book by Usbourne is perfect for the younger family members to learn more about the world around them.
- A travel neck pillow, like this cute giraffe one by Animal Planet, or the Yondi range by Trunki.
- Card games – UNO, Sleeping Queens, Go Sushi and Princess Snap are popular with my kids, as they are small, portable and don’t require batteries!
- Another sleeping bag option, if you are after a thicker and warmer option are these Roman Kids sleeping bags – available in blue and purple.
- Gift vouchers for movies, retail stores or experiences, annual zoo or museum memberships, or tickets for a concert or attraction, are always a winner with my kids, and are often something the whole family can enjoy together.