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Gift-giving season is here! Throughout the years, we have been lucky to receive well-thought-out gifts for the children. Through that, I have also learnt to be a better gift-giver. After all, gifts are expressions of love, care, and connection with the child and their family.

1.Books! Books! Books!

You can never go wrong with books. Books are great presents because you can bulk buy age-appropriate best sellers during book sales for the children you will be gifting throughout the year. My personal favourites are poetry books for children. Books that encourage children to try new things creates opportunities for quality family time – origami books, children’s cookbooks that have great fail-proof recipes, gardening books are also top of our list.
If you are concerned that the child may already have the book, here’s the secret, it can be regifted or donated. A book is never wasted!

2. A day of play

It could present itself in a ‘voucher’ where the holder of the voucher is entitled to a whole day hanging out with [insert best friend’s name].  I used to stress over making it the perfect playdate until I realised that the children were just happy being together. The house, the park, the swimming pool is their ‘happiest place in the world.’  Getting them to pop their own popcorn is an additional memorable treat. For ideas of where to go, you could check out our lists of outdoor spaces or 50 Top Things  to do in Malaysia with Children.

3. Legos

For many hours of creative building and play, Legos make age appropriate gifts that can be bought  online for the time pressed. For the environmentally conscious gift giver, you will be happy to know that these blocks will soon made from plant instead of petrol based materials! If you search early enough, you may get sets on preloved sites on Facebook or Carousel  for a fraction of the price.

4. Board Games

These are great gifts that will help  develop children’s collaboration and communication skills. Apart from mastery and strategy, another life skill children learn through board games is  the art of winning and losing gracefully. Well, most of the time.

There are many games to suit the child’s interest.  Pictionary for drawing,  Mathmagic and congkak for numbers. Scrabble is a fun game for the whole family to learn new words. Just as Uno, Connect Four, and chess  is great for strategy. A mega compendium of 30 games will definitely keep them occupied for ages.

5. Gardening starter kits

Who know where the spark will lead to? Perhaps an edible garden project?

There are many  benefits of gardening for kids, from encouraging them to eat healthily to doing their bit for the environment. Thanks to Daiso and Mr. D.I.Y,  spades, pots and watering cans need not be expensive. Seeds are also easily available in supermarkets and hardware shops. Or you can just save them from your fruits and vegetables. The Free Tree Society  organises plant giveaway days where you can get free saplings. The gift of lessons in  care and appreciation of the environment is one that the child will carry for life.

6. Cooking starter kits/equipment

An apron, a baking tin, a set of cooking utensils will be a surefire way to ignite a sense of curiosity in the ‘adult world’ of cooking. Throw in a cookbook and ingredients to make a meal, the meal they made  will give the gift of pride and confidence. It is also a great way to create some  quality family time.

7. Scooters

Photo credit: Micro Scooters Singapore & Malaysia

Scooters are a good starting point for kids to be comfortable with being on wheels. When shopping for one, ask if the spare parts are easily replaceable. A good scooter can be handed down and be the source of joy for many kids, for many years, in the family.

8. Bicycles

Photo credit: Stryder Malaysia

The children spent many hours zooming around the park and the neighbourhood with bikes bought by their grandmother.  Getting them second hand, and a trip to the bicycle shop will also do the trick as my mom did for those bikes. And please remember to get a helmet!

9. Sports Equipment

Footballs, basketballs, badminton rackets and shuttlecocks are gifts that will get the kids outdoors. With stores like Decathlon and Sports Direct providing good quality equipment at a reasonable price with delivery service, your gift might just create our next Nicole David!

10. A gift of experience

Photo credit: Sunway Lagoon Malaysia

I once mentioned to my son’s godmother that he was interested in tying knots and that a challenging solitary activity would benefit  him. She thoughtfully gifted my son rock climbing classes and also a book about tying knots.

Other gifts of experience could be tickets to a musical, the science centre, zoo, waterpark, a movie outing. There are many free activities in the Klang Valley as well that you can take the kids to. The key is to listen, and appreciate the interest of the child and gift accordingly.

What matters to those receiving your present is not the size of the price tag, but the gift of presence, effort and thought. Happy gifting!