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Five ideas for practical yet fun gifts for kids

The building anticipation, the frantic ripping of wrapping paper and the discovery of what those colorful packages hold – holidays and birthdays are great times to be a kid. But as any parent can attest, gifts received during holidays sometimes end up gathering cobwebs in the following months.

While it’s fun to go for novelty items that catch a child’s attention when they are opened, giving the children in your life something that will truly stand the test of time will be much appreciated by both child and parent alike. And a practical gift doesn’t have to be boring, either. Here are five things to consider as you search for a gift that will get a lot of use.

* Consult with the parents. It may be against your instinct to ask the child’s parents what their child needs, since everyone loves a good surprise. However, it won’t ruin the surprise for the child if you take the time to find something that he or she could truly use, and parents know their children best.

* Books or magazine subscriptions. If there’s one thing a child can’t get enough of, it’s stories. Books are a great gift because they are sure to be read and don’t take up a lot of room. A subscription to a magazine carries the added bonus of being a new gift every time it comes in the mail. If you get something that caters to the child’s interest, you can’t go wrong.

* Add some fun to clothing gifts. When you were a kid, you might not remember clothing as the most fun gifts you received, but the fact remains that clothing is one of the most practical gifts you can give a child. To make your gift of clothing a little more interesting, throw in a fun clothing item with something more practical. You can never go wrong with a pair of jeans for the utility aspect and then a fun T-shirt from your recipient’s favorite TV show or movie. The Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. brand offers comfortable and affordable jeans for kids for under $25, so you can pick up a pair and have room in your budget for something else to complement them.

* The gift of tickets. If you’re having trouble identifying a toy or gift that the child would really like, tickets to a kid-friendly concert or another event are a great option. You could also opt for a pass to a science museum or zoo – another gift that keeps giving throughout the year. Or personalize it by offering to take the child somewhere fun, which is a nice touch if you’re a favorite aunt, uncle or grandparent.

* Give something that’s alive. No, not a cat or dog – unless you have a parent’s permission. But a fun and unique plant can be a fascinating gift for children as they can take care of it and watch it grow. Consider pairing this with a child-friendly book about the type of plant you are giving or gardening in general. Plants are also a nice gift, because if gives children and parents a project they can work on together.

By finding a practical gift that the child in your life is sure to love, you’ll make sure that the happiness you’re hoping to give continues long after the holidays are over.

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