A family in our area recently lost a husband and father. Jeff and I wanted to show our support and care, and he suggested I put together a little gift basket for the two young children in the family.
When trying to think of a gift that said "We are thinking of you / We care" without burdening them with more stuff or items that would only later be linked to a very sad time in their lives, I remembered reading about children's art therapy a while back on The Artful Parent blog. Knowing how calming and peaceful art can be for my kids, I decided that art supplies might make a good gift in this situation.
In an effort to keep it simple, I went with the easiest, least messy mediums that we enjoy in our own home. These are also pretty much "classic" art activities, so you really can't go wrong when giving these supplies.
ART SUPPLIES FOR A CHILD'S GIFT BASKET
I love the "Kid Made Modern" brand of construction paper at Target. The paper is good quality and comes in fun colors. Add some kid-friendly safety scissors and a glue stick and you have the makings of a great collage.
Target has these new (to me) 8-packs of themed crayons, which are fun for a gift since the child you are giving them to may likely have plenty of the regular kind already (though it is ALWAYS exciting to get a new pack of crayons, no matter the kind!).
watercolor paper and paintsWatercolor is kid-friendly because it is low-mess and easy to experiment with. It's parent friendly as well because it's so easy to set up--put out the paints, brushes, a jar of water, a few paper towels, and as many sheets of watercolor paper as you are willing to spare in one sitting (hint: buy the good paper when it's on sale at the craft store). My kids will paint like this for an hour or more in a such a creative, peaceful state. I can see how this type of art could be therapeutic and calming.
I really love Crayola Model Magic air-dry clay because it is fun to work with and easy to clean up. It's somewhat spongey and doesn't stick to everything like play dough. And even though it's dryer than play dough or other clays, it doesn't crumble up into little pieces. It's great for squishing and molding.
What other kinds of things would you put in a sympathy gift basket for children?
Or in a simple "good cheer" basket? I would love to hear your thoughts!