‘Tis the season, so sing it with me, mums,and dads, and aunts, and uncles – “Iiiiiiii‘m dreaming of an arts Christmas…”
OK, maybe not exactly the classic lyrics, but I feel like even crooning ol’ Bing wouldn’t mind the sentiment. And, if you’re here on Artsplorers, I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind a few arts inspired gifts under the tree this year. Last week, it was all about the books we’re buying kids this holiday season. This week, I’ve picked out a collection of unique gifts designed to inspire artistic exploration and just plain artsy family fun.
(Note that some of these gifts ship from the U.S., so get in quick to make shipping deadlines to Australia!)
*This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through the link, Artsplorers gets a small holiday bonus. It doesn’t impact your price in any way.*
…and on to the shopping!
Erasable Frames Wall Decals – $35USD plus shipping
I truly went to swoon town when I saw these on Hello Wonderful‘s Instagram. It’s a wall decal where your artsplorers can use the frames to make their own museum collection. And … and, guys! … it’s made of dry erase material, so they can erase it and start again every time their little Picasso hearts desire.
Puppet Theatre – Little divas on hand? How about giving them a stage to bring to life all the characters and stories dancing in their heads? Puppet theatres are a perfect (and relatively compact) way to create a performance space right in your living room. There are dozens of options out there, depending on your price range. For a budget and space friendly option, I love the look of this Over the Door puppet theatre from KMart Australia ($17AUD).
…and puppets – Of course, if you’re giving a puppet theatre, puppets are a must give accompaniment. And, again, there are dozens upon dozens of options out there. Or, use your old, orphaned socks, some googly eyes, felt, and some hot glue to make a whole menagerie Play School style!
For the non-DIY option, I’m quite partial to this charming line of puppets from Melissa & Doug, which range from a chef, a pirate, a mermaid, a policeman, a dragon, and plenty more (aprox. $15USD each + shipping).
Melissa & Doug Chef Puppet
Music Makers – various prices – I need to begin with a disclaimer: As a parent, I do not believe that you should buy a child an instrument, unless you are that child’s primary caregiver or have express permission of said caregiver because, let’s be honest, we all have different levels of tolerance for things that go shake, rattle ‘n’ roll.
Now, that said, I personally treasure my little artsplorer’s collection of xylophones, tambourines, bells, triangles, and clacky-shakey-bangy things. They’re always being trotted out for “concerts” and “parades.” Assuming your giftee isn’t old enough for the “real deal,” just yet, find instrument inspiration in this great guide from The Artful Parent, or for some low cost stocking stuffers, have a look at this guide from the Perth Music Shop.
Ribbon Dancer –$12AUD plus shipping – Speaking of household performances, here’s something to add a little magic to a young dancer’s routine. Have a wander around Etsy for a few options of Australian crafters making hand-held ribbon dancers. I quite liked these from maker, Mud and Sugar.
World Music – $11.49USD plus shipping – Is your shaker-dancer as tired of grooving to The Wiggles as you are? How about introducing them (and you!) to some new sounds? World Playground, compiled by Putumayo Presents features family friendly songs from Africa, Europe, the Carribean, North America, South America, and Australia. It’s appropriate for kids of all ages. One reviewer on Amazon says, “The CD is packed with danceable music, and even babies and toddlers will respond to the exciting rhythms and melodies. Lots of fun, and not the same-old-thing for kids to listen to.” I’m a big fan of introducing some new sounds to our repertoire.
Book Art – $24USD plus shipping – Prefer something a little quieter? Everything at Litographs honors books in the coolest way – by printing the entire text in a beautiful design. Many adult classics can be purchased in scarves, tote bags, t-shirts, and so forth, but for young book lovers, there are plenty of children’s classics featured, and the posters would make such sweet wall hangings for a nursery or child’s room. The children’s selection currently inlcudes Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Princess Bride, The Rainbow Fish, Corduroy, Peter Rabbit, and several more.
Art Busy Bag – $10AUD plus shipping – While we’re on the topic of quiet time, these art busy bags from Little Green Crafts are such a good idea for keeping on hand when you’re out at a restaurant or waiting for an appointment with young ones. I’ve been carrying something like this with me for ages, and I can’t begin to say how useful it’s been in many a pinch of boredom! This bag includes a mini scribble book, pack of colour pencils, stickers, and washi tape, all from natural, recycled/recyclable, and sustainable material. Brilliant stocking stuffer for any parent of a young child that you know!
Mini-Masters – Aprox. $25USD plus shipping – For slightly older art geniuses, who might be looking for a little inspiration, Master Kitz give them the tools to recreate some of the most famous paintings in the world, while adding their own flourishes. The kits include paint, tools, and information about the original masterpiece. Kits include Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or Starry Night, Monet’s Water Lillies, Matisse’s The Red Studio, Kandinsky’s Black Lines, and others.
Story Stones – various prices – In any form they take, the arts are all about communicating a story or idea, and “story stones” are such a charming way to help unleash a child’s inner storyteller. Heck, they’d help me, too – I always freeze when my child asks for an impromptu story! Each painted stone in a packet has a picture on it, and the idea is that the child pulls a random one, which serves as the inspiration for the start of the story. He then continues to pick stones to add action, characters, or complications. Every story will come out differently. Have a look on Etsy for any number of styles at various price points. I like the aesthetic of these (pictured) by seller LittlebyNature ($31AUD for 12), and they are made in Australia.
Aqua Notes – $7.42USD plus shipping – Has yours enthusiastically moved on from telling stories aloud to aspiring writer? You could always gift them a notebook and a pen, but ask any writer how many of those they’ve gotten for every birthday and Christmas, and you might start to wonder what else a future J.K. Rowling might care for. Well, here’s an quirky, but amazingly useful one: Aqua Notes. Don’t we all have our best ideas in the shower? Aqua Notes lets you write them down without even having to rinse the soap off first. Your ambitious author never has to forget an inspired line of dialogue or brilliant story idea again.
Dance bling – $20AUD – Have one who has leaped into the dance world, but already has every outfit, bag, and water bottle, she can ever use? How about a bit of charmingly sparkly jewelry to show off her passion for dancing when she’s not on stage? I think this glittery “never miss a chance to dance” necklace from Etsy seller Kitschy Koo Designs is awfully cute, and perfectly age appropriate for a pre-teen or teenage dance lover.
Always at the theatre – If, it’s the siren song of the theatre that’s stolen your older child/teen’s heart, you may hear her uttering this phrase on the regular – “I can’t. I have rehearsal.” Save her from having to repeat herself all the time with a t-shirt with every theatre person’s most proudly uttered phrase on it. This one is from a Cafe Press store, so it’s available in several different style including the long sleeve t-shirt (pictured – $38.50AUD), short sleeved t-shirts, tote bag, and pyjamas. I was a theatre kid, and I would have loved this!
Go for the experience – And, if none of these seem quite right, you can’t possibly go wrong with tickets to a theatre or dance performance, concert, or museum. Check the local listings for your nearby performing arts venues and museums to see what’s coming up in the months ahead. There are certain to be shows to suit any age and taste. The gift of the experience, especially together, might just be the greatest artsplorers gift I can possibly recommend.
Have you found any other perfect gifts for the artsplorers in your life? Let us know in the comments!