Exercises, General

Holiday Gifts From Writers: Youth Edition

The one thing about the end of the year that never fails is that there’s always that one person you need to get a gift for and don’t have a clue what they want or need. Bonus points if they insist you don’t need to get them a gift. Or if they’re just young enough that they ask for something slightly impossible like a pony or a castle.

Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, hopefully it gives you some ideas.

Side note: This post actually turned out much longer than I thought it would, so keep an eye out for the adult’s edition a little later this week.

For the Littles (5-7*)

Classic Holiday stories are a good choice here. If you can’t get your hands on hard copies, then go for the write-it-yourself route. If you’re not particularly artistic you can probably get away with photos of the little in question themselves. Kids love being able to see themselves in stories.  Alternatively, find a way to record yourself reading some of their favorite stories, that way they can follow along with it whenever they want.

For Middlings (8-11*)

Writing a short story for kids in this age range might be hit or miss, depending on their personality as some kids in this range are firmly against reading. If you have a kid who enjoys reading and stories though, giving them their own personalized story is a quick, easy gift–just write them as the protagonist in a couple of fairy tales. Options from there include printing it off and popping it into a strong report cover (some places may also offer binding), or giving them their own .pdf or e-pub version to read on e-readers.

If you’ve got a kid who’s not so into reading, try an animal attached to a story. Paddington Bear is a famous example of this, but there are plenty of others. And if the official ones are out of your price range, hit up your local thrift store to find a book and an animal to pair together. Chances are the kid might be interested in hearing the story, especially if they have something tangible to connect to it, or a ‘buddy’ to practice reading with if they struggle with it. If not, they still have a new stuffed animal to play with.

For Tweens and Teens (12-18*)

The broad range of personalities here is often what makes choices here difficult. YA books are a great pick because they have a broad range of genres and choices, so it’s as simple as picking the book from the appropriate genre that reminds you of the teen or tween in question.

If you have a budding writer on your hands, give them a prompt book. This is as easy as grabbing a cheap journal (or even sacrificing a 3-prong folder and some loose leaf paper) and adding in a few prompts at the top of the pages. The same can be done for artists as well (sans lined paper) to help flex their creative muscles.

Also for artists (especially kids into make-up and make-up design): print off some blank face templates so they can draw out any looks they want to try beforehand. There are a variety of these, some of which include the facial features and some which don’t, so you have plenty of options.

For teens and tweens heavy into music, try creating a songwriter’s notebook for them. Blank music sheets they can fill themselves gives them a chance to try out creating their own music, or to start learning more about the songs they already love.

If they’re more interested in food being in the kitchen, recipe and cook books might be a good way to go. These can range from simple snacks they can toss together to more complicated meals they can help their parents with.

*Indicates age range is approximate based on personality of child in question. No two children are exactly alike.


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