‘Tis the season to begin our holiday shopping! This year I am really trying to go low-tech. My kids get so much screen time at school (and at home, I’ll be honest) that I think anything I can do to encourage a little break from that is a good idea. And not only is a break from the electronics good for their little brains (and ahem, some family conversation), but it’s good for my wallet too.
All of those electronics use up more electricity than you might think. My daughter has her own school-issued laptop and has to bring it home every night just to charge it. The iPods, tablets, video gaming system, all of those things get plugged in and even when they’re not on, if they’re plugged in, they’re sucking energy.
There are already a number of things we do to keep our energy use down (and energy bills down) during the cold winter months because the heat is definitely our biggest expense. Simple things like using LED holiday lights, cooking with smaller appliances like the slow cooker as opposed to the stove, and winterizing your home are smart ideas. But I can tell you these other little things plugged into the wall REALLY do add up. So low-tech gifts for the holidays can do double duty: cut that screen time for the kids, and save energy and money for you. Win-win!
Low-Tech Gift Guide for Tweens
I’ve divided this guide into three different groups: artsy kids, stylish girls, and the sports fanatic. These gifts are just about all things we own and use, as you can see from some of the pictures, and there are some really cool ideas here and nothing that’s too pricey. I hope you find a few goodies your kids will love to find under the tree! And you’ll be right on track to kick off that New Year’s resolution to save money as you decrease your energy usage. Bonus!
Gifts for Artsy Kids
My kids use water bottles ALL the time. They each take one to school every day and we have soccer games and practices several times a week, too. These cool MIRA water bottles come in tons of designs and they’re great for school – something other than that Adidas bottle we use for sports. My daughter is in middle school and loves having a stylin’ water bottle to take with her to school.
Fun stuff for the desk is always a hit. I personally want to snag this pineapple pencil holder for my own work space! Isn’t it so cute?
My kids love gel pens for writing letters to friends and just doodling. They come in every color under the sun and pair perfectly with a fun pencil holder like the one above.
To go with the gel pens, grab a set of note cards that have pics of things your kids love: sports, dogs, rainbows, whatever they are into! You’d be surprised what a set of fun pens, a book of pretty stamps, and sweet little note cards might inspire! I think these doggie note cards are SO cute!
Any kind of room decor is a hit in my house, but there’s something artsy and fun about hanging wind chimes in your bedroom. We have a couple of different ones in my daughter’s room, and I really like this one because it’s not likely to get tangled up. Those big paper globes that hang from the ceiling are another really fun gift to let your child jazz up their room!
Make sure you have a clean, flat wall or door for this first, and then think about grabbing this chalkboard wall sticker. What a fun way for your kids to get creative in their own space! You can just place this on the wall, the back peels off like a decal, and then write on it with chalk. The kids can draw, write their schedule, or maybe you can leave notes for each other on it. Simple and so neat!
Gifts for Stylish Girls
This rainbow umbrella is gorgeous! Even a rainy day is kinda exciting when you get to walk to school with this baby spinning over your head.
My daughter loves this cat and these Pusheen slippers are cozy (I’ve tried them on to test them myself!) and really cute. Maybe this will keep her from snagging my slippers. One can dream!
I’m pretty sure my daughter wears a headband every.single.day. So this is a perfect stocking stuffer for her. They come in a million colors, prints, and styles. And they’re pretty cheap!
This jewelry organizer almost does double duty as room decor. It’s SO cute! We’re working on filling it up, and I was honestly surprised at how huge it is. There’s tons of space in here not only for jewelry but also for hair stuff. I can’t be the only mom that has 1000 hair ties all over the house. Now there’s a place for them!
Grab some cheap throw pillows (ahem, or maybe give yourself an excuse to hand down those living room pillows and get yourself something new!) and cover them with these fun pillow covers to add something fun to your child’s room. Can you see we’re on a pineapple kick here?
I worked with Squishmallows on a review a few months ago and we LOVE these guys. You can find them at Walgreens or online. Every kid loves these. They’re so cute, cuddly, and comfy. I like them myself!
Gifts for the Sports Fanatic
Can you tell my son has a total blast with this desktop punching ball? It really does stay in place, and when he’s feeling antsy I can tell him to go punch something – and it’s totally safe. ha! I might need one for my desk, too. This is a huge hit!
This toy is really neat, and I’ve especially loved it for my son who is a sports nut. Qball is shaped a little oddly, so it bounces kind of erratically (nothing crazy but you have to be on your toes!), so it’s perfect for reaction time training. Great for my little soccer guy! But it also has numbers on it so you can make up tons of games with it. Who can bounce to 50 first, quick math facts practice, etc. This one is a great stocking stuffer!
Soccer Ball (or your kid’s favorite sport!)
No kid is going to be sad to get another one of their favorite balls. I swear, we collect them! But amazingly my kids both actually use all the soccer balls we have in the house. Search for a unique looking ball. There are so many out there now. My daughter has a purple one with butterflies on it!
When you can’t get your little baller outside over the winter, this indoor hoverball set is a great solution. I love that it keeps the kids active but there’s no ball flying around your house, knocking into the walls. Been there, done that!
This is probably our favorite non-tech gift idea: the magnetic dartboard. It rolls up into the tube that it comes in so it’s easy to store and totally portable from room to room. You can hang this on the back of a door or a bedroom wall, but we’ve been hanging it on the doorknobs for now. There have been many good tournaments on this board in the last few weeks! And the darts are all magnets, so there’s nothing sharp being thrown around. Highly recommended from our family!
Imagine if picking laundry up off the floor was actually fun? I dream of the day… This Hamper Hoops laundry basket is not something we own, but I’m grabbing it for my son for Christmas. He loves basketball and I think this might make my life a lot easier. No more “Pick up your socks!” Can you imagine?!
Get More Energy Efficient Ideas
Visit the Project Envolve website for a lot more smart and practical energy efficient ideas you can start implementing now with your family to save on your energy bills! PPL Electric Utilities has more energy-savings tips for us too!
Check out the posts below from the rest of the Project Envolve team and see what creative ways they’ve come up with to save energy this winter!