Yes, all those Office Works, Big W and Kmart catalogues and ads have made it impossible to ignore that it’s that time of year once again. Have you been up to your elbows in labeling, sorting out the plastics cupboard and checking the drink bottles, to work out what extras you need for this year?

For first timers at school you may want to consider ways to identify your child’s school bag with bag tags, key rings or even getting their name embroidered (but they may not like this in the later years if you are planning on keeping the same school bag throughout the years).

School holidays are finally over, so that also means you can finally steal back your living room turned playroom, enjoy some quiet time to have a cup of coffee in the afternoon (even if you are back at work, I’m sure you will be enjoying an uninterrupted cup) and then there is getting to have a somewhat tranquil home again rather than a day-care centre, if you are anything like me. Peace will be restored, or should I say a quieter environment at home. However, there are still a few things left to organise to help make the year ahead less stressful.

One of the beautiful things about primary school is all the parties and play dates the kids enjoy together. When it comes to their birthday parties, they rarely invite just one or two friends and in the first few years it’s not uncommon to include everyone in the class, especially if their birthday falls at the start of the year before while their friendships are still forming. When Amelia started primary school, in those first few years, our fridge was plastered with birthday party invitations and it was always a mad last-minute rush to buy gifts and cards every weekend. Luckily, I got wise and came up with some simple techniques to help ease the pressure…

Price Range 
With a budget of $15-$30 you can afford to be really creative. You have the option of buying one major present to the value, buying a large and a small gift or making a little gift package full of small items.

Goody/Present Box

Just grab an old box or my preference, one of the clear tubs with a lid. Fill it with gifts and cards which can be used to suit any personality, for those times when you don’t feel like making a special trip to the shops to buy a present or to have up your sleeve, for last minute emergencies. Make sure you have an array of different gifts for both girls and boys ready to grab and go.

Pre-purchase cards and wrapping paper

Next time you pass your local Two Dollar shop, take a few minutes to buy a few of their $1 birthday cards and wrapping paper sheets near the front of the store. Choose wrapping paper which could be used for either girls or boys. Put these items into your goody box.

Buy in bulk
If you find a great toy on sale for a good price, don’t be afraid to buy two or three. This will save you all the time and trouble of finding individual gifts later on. Most presents are opened at home so it is unlikely anyone will notice. The kids are unlikely to be upset receiving a similar gift as one of their friends if they by chance notice that they got the same gift, as another friend a few months ago.

Buy on trend
Grab your kids, a few toy catalogues and a pen and sit down with them to have a chat about what is all the rage at school. This could be anything from a range of Lego toys, jewelry items, high bounce balls or board games. Just remember with ‘on trend’ items don’t buy too many as the trend may only last a short time – we all remember the Loom Bands right?

Age appropriate
Make sure you also talk to them about all the stores the kids at school like. Stores such as Smiggle, Typo and National Geographic have heaps of quirky, affordable little gifts to choose from. If they suggest a clothing store or sports store, you can always buy a gift voucher and let the recipient choose the perfect gift, we found this last year Gift Cards were a BIG Hit with the 9/10 year olds presents.

Gifts that keep on giving!
Personal favourites in our home is for gifts that last, ones that evoke Creative and Imaginative Play, kits are a great way to keep kids busy and a present that keeps the kids busy is sure to be one that the parents will love too – assuming it doesn’t require mum and dads full attention to make/build/use it! We love gifts that requiring building before play, or discovery ones that then get to be used and enjoyed well after the birthday.

We have a range of items in our store which are great for decorating/personalising the school bag and also for any future birthday presents, so take a look at these links to help you shop for those other school needs:

I hope and the kids have a wonderful transition back to school and wish you all the best for the year ahead.
Nikki xx.

Nikki Eyes – An Expert in ‘Party Wow Factors’, Owner of little Ginger (Party Products and Kids Gifts). Loves a good party and speaks of the connectivity that celebrations bring about to others. Also mum to 2 gorgeous little ones (5 & 9) and step mum of 2 bigger ones (26 & 28) who taught me all about raising teenagers to adults…