desperate for birthday present suggestions

Daniel's golden birthday is next Thursday; he turns 7 on the 7th. This is very exciting for him, of course, and I'd like to make it special for him, but there's one problem: I can't think of anything to get him for a present. Isn't that awful? For crying out loud, I'm his mother! I'm putting out an appeal for suggestions, in case any of you out there have some brilliant idea I haven't run across yet.

He's too young for a computer. He already has a digital camera that I found him on craigslist a while back. We don't do video games. He asked for legos for Christmas, but hardly plays with them. I want to make him a Gryffindor scarf because we're reading the Harry Potter series together, but he's turning 7, not 70. A scarf alone ain't gonna cut it. He likes to read, but other than Harry Potter is currently really into Captain Underpants and I'm perfectly okay with just borrowing those from the library, thanks. He loves games, and just yesterday seriously wounded my dignity by beating me at Scrabble with hardly any help (yes, that hurt). A couple weeks ago the sitter taught him Skip-Bo so we'll probably get that.

Part of the problem is that he doesn't play with toys much. He's happiest when he's kicking my tush at Scrabble or building forts in the basement or putting together elaborate structures with old boxes and paper towel tubes. I love this and of course I want to foster this creativity as much as possible, but I somehow don't think a pile of old boxes counts as a birthday present.

So, readers, got any suggestions for me? Stuart and I are going to brainstorm this evening, but time is of the essence here!


Jessi said…
Santa brought Maren a fort kit for Christmas. Hers is like giant tinker toys with rods and balls to connect them, but you could also do like a sheet and clothesline and clothespins and things to facilitate fortiness.

How about sciencey stuff? Like a telescope or a tiny chemistry set? Brynna loves that stuff.

I, personally, adore legos. My kids - not so much.
Unknown said…
I've read your blogs for years but never commented. I have kids who are roughly the same age as yours. This Christmas we gave our seven year old son a Snap Circuits Junior kit, and it is absolutely the greatest gift we've ever found. He uses it constantly, and never gets tired of it. We got it on Amazon for a reasonable price. There are extra expansion kits for later on, as well. Good luck!
Amy said…
I've read your blogs for years but never commented. I have children close in age to yours. This past Christmas we gave our seven year old son a Snap Circuits Junior kit, and it is the greatest gift we've ever found for him. He uses it constantly, and never gets tired of making a circuit that turns on the lightbulb or fan or whatever. We ordered it from Amazon for a reasonable price. Good luck!
abcgirl said…
I made some great fort kits this Christmas--go to Pinterest for instructions. I also just read about a new-to-me building kit called Brilliant Builders on The Artful Parent's blog and they look like fun.

Have you considered taking him on some sort of special outing or trip as an experience gift instead of an object gift? Like a train ride or renting out a whole movie theater or a trip to an indoor waterpark or something?
Kathy said…
Maybe consider buying the Harry Potter series? These are books he's likely to read and reread. Telescope is another great idea. Have Fun!
Claire said…
Ben loved getting a periscope for Christmas. If D's into Harry Potter, does he like doing his own magic tricks? Magazine subscription? I've heard Blokus and Quirkle are fun games.

Good luck!

Strangeite said…
I will second the Snap Circuits suggestion. It is an amazing product that Sophie loves to build things like burglar alarms, radios, etc.

I know you said no to video games but you might reconsider for Minecraft. NASA recently ranked it as their number one game for kids to develop an interest in engineering (it beat out their own game). We have actually ended up buying three different licenses because it is so much fun playing as a family on a server. Sophie (now 6) has been playing for about 2 years and loves building houses, gardens, etc. Riley loves building roller coasters, fortresses to protect against creepers, Anna enjoys building little cabins in the woods.

We recently downloaded the Pottercraft map (a recreation of every location in Harry Potter) and it is a blast to run around as a family exploring Hogwarts, the Burrow, etc.
Becca said…
I'd recommend a Kindle Fire. You can get educational apps and games, and load books and music. Much easier to monitor than a computer. It can offer whatever he wants.
Becca said…
I'd recommend Kindle Fire. The boy uses mine quite often. I keep educational and fun games and apps for him and download books for him to read. He can go online but the kindle is easier for me to monitor. And it preempted the pleas for a computer or handheld game system.
Strangeite said…
One more suggestion.

Kids cook books. Sophie now has a few and loves making dinner or snacks out of them.
Andrea said…
Blokus IS a great game!

Since he enjoys reading, another great read-aloud series is the Redwall series by Brian Jacques (my family started with Mossflower). Or, if you can find anything with "Soup" in the title by Robert Newton Peck (they're old and out of print) they are AWESOME stories about boys growing up in the 1920s? 30s? 40s? - all kinds of adventures. (Anya would probably enjoy listening to those too. With the Redwall books, they're even better if you let yourself do different voices for the different characters!)

Good luck. :)
How about some magnet sets. My kids got some for Christmas and love them. There are lots of different sets that can be used to create different structures.

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