|Super hero lunch boxes/storage tins, Lakeland|
A great one for tweens. Find a fun tin, like the Superman one above, and fill with lots of little treats, such as their favourite chocolate or other food; pens and pencils; a gift card for a preferred clothing store or a book token; any other small bits they'll love.
A Movie Box
Choose two or more DVDs they've been after, or for older kids pop in a cinema chain gift card, add their favourite popcorn, sweets and treats, some bottles of water, and a fun clothing item or two, maybe some movie-themed socks, undies or PJs?
Adaptable for all ages, a set of proper art equipment will always go down well. Starting with paint trays, foam shape sponges, big bottles of poster paint and sugar paper for tinies; up to proper artists pencils and sketch books for tweens and teens, a lovingly collected art set will always be a delight to receive.
A Magazine Subscription
Whether it's for their favourite sport, their favourite game, or an educational one like Whizz Pop Bang, a regular delivery of a great magazine will encourage reading as well as furthering their interest. You could also buy a membership for somewhere like the RSPB, who send out a fun kids magazine/comic each quarter, and has lots of fun children's activities to join in with. Check out your local attractions, or go for a national charity with lots of local sites.
Create a Kit
Of course there are lots of great ready-made kits on the market, but you can buy the bits yourself, including a suitable box or container, and make your own sewing kit, gardening kit, knitting kit or repair kit for a youngster you know. Include a card promising to spend time teaching them the necessary skills, and they'll be delighted.
Make a Construct-a-Kit
From about age 7 up, children can be taught how to handle hammer and nails properly, so give them a construction kit with some basic tools and a glue gun, plus a collection of wood offcuts and other materials, and let their imagination run riot. Again, an I.O.U. of time to spend together constructing and creating will make this gift super-special.
Create a Working Wall
Attach mirror tiles, cogs, padlocks, door fastenings, and anything else that takes your fancy at the DIY store to a large piece of hardboard for endless possibilities and fun - think of it as a treasure basket for older kids! You could also supply nuts and bolts or hammer and nails for more fun.
Mini Master Chef
Create a cooking kit with a mini apron, measuring spoons and kid-sized utensils all together in a mixing bowl. Supply some layered dry mix kits in Kilner jars with simple recipes on luggage tags for the children to make up. Another one where the promise of one to one time to learn new skills will go down well too.
Finally, why not follow the current trend to accumulate experiences instead of stuff, whether it's a couple of nights away, a theme park trip or even a season ticket, or a chance to pursue an interest or hobby. We love to give theatre tickets, especially with great shows like Elf the Musical now on stage and the much-anticipated Aladdin musical coming up. Box Office UK offers some great deals.