July 31, 2014

Travel Shopping: Unique Gifts for Kids

If you think receiving mail is a big thrill for kids, check out the look on their faces when you bring them back a gift from an overseas vacation. They’ll love the fact that none of their friends are likely to have anything similar to what you purchased for them. And finding unique gifts for kids is more than possible on the travel circuit. Bonus? Children’s gifts tend to be extremely affordable at market shops around the world. Here are some of the fun things I’ve seen on the international shopping circuit over the years.

Woven Bracelets

Even teenagers love the colored thread designs on simple woven bracelets. Most locations have them in some form or another, and I’ve seen versions of these in Thailand, on an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca and in a seaside vacation getaway in Egypt. They’re extremely inexpensive and popular with a wide age-range of youngsters.

Finger Puppets

These were all OVER the place in the Sacred Valley city of Cuzco, in Peru. My favorite was the Papagayo puppet, as this colorful bird is popular throughout South American folklore. We’ve even developed classroom Papagayo materials on our education site, TheLessonMachine. However, there were many other animals and puppet characters that the local women had knit themselves. If you happen to be traveling to Machu Picchu, chances are you’ll be spending at least a couple of days in Cuzco as well. Pick up some of these puppets while you’re there. They’re perfect gifts for primary classroom teachers, and young children developing their language skills.

Dolls

Every place on the planet has dolls, and they’re available for every price range. From rustic dolls made of woven fabric in Saquisili, Ecuador to more formal dolls dressed in silk costumes from Korea, you’ll be able to pick up unique dolls for granddaughters and nieces wherever you go.

Clothing

Whether you’re picking up bargain science tee shirts at the Kennedy Space Center, a colorful sweater from the Otavalo market, a batik dress from St. Kitts or mittens and a matching scarf from the mountains of Peru, there are fun clothing items for children at affordable market stalls and gift shops around the world.

Magnets

Kids LOVE magnets and having their own collection is a great way for them to display art projects in their room and on the refrigerator at home. Again, these are something that you’ll find nearly anywhere you travel in the world. They’re also one of the least expensive souvenirs out there.

Beads

Young people really enjoy beading projects. Those friendship pins made with craft beads and safety pins you used to put on your sneaker laces when YOU were still a kid? Still a hit. There are many bead projects children can create, and these are also available affordably around the world. They’re particularly affordable in the developing world, making it a great purchase to support the local economy in some small way.

What are your favorite unique gifts for kids to purchase on your travels? Are you into craft supplies, toys or something else entirely? You know we love to hear from you, so share your ideas in the comment section below.

Photo Credits: These images were shot by the folks here at Trek Hound, but are available for online use through a creative commons agreement on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.

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