Games for your own household can start with a length of rope for jump rope or a piece of chalk (or charcoal) to make a hopscotch grid. For a more permanent hopscotch game, use masking tape.
When I shop discount stores I look for items I can re-package: a discount store package of jacks or dominoes put into a wooden box makes a nice gift for about $2.
Add instructions for 3 or 4 different ways to play Dominoes, or give them a link.
I also look for items I can break up into multiple gifts: a 4-pack of playing cards,
4 pair of dice, etc. Party America has a great selection of card games in multi-packs. However, the “cards” inside are small and flimsy. Stick to buying their kazoos and magnifying glasses.
You can also create a playing card set with: 1 or 2 decks of cards (you need 2 decks for games like canasta), dice, and gambling chips in a wooden box or metal tin for an upscale gift costing you about $3.
For a little more, add a copy of Hoyle’s book of rules.
You can download game rules at several sites such as: http://www.mastersgames.com/rules/rules.htm.
Egg Carton Games
Color the inside of the egg cups using different colors of paint. Give each color a number value: green-1 point, yellow-2 points, purple-5 points or whatever colors you use. Make small beanbags or use coins/metal washers to toss for points. Set a number to reach to win the game (like 25 points) or give each player the same number of tries and the one with the highest score wins.
Note: the kids can paint or decorate the washers if they like.
Cut the egg cups into rows for caterpillars or individually for ladybugs. Decorate with paint, add pipe cleaners for antennae.
Bell Ornament/Lantern Ornament
Cut the egg cups individually, decorate and tie a loop in the center to hang on the tree using yarn, ribbon, or string.
Glue two together at the bottom to create a lantern type ornament.
With just a piece of chalk and a “marker” you can create a hopscotch grid to keep the kids entertained. If you include sidewalk chalk and game rules as part of a gift, include versions of hopscotch from other countries. In one country there are seven squares for the days of the week.
You can use any length of leftover rope for a jump rope, or pick one up at your local discount store. If you give one as a gift (or two for Double Dutch), try adding a booklet of jumping rhymes or a link: http://www.jumpropeinstitute.com/kids.htm
Jump Rope Rhymes
Jump Rope Rhymes – Grandparents
Jump Rope Rhymes – Mudcat
Warning: The Jump Rope Institute site has a link to http://www.gameskidsplaydotnet. When you click on the jump rope rhymes page, some of the words are double-underlined.
This is an indication that link has been hi-jacked. If you click on that link, do not click on any double-underlined words.
Note: When I grew up, marble names were:
Shooter/taw – boulder
Clear with colored “wheel” inside – cat’s-eye
Clear colored marbles – peeries (probably a corruption of pure)
Steel or metal marbles – steelies
White with color patterns – aggie
Plastic Containers (6-8 inch round)
Use the tops of the plastic whipped topping containers as flying discs. Decorate with paint or permanent markers.