Monday, January 29, 2018

At-Home Winter Activities for Kids – Without Devices!

During the winter months, it’s difficult to find activities to keep the kids busy, learning, and having fun without sending them to devices or screens. For something new you can do at home this winter, try these indoor and outdoor activities.

1. Snow Isn’t Just for Snowmen

If you’re looking longingly out your window and wishing for outdoor activities, you could build two snow forts for an epic snow battle, paint the snow using an emptied ketchup bottles and dyed water, or put on a backyard Winter Olympics, complete with long (snow) jump, best snow angel, or a backyard luge (sledding).

2. Go for a Winter Walk

The next time it’s snowing, bundle up and go for a stroll. Notice how quiet it gets when it snows, catch snowflakes on your tongue, and compare the shapes and sizes of the flakes that fall into your hands. It’s a good time to admire nature’s beauty while getting some fresh air. If there’s no snow in your area, kids can enjoy finding nature’s treasures and examining how nature changes during the cold months.

3. Read Your Favorite Children’s Book

Remember your favorite children’s book—perhaps The Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Prince, Where the Red Fern Grows, or Hatchet? Pull it out or get it from the library, and read a chapter or two aloud each night. Older kids can take turns reading a page or a chapter as well to practice their skills.

4. Have a Family Talent Show

Requirement: everyone has to perform! Choose a talent – from playing an instrument to telling bad jokes – and take turns showing off in the performance to remember! You can even take the time earlier in the day to create your own trophies for the winners.

5. Indoor Blanket Forts

Does this ever get old for kids? Help the kids hang up the biggest blankets you can find, and climb in with them! Read stories, pretend you are outdoor scouts in your tents, or just snuggle and tell stories.

6. Put on a Birthday Party—for Your Favorite Stuffed Animal

It’s someone’s birthday! Young kids will adore the chance to celebrate a favorite fuzzy friend. They can decorate with streamers, make a sign, wrap up a “gift” for them, and make them a birthday card. It’s up to you to decide if there’s a cake!

7. Have a Snack Taste Test

This activity is good for young kids to tweens and everyone in between. Set up an anonymous taste test of your favorite snacks and foods and let everyone rate their favorites. It’s a chance to talk about taste, texture, put a name to flavors, and discuss respecting others’ opinions. Plus, you may discover your family has a strong preference for one brand or snack over another. Set out foods like applesauce, noodles, condiments, bread, or cookies. Older kids can take part by being the organizers and may enjoy being on the inside track of the activity.

As the saying goes, “The days are long but the years are fast.” Enjoy these long days of winter, for the years with children go all too fast.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How To Get Organized After The Holidays

The holidays are a joyous time. All of that prep work and celebrating during the holidays brings joy and warm feelings to families all over the country.

Once they’re over, however, you might feel a little differently about the holidays. Remembering the organization and budgeting it takes to get your family back on track can bring feelings of a very different kind.

Getting back on track isn’t impossible, however. Follow these top tips for how to get organized after the holidays.

1. Clean out Your Refrigerator

After the holiday fun, you may have a lot of leftovers in your fridge. Not only do leftovers take up extra space in your fridge, holiday leftovers take the place of healthier foods. Instead of letting them take up space or ingesting the extra calories, take the time to clean out your refrigerator.

2. Ditch the Sweets.

They’re everywhere during the holidays so this one will be difficult to do, especially for
the kids. Although they (and maybe even you) may protest ditching them, your teeth and
health will thank you later.

You don’t need to throw spare sweets away. You could bring them to the office to share with coworkers. Another option is to teach your kids about community giving by creating care packages for those in need. 

3. Get Back on Your Exercise Routine

You might not have had time to exercise during the holidays. The season keeps many of us busy helping with school events and planning and hosting your own holiday parties. Now that the holidays are over, start again by making small goals, then gradually increase your goal until you’re back to your pre-holiday workout routine. Get your family involved by visiting local rec centers or gyms to play family-oriented games together.

4. Get Plenty of Sleep

With most holidays, you may begin to lose sleep. You and your family have so much fun, you don’t follow your normal bedtime routine. Your kids may protest at first, but getting everyone on the same bedtime routine as soon as the holidays are over will benefit everyone, including yourself.

Now that you have these great tips to get organized, you and your family will feel like your pre-holiday-selves in now time.

When it comes time to fundraise for your school or prepare spring events, contact Gifts ‘N Things. We have everything to keep you organized, no matter the season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Simple Ways to Get Your Kids Involved in Holiday Gift-Giving

We want our kids to be generous, kind people. At this time of year, we peek around the mountains of holiday gifts and shout: “The joy is in the giving! It’s not just about getting presents!”

During a time when the gifts and treats abound, let’s not forget to turn the tables and encourage kids to participate in their own gift-giving. Kids are naturally generous, so enjoy these ways to incorporate children into the joy of giving this year.

1. Kid-friendly Shopping

With a few dollars in their pocket, children thoroughly enjoy picking out thoughtful gifts for those they love. Whether they’ve earned it themselves or parents give them some money to spend, it can be a novelty that allows them to finally give back. Organizing one of our Lil’ Shopper’s Shoppes puts everything in one place and fundraises for your school at the same time! Gifts are affordable for children to buy (down to $1) and the experience is geared toward kids; the whole process is easy to set up and operate. View some of our gifts and find out more!

2. Homemade Treasures

From handprints in clay, to decorated mugs, to special drawings, sometimes the arts and crafts are the most treasured gifts (and some of the only ones kept for posterity). Take an afternoon and try these brilliant crafts your kids can create as gifts.

3. Photo Gifts and Ornaments

Kids and adults alike love to see how kids change and grow from year to year. Begin a holiday tradition that captures that year’s memories. Photo calendars and photo books are a collection of the year’s special moments. Kids can choose the photos and even lay them out with some of the easier-to-use services. Fill out a funny end-of-year survey to capture what makes them tick. Or give the gift of annual ornaments; your family can collect them year after year and look back with fond memories each time they trim the tree.

4. Home-baked Treats

We dare you to show us a Grandpa who wouldn’t love a tin of homemade cookies! Get baking with your kids with easy recipes, then wrap up some of your treats in pretty boxes or tins for a yummy gift. Just be sure to do your baking right before the gift will be opened to ensure freshness.

5. Experiences

Part of making the holidays (and childhood) special is by creating lasting memories. Doing special activities with loved ones can be a memory-making gift – one that could easily turn into a tradition. Try ideas like a Sled-a-thon, where you test out all the nearby sledding hills, go to see A Christmas Carol on stage, plan a fancy tea party complete with gloves and petits-fours, or just sit back and let the kids decide!

From shopping for the perfect gift at a Lil’ Shopper’s Shoppe to creating a homemade masterpiece, kids will not only enjoy giving gifts, they will get to cultivate their natural generosity and holiday spirit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Holiday Shop Success Made Simple with Help from Gifts ‘N Things

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the mere concept of planning a Holiday Shop for your school. There’s a lot that goes into a successful, well-run Holiday Shop : choosing gifts that are high-quality and popular, ordering the right amount of inventory, pricing it with a margin that’s not too low or too high, setting up the shop with tables, decoration, and more.

Luckily, that’s why we exist: we make our programs EASY and enjoyable for you! With over 40 years of experience, we know what goes into successful school fundraising and we’ve made it as simple as possible. Here’s how:

  • Well-priced, high quality gifts. 85% of our items are under $5.00, making our gifts ideal for school-aged shoppers. We even offer suggested retails at different profit levels with our handy price coding system - no more guesswork! Best of all, all of our merchandise is on consignment so you only pay for what you sell.
  • Easy setup, with our FREE supplies. We include everything you need to run and market your holiday shop, at no cost to your school. From hallway posters, to parent letters, budget envelopes, tablecloth to pre-priced tent cards for each item - it’s all included in your kit. New this year, we're offering an optional 37-piece decoration kit that includes aprons, hats and more to make your shop more festive!
  • Stress-free management through technology! We build tools specifically to make the organizer’s life easier. Our Cash Register App lets you easily check students out, including the ability to process credit cards. Our Chairperson Website is personalized specifically for you, and allows you to track materials, re-order inventory as needed, print support materials, and more.

Learn more about how we make school fundraising and holiday shops EASY by requesting your free info kit today, or download our brochure for more information.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Hidden Power of Smencils

Smencils are one of our most successful fundraising products! They are pencils that have a scent. There are many reasons to choose smencils instead of regular pencils this school year! Scent is proven to affect the user's mood and they are made from recycled material that is better for the Earth.

What are Smencils Made From?

When the idea of scented pencils came about in 2000, it proved difficult to scent wood. So, unlike regular pencils that are formed from trees, smencils are created with recycled newspaper. 172,000 Smencils can be made from just 430 newspapers! In this way, smencils are more responsible for the environment.

Besides smencils, we also offer smens! Smencils and smens are very fun products for kids to use at school and collect or trade with their friends. Once your child has one, they will certainly want more!

The Power of Scent
Smencils’ goal is not just to make writing fun, it is also to affect the user with the power of scent! Your sense of smell can trigger memories, make you hungry, and even boost your mood! Smencils release a scent that can be your child's favorite smell or remind them of a family vacation. It is said lemon can help a person feel more alert and focused. Try a lemon smencil for your student!

Another trick to try with your smencils is studying with one particular scent, say strawberry. Then when test time comes, use the same strawberry smencil. The words and facts you have studied will be more easily remembered when you harness the power of scent!

If you or your school is interested in selling smencils and are excited to get your hands on this popular product, the best distributor is Gifts 'N Things. We offer the absolute LOWEST price on the internet plus free freight! However, seasonal products sell out fast, so order early because there is a limited supply! VISIT or CALL: (800) 468-7511 today!

Monday, August 14, 2017

When is the Best Time to Start Your Fundraiser?

Pulling off a successful fundraiser involves so many decisions. You have to consider who your audience is, what kind of fundraiser to host, what the margins will be, how long you have to fundraise, and so many other things! One of the most important factors to consider, though, is the time of year you decide to hold your fundraiser.

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Picking the Right Season

There are pros and cons to running a fundraiser in any “season” of the year. Weather, competing events, and donor attitudes are all key elements. Check out this list and this fun infographic for a brief comparison of spring, summer, fall, and winter fundraising times.

December boasts the highest giving month of the year, but weather can be troublesome in some areas. Spring and summer are usually delightful opportunities for outdoor fundraisers, but competition can be stiff and vacations take away many donors.

Another topic to consider when choosing the time of year will be whether your organizers have ample time to lead and market your fundraiser appropriately. For example, the holiday season between November-December may mean your main participants are very overwhelmed. After all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

When to Begin Planning

Planning is perhaps the only thing more important than when you host your fundraiser. Beginning to plan well enough in advance is the ticket to success. With summer vacation wrapping up soon and school starting just around the corner, the time to start planning your fundraiser is NOW - even if you won’t be hosting it until the winter or spring. You’ll be able to work on planning details here and there around your busy schedule over several months, rather than trying to throw it together crash-course style in a couple weeks. We all know, regardless of the season, life will always feel busy! Having a great plan in place is sure to help you reach your fundraising goals.

When it comes down to the best seasons to promote a fundraiser, our picks are simple:

  • Product Fundraising - Start in September or October. These fundraisers correlate best right after the "Back to School" season.
  • Holiday Shop - Between Thanksgiving and the Holiday break. These fundraisers can be done earlier in the school year, but this is the time that people have the holiday season on their mind. 
  • Thons - Spring is overwhelmingly the best time. Summer thons work well, too, but your kids will be out of school and will have a disadvantage in communication. Spring is also the time when people are most excited about being outdoors and most enthusiastic about joining a thon.

Planning can seem rather daunting and overwhelming, especially if you have a small group doing the work of organizing or if you’re doing it alone! Why not let Gifts ’N Things do what we do best? We’re professional fundraisers and we can help ensure planning is fun and stress-free for you! Click here to get your FREE informational kit so you can start your fundraiser off on the right foot, no matter the time of year.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Social Media Fundraising Made Easy

Creating a Facebook Event Page is a great way to get everyone connected, and it’s a lot easier than you may think. Below is a guide on how to set up your Facebook event and make it successful.

First, let’s start with the steps to take to create and invite people to your event.

Creating an Event

  1. Click Events in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Create Event in the top right.
  3. Click to choose between a private or public event. If you're creating a public event, you can set the event's host as yourself or a page you manage. You're not able to change the privacy settings once you've created the event.
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location and time. 
  5. Click Create. You'll be taken to your event where you can invite guests, upload photos, share posts and edit event details.

Inviting People to Your Event

If you're a host of an event, you can invite your friends. Event creators are automatically listed as hosts. As an event host, you can choose different privacy settings for who can see, join or invite guests to your event.
  1. Go to the event
  2. Click “Invite” in the top right, below the photo
  3. Search for and select friends to invite and then click “Send Invites”

Tip: Adding more hosts to the page is a great way for your friends to share the event with their friends and family.

What type of information should you add to the event?

You’ll want to add information that is light but informative and also grabs attention. If you are hosting a physical event or sale somewhere, give your guests directions and information about it. Invite friends to volunteer, if needed. Add plenty of pictures and use hashtags when posting them.



Creating a Hashtag

Using a hashtag for an event is a great way for people to share photos and stay connected! By using a hashtag in front of a word (also commonly known as a pound symbol), it creates a clickable link. By clicking on the link, you’ll see a feed of public posts that include that hashtag. To get your event hashtag trending, use it in all photos and posts so event members can join the talk as well!

Getting your Facebook friends involved in your fundraising efforts is a great way to promote your event. It’s also a quick and easy way to update everyone on special dates, deliveries, and more. Get people excited about your next Gifts 'N Things fundraiser with Facebook events. You’ll get the best results your organization, school, or group has ever had!