Tag Archives: Christmas

Go Ahead, Parents. Encourage Regifting!



Hello Inksters,

Did you know that December 22nd is National Regifting Day?

Yes, that’s a thing.

In the United States, regifting is usually discouraged, poo-pooed. But I say, why not regift?

Each year, my children give each other presents. Usually, we would give them a few dollars and take them to a favorite local thrift store to shop for each other. Oh the treasures they would find — great puzzles or board games (sometimes with all the pieces), gently used soccer jerseys, and durable action figures. They were all items enjoyed by other children and would be enjoyed again in our house.

Now, I know, technically that is not regifting. This year, though, I’ve asked the kids instead to regift to each other. We save outgrown clothes, aged-out book series and toys to pass along to the next child in line — a sibling, cousin, or friend — when they are ready. So they are visiting our basement bins to find treasures that were loved by them to gift intentionally to their siblings.

Books are particularly wonderful items to regift. A story, after all, is a gift that keeps on giving! Our oldest sifted through her early chapter books, spoke with wistful glee as she rediscovered Ursula Le Guin’s Catwings series (which she’ll give to her youngest brother) and 100 Cupboards (for her middle brother).

Our youngest loves rocks and picked one from his collection to give to his sister. With it, he is giving her his book of meditations we bought for him a few years ago: A Handful of Quiet.

Toys are great regifts, too. Our middle child found his k’nex bridge building kit that he’d used for a science fair project a few years ago that he now wants to give to his little brother who is now very interested in learning about how bridges work. He loved — and still does love — building and is excited to play with this kit with his brother.

Hand-me-down dress-up and everyday clothes are being handed down as gifts this Christmas, too.

Best part of this for parents? Of course, we spend a little less money and we bring things in storage — items in very good condition — back in useful circulation. It is certainly a more “green” practice. Another perk: while the kids were looking through bins, they also noted what they still want to hold on to and what they’d like to let go of, so we have a healthy pile of items in great condition to donate to people who can make use of and memories from them.

But the most important part? We get to listen as our children rediscover items they made memories around — and to hear them want to give the item to their siblings not just to give something, but because they want a person they love to also experience a similar joy as they use the item, or rediscover the story, too. And you actually get to learn what memories stick for them.

So go ahead and regift. It can be its own kind of inkspiration.

A fun additional inkspiration: Write a note to the recipient of the gift explaining why you wanted them to have this particular item.

Happy Holidays!


Window Inkspiration


images (1)

Hello Inksters!

Take a moment and look out your window. Really! Look out the window at the world just beyond your door. What do you see? I see snow falling on an already snow-covered ground. Winter fun! Use whatever you see outside as inkspiration. Here are some ideas:



Christmas Inkspiration

  • Write a letter to Santa alerting him to the weather in your area. He may appreciate your extra help as he makes final plans for his trip!

Kwanzaa Inkspiration

  • Kuumba, the KiSwahili word for creativity, is one of the Seven principles of Kwanzaa. Use this inkspiration to practice and reflect on Kuumba — today, during Kwanzaa, and every day!

Anytime Inkspiration

  • Use what you see through your window as a setting for a story.
  • Use the scene to remember. When, for example, was the last time you played in the snow? Write about it!
  • Notice something happening? Write the next step in the action — or the step before!
  • Write an explanation. For example, How does it snow? Write a scientific or mythical explanation.
  • Describe and draw a creature that could live in this scene.
  • Pick a spot to observe throughout the day. Perhaps a particular square in your window pane? Revisit your window throughout the day. Keep track in your journal of the changes you see in a small area.
  • If you can, get outside and observe your small area up close. Use all of your senses to describe the spot. If you can’t get outside, imagine how the spot sounds, feels, smells, tastes.

Nothing sparking your inkspiration outside your own window? Then write about this view outside the windows of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana:


Happy Creating! Be sure to share what you create!

A Winter Inkspiration


Hello Inksters! Merry Christmas and Happy Winter!

As another way to celebrate the magic of the holiday, find some time today to write about this imaginative painting by artist Natalie del Villar. What do you notice? What is happening in the different spaces pictured here? What is the girl in the painting making?

Happy Creating!


Wish Upon a Holiday Star


Hello Inksters!

Happy Holidays! ‘Tis the season to make wish lists of all those things you want and all those experiences you want to have.

But, what if we take that tradition of gift getting and give it a different shape?

Enter today’s Inkstart: the Holiday Wish Star.

  • Grab paper, pencils, pens, markers, stickers…
  • Draw a large star on a piece of paper.
  • At the center of the star, write, “I wish for…” or “I hope for…”
  • In each point of the star, write your wish or hope for a specific person or place. Here, Logan wished gifts for herself, her grandmother, good friends, for her neighborhood, and for the world. Wyatt used one point for himself, one for his brother and sister, one for his friend, Gracie, one for the place he lives in, and one for the world.
  • Decorate your stars if you wish.
  • The idea is to fill each point in as you think about a particular person or place or program that is important to you. You get one point, and the other points invite you to wish, hope, and plan for giving to others.

It’s not too late to create a star for Christmas. Think about wishes and hopes that you can’t buy, but that you can give just by spending time with someone. Perhaps you wish for someone to be happy — maybe you’ll share your smile or a funny story with them. Maybe you love music and so your gift would be to sing songs with your family during your holiday time together.

Perhaps you’ll decide to look through your Inkster Notebook and find something you’ve written to give to someone special.

Use these stars for New Year’s, too. Have everyone you are with create stars full of wishes or hopes for the New Year.

Be sure to share your stars here with us by commenting on this post.

Happy Wishing and Writing!

thINK thursday: Writing Gifts for Inksters


Welcome to another thINK thursday! We’re in gift giving season once more. This holiday season, help encourage your Inkster to keep writing where he or she is with these gift suggestions (by the way, no sponsorship here. We really just like these products!):

Writing Games and Kits


  1. Rory’s Story Cubes: These were a big hit at our Inktopia Kids Writing Camps the past two summers, and a big hit at home. Buy all three sets: Original, Actions, and Voyages to triple the writing inkspiration. They are a great size for stocking stuffers, too.
  2. Storymatic Kids: “Six gazillion stories in one little box.” What’s not to like?
  3. Lulu Jr. My Comic Book: Create your own comic book and then have it professionally printed! A great way to combine writing and illustrating.

Journals and Journaling


  1. Journal in a Jar: Inktopia Kids fills a jar with unique prompts and ideas for writing. Inksters can decorate their jars and make them their own. And you can request special themes (Frozen or Minecraft prompts anyone?). See our other Write Where You Are Writing Kits for more gift ideas — including card trading writing kits, Writers House kit, Letter Box, and Build-a-Book. Email inktopiakids@gmail.com for more information and purchasing.
  2. Wreck this Journal: My son was sold on the name of this journal alone, designed by Keri Smith. Then he opened the journal and grew very excited with every page that invites creative messiness.
  3. Rip the Page: Karen Benke has created a book brimming with creative invitations for young Inksters to write. This book is a great resource for grown-ups (parents and teachers) who are looking for ways to enhance their own writing classrooms or writing lives.

For the Smallest Inksters


  1. Alex Toys ABC Keepsake Book: A wonderful kit to help support letter recognition and to capture your little Inksters earliest experiences with written words.
  2. Melissa and Doug Stamp a Scene Farm Set: Children are storytellers, even before they begin to write and read. This scenic stamp collection will help little Inksters create stamped images that will prompt oral storytelling. There are different sets. We like the Farm Scenes best.

Writing DIY Style


  1. DIY Mail Center: This Mail Center from Busy Bees Kids Crafts will help you create another literacy rich play option for your Inkster.
  2. Sensory Writing Options: Early writers will love running their little fingers through sand, salt, and over gel surfaces as they practice writing with these easy DIY gifts.

Happy Shopping!

Inkling Monday: What is Your Gift to the World?



Dear Inksters,

Welcome to this Week’s Inkling Monday — the first one in December!

While Thanksgiving is connected with sharing what we are grateful and thankful for, December tends to be a month when we think about giving gifts. I think about gift giving a lot in December because there are a lot of December birthdays in my family and because we celebrate Christmas. Others think about gifts as part of their Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Boxing Day. But, I am usually thinking about which gift to give a particular relative or friend.

Today’s Inkling asks you to think in larger ways about gift giving. Here’s the question:

If you could give a gift to the world, what would it be?

You can think of the world as the entire world. Or your neighborhood. Or your town. Or your school community. Or any community you are a part of.

  • Write about your gift in your Writing Journal. What would you give? Why do you choose to give that gift?
  • Design a sign that advertises or shares with others your gift. What materials would you use? What colors would you write in? What tools would you use to write your message — crayons, pencil, pen, paint, stickers, magazine cut-outs?

Remember to share your signs and ideas right here on Inktopia Kids!

Happy Writing! Happy Giving!