This Bitty Box is one that is really meaningful to me. My niece’s 1st birthday is coming up. She is my first niece and the first cousin born for my children. And sadly, because I live in Germany and she lives in California, I’ve never gotten to snuggle her or hold her. But we FaceTime, and that’s not nothing.
Her parents (my husband’s brother and his wife) are pretty awesome people, and I knew I wanted to put together something they would enjoy their little one having. I remember how many well-intentioned gifts were “lost” or never got batteries when my children were young.
They have also traveled quite a bit in their lives. After high school they took a trip together to Europe (and they came back to visit us two years ago), and he has been to Peru twice while she did an exchange program in the UK. When you add this to the fact that I currently live in Germany and I grew up in South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos), and that Marguerite made a Book Box for Around the World in 80 Days, and I was inspired.
Books: The book I choose is one that Marguerite recommended to me based on her experience. I had a slew of choices for a global theme, so a personal recommendation really helped me to narrow it down. Around the World in 80 Tales is a compilation of 80 different folktales from around the world (obvious, no?). It groups the tales by continent and includes many I am unfamiliar with. I don’t think my brother and sister-in-law will mind reading this one aloud.
And because she should have a book that she can “read” herself, I’m also getting my niece this Global Babies board book. I’ll consider this her non-fiction pairing. My kids always liked to look at other baby faces when they had similar books.
Snacks and Field Trips: My niece is one, so I’m not including snacks in this box. I know she will be exposed to plenty of international food in her life because of who her family is. But maybe strong flavors aren’t the best for little digestive systems. As for field trips, alas, I’m not there to take her anywhere, though she is welcome to come see me in Europe!
Toys: Like our family, my brother-and-sister-in-law have chosen to live simply without much extra space. And I am really cognizant of that when we buy gifts for them. But… every child should have a globe because maps are so much fun. And since she is one-year old, she needs one she can bang and slobber on without danger of injury to herself or the world. This plush globe is perfect. Then she can literally love on the whole world. I have very found memories of having a similar globe as a child.
Music: How could I make an “around the world” box and not include a CD? Music is a great way to explore world cultures and what child doesn’t love a dance party? We’ve had several Putymayo CD’s and have always loved them. I chose Kid’s World Party because it is multi-lingual and 50 cents of every sale goes to Amnesty International to support their work for human rights.
Crafts: Bitty Boxes are small intentionally; too many things can be overwhelming to a small child. My niece isn’t old enough for coloring yet, but this would be the last thing I would include if doing this for an older toddler. This Flags of the world coloring book looks simple enough for a little one, just don’t expect them to want to use the official colors! My experience has taught me that kids rarely want to be bound by such stipulations.
I’ve not had this much fun coming up with a gift idea in a long time (I’m a terrible gift-giver and I know it). The best gifts truly ARE book gifts.