Secret Santa gift exchanges provide plenty of fun and lessons for children. Consider the recipient's age and sex and then involve your child in purchasing by encouraging him to consider his friend while shopping. Later have him wrap the gift and write a kind note. Also, Secret Santa exchanges normally have budget guidelines with a larger gift at the final exchange, so plan the gifts ahead of time.
Academic gifts for kids include workbooks and pencils. Focus on fine motor skills with modeling clay, stamps and stickers. Give older kids a paint by numbers set or crayons and coloring book.
Choose from a wide variety of books: read-a-long, picture or singing books. Ask the teacher or the child's parents about particular interests and then find books on that subject. Give a magazine or workbook subscription for a year-long gift.
Give tokens to a local arcade and gift certificate for food. Buy gift cards to a museum, movie theater or indoor play park. Give a bath toy every day and finalize the exchange with fun body wash and bath markers. Appropriately rated DVDs or CDs are nice gifts, as is a T-shirt or goofy socks.
Place a watch or other jewelry in a jewelry box. A small purse or wallet, a superhero cape and pixie dust are gifts that spark young imaginations. Give a doll and accessories or a monster truck and accompanying race track pieces. For older kids lip gloss, paddle ball sets, yo-yo and jigsaw puzzles work well, as do board games or a box of dominoes.
Fill a small Santa bag or hat with miniature horses, army men or cars. Fill a stocking with holiday candy. Buy "lumps of coal" that are actually hard candies or gum.
When appropriate, give a plastic nativity scene or Christmas Bible story. Sugar cookies and candy canes are holiday favorites as well. Have your child build a Christmas stuffed toy at a specialty store, like a reindeer.
If time permits, order personalized items, like a monogrammed cup or book bag. Make the child feel important with his own stationary and pen set. Create a fill-in-the-blank book that tells a story about the recipient and his classmates. If the child has a beloved dog at home, have him make and bake treats for his pet.