Birthday girl
May 24, 2010 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Birthday Filter - What to get a 7 year old who is not a material girl- she loves books, music, her flute - so a book right? But I want something awesomely special- maybe where the occasion is more than the gift.
posted by the noob to Human Relations (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd vote heavily for Gnomes, if fantasy is up her alley, or even if not.. Amazing book that will definitely spark a child's imagination.
posted by mbatch at 4:43 AM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

When I turned 7 years old, I was given Matilda and I'm convinced that it radically changed my life and my outlook on the world. It was like a child-sized spiritual epiphany.

You could get her a book as well as an experience, of course. I don't know where you are, but many metropolitan centers have excellent kid-friendly ballet productions. There may also be some other kind of theater show soon, like a musical or narrative symphony. Often such shows will have extra intermissions, very detailed playbills, or other types of adjustments to make the show easier to sit back and enjoy without worrying about your kid getting confused or tired. It would probably be especially wonderful if you could see a production of The Magic Flute. I saw that when I was a bookish 7 year old at Wolf Trap. It made perfect sense to me, was totally gorgeous, and paced just right for my attention span at the time. This girl's interest in flutes, of course, would dovetail nicely.
posted by Mizu at 4:50 AM on May 24, 2010

Excellent suggestions, thanks heaps
posted by the noob at 5:10 AM on May 24, 2010

By "the occasion is more than the gift" - are you perhaps suggesting an event versus a present? One of the things I love to do for the kids in our life is to make a "special date" with them and do a day of just what they want to do. Perhaps in this case you could find a children's appropriate concert to go to together? Take her for a fancy meal, get an elaborate dessert, treat her to just time with you one on one? That's assuming you're in the same geographical area as her of course.

How about a balloon delivery or something like that? Our niece isn't a girly girl who needs "things" either but she was tickled when we had flowers sent to her once. Kids don't get "mail" of their own very often, let alone deliveries.
posted by librarianamy at 5:10 AM on May 24, 2010

Are you in a city with an orchestra? You could contact them to see if she could sit in on a rehearsal - sitting in the flute section. It would be an amazing experience. I did it once in college (just sitting in the back) during a Rite of Spring rehearsal - with a score in hand - and it was fantastic.
posted by kdern at 5:13 AM on May 24, 2010 [7 favorites]

Are you in the same city? Because I think you should take her out to lunch and shopping so she can pick out her own special book. You can help direct her to some suggestions, but hanging out with you is the real gift.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:39 AM on May 24, 2010

Voting strongly for kdern's suggestion, if it is an option. My daughter just turned 9 and has said for some time that she wants to be a marine biologist, so for her birthday we signed her up to shadow a seal trainer at the New England Aquarium for a couple of hours. It was fun, something she'll always remember, and totally NOT about stuff. If you don't have a nearby orchestra, maybe she has another interest that would lend itself to something similar.
posted by briank at 6:08 AM on May 24, 2010

How about a thing that allows her to create experiences. Maybe a musical toy or software like Hyperscore with which she can write her own music by drawing.

When my daughter was seven, we gave her a GPS device and a book about Geocaching and then took her on several goecaching adventures. She loved it and it was lots of family fun.
posted by cross_impact at 6:36 AM on May 24, 2010

When I was seven, my school librarian introduced me to the Little House on the Prairie series. It was a turning point in my life that began my lifelong love affair with reading.
posted by earlygrrl at 6:57 AM on May 24, 2010

How about a subscription to Cricket magazine? The publisher recommends it for age 9-14, but a smart 7-year-old will get a lot out of it (fiction, non-fiction, crafts, poetry, book reviews). And she gets the excitement of mail! just for her! every month!
posted by nonane at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2010

When I was 7, I thought the Pippi Longstocking and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were awesome. Music-wise, I like the above ideas about going to see the orchestra or sit in on a rehearsal. She may like some flute recordings; my favorite is Sir James Galway (nice samples here:
posted by iceprincess324 at 8:19 AM on May 24, 2010

How about a "crystal" flute? Back in the day, this bookish flute player longed for one with the kind of intensity normally reserved for ponies.

The flute should probably be in the key of C if she's only 7; this vendor seems to make only piccolos in C.
posted by stuck on an island at 10:39 AM on May 24, 2010

If you and she live in a city with an orchestral presence or even a college with a music department, call the orchestra / department head and ask what they can offer you to make a 7-year-old flautist's birthday really special. In my experience, musicians and musical administrators are often keenly interested in cultivating the tastes of young people. I know in the orchestra I sing with, this kind of phone call could often result in an invitation post-concert to come backstage and speak with the principal flautist for ten or fifteen minutes, for example.
posted by KathrynT at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2010

I'd way take her to a symphony geared towards kids or a fun musical. I'd never heard of that sitting in on a rehearsal thing, but that would have been sooooo cool.

I would not get a crystal flute, though. They're lovely and make you want to grabby-hands at them, but they are a pain to play. They require much more breath control than a normal flute, the embouchure is different, and the fingering is harder. It might not even be possible to play correctly with seven-year-old fingers. I say this as someone who saved up money in junior high to get one (the ivy one), and even after I became quite decent on normal (closed-hole) flute in high school, I never could get that thing to play right. It was super frustrating.
posted by wending my way at 3:04 PM on May 24, 2010

Well, this is at the top of my mind given Martin Gardner's recent passing...but I first opened up Annotated Alice at around that age, and that was the book that kept on giving. The definitive edition is beautiful, really a high quality book, well bound and the cover is, for lack of a better word, shiny, and if she's anything like me this is a tome that will make her head spin with possibilities for years to come.

If you don't get it for her now, please at least get it for her eventually.
posted by little light-giver at 10:51 PM on May 24, 2010

Since she's obviously very musical, how about sheet music? You could go by her favorite composer or perhaps the soundtrack to her favorite movie... I also love the idea of taking her to a musical.
posted by HStern at 1:05 AM on July 18, 2010

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