Birthday gift from college
January 21, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

My brother is turning 10 next week and I'm at a loss for what to get him. He got all the stuff he wanted for Christmas and I want to give him some sort of experience. In the past I took him out to lunch and to the German import store to buy candy and just hung out with him for an afternoon. Problem is, this year I'm off at college in another state. What's something we can do together without actually being together? My budget is about $20.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I bought my ten year old brother a small pocket knife for christmas and he loves it. A little Victorinox one, just a couple of blades and a nail file or something, it was about $20.

Now he can be an intrepid little explorer, carving sticks and generally looking for things to cut.
posted by twirlypen at 1:02 PM on January 21, 2008

Tour your college and tape it, full of your crazy friends narrating and telling things about you. Change outfits a few times off camera, include some kind of snow/water/rain depending on where you live. Have the 20 friends each name themselves, narrate part of the video and write the name on a dollar. So batty betty does 2 minutes of video and writes her name on the dollar, holds it up to the camera when she's done, waves, and then you go to the wacky wendy. Then send him the tape/video and the 20 dollar bills and a card.

For variety, you could throw in a cool professor or a local merchant whose shop you're always in.

Of course, you're going to need a camera/videocamera for this, but hopefully you have one or know someone who does.
posted by cashman at 1:10 PM on January 21, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: He's about the right age for The Dangerous Book for Boys, which will set you back $10 in paperback. Then you can spend the rest on rope, a notebook that can be used to send notes back and forth in invisible ink, a pack of cards, or whatever else from the book that strikes your fancy. You can do long distance collaboration on a number of projects, or have competitions where you both spend the weekend building something and comparing how well it does.
posted by hindmost at 1:14 PM on January 21, 2008

Computer game you could play against each other online. Civ II has this option, but Civ III doesn't unless you buy the expansion.

12 year old brother loves it.
posted by aetg at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2008

Expanding on the Civ idea -

Fun, quick turn-based strategy game the two of you can play whenever you want.
posted by mctsonic at 2:10 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Building on hindmost's idea: American Science & Surplus has good, cheap books about various means of creating entertaining stink and mess. Buy two and pick an experiment you both can do. Document the process and the results, and trade said documentation online. (Including a link here, if you'd be so kind.)
posted by dogrose at 2:20 PM on January 21, 2008

Just for info, the Dangerous Book isn't available in paperback, what Amazon has listed is a day-by-day calendar that isn't out 'til July.

You could also buy a pair of cheap disposable cameras (some of the drugstore chains include free developing with the camera) and send him one, the deal is that you both take them out for a weekend, then send each other the pictures, call him up, and talk about what's in each pic.
posted by pupdog at 3:23 PM on January 21, 2008

I like pupdog's camera idea.
posted by robcorr at 5:39 PM on January 21, 2008

Maybe something like, a copy of Golden Compass if he hasn't read it, and a ticket to see the film version, and then you read and see it too, and you guys get on the phone and hash it out afterward? I used to love dissecting films with my little sister over the phone, although we're a little closer in age.
posted by padraigin at 9:44 PM on January 21, 2008

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