Making and offering art for birthdays has become somewhat of a family tradition. I make paintings for everyone in my family either for their birthdays or for another special occasion. For me this is easier than coming up with a gift idea that is likable and useful. It is also very personal.
Last weekend I saw a friend putting together a kite out of scraps of paper. I never flew a kite as a child and I thought it was absolutely awesome. I also remember my father telling me that it was a popular activity when he was a kid because there were no toys and children would play a lot outside, improvising all sorts of contraptions.