I'd like to take some little token of appreciation while we are in Barcelona and in Southern France for those who are helpful and for children. I have post cards from my area but wonder what else would please them. Any suggestions?
Key chains. Or money from each country. Different coins and paper money often bring smiles to children's faces.
Stickers of American cartoons are good for kids. They will like them. They don't cost much, weight much or take up much room in your luggage/daypack.
Kids like bubblegum, especially the Double Bubble variety! You could buy the big pack that comes individually wrapped from Costco. Just be sure to ask Mom or Dad just incase of some unknown allergy.
Those are all great ideas but the problem is so many things in the stores for french kids are the same things in our stores. And those include most of the big name brand items like Disney, Thomas, My Little Pony and Garfield etc... Also most American candy is available especially in the South. For candy I would only bring stuff that is very local as something that is unique.
I am assuming that you know these kids (it would be a bit out of place to hand out gifts to strange kids) and depending on the ages and interests picture/coloring books that have to do with regional flora/fauna. Or in your case something with a Native American design, bookmarks, etc... Also I found bandanas (classic American design) to be well liked. Go down to your local National Park gift store to find some unique items.
Something popular I bring for adults (both to Europe and the U.S.) are canvas or those reusable durable shopping bags. In Europe they have to provide their own bags for groceries. So it usable and unique at the same time.
Other things that have been well recieved are recipes (you don't need to translate them) of local or "American" dishes, and Crafty Christmas ornaments, as those are hard to find.
Hi Becky--I took plastic cowboys and buffalo for our friends' little boy when we visited them in Belgium. You want something uniquely American since most everything we have here is also available there, including our brands of candy. Many Europeans are intrigued by the Great Plains and Grand Canyon when they think of the U.S. because those are areas unlike anything they have in Europe. Consider something Arizonan.