There are so many good reasons to give homemade gifts this holiday season. Here are just a few:
We're all looking for ways to save a bit where we can.
Preschoolers enjoy making things to give to friends and family, and working on gifts is a great way to occupy winter afternoons and spend time together.
Thoughtful homemade gifts are especially touching to those who receive them.
Homemade gifts teach children that the holidays are not just about new toys but also coming together and gestures of affection.
Crafts from the Savvy Activities Encyclopedia are easily made with little ones. All they really take a bit of planning ahead and a few inexpensive or recycled craft supplies. Enjoy the process and your little one is sure to as well!
Playful Picture Frames
DIY: Seashell Picture Frame Create a homemade seashell picture frame to remember your precious memories at the beach. Collect a variety of seashells from your summer vacation at the beach, and then glue them onto a simple frame for decoration. (For more detail, see here.)
Making a Picture Frame Cut out one rectangle-shaped piece of cardboard to at least 5" by 7". Cut out another frame-shaped piece of cardboard to the same dimensions. Staple three of the outer edges together so that a 4" by 6" photo can fit inside. Get out the glue, glitter, and paints, and let your little one decorate it. Put in a photo of the artist. This project makes a great grandparent gift. (For more detail, see here.)
Frame It Up! Using four popsicle sticks, glue the ends together to form a square. Using decorative craft items such as buttons, sequins, pom-poms, or self-adhesive foam stickers, your child can decorate all around the popsicle frame. Add your latest favorite picture and you have a customized frame! I've hung these frames with ribbon or added magnets to put them on the fridge. They make great, inexpensive gifts for the holidays. (For more detail, see here; and for a more elaborate version of a popsicle stick frame, see here.)
Bubbly Bath Gifts
Make Your Own Soap Making your own soap is a fun activity with the kids and can also make for great gifts. Note: It's a good idea to rub any toys you put into the soap with rubbing alcohol beforehand. Melt glycerin soap (found at any craft store) in a microwave safe bowl. Put a few drops of food coloring into the melted glycerin, if you want to make colored soap. Pour the glycerin into molds -- the silicone cupcake molds are a great choice. Drop in any small toys, like little plastic dinosaurs or dolls. Let cool, and then take the soap out. (For more detail, see here.)
Homemade Bubble Bath If you're looking for a great homemade gift you can make with the kids, try making bubble bath. You will probably have everything you need already in the house. To get started, pour 1/2 cup clear or light-colored shampoo and 3/4 cup water into a medium bowl and combine with a spoon. Then add 1/4 teaspoon salt and wait until the mixture thickens. Next, sprinkle a few drops of food coloring onto a plate. Take a toothpick and dip it into the food coloring, using it to slowly add food coloring to the shampoo mixture. Keep adding until you've achieved a color you like. Pour into a wide-mouthed jar and decorate by sticking on a pretty label. If you want to get really elaborate, you can cover the lid with a scrap of cloth and tie a ribbon around the top. (For more detail, see here.)
Fun & Fancy Pencil Holder Begin by covering a clean, empty soup can with felt; be sure that the felt goes over the top edge, if it's sharp. Next, help your child to cut out fun shapes from different colors of felt. Glue the shapes on the can in any design, and finish off the project with ribbon at the top and bottom of the can. This turns out to be a beautiful pencil holder. (For more detail, see here.)
Make a Pencil Holder Cover your workspace with newspaper. Using paintbrushes, let your child help you to coat the outside of a clean, dry aluminum can with tacky craft glue, such as Aleene's. Have your child roll the can in small dry pasta noodles, or apply larger dry noodles one at a time. Allow this to dry completely, probably 1-2 hours or longer. Then paint! Makes a great and functional gift. (For more detail, see here.)
For a Reader
Creating Your Own Bookmarks Make your own bookmarks using card stock. Cut a sheet of card stock into rectangles. Have your child color or paint them. You can also cut out shapes to glue to the bookmark or glue on small leaves. Then cover the bookmark with clear contact paper. The bookmarks make great gifts and also are great for kids who are starting to read chapter books. (For more detail, see here.)
From Kid to Kid
Create Your Own Puzzle Have your child draw or paint a picture. Once the picture is done, glue the picture onto a piece of cardboard and then cut it into 'puzzle' pieces. Your child will delight in seeing his or her work of art turned into a puzzle and will have a ton of fun putting it back together. Or, if you have two children, you can have them create puzzles for each other! (For more detail, see here.)
At the Table
Personalizing Placemats With your child, cut out pictures from magazines of your child's favorite things - foods, toys, colors, etc. Give your child a glue stick and then help your child paste pictures onto a large sheet of construction paper, card stock, or poster board. Laminate your finished product and voila! - your very own customized placemat. A few other options: * Instead of using magazine pictures, use your favorite family photos from the past year. * Go with a theme: Use pictures of all foods, animals, letters, numbers, etc. * Make the placemat 2-sided: numbers on one side, letters on the other. You'll pay at least $5 for these kinds of placemats in most stores! (For more detail, see here.)
Art to Give
Don't forget the piles of your preschooler's artwork from the past year. Go through the collection together and pick out a few masterworks to give to deserving dear ones. Place in cheerful frames to make the best presents of all.
Wrap It All Up
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