This year everyone is looking for ways to save during the holidays. Making gifts is a great way to save money and add a personal touch. Turn gift making into a family activity with crafty ideas for every age group.
Simple Crafts for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers
Since younger children are still developing their fine motor skills, they do best with projects that do not require lots of minute details or complicated tools. However, children ages 2-5 certainly have plenty of imagination and creativity.
- Coasters or Placemats: Children can create masterpieces on construction paper using crayons, colored pencils, or non-toxic paint. Laminate the artwork or coat with clear contact paper, for a waterproof finish. Little handprints are just the right size for coasters. Protect their clothes from paint with a kid-sized art smock.
- Holiday Soap: Grate Ivory soap finely, and mix in ¼ cup water and two drops of food coloring. Your child can fill a cookie cutter with the mix, pressing firmly. Let the mix dry overnight, and remove the cookie cutter mold in the morning.
- Winter Blossoms: Kids will love painting terra cotta pots in bright, whimsical colors. Inside each pot, they can plant a bulb for chrysanthemums, narcissus, or amaryllis. Contain their mess with a mess mat.
Ideas for Elementary School Students
By age 5 or 6, most children have the manual dexterity to use tools like scissors and glue with less supervision. School-age kids like more detailed projects that still allow them to get a little bit messy.
- Holiday Bookmarks: Kids can decorate construction paper, wall paper, or even foam using glitter, markers, and other art supplies. Children can make a tassel using yarn or embroidery thread and fasten it to a hole they punch at the top of the bookmark.
- Chocolate Dipping Spoons: Melt chocolate and have kids carefully dip high-quality plastic spoons into the pot, just to the bottom of the handle. Kids can decorate each spoon with multi-colored sprinkles or walnuts. Allow spoons to cool on wax paper before wrapping in cellophane.
- Thumbprint Cookies: Kids can mix up a batch of the family’s favorite sugar cookies, or use pre-made dough. After baking cookies for five minutes, remove from the oven and cool. Children put a thumbprint in the center of each cookie before placing the cookies back in the oven. Once the cookies are done, the thumbprint can be filled with a chocolate candy, raspberry jam, or even pumpkin pie filling.
Homemade holiday gifts are an excellent way to teach children the value of thoughtful, personalized gift giving. With some ingenuity and a little time, kids can create unforgettable holiday gifts that friends and family will love to receive.