Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Any parent or grandparent will tell you the best gift they have received is one that is handmade. A handmade gift is a joy for a child to make and a greater joy for parents or grandparents to receive.
There is no better time than now to help your children better understand the true meaning of giving and receiving gifts by letting them make presents for those they love.
Here are some suggestions for youngsters aged three and up. Younger children will need assistance and supervision. Help them to make gifts for mom and dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, and that special teacher your child talks about. They will love doing this and you will love watching their little faces as they become more and more excited, once they get the hang it.
Gift Making for Ages 3 and Up
1. Make a pretty Vase or candleholder.
Supplies: Baby jars or other food jars, pretty wrapping tissue paper, white glue, water, paint brush.
Directions: First, let kids tear up pretty floral, pastel, holiday-themed or other tissue paper into small pieces. Toddlers will especially love this activity! Then, dilute white glue with water. Let kids "paint" glue on baby food or other jars. Press pieces of tissue paper onto jar, using your fingers and paint brush to smooth all edges with glue. Larger jars can be vases; small baby food jars can hold votive candles. Let the jars dry and add a small votive candle if desired.
2. Make a chunky necklace or bracelet.
Supplies: String or thick thread, transparent tape, large wood or plastic beads, uncooked spaghetti rings or other things with holes.
Directions: Make the string easier to thread by twisting a piece of transparent tape on the end. Help kids string the beads or other items onto the string. Toddlers can do this if you provide items with large holes. Older kids can manipulate smaller objects. Encourage elementary kids to make patterns based on color or style ("red-blue-red-blue" or "heart-diamond-square-heart-diamond-square.")
3. Make mommy or daddy 'Handy Little Helper' coupons.
Supplies: Paper, markers, scissors, old magazines.
Directions: Ask the children to think of something they can do to help mommy or daddy around the house. They can cut pictures from the magazine and paste them on paper strips to make coupons. For instance, "I will dry the dishes" can have a cup, saucer or dish detergent on the coupon.
Gift Making for Ages 5 and Up
Write a Story About Mom, Dad, Grandparent, Teacher, etc.
Supplies: Paper to write on; construction paper or stiff paper for covers; markers, pencils, crayons, paints, stapler.
Directions: Have each kid write a one-page story about a special time with their parent or other person. Kids who are younger than about 6 can narrate the story for an adult to write. Young teens can write short stories or poetry. Have the kids draw a picture or design other artwork to go with it. Staple the pages together with a cover.
Help children to make gift tags wrap their gifts in pretty paper for gift giving.