I always encourage my children to make gifts to give their grandparents and other extended family members for Christmas. My children enjoy making them, and other family members enjoy receiving them. Below are some of the gifts we made at our house this year.
Necklaces (recommended for children 4+)
These are very simple and inexpensive to make. Just purchase some large metal washers (from any store that sells home-improvement items), some inexpensive nail polish, and some narrow ribbon. Paint the metal washers with nail polish, and apply a clear top-coat once the paint dries. Cut an eighteen-inch piece of ribbon and thread it through.
Wooden Spoons (recommended for children 3+)
Purchase some wooden spoons. Wrap painter’s tape around each spoon, halfway up the handle. Allow young artists to paint a design on the handle with acrylic paint. (You can use washable tempera paints as well.) Allow the spoons to dry completely before removing the tape, and then cover the painted area with a nontoxic sealant.
Homemade Ornaments (recommended for children 2+)
This one was a little more time-consuming, but still inexpensive and fun. Start by making the dough (recipe below). I did this part during nap time since it involves constantly stirring a mixture on the stove.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup water
Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan (mixture will be thin). Heat on medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens enough to form a ball. Remove from heat and cover the pan with a wet paper towel to cool.
After the dough has cooled off, knead it several times and roll it into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Allow children to use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Young children may also enjoy molding the dough into their own shapes (my toddler did!). Place the shapes onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Use a drinking straw to cut out circles at the top. Let the ornaments air-dry overnight to harden, or bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 250 degrees.
These ornaments are a pure-white color, especially if you allow them to air dry. (Baking them in the oven may result in backs that are slightly browned). You can thread ribbon through them, and give them away as-is. Or you can decorate them with paint, glitter, and beads like my kindergartner did.
Did you make Christmas gifts with your family or class this year? Tell me about it in a comment.