This post is part of the 2017 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series and was written by Felice from Media Angels & Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.
My kids love crafts and there are many gifts kids can make. This is a winning combination. During the years, we’ve had some wonderful successes, and I’m excited to share some of our favorite gift making projects with you. You can use these ideas for a place to jump-start your own innovations. I try to use recyclables whenever possible or repurpose something I already have on hand. If you have a list of projects ahead of time you can plan on saving those items that you might otherwise throw out.
The way we begin is by having the children list out the people they want to make gifts for, and then we brainstorm what types of crafts we want to make. Once we have our two lists we mix and match. Who is getting that cute pillow, or who gets the amazing Christmas ornament, or wall hanging? I have a mix of boys and girls, and I will tell you my girls like the messy crafts, those that require getting your hands full of paint, while my boys preferred less mess yet loved spraying or gluing.
If you are on a budget repurposing or recycling is a great way to stretch your finances and turn your trash into a treasured gift. Here is my list of fun projects you can do with your kids.
Gifts Kids Can Make On A Budget
Easy Pillow Gifts:
Recycle pillows you no longer use or purchase a small rectangular pillow and white pillowcase. Those handy with needle and thread can make the pillows. Use white glue to paint letters on the pillowcase. Write the person’s name. A Scripture verse like John: 3:16, and use a paint brush with flat bristles. Be generous with the glue. Use fabric paint to cover the letters or use acrylics. One thing about acrylics they make the fabric stiff so water them down enough to make the paint thinner and not too thick. You can use wax paper in between the fabric of the pillowcase. Once dry, you can peel off the glue and you will have a wonderful art piece and gift!
Mason jars are my favorite for so many different reasons. One, I always seem to have some around the house. I can purchase them at the end of the canning season for really cheap, and you can do so many things with them. Be sure to allow the kids to decorate them. Here is a quick list but I’m sure it will spur you on to think of more.
- Create luminaries.
- Use textured snow and coat the bottom of the jar, add a candle, and decorate with ribbon.
- Use the jars to hold items, such as pencils. Use sharpies on the outside write, “Pencil Holder” and add colored pencils or wooden pencils
- Paint the outside, decorate with ribbon and use as a flower container.
- Fill with items such as sewing, office, or first aid and label and gift.
- Fill them with salt or sugar scrub, decorate and gift.
Ink Blot Art:
Take a sheet of thick paper, such as watercolor paper or heavyweight art paper. Fold it in half. Drizzle acrylic paint on either side of the paper fold. Use different colors. Fold the paper in half. This allows the paint to smear. Open and lie flat. My boys preferred using brushes, my girls liked to drizzle the paint. I used acrylics that come in bottles, instead of the more expensive tubes. Frame using old frames that the kids paint.
Photo Book Marks:
Photo bookmarks with a twist. Take a full-length picture from the front, then with the same outfit, take a full-length picture from the back. Print the photos out on a color printer and cut out. Use a rectangular sheet of paper and fold it in half (bookmark size). Glue one picture of the front and one the back. Optional, use a magnet on the bottom of the bookmark to keep both sides together on either side of the page.
Hand Print Dish:
Another of my favorites due to the keepsake nature of the gift. Take a piece of clay that you can air dry and have your child create a hand print. Carefully cut out the handprint using a toothpick or other object to score around the hand. Use water and a cloth or sponge to clean up the edges. Drape the “hand” over a small ball to shape the palm. Once the hand dries peel off the ball and the fingers should be upright and the palm, a cup to put items such as a ring or change. Have the child letter the palm with a Scripture verse, or “I Love ____” the recipient’s name. You can paint the hand, but I like to keep it white. Be sure to add the date and child's name to the back of the handprint.
Broken Crayon Art:
Another one of those treasures almost as good as the mason jar idea. You can use broken crayons in so many ways. You can create a letter of a first or last name and glue it in the letter shape on thick colored cardstock, then frame. You can peel the paper backing off of the crayons and do the same. You can glue crayons on an item such as a tin can and use as a pencil holder, or around the edges of a frame. You can use crayons to make a wreath and decorate. Use your imagination!
White Mug Art:
Use ceramic markers and let the kids draw to their heart's content. They can create mugs for family members, tutors or even their piano teacher or coach. Fill the mug with mints or candy and it makes a great festive holiday gift. I used cream colored mugs someone gifted me that I never used and allowed the children to make keepsake treasures.
Remember to allow the children creative reign. One year my boys used chunks of wood they found around the house (their dad is a builder), and they painted these and screwed in hoods to create a wonderful key rack. Another year my son salvaged a bench that a neighbor had thrown away because the boards had become rotten. He used boards and stained them. This bench lasted by my pond for years. Once you begin using recyclables or repurpose things around the house your children’s imaginations with explode with ideas. I've created a podcast on Vintage Homeschool Moms with more great ideas for gifts kids can make.
Felice Gerwitz is a teacher turned homeschool mom, who has graduated four children, her youngest will graduate this year. She has a love for all things arts and crafts. Felice is an author, publisher and founder of Media Angels, Inc. and the podcast network, the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. Felice and her husband Jeff call 2.5 acres in Ft. Myers, home.