Friday, December 7, 2012

10 Easy Gifts Kids Can Make For Christmas

Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations.

The holiday season has arrived. Parents and teachers everywhere are frantically searching the internet (especially Pinterest!) for fun and easy gift ideas that kids can make for little to no money. Today I'm sharing ten easy ideas that kids can make as simple gifts for the adults in their lives. 

1. Cheerio Wreath
     Simply thread Cheerios or any other "O" shaped cereal onto a glittery pipe cleaner and twist into a wreath shape. Easy for even the youngest tots, and great fine motor practice is the bonus!

2. Gift Box with Poem
       Have your child wrap a small gift box and attach the poem below. One year we wrapped the small pieces of foam left underneath the furniture by the carpet cleaners! It really doesn't matter, since the present is intended to stay unopened. Also a great fine motor exercise for little hands!

I took an ordinary box 
As empty as can be I filled it with a special gift 
And wrapped it carefully
But please don't ever open it 
Just leave the ribbon tied 
And hold it tightly near your heart 
Because my love for you is inside

3. Footprint Christmas Tree 
       Paint the child's foot green and print on cardstock. After it dries, add sequins or glitter to embellish. Print the child's name and date and laminate to help preserve the memory longer! If you like, you can add a poem on the back. 

4. Handprint Snowmen Ornament
     Paint the child's hand and place a solid colored glass ornament in their hand , fingers pointing upwards. After the handprint dries, add details to the snowmen and write the child's name and year on the back with a permanent or paint marker.

5. Recycled CD Snowman Ornament
     This one is so easy! Have the kids paint an old cd with white paint. Add googly eyes, sequins, pom poms or paint embellishments to make the snowman's face. Glue a hat shape cut from craft foam to the top!

6. Model Magic Magnet or Ornament
    I just LOVE Crayola Model Magic! It is so easy for kids to work with and is a great sensory experience for the kids! Younger kids can use cookie cutters to form a shape, older kids may choose to make their own free form shape. Another great feature of the Model Magic is that you can let the piece dry before painting OR you can paint right away! Either way works!!! Just about any paint will work, from craft paint to tempra to watercolors. The watercolors dry and look quite lovely! Let dry overnight. Add a sturdy stick on magnet to the back or poke a hole with the end of a paintbrush to thread a loop of ribbon.

7. Musical Angel Ornament
    I worked at a Christian preschool for several years and made quite a variety of angels over the years, but these Musical Angels that our afterschool kids made these this year to hang on our tree in the lobby is definitely one of my favorites! They photocopied sheet music their favorite Christmas Carols onto cardstock and cut out a large circle. they cut away a slice (about 1/4 of the circle) and folded into a cone shape and stapled it together. They added a small jingle bell to one end of a glittery pipe cleaner and threaded the other end up through the top of the cone. They added a wooden bead onto the pipe cleaner, then folded the rest of the pipe cleaner into a small halo. Any extra length was fashioned into an ornament hanger. They drew  a few cute, simple facial features onto the bead. The final touch was adding a bit of paper doily to fashion some wings. These are so cute and really easy ---this would make a perfect gift for any music lover!

8. Cute As A Button Christmas Tree Ornament
   One of our toddler classes have been making these this week. They took 3 green craft sticks (plain sticks can be easily colored with markers or paint) and glued together in a triangle shape. The tots glued on a few buttons and added "Cute As A Button" on the bottom with permanent marker. Each child's picture was glued to the back, facing outward through the tree shape. Simply, well, cute as a button!

9.  Reindeer Puzzle Piece Ornament
   I've seen oodles of ornaments and frames made with puzzle pieces over the years, but this one is just so simple that one of our toddler classes made them and they turned out beautifully! They glued 3 puzzle pieces together--one for the head and two for the antlers. They painted the "wrong" side with brown paint and added googly eyes and red glitter nose for the reindeer face. Add a little ribbon to hang with and this ornament is ready to hang! 

10.  Santa Suit Votive Candle
  I saw this on Pinterest this year and thought we would try this as our parent gift this year. I often teach siblings of kids from previous years, and I like to have the kids make something different than what a sibling made for the parent before. We took some small jelly jars and covered the outside by gluing red tissue paper   to it. After that dried, we added a strip of black paper around the middle of  the jar for Santa's belt. On the front of the jar, right in the middle of the black band, we added an open square of gold glitter to make the belt buckle. When everything is dry, either coat with another layer of glue, or spray with clear sealant. Add a small tealight candle inside to make this cute little votive a perfect holiday decoration!

As I mentioned in a couple of the ideas, don't forget to add the child's name and date to each gift. They will surely be treasured for many years to come! It is almost time for me to take out our family holiday decorations, and I will probably have several little "moments" reliving the joy as I unpack each handmade ornament or decoration my own kids have made over the years. I'm a bit sad that they have now reached the age where they are no longer making their gifts for me. Cherish those sweet moments and the treasures they share, made by their little hands. The time goes quick---trust me, I know first hand how fast they grow up!

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