Kirst's Christmas Pages
Waste-Free Holidays (give experiences, not stuff) * Make Homemade Bird Feeders as Gifts * Christmas Cookies * Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix as a Gift * Make Sentimental Patchwork Quilts and Personalized Crossword Puzzles * Santa is Satan for Mothers in Poverty * Cinnamon Ornaments and Colored Sugar as Gifts * Christmas Gifts to Make for Your Family * Bind Your Own Books as Presents * Pumpkin Pies *
Making Gifts With Kids by Kirsten Anderberg

Making Gifts With Kids

By Kirsten Anderberg
Written October 2004

With a little creativity, we can find all kinds of gifts that can be made by children with just a little adult guidance. I still have fond memories of making gifts for others, as a child, with my mom. In the making, you not only create a lovely handmade gift, but you also create precious memories you child will keep forever as well.

One of my favorite gifts to make with children are "Cinnamon Ornaments." Kids always enjoy using cookie cutters, and these ornaments are not only fun to make, but they look beautiful and last forever, it seems. These ornaments can be hung in windows, on Christmas trees, in closets, etc. And they ship well in the mail, with proper packaging. To make cinnamon ornaments, you will need: 1 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup flour and 3/4 cup cinnamon. Mix the ingredients, and add more cinnamon slowly until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Roll the dough out as you would to make cookies, to about 1/4" thickness. Then use cookie cutters to make shapes. Use a straw to make a hole for the string to go through. Leave straw in as ornament dries and remove once dried. These take 3-4 days to dry thoroughly.

Another fun ornament idea for kids is a glittery snowflake made from one of those plastic baskets you get cherry tomatoes in. An adult cuts out a snowflake shape from the bottom of one of the plastic baskets. Then kids put glue on the snowflake, and then cover them with glitter. Let dry, then insert a string, and hang up for all to watch sparkle!

Garlands are a fun activity for kids as well. Everyone has made paper chains from colored construction paper as kids. You make little strips of paper, about one inch wide and five inches long. Then put glue on one end of the strip, or staple the ends together, to make a loop. Then put another piece of paper inside that loop, and connect the ends of that loop together making a chain, then repeat. But the fun thing to do with paper chains is to make them out of unusual papers. Such as color comic strips. Or find an old piece of sheet music, and cut strips from classical music scores. Foreign newspapers with languages other than those you speak also make interesting garlands, as do strips made from regular playing cards. For very young children, you can have them make garlands out of cut up pieces of straws and stiff twine. When I was a kid, we only had white straws with red or green pinstripes on them. Now you can get florescent straws, straws with cartoon character themes, etc. So this is much more fun now than when I was young. Older kids can a use thread and needle to make garlands of marshmallows and gumdrops or traditional popcorn garlands.

Another simple gift you can make with kids are refrigerator magnets. I find that I end up with a collection of unwanted advertisements on my refrigerator, using magnets businesses have given me over time. I like to go through magazines with kids, pick out pictures we really like, then I take all those magnets businesses gave me, and we cover them with new pictures. Using a glue stick, we glue the magazine photos to the magnet face, then cut the excess off around the edges. You can also buy magnetic strips for refrigerator magnets at sewing, crafts, and home improvement stores.

Colored sugar always makes cookies and desserts more festive. You can make your own colored sugars. Put the colored sugars in pretty containers and give them to friends who enjoy baking, or use them yourself to make beautiful colored cookie creations. To make colored sugar, combine 1/4 t. food coloring, 1/4 t. water, 1/2 t. vanilla extract and 1/4 c. granulated white sugar. Mix the ingredients together, then spread out in a thin layer to dry. Rub the lumps between your fingers to make the powder uniform. Use more food coloring for darker colors, and less food coloring for lighter hues.

With winter holidays coming, it is fun to think of ways to not only create gifts, but create memories with our children. Relatives always enjoy handmade gifts from children and children enjoy the one on one time they spend with adults making gifts. You may find that many of the things you make with your children now, they will make with their children later. Start some new traditions in your family today! Plant the seeds for some new traditions in your family today!

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