by Kimberly Blaker
Freelance Parenting Writer
Today’s Family Magazine, Nov 2016
Scroll below the clips to read the article in full.
Gifts Kids Can Make and Give to Family & Friends
Tell a story with photos. Create a memory page to add to a friend or relative’s scrapbook. Buy a package of blank scrapbook pages. Then choose a theme such as ‘my best friend,’ ‘sports car shows,’ or ‘when I was little.’ Design each page using stickers, markers, colored pencils, construction paper, photos, magazine pictures, and fun sayings or descriptions that fit your theme.
Service coupons. This is one of the most useful gifts kids can make and give. Offer a free evening of babysitting, a week of taking out the trash, making your sister’s bed, pet sitting, lawn mowing, ironing, or another task you can do.
Shape decorative soaps. Grate bars of inexpensive white soap. Then mix approximately ½ cup of warm water with a cup of shredded soap. Add food coloring to the water to create colored soap. Knead the mixture. Add additional warm water as necessary until it forms like dough. Next, fill cookie cutters with the mixture. Or flatten it on a sheet of waxed paper, and trim into shapes. Let the soap dry slightly. Then press with small leaves or other designs. Allow the decorative soaps to dry for 24 hours, flipping them occasionally.
Design your own pens and pencils. Purchase sheets of large white labels and cut them into 1-½ inch strips. Design the strips with colored markers. Then wrap the design around the length of the pens or pencils. Personalize them by adding a smaller label to the center of the pencil with “World’s Greatest Grandma” or another catchy phrase. To protect your pencil design, wrap it with clear scotch tape.
Make a placemat. Choose a subject of interest to your gift recipient, such as model cars or Barbie dolls. Clip pictures from magazines and catalogs. Then glue them to an 11” x 17” sheet of paper. Overlap the pictures to create a collage, or spread them apart and share details about each. When you’re done, laminate the design with self-adhesive laminating sheets, or have it laminated at an office supply.
Create bookmarks. Cut colored paper into 2” x 7” strips then design the strips with colored pencils and markers. Or clip fancy border from magazines. Find out your gift recipient’s favorite author, artist or historical figure. Then look the person up in a book of quotations. Select a quote; type or write it out; and add it to the bookmark. Then laminate it for protection.
Give magnetic photos. These are very simple gifts kids can make and give. Cut a piece of cardboard from a cereal box to match the size of your photo. Then glue it to the back of your photo for support. Last, glue a small magnet to the cardboard. Now you have a photo magnet.
Fashion a holiday pin. Buy a package of large safety pins and a small package of multicolored beads. Open one safety pin. Then dangle several safety pins onto it through the eye at the bottom of those pins. Close the open pin. Then thread colored beads onto the dangling safety pins. You can design a Christmas tree, heart, flag, or whatever your imagination desires.
Construct a puzzle photo frame. Cut a piece of firm cardboard to your desired size of a frame. Then ask an adult to trim out the center with a razor knife, leaving a 1” to 2” thick frame. Next, trace the outside edge of your frame onto another piece of thin cardboard, and cut it out. Place a sheet of colored paper between the two pieces of cardboard. Next, glue the paper and two pieces of cardboard together. Glue jigsaw puzzle pieces around the frame, overlapping each other to cover the entire thickness of the frame. Let the frame dry. Then brush a layer of glue over the puzzle pieces to prevent them from falling off. Stick your photo in the opening of the frame with double-sided tape.
Give a poster. Find out your friend’s favorite rock star, actress, or sport. Then tear three or four full-page photographs or pictures from magazines. Trim the tattered edge. Then laminate for a durable glossy poster.
Compose a memory book. This is one of the most special gifts kids can make and give. Buy a composition book from the office supply. Cover it with construction paper, then design and decorate the cover. Inside, write your memories of special times you’ve had with the person to whom you’ll present it. Memories might include a trip to the zoo, a favorite holiday celebration, a special gift, something funny, and lots other experiences you’ve had together.
Produce glittery pens. Buy a package of pens and different colors of glitter. Pour glue onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll one side of the pen lightly in the glue leaving one inch from the tip without glue. Coat the pen with glitter, and then let it dry. When the glue dries, repeat these steps on the other side of the pen.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance family content writer.