Craft Gifts That Will Shock and Awww!
By Elizabeth Carey, www.ballooningnesteggs.com
Another iTunes card… Zhu Zhu pet… Hello Kitty necklace… Another gift destined to pile on top of other gifts?
What if instead, you could inspire the kids to do something more meaningful—to pitch in and grow their nest eggs, help them improve the world, and spur them to explore the cooler sides of money?
Looking for a meaningful gift for a family member? Share your happy campers’ crafts or choose one of these five projects to make with your nieces and nephews.
If you have a niece or nephew that loves art, you’re probably sitting on a sizable cache of crafts. A parade of sock puppets, paper-plate masks, popsicle-stick frames, and clay sculptures have come through the door and taken over your fridge and bulletin boards. Now, we know you treasure this artwork as if it hung in the Guggenheim, but by sharing the wealth, you could make another aunt’s or uncle’s holiday—and free up some room on the fridge. Imagine the surprised smiles on family faces when they get some of your niece’s or nephew’s little Picasso noodle art. Plus, showing the kids that gifts don’t have to be about money is a great family finance lesson. Here, we share some ideas on matching family members with crafts and offer five gifting projects to get the kids through those cold winter days.
Aerie Meredith, the assistant education director of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (www.kentuckyarts.org), is on both the making and receiving sides of lots of child-made crafts. “Kids make tons and tons of art, so you can’t keep everything that they make,” she says. As she helps kindergarteners through sixth-graders create projects at the museum’s camp, she shares this advice: save things that have a special story to them or are personal, such as a painting that illustrates a family story. So, why not pick two or three pieces to cherish and give the rest away?
Kids are proud and excited to bring home their art, says Meredith. Let them in on the decision-making when you consider which crafts will make great presents this year. Which are their favorite works? Which family member would love this art as much as you do? Who really deserves a particular piece? For instance, should you put a camp photo of your niece inside the Popsicle frame for Uncle Steve because he needs a new picture, and should you give the paper-bag tiger mask to Grandpa because he loves animals? Brainstorm together about other people who don’t have such happy works to display. Could you donate some of the artwork to an elder care facility? Would it make someone’s day at a local children’s hospital?
Crafts that are created at camp and school are wonderful in their own way. But projects that are intended as gifts made with a family member in mind can truly be priceless. Encouraging kids to do a few DIY gift projects will earn you more than some special presents. It’ll also foster creativity, hone motor skills, inspire your nieces and nephews to learn in an environment where there is no right or wrong answer, and perhaps best of all, it’ll keep the kids occupied for hours. Consider creating these special keepsakes for family members this holiday season!
1. A Novel Idea
2. Sisterhood of the Traveling Notebook
3. Thanks for the Memories
4. Happy Neighborhood
5. Cooked with Love
Insider Tips for Kids and Crafting
Carrie Pericola, a former math teacher who created the Crafty Moms Share blog (www.craftymomsshare.blogspot.com), is a pro when it comes to crafting gifts. Here, Pericola shares her must-know info:
1. Your little niece’s sticky-tack glue job might not stick. If decorations or art installations aren’t secure, hot glue gun the objects when she isn’t around.
2. Test the recipient waters: “It’s helpful that the family members receive the gifts well,” Pericola says, “that they are not picky about everything being perfect.”
3. Use crafting to get a head-start of holiday gifts.
Bonus tip: Try “upcycling”—like recycling, but better. Ask the kids to look around for old or unused things that can become pieces of art through crafting. Some examples: catalogs, sticks, chipped frames, scraps of fabric, old t-shirts, etc.
What’s the best craft or homemade gift you’ve received? Join the discussion on the Ballooning Nest Eggs Facebook page.
Published: November 27, 2012