The gift-giving season is upon us. For those parents that love giving gifts this time of year, there may be a few reasons to do things differently during a global pandemic. You may not feel as safe going out all day with your family shopping in the crowds. You may not be able to leave the kids with a babysitter to spend time finding the perfect gifts. Your finances may look a little different than normal. Or, more than ever, you may want to teach your kids about the importance and power of kindness and generosity. We’ve collected a few ideas for art-based and creative gifts to make at home with your kids.
Doing art with your kids can provide a valuable bonding experience. While some of these projects are more complex than others, they are not meant to be stressful. If you find you are overly focused on their final product, try to let go and let your kids enjoy the process. Art-making can relieve stress, increase confidence, and improve mood for kids and teens. You can help them make something they are proud of, but they might enjoy just engaging with art materials as well. Focus on enjoying the time spent together, and letting go of expectations.
Creative gift ideas
1. Clay Ornaments
Clay ornaments are a fun and easy gift to make at home. You can make your own dough or use an air-dry clay. If you are making dough at home, it often takes just two or three ingredients. You can add food coloring to the water you mix in as well. Once the mixture is made, use cookie cutters to make the shape, poke a hole in the top for a ribbon, then bake and let them cool (or air dry).
To decorate the ornaments, you have a variety of options. Try using glitter on top of the dough. If you are using air-dry clay, try pressing in plastic jewels or sequins to make a design on your ornament. You can also decorate with acrylic or watercolor paint. Don’t forget to add ribbon or twine to hang them from a tree! This makes a great gift for family and friends alike. Check out these blogs for a simple clay dough, another clay dough, salt dough ornaments, and more salt dough ornament ideas.
2. Sharpie Mugs
You may have seen these mugs before—sharpie mugs. But, if you decide to make these with your kiddos, make sure you use oil-based paint pens, or else your design will get washed away in the dishwasher. This blog shares more of the how-to when making a sharpie mug. You and your kids can freehand a design, or try making dots around a stencil as the blog suggests.
3. Handmade Bird Feeder
This will be a popular gift for bird watching friends and relatives. This could also be a great gift for elderly neighbors who have a place to hang it. Even young kids can help with mixing ingredients and picking out a cookie-cutter shape.
4. Felt Embroidered Coffee Cup Cozie
If your kids sew or stitch, a felt embroidered coffee cup cozie is the perfect gift for coffee and tea lovers they know. Use a cardboard sleeve from your local coffee shop to trace a piece of felt and stitch a simple design on the fabric. This blog tells you how to stitch the edges together as well as pick the perfect type of felt.
5. Hand Shaped Ring Dish
You can work with your younger child to make a hand-shaped ring dish for a parent or grandparent. Using air-dry clay, trace their hand in clay. Cut the hand shape out and smooth out the edges, then place it on a ball to dry into a dish shape. Kids can decorate the dish after it dries.
6. Painted Bookmarks
An easy gift for the bookworm in a child’s life is a bookmark. Friends and family alike will appreciate this thoughtful gift. You can make a bookmark using acrylic paint, watercolor paint, or a bleeding tissue paper design.
7. Personalized Beaded Necklace or Bracelet
A great gift for a child’s friend is a personalized beaded necklace, bracelet, or keychain with their friend’s name on it. This activity can also help with kid’s literacy and assist in learning letters and spelling.
8. Candle from Old Crayons
A classic DIY gift is a candle made from old crayons. You may have extra crayons lying around—broken in two, missing their paper, or too short to hold. Not only is this a great way to upcycle, you also can get your child to help clean up their old art supplies!
9. Handmade Card
Handmade cards sent in the mail is always a special gift for anyone. Friends and family alike will be delighted to receive a holiday card from your child with their artwork on it, and a note of kindness and gratitude inside. For family members, add in some IOU coupons—do the dishes for mom, or wash the car for dad.
10. Jar of Kindness
This gift can be a gift to yourself or your family at the end of a stressful year or a gift to a loved one who could use some encouragement or kindness. Find a jar with a lid and decorate it. Cut up strips of paper big enough to write on. If this a gift to yourself or your family, write one thing you are thankful for on each slip of paper. You or your kids can write a few things every day in the month of December. If this is a gift for someone else, write one compliment or thing you love about that person on each strip of paper. Then, whoever receives the gift, have them pull out one piece of paper once a day.
Are you a parent looking for more support during this stressful time? Please reach out to us. Our team of therapists is here to provide support and guidance. We look forward to connecting with you!
Kate is the Founder and Clinical Director of Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy. With nearly ten years of clinical experience, I partner with you to connect back to your authentic, true self. The self that desires happiness, abundance and greater self-compassion. I work with clients just like you because I believe we all have the innate ability to heal and grow when we are heard and supported.