5 Cool DIY Christmas Gifts for the “Under 6” Crowd
Handmade gifts are becoming cool again (even if you’re not talented enough to try.) Kids, however, don’t often appreciate the time and effort that goes into a gift crafted by the hands of the giver. Whether you do it because you’re frugal, or you do it because you care, here are five gifts for smaller children that will be loved long after the season is over. (See also: 5 Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids)
This 50-year old classic is a favorite toy at our house. New batches are made daily, and there is no end to the ways children can play with it! For a fun spin on the traditional recipe, here is a “Pumpkin Pie” variety that is perfect for the holidays!
- 5 1\2 Cups Flour
- 2 Cups Salt
- 8 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
- 3\4 Cup Oil
- 1 Container (1 1\2 ounces) Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Orange Food Coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
- 4 Cups Water
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until lumps appear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth.
For more fantastic varieties (including an edible peanut butter dough, visit PreschoolEducation.com)
For a fabulous way to package the play dough for gift-giving, see what this Mom did. It’s a clever way to use a pie tin and cellophane to wrap your pumpkin pie dough like a “real” pie! (You may even want to include a mini rolling pin, a pretend knife, or other tools for working with you dough.)
A plain box of crayons may not be a memorable gift for today’s kids. This recipe for recycling old broken crayons, however, can be modified to make brand new crayons in exciting shapes and colors that kids can really get excited about!
Directions: Simply take old crayon pieces (or new crayons in the colors of your choosing) and break them up into small chunks. Take a silicon baking pan with holiday-shaped molds, and fill each mold with the crayon pieces. Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for about 10-15 minutes (or until just melted.) Cool completely before removing.
Tips: Crayola brand crayons work the best. You can use different-shaped molds for every child. Dinosaurs are adorable!
Making your own cleverly-shaped chalk can be just as easy as the crayons. Pick a mold and a color that will work well for the personality of your child.
Directions: Mix 1 cup Plaster of Paris and 1 cup water together. For colored chalk, add powdered tempera paint to achieve the color you want. Let stand for a few minutes and then pour into mold. Set side and let dry completely. This can take anywhere from several hours to a few days depending on the size of the mold you chose. Once dry, remove the chalk from the mold. If it is still moist, let air dry for another 24 hours.
Here is a great recipe for the classic brand-name favorite. (Be sure to use care when playing with this around carpeting and fabric. Like the original, it sticks!)
Directions: Mix 2 parts white glue (Elmer's) with 1 part Sta-Flor liquid starch. Mix well. Let it dry a bit before working with it. (It may not work as well on humid days). Store in an air-tight container.
Kids are always trying to tie things. Homemade lacing cards are easy and inexpensive gifts to keep idle hands busy.
Directions: Simple cut some different shapes from heavy cardstock (cereal boxes are fun to use, too!) and punch the edges with a one-hole punch. Lace shoestrings through each of the card and tie in a bow! You can choose shoestrings with favorite cartoon characters, sparkles, and funky patterns for a truly personalized gift.
These are just a few of the many open-ended and creative gifts you can make yourself this holiday. Because you have crafted them from your own hands, you can help to ensure that they are safe and that they might stand a better chance of not ending up in next year’s trash. (Did I also mention that they are just plain cool?)
[Note: Please use common sense with the gifts mentioned above, especially with children under age 3. Know the abilities of the child, and practice adult supervision at all times.]
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