Many families hold on to artwork from childhood long after children have left the nest. Whether it’s a drawing from preschool, a woodworking project from junior high, or maybe even a sculpture from a summer camp- these are the precious handmade gifts that continue to be displayed in homes throughout the years.
With headlines of shipping shortages and empty retail shelves, handmade gifts might be a great option this holiday. Nothing shows you care more than a thoughtful, handcrafted gift- and there are absolutely no gifts more treasured than those made by children! A customized gift from your very special artist will truly hit the mark with their loved one.
Before you begin, talk about what family, neighbors, and friends mean to your family. Dialogue how appreciative you are for the love given by the special people in your lives. Discussions like these help children appreciate how it feels to be loved and show love and gratitude for others.
Introducing new words expands both vocabulary and understanding! Words like generosity, thoughtfulness, and gratitude are perfect to introduce to preschoolers. Appreciation is bigger than simply offering gifts and these can help form a richer understanding of heartfelt giving.
A few crafty ideas to get you started
- Print a black and white photo of your child on copy paper or cardstock. Ask your child to add color to their photo with sequence, watercolors, or colored pencils. Have your child write “I love you” on the bottom. Then place it in a magnetic frame or send it in the mail, so this colorful portrait will bring a smile to a loved one’s face.
- Ask your child to draw a picture of your loved ones. For example, draw a picture of grandma and grandpa. They will enjoy seeing their unique characteristics portrayed by one of their favorite artists.
- You could use mini canvases craft stores or even the dollar stores sell or you may want to put the drawing a frame for them.
- Another idea would be to have the artwork printed on notecards.
- For the avid reader, perhaps ask your child to create a bookmark to share. You can make it out of cardboard, fabric, cardstock, etc. Ask your child to create a beautiful picture for their loved one to enjoy. On it attach a personal note . . . i.e. “Happy Reading! ~ Love, ___”
- For loved ones far away, take a picture of your child spreading their arms out wide. Then help them gather sticks, popsicle sticks or cardboard & collage items to create a beautiful handmade frame for this photo. Finally, put it in the mail with a note saying, “I am going to hug you SO tight when I see you.”
Remember service and talents count
We often think of kindness as service, but sharing talents is another great way for children to show appreciation for others! Ask them what they consider their own talents (these might be drawing, singing, reading, dancing, etc.). Brainstorm ways your children can share their talents with others.
- If your child enjoys jokes, call a relative and share a “joke of the day” with them.
- Have your child sing a song on their voicemail- or better yet, FaceTime them and let your talented cohort perform live!
- If your child enjoys reading or telling stories, ask them to read or tell a book to your while you record it. Send it to a loved one who would enjoy a nice bedtime story to end their day!
- Offer to rake the leaves or shovel the snow of a loved one nearby!
The magic is in the details!
Thoughtful gifters pay attention to detail, with careful consideration for the wrapping and beauty of packages. Let your child be part of these important details!
- Ask your child to use their own writing on gifts when possible. Children’s handwriting hold’s so much charm and adds personality to their piece. Your loved ones will be able to see the extra time and effort put into this gift by your child. Some craft stores sell small wooden plaques for crafting. Your child could use a permanent marker (or they could write in pencil and you could trace it!) to write a message, note, or even a simple “I love you.”
- Handmade wrapping paper is always a nice touch! Offer your child a sharpie and some old newspaper or a roll of brown craft paper. Let them draw pictures, designs, or simply write kind words on the paper. Then wrap the item you wish to share with their unique hand designed wrapping paper.
- Before delivering your special package, see if you and your child can collect something beautiful from nature to make it extra special! Pine sprigs, pine cones, small sticks, pressed leaves and even feathers are often seen as absolute treasures to children. These will not only offer beauty to your package, but give your child joy in sharing their beautiful finds.
We hope these ideas provide you with some gift giving inspiration. What better way to enjoy the upcoming season than by helping our children show appreciation and joy for those who are special around them.