Have you ever had a discussion with your children about gift giving? Most children see the act of giving as customary at particular times of the year but do they really understand the reason behind giving a present?
If you haven't talked about the difference between giving for the sake of it and giving with meaning then perhaps it's time to explain the heart factor that should lie behind every gift we give.
Gifts are a way of acknowledging someone and showing our appreciation for the positive attributes that we love about them. It's important for children to understand that a large, more expensive gift doesn't equate to greater appreciation. In fact, parents and grandparents in particular, generally appreciate homemade gifts far more than something bought because they know have been made with love and given from the heart.
From the moment they could hold a pen, my boys helped to make homemade cards. They loved presenting their artwork to grateful recipients and it was obvious they were just as happy giving as the person receiving. Even today, my husband and I still receive cute little drawings and meaningful words from our teenage sons. For me, it's the most beautiful part of my birthday or Mother's Day because they are popped into my treasure box to enjoy again on other days.
When embarking on a gift making project, use the opportunity explain the concept of gratitude and talk about how different people enrich your children's lives. Explain how a homemade gift is a lot more personal and meaningful because of the thought and attention it has been given.
Encouraging kids to make their own gifts is not only a fun hands-on activity that gets them off technology but it also helps develop fine motor skills, creativity and mindful appreciation for the people in their lives.
When deciding on an appropriate gift to make discuss the person they're celebrating, asking them to consider what they like and the positive contribution they have on their life.
The following are just a few ideas to help you get creative at home or in the classroom.
1. Family kindness coupons
These are one of my favourite activities from our school curriculum. They're a fun way for kids to show gratitude towards their family and can be adapted for all occasions and age groups. Younger children will obviously need more help and guidance but older children can use our coupons as a guide when creating their own personalised version.
This is an easy craft activity for youngers using popsicle sticks, cardboard and yarn with instructions from Red Ted Art.
If you're looking for something for older kids you might like these cute pom pom bookmarks from 5 Minutes for Mom.
3. Stained glass candle holders
How cute and colourful are these candle holders! When I watched the video from cool2craft.com and realised how easy they are to make I knew kids would love personalising them for the people they love.
Here's another cute idea using paper doilies. You can find the instructions at parents.com.
And if you want more inspiration for candles and holders, Homedit have another 50 ideas!!!
4. Paperclip angels
When I was chatting with my friend Barbara from What's Under Your Cape, she told me about a gorgeous gift she'd received years ago and still treasures. Of course, I just had to find a tutorial for these cute little paperclip angels that are perfect for Christmas. Watch the video from Cooking and Crafting to see how quick and easy they are to make.
5. Painted rocks
Everyone loves photos but most of them sit on our phone or computer these days. These cute little photo holders are great for either mum, dad or grandparents and are sure to encourage them to print their photos to put on display. Bugsy and Buddy explain what you'll need to make them.
Another idea is for kids to paint flat rocks and decorate them with markers and glitter glue to give to their loved ones to use as paper weights. You could even glue a magnet on the back of lightweight rocks to pop on the fridge. Be sure to give them a coat of varnish or paint a glue that dries clear over the top to protect them.
These were some we made to leave in the public spaces for people to find. We also took them to a school and gave them to students who just loved them!!
6. Bath bombs
Who doesn't love a good soak in the tub! This is another great gift for parents or grandparents alike! Get your step by step instructions from Playdough to Plato.
And because I love a good video tutorial, here's one from What's Up Moms.
7. I love you because cards
Everyone loves to hear why they're appreciated so this sweet idea from The Taylor House is a great way to compliment and show appreciation to any family member, friend or even a teacher.
8. Personalised keychains
Another great gift that can be adapted for anyone, these keychains are cute and easy for kids to make. You can exchange the washer for another charm or some funky beads. Sophie's World Video show you the basics of how to make them but you're really only limited by your imagination.
9. Cards and prints
Kids artwork is something I always treasure and I have a box full of it from every age and stage. I have to admit I'm a little partial to dandelions so I had to include this gorgeous print from Glued to My Crafts. Follow the link to download their free dandelion print.
Very easy but very cute and effective. This thumbprint card could be adapted for just about anyone. I just realised if you were to turn the grapes up the other way you could easily make it into a Christmas card (with the right colours and a little glitter of course!). Find the instructions and other great card designs at Sassy Dealz.
10. Handmade wrapping paper
This is another activity I did with my kids when they were little. We made ours a little differently to Make•Film•Play. We had different bowls of coloured bubble water which erupting into mountains of bubbles when the boys blew through their straws. They then took their paper and placed it gently over the top of the bubbles to transfer the shapes. Repeating with different colours we ended up with some great effects!
If you'd like something a little less messy, there are some other ideas from Christina at The Purple Alphabet.
11. Sidewalk messages
This might seem like an unusual gift but it's one you can give to your community, school or even strangers! There's something so fun and a little naughty about drawing on the pavement so your kids will love writing positive messages and drawing little pictures. It's fun, creative and a beautiful thing to discover as you're walking along.
We hope you were inspired to get creative with your kids to show them the true meaning of giving. We'd totally love it if you shares your photos with us and we'll pop them below for everyone to see. Feel free to submit them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your creative gifts...
Submit them above to add them here!!