In several stores last week, I witnessed the boxing up of the last bits of Halloween decorations, and the arranging of new Christmas décor displays. Mind you, this was before Halloween actually arrived. The commercial aspect of it all bothers some. But you can’t deny most of us dive right in. I love the holidays…the music, the lighting, even the crowds. But what I love most is searching out the perfect gifts for my family and friends. Giving a gift gives me much more pleasure than receiving one. A gift for me represents my affection and the acknowledgement of the person I choose to give it to. And if I could, I would make everyone’s gifts. I cherish a hand-made gift. Receiving something from my kids with their heart and soul poured into its creation just melts my heart. So today, we are going to take some quick peeks at some gift ideas that your kids can make themselves.
This past June, I went to the Martha Stewart headquarters in NYC. During a conference there, Martha came out and spoke to the attendees. As a gift, she offered each person a copy of her brand new book, “Martha Stewarts, Favorite Crafts for Kids.”
This book has 175 different projects ideas for kids of different ages to choose from. They vary in their level of difficulty, so whether your children are just getting their hands dirty in the craft world or are well seasoned masters having collected boxes and boxes of scrap materials from all of their previous projects, there is something for everyone.
I am VERY discerning about kid’s art and craft projects, but this book is absolute eye candy for its reader. It offers extreme diversity in its variety of styles and different materials. Plus the directions are easy to follow through step-by-step tutorials.
When I handed it over to my youngest daughter, I asked her to book mark a few projects she might want to try. By this picture, I’m sure you can tell that it sparked a lot of enthusiasm.
These are a few of my favorite projects. “The portable cubby” and “artful accessories” offer some great ideas for inspiring organization and planning. Not only are these helpful for kids who need to learn to manage time, but I could also see this at an office station in a kitchen or family room. Yay for executive functioning skills! I have a 10 and 13 year old. I will take advantage of any creative tricks I can get. Is anyone with me on this?
The hand drawn stuffed animal is absolutely incredible. How excited would your child be to give or get an actual stuffed animal of his or her own design? This could easily be a keepsake for generations. As this project is a bit advanced for the typical 3 to 8 year old, here is an opportunity for some one-on-one bonding time with mom, dad or maybe even an older sibling.
My husband was an animator for many years. The basis for the concept of how animation works is easily taught through making a flipbook. This can be done inexpensively or more elaborately depending on how long your child can focus. For the budding artist, the satisfaction level of a completed flipbook is remarkably rewarding. Want to take it a step further for the techy kids? Scan or photograph each page when it’s completed, and transfer this simple flipbook into a digital movie.
Do you have a nature enthusiast or an animal lover? The “Stone frogs” or “Safari Terrarium” bring the outdoors in. The frogs would be a great little gift for a teacher’s desk. The safari terrarium involves a bit more time. I would love to display this on a toilet bowl…hilarious! Every piece of art has its place…and so much more interesting than a bowl of wrapped hand-soaps…yawn!
On to the gifts. Felt pins and barrettes are adorable. These have a holiday vibe, but the basic process could work for any season or theme. I definitely see this as personal “little somethings” to offer friends. If you know their favorite colors or interests, even better. School fundraisers are another venue for these. Or maybe just turn a lazy afternoon into a productive craft workshop.
This just barely scratches the surface of possibilities in this book. Plus, it also includes, supply lists and where to buy them. It has pages of templates to follow. And in the back, just scroll through the index to find a project based on your needs or interests. To Martha’s editors and the talented photographers who made this book so charming, I say, “Bravo. Well done.”