Special Gifts For Special Little People

Quick, Easy Handmade Gifts?

I have numerous nieces and nephews (and young friends) that range from age 1 to 7. Does anyone have any ideas for quick and easy gifts/craft items that I can make for very low cost? I already know how to make flour clay and bubbles. I am looking for any ideas for other things I can give? Thanks for your help.

Pillowcases Make a Great Homemade Christmas Gift

One inexpensive gift, which my kids love, is making them pillow cases. You can choose material that you know they like. Or I let my kids come along and choose material they like. It doesn't take that much material and you don't need to purchase a pattern. You just sew up the sides and machine hem the bottom. It's a gift that lasts for $1 to $3. My kids can't imagine sleeping on anything else.

Homemade Puzzles and Dress-Up Clothes Christmas Gift for Kids

Homemade puzzles are fun and can be adapted to any age. Use heavy backing such as the cardboard inserts from packaged sheets or heavy poster board. Find a colorful picture from a magazine or old book you don't mind tearing up, preferably something of interest to the child. Firmly glue the entire page to the cardboard. When it is dry, cut it into creative shapes. The number of pieces and degree of difficulty are up to you!

For young girls, dress-up clothes are always fun. These can be found at garage sales and second hand stores. Often the best dress-up clothes are silky nightgowns that Grandma wore and her old shoes, purses and hats. Many things we consider out of date are a treasure to a little girl.

If you have time to spend with the children and don't live too far away, certificates for TIME are a great gift. Make colorful "coupons" they can redeem for a day spent with you. You can specify the activity or leave it to their imagination, within reason and the budget. An example would be a day baking cookies, a picnic in the park, a trip to the museum or zoo, a tea party, a matchbox race, or working in the garden. Children love it when adults take time to enjoy being with them and often the activity itself is not important.

Homemade Christmas Gifts: Pictures in a Number of Places

I blow up a picture of the child glue it on cardboard then cut it up into pieces according to child's age. Large pieces for the very young child and smaller pieces for the older child. Then print a collage of smaller pictures in black and white to cover a coffee can for your puzzle. Also well received by adults. Also have glued pictures inside a clear plastic Christmas bulb. Every age likes to see themselves in pictures. Bulbs come from the craft department at Wal-Mart. Hope this helps.

Homemade Christmas Gifts from Fleece

Fleece is a great gift. Look for sales. You can do a scarf pretty easily as well as a blanket, mittens, hat, stocking, and pillowcase. Fleece does not fray at the end, so you needn't worry about sewing the edging because it won't unravel. To make a nice finished edge, either do a yarn blanket stitch, which loops from one side to the other, hooking the last stitch as you go so there is a line going along the top. Experiment because it's easier than it sounds.

Easier still is to cut in from the edge about three inches and 1/4 inch apart and you have a fringe. To get fancy, put two different fleece together, two solids or one pattern other solid color, sew them together or blanket stitch on the sides, then on the ends of the scarf cut the fringe. Take one fringe from each side and tie them together. It looks great!

Homemade Christmas Bath Paint Pleasure

A great inexpensive gift for young kids is to make a bath paint set. You will need a brightly colored plastic bucket in which to put the goods. Make your bath paints with liquid hand soap with a drop or two of food coloring to make the various colors. Put your paints in snack size disposable containers with covers. You may want to include three or four different colors in each bucket. Include a sponge paintbrush, a rubber duck that can be purchased at the dollar store, and a small plastic paint palette tray. The kids will love it!

Personalized Placemats: a Homemade Christmas Gift

I have made stuffed animals, such as dinosaurs from patterns I got out of magazines. I just enlarged them on a copier and if I needed it even bigger I would do a free hand out line. You can buy material with the pattern already laid out or find patterns online. Do a key word search such as turtle pattern to find a pattern online. I have gotten material at Wal-Mart and discount fabric stores and sewed them by hand.

Placemats made from old calendars or magazines are easy. Just cut out the pictures and lay down on clear laminate. Then put a layer of laminate on top making sure to smooth it out to prevent air bubbles or wrinkles. The little ones will love seeing characters from their favorite magazines when they eat.

Puzzles are another great gift to make. get some strong cardboard. Glue a picture to it. Then cut out your puzzle. You could use cereal boxes for the cardboard or to make it even easier use the picture on the cereal box. After you get the pieces cut use an emery board to sand down the rough edges.

Christmas Gifts Filled With a Treat

An easy Christmas gift is to make those Christmas crackers (without the "crack"). Just save toilet paper rolls and cover them with tissue paper, festive wrapping paper or even wallpaper or fabric (discarded fabric and wallpaper sample books from a wallpaper store are great for an elegant look). Make sure to leave the ends long enough so you can tie a ribbon around each one (like a twisted candy). You can easily fill them with inexpensive candy, erasers, etc. whatever you have on hand. This is great when you need a lot of gifts!

Keep the Stories Going

Do the children have cassette or CD players? If so, record yourself reading a selection of classic kid favorites. You can tailor each to the age and interest of the child. If the books are inexpensive you might include them to make your own homemade story set. I did this one year making cloth "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" books. This was also the first story on a tape. Then, I found other Christmas stories at the library to fill the entire cassette tape. These were a big hit. You could do any kind of a theme from a stuffed bear with a tape/CD of stories featuring bears, a small race car with a CD or tape of stories about racecars, a small doll paired with doll stories, etc!

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