Inexpensive Fun and Homemade Gifts

by Janine Lynn

Cheap Fun for the Festive Season

Wacky Windows - Decorate your windows for the Festive Season!

Mix together 1 Tbsp. paint powder and 1 Tbsp. liquid dish soap. With windowsills covered, paint bells, stars, reindeer, etc. on windows. To clean, wash off with wet rag.

Psychedelic Snowmen - Why not decorate the yard too?!

Pour 1 C. water and 1 tsp. paint powder (or 20+ drops food coloring) into a spray bottle. Then, spray colored water on snowmen or snow castles, or spray designs on a fresh bed of snow.

Paper Mache Pinata - add to the fun on New Year's Eve!

Mix together 1/2 C. wallpaper paste and 2 C. warm water (or 1 C. flour and 1 1/8 C. cold water), adding few more drops of water if thickens too much. Dip newspaper strips into paste and smooth onto balloon until 5 or 6 layers all over, leaving small opening at top. When dry (after several days) pop balloon and fill opening with treats. Tie string through 2 small holes made at top and hang for children to knock with rolled up newspaper.

Gingerbread House

Cream together 1/2 C. butter and 2/3 C. brown sugar. Mix in 1/2 C molasses, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 2 1/2 C. flour. Spread or press into cookie sheet to 1/2" thickness. Bake at 350'. When cool, cut into 6 rectangles, and use icing to "glue" house together. Decorate with candies, sparkles, cereal, etc.

Chocolate Fondue - a great way to bring the new year in!

In a fondue pot or saucepan, heat 1 can Evaporated Milk (385 ml) and 2 1/2 C. chocolate chips on low, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. If you wish, add peppermint flavoring, 2 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in few drops of water, or 3/4 C. peanut butter. Dip fruit,maraschino cherries, or pieces of doughnuts or cake into mixture.

Homemade Gifts

Plaster Hand Print

In large yoghurt container, mix together 1 C. water and 2 1/4 C. plaster of Paris (from lumber store) to thickness of a milkshake. Pour into pie plate. When plaster is firm enough to hold a shape, press your hand into and carefully lift up. Let dry. Record date and your name on back.

Personalized T-Shirt

With parent supervision, melt crayon scraps in an empty tuna or soup can over boiling water. Working quickly, paint pictures or messages on an old T-shirt or apron. To make colors permanent, cover designs with fabric scrap and press with hot iron.

Pet Rock Paperweight

Glue 2 well-shaped rocks together to make the body of a duck, ladybug, or other creature. Add features with felt markers, bits of felt or fabric, pipe cleaners,etc.

Donut Bird Feeder - Why not make a gift for the birds, too!

Sandwich a bagel between 2 plastic lids. Thread string through hole in lids. Tie a big fat knot on bottom and hang from house or tree, or string popcorn onto thread and hang on trees.

Creative Gift Wrap - Design your own gift wrap!

Paint fancy designs on newsprint using sponges, cotton balls, old toothbrushes, an old pot scrubber, or a straw (to blow paint). When dry, use as gift wrap.

Reprinted with permission from "Help! I'm Bored!", ISBN 0-9680809-0-1, $14.95 Cdn, $11.95 US. (Bluebell Cockle Shell Books, E-Mail - dale&

Janine Lynn is a parent, author, and educator. Born and raised in Alberta, she enjoys team sports, biking, gardening, travelling, and dreaming up new ideas for future books. She wrote Help! I'm Bored! because she wanted all of her favorite teaching ideas collaborated into one book,ready to use for any occasion. Her current project involves developing seminars and workshops for presentation at parent/teacher conventions.

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