Personalized Gifts from Grandkids Won’t Break Their Piggy Banks

By Kimberly Blaker

As the holidays approach, are your grandkids scrounging to buy gifts they can’t afford for family and friends? If so, here are some fun craft ideas you and the little ones can work on together when they visit and that make great gifts, too.

Tell a story with photos. Create a memory page to add to a friend’s or relative’s scrapbook. Buy a package of blank scrapbook pages. Then choose a theme such as ‘my best friend,’ ‘sports car shows,’ or ‘when I was little.’ Design each page using stickers, markers, colored pencils, construction paper, photos, magazine pictures, and fun sayings or descriptions that fit your theme.

Service coupons. Make creative paper or digital coupons that offer a free evening of babysitting, a week of taking out the trash, making a sibling’s bed, pet sitting, lawn mowing, ironing, or another task the child is old enough and capable of performing.

Shape decorative soaps. Grate bars of inexpensive white soap. Then mix approximately ½ cup of warm water with a cup of shredded soap. Add your choice of food coloring to the water. Knead the mixture. Add additional warm water as necessary until it forms like dough. Next, fill cookie cutters with the mixture. Or flatten it on a sheet of waxed paper, and trim into shapes. Let the soap dry slightly. Then press with small leaves or other designs. Allow the decorative soaps to dry for 24 hours, flipping them occasionally.

Design your own pens and pencils. Purchase sheets of large white labels and cut them into 1-½ inch strips. Design the pieces with colored markers. Then wrap the design around the length of the pens or pencils. Personalize them by adding a smaller label to the center of the pencil with “World’s Greatest Grandma” or “My Bestie” or another catchy phrase. To protect your pencil design, wrap it with transparent scotch tape.

Make a placemat. Choose a subject of interest to your gift recipient, such as model cars or Barbie dolls for a child or antiques or travel for an adult. Clip associated pictures from magazines and catalogs. Then glue them to an 11-inch by x 17-inch sheet of paper. Overlap the images to create a collage, or spread them apart and share details about each. When you’re done, laminate the design with self-adhesive laminating sheets, or have it laminated at an office supply.

Create bookmarks. Cut colored paper into 2-inch by 7-inch strips, then design the pieces with colored pencils and markers. Find out your gift recipient’s favorite author, artist, or historical figure. Then look the person up in a book of quotations. Select a quote, then type or write it out, and add it to the bookmark. Laminate it for protection.

Give magnetic photos. Cut a piece of cardboard from a cereal box to match the size of a photo. Then glue it to the back of your photo for support. Last, glue a small magnet to the cardboard. Now you have a photo magnet.

Fashion a holiday pin. Buy a package of large safety pins and a small bag of multi-colored beads. Open one safety pin. Then dangle several safety pins onto it through the eye at the bottom of those pins. Close the open pin. Then thread the colored beads onto the dangling safety pins. You can design a Christmas tree, heart, flag, or whatever your imagination desires.

Construct a puzzle photo frame. Cut a piece of firm cardboard to your desired frame size. An adult should then trim out the center with a razor knife, leaving a border of 1-inch to 2-inches in width. Next, trace the outside edge of your frame onto another piece of thin cardboard, and cut it out. Place a sheet of colored paper between the two pieces of cardboard. Next, glue the paper and two pieces of cardboard together. Glue jigsaw puzzle pieces around the frame, overlapping each other to cover the entire thickness of the frame. Let the frame dry. Then brush a layer of glue over the puzzle pieces to prevent them from falling off. Stick your photo in the opening of the frame with double-sided tape.

Give a poster. Find out a friend or relative’s favorite rock star, actress, or sport. Then tear three or four full-page photographs or pictures from magazines. Trim the tattered edge. Then laminate for a durable glossy poster.

Compose a memory book. Buy a composition book from an office supply store. Cover it with construction paper, then design and decorate the cover. Inside, write memories of special times you’ve had with the person to whom you’ll present the gift. Memories might include a trip to the zoo, a favorite holiday celebration, a special gift, or a funny shared experience.

Produce glittery pens. Buy a package of pens and different colors of glitter. To get started, pour glue onto a sheet of waxed paper. Then roll one side of the pen lightly in the glue, leaving one inch from the tip without glue. Coat the pen with glitter, and then let it dry. When the glue dries, repeat these steps on the other side of the pen.

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