The fanciest and most expensive gifts in the world can't stack up to the lopsided, smeared and garish homemade presents that kids make on their own. Little ones take great pride in creating their own gifts for their parents. Plus, long after your little crafter is grown, her handmade treasures are sure to warm your heart. While your child is young, you'll likely have to provide a good amount of guidance, but as she grows, encourage her to do more by herself -- and come up with her own creative gift ideas!
What parent doesn't love looking at pictures of her kids? Give your little one four large wooden craft sticks and help him glue them into a picture frame. He can decorate the frame with markers or stickers -- and even glue on colored dry pasta. Cut a piece of paper to fit the frame and glue it to the back. Your little guy can then glue a picture of himself to the paper. Kids can also glue pictures of themselves to different shapes of craft foam or wood cut-outs to create one-of-a-kind ornaments.
Flowers are sure to brighten your day, especially when they're hand-crafted by your preschooler. Using child-safe scissors, help your little one cut flower shapes out of construction paper. She can then glue her "flowers" to craft sticks or drinking straw stems. Or, she can make a batch of brightly-colored blooms from tissue paper. Help her cut a bunch of circles from tissue paper. Then, once you tie a knot at the end of a green pipe cleaner, poke a hole in the center of each circle and let her thread the tissue circles onto the pipe cleaner, pushing them up to the knotted end. Help her bunch the tissue paper blooms in her hand to give them a textured look. If it's flowers that you love, your kids can also paint a clean jar or cut-off milk carton to make a vase for your flowers. Real plants are a great choice as well. Give your kids small clay flowerpots to decorate -- and then let them plant a few flower seeds or a single bloom of a perennial to complete the gift.
Your little one can brighten his dad's desk at work or in his home office with a handmade gift. Help him use non-toxic craft paint to create a design -- or the word "DAD" -- on a flat, smooth rock to make a special Father's Day paperweight. Or, give him modeling clay to shape into a small bowl for paper clips, or a mug to hold pencils. When the clay dries, let him decorate the clay piece with paint or stickers to personalize it. You might also encourage your kiddo to draw or paint a picture of an activity he enjoys doing with his dad -- and then help him put it in a frame it to hang on Dad's office wall.
Jewelry is always a welcomed gift -- and a piece of jewelry made just for you by your little one is something you'll always treasure. Give her some colored paper clips and show her how to link them together to make a chain. Tie a knot in one end of a piece of yarn or cord, then give her beads or dyed pasta to string into a necklace. She can also glue beads, faux gems or buttons to a cut-out craft foam or cardboard shape, and then -- with your help -- attach a safety pin to the back to make a colorful brooch.
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