6 DIY Holiday Gifts & Kid-Friendly Crafts
Senior Program Manager, Capacity Building
‘Tis the season for hot chocolate, snuggly sweaters, and giving gifts. As you put on your creative hat and wonder, “What would make [insert person’s name here] feel special?”, think camp. That’s because we’ve put together a list of kids’ crafts that are fun, low-cost, and simple to check those gifts off your holiday list.
Here are a few of our favorites (they’re kid-tested, counselor-approved, and family-friendly to boot).
1. Popsicle Stick Picture Frames
Need just the spot for a family picture or drawing? Whether your’re torn between the mantle, the fridge, or the tree, we have just the fix. Give the kids the reigns, sit back, and relax! Let them frame that special photograph or silly art with their very own popsicle stick masterpiece. It’ll make for a fun afternoon and a personalized gift for the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins in their life.
Items Needed: Popsicle sticks, glue stick or glue, markers or crayons, decorations of choice (paint, pompoms, piep cleaners, buttons, glitter, etc.)
2. Inspiration Jars
What better present to give than the gift that keeps on giving, even after the holidays end? An inspiration jar does just that. Depending on how many positive messages you fill it with, it’ll provide it’s owner* with a note of inspiration for a few weeks, or each and every day of the year.
Have your kids decorate the jar (or container of choice!) however they’d like, whether it be with a person or holiday in mind (hint: when using glitter or paint, try coloring the inside of the jar). Then gather all of their favorite quotations, memories, and inspirational messages to write on little bits of paper. Once the jar is dry, toss them in and add instructions on the inside lid or an attached card: “When you need a pick me up, a nice word, or a little inspiration, reach for a note!”
Items needed: paper and pen, mason jar or other container, decorations of choice (ribbon, buttons, paint, glitter, etc.)
*While it’s always nice for your family to make others feel great, an inspiration jar can make a special gift for your own kids too! Why not give them some positive vibes and kind words to cherish in the year ahead?
3. Handmade Ornaments
Ornaments are a winter classic. And better yet, they can double as that much-needed, last-minute gift that’s sure to please the crowd. Whether you grab supplies at a craft store, or gather items laying around the house, there’s something sweet about a handmade gift. Let them choose their favorite below or dream up their very own!
A. Mason Jar Lid Snowmen
Paint a mason jar lid white and glue on several buttons for the face. Compliment with colored felt for the carrot nose and top hat. Have the kids finish their materpiece with some string to hang (hint: try gluing to the back of the felt hat once all other parts are dry).
Items needed: mason jar lid, white paint, handful of buttons, colored felt, string or yarn, and glue
B. Popsicle Stick Ornaments
With popsicle sticks, the possibilities are endless (just like camp!). If you want to offer some options to your little ones, give snowflakes a go with white paint and glitter, or a tree with at least three sticks in a triangular shape. For a star, arrange 5-10 sticks to create points.
Frosty the Snowman can even make an appearance here. Paint one stick white and let dry; then draw in three buttons, eyes, and a smile with a black marker. Complete with orange, black, and colored felt shapes for a nose, hat and scarf.
Items needed: Popsicle sticks, glue, markers or paint, felt, string, decorations of choice
C. Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes
Alternate red and white beads (or colors of choice) on pipe cleaners to make decorative candy canes kids can hang on a tree or around the house. Once covereved, make knots on both ends big enough so that the beads don’t fall off. Fashion into a candy cane shape or other and your craft is ready to hang!
Items needed: red and white beads, pipe cleaners
D. ScrabbleTM Letter Ornaments
Do you have old Scrabble letters laying around? If so, have the kids glue the letters together in words, names, or phrases. Then use ribbon to make a loop on the back to hang the ornament. If old game pieces aren’t around, try the same with letters cut from newspapers or magazines and glue on cardstock.
Items needed: Scrabble letter (or old newspapers, magazines, and cardstock), Scrabble letter trays (optional), glue, ribbon or string
4. Snowman Candy Bars
Do you have some chocolate-lovers in your life? Then this gift idea is for you. Purchase chocolate bars that are rectangular and flat. Using white paper and tape, have the kids wrap the chocolate bar. Then, holding the candy bar vertically, draw on the snowman’s eyes, carrot nose, smile, and buttons. Be sure to leave some space between the face and buttons for a string or ribbon scarf! Finish by attaching a name tag to the scarf. In no time, you’ll be ready to gift to this piece of chocolaty goodness to loved ones near or far.
Items needed: chocolate bars, thick white paper, markers or other materials to decorate, ribbon or string, tape or glue
5. Pinecone Trees
If you’re steering clear of a tree and need to spruce up a shelf or centerpiece, pinecones make great décor anywhere around the house! Using a pinecone that can stand on its own, glue different decorations on the pinecone such as pompoms, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, felt, ribbon or buttons (hint: stretched out cotton balls can look a lot like snow). Then, place on a shelf (or in that gift bag!) and enjoy the view.
Items needed: pinecones, decorations of choice (ribbons, buttons, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, glitter, etc.), and glue
6. Homemade Gift Tags
Have your kids be a part of the gift wrapping by cutting out heavy paper in the shape of gift tags—stars, hearts, candy canes, gingerbread cookies, cabins, you name it. Then let them run free with the decorating and place the finished products on your holiday presents. Depending on age, children can get creative with different shapes, colors, and materials—adding just the touch to every gift.
Items needed: paper, scissors, tape, pens, markers or crayons
Jacqueline loves nothing more than thinking outside the box and team spirit—cue never-seen-before icebreakers! By developing virtual and in-person learning opportunities for staff across the Network, she fosters collaboration near and far.