Handmade Gifts ~ Simple Ways for Children and Families to Give

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

Ever since my children could stand on a stool or sit on my lap while I sewed, they have made gifts. December in our house means we’re stirring beeswax, sewing rope, decorating cookies, and designing stuffed friends. We’re painting ornaments and assembling scrapbooks. It’s in their blood. Homemade gift giving was a big part of my childhood. When a birthday or holiday is coming, the first thought that enters my mind is, What Can I Make? I see the same thought bubble form in my children’s minds. Now that they’re older, they squirrel away in their rooms and post signs on their bedroom doors asking that no one enter. Making Gifts- Don’t Come In. They hide cards, paintings, clay sculptures, and even furniture (with my husband’s help) until it’s time to give (or they can’t keep the secret any longer) and they are always thrilled to share whatever it is they’ve made. Homemade gifts offer double the joy. Joy for the giver who planned and created and for the receiver, who is given a gift made with love.

Below are some of our favorite homemade gifts to give. No matter the age of your children, there’s a way for every child to contribute to making these gifts. Simple and very affordable, they have proven year after year to be fun to make and give, and are always well received.

Handmade Gifts ~

Simple Ways for Children and Families  to Give

 

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means when you click on a link and make a purchase, you are helping to support this space. No extra cost for you, a little extra change for me and my family. Thank you!

Candles

Materials needed-

  1. Wax (old candles that can be melted down), local beeswax, or wax shavings. (I recommend soy or beeswax, unscented). The amount varies depending on the number of candles and their size.
  2. Glass jars or tins of any size
  3. Wicks
  4. Pencils to wind wicks
  5. Double Boiler (one you’ll only use for crafting)
  6. Scent- essential oils are great!

Here’s a great kit with everything you need!

Directions-

  1. Using a double boiler, bring water to a slow boil. Add old candles, wax chips, or beeswax and slowly melt.
  2. Prep wicks while the wax is melting. Wind the top of the wick around a pencil to hold it in place, and lay the pencil across the top of the container.
  3. Add scent to the wax (this is a good job for little kids). Just a few (8-10) drops per cup of melted wax.
  4. Carefully (probably a grown-up job) pour wax into jars, avoiding the pencils. Fill the jars up to the top and quickly move the wicks into the center of the hot wax. Hold it steady for a couple seconds until the wax begins to set. Leave the pencils in place until the candle is cooled.
  5. Trim wick.
  6. Decorate jars/tins or leave them simple.

Wax ornaments or bobbles

Materials needed-

  1. Wax (old candles that can be melted down), local beeswax, or wax shavings. (I recommend soy or beeswax, unscented). The amount varies depending on the number bobbles you want to make. Start with a smaller amount. It’s easy to melt more wax as you need it.
  2. Candy Molds
  3. String– thin hemp cord works well
  4. Double Boiler (one you’ll only use for crafting)
  5. Scent- essential oils are great!

Directions-

  1. Using a double boiler, bring water to a slow boil. Add old candles, wax chips, or beeswax and slowly melt.
  2. Cut string long enough to make a loop and tuck into wax (3 or so inches).
  3. Add scent to the wax (this is a good job for little kids). Just a few (8-10) drops per cup of melted wax.
  4. Carefully (probably a grown-up job) pour wax into molds. Fill the molds up to the top but try not to spill over the edges of each mold.
  5. Quickly take the loop ends and position them at the top of the bobble. Hold the loop steady for a couple seconds until the wax begins to set. Let the bobbles cool completely. They should easily pop out of the molds once they are cool.

 Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

Pinecone Owls

Materials Needed-

  1. Pine cones (The bigger and fatter the better)
  2. Cotton balls
  3. Pencil
  4. Google eyes
  5. Felt scraps

Directions

  1. Pull the cotton balls apart and using a pencil or semi-sharp object, carefully push the cotton into each crevice of the pinecone.
  2. Using glue, add eyes and felt features.

Salve

We use this recipe EVERY year and other than gapping wounds, we put it on EVERY cut and itch. The herbs we use are equal parts- plantain leaf, comfrey leaf, calendula flowers, and St. John’s Wort.

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

I buy the dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, get my beeswax local, and use DoTerra essential oils. Quality is important when making salve.

We learned how to make salve thanks to Learning Herb’s kit. It is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It walks you step by step through tinctures, salves, syrups, and infusions, and also comes with everything you need!

Baked Goods

Cookies, bread, mason jars filled with dessert ingredients– baking with kids is messy and fun and the results are sweet. I buy little loaf pans at Michaels for the banana chocolate chip bread we make and found Ikea has the best cookie cutters! Everyone needs a moose or porcupine holiday cookie.

Scrapbook Calendars, Mugs, Photobooks, Mousepads

We love Snapfish and Shutterfly and use both to make gifts every year!

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

Clothesline Baskets

These are so easy and fun to make! All you need is a sewing machine, thread, and cotton clothesline.

Poetry

My mom framed quite a few of the poems my sister and I wrote her when we were little. I know she loves them as much as I love the ones my children write. A poem makes a wonderful gift and it’s a project that can easily be differentiated for each child. Scribe for little ones and let them draw a picture. Older ones can type or play with different lettering. Haiku’s and Acrostic poems are good forms to try. Free verse too. Maybe offer your child or family a few prompts.

~ What do you love to do with ___________?

~ Describe the perfect winter day.

~ What are you most grateful for?

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

Stuffed Animals

When my son was little, this was one of his favorite gifts to give.

The easiest way I’ve found to help kids make their critters is to have them draw the animal/object they want to create on a piece of paper. This is your pattern.

Next, cut out the creation and pin it to your fabric of choice. Light colored fabric works well so they can draw features on. You can also use felt and layer the creation with multiple felt pieces. Either way, make sure to leave a seam allowance.

If they are going to draw a face or details, it might be easier to do it now, before you sew.

If you are using felt, make sure to cut out all your pieces and sew the details on first.

Sew up the creation inside out leaving enough room to turn it right side up and stuff.

Stuff and sew up the opening.

Give to someone you love.

Pillows and Pillow Cases

Another great way for children, no matter their age, to create is by making pillows or pillowcases. White fabric or pillowcases + fabric markers and you’re all set!

 

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

Clay Creations

Jewelry holders, paperweights, sculptures, little bowls, I treasure all the things my children have sculpted. Make beads, ornaments, little animals, pinch pots- there are endless ways to play with clay. We really love Das. It holds up well, air dries and is easy to paint.

Rock Painting

Another great project for all ages, grab some rocks and paint! Paint markers work well or try heating your rocks in a low oven (200 degrees) for 30 minutes and then press crayons onto them. It’s a good way to use up broken crayons.

Gift Baskets

Want to try a couple of these ideas? Make a gift basket.

Put a little salve, a painted rock, a few cookies, and handmade card into a clothesline basket and you’re all set! Or, add some store bought goodies. There’s nothing wrong with them.

Say No to Overwhelm

To keep homemade gift giving from feeling overwhelming, make sure you give yourself time. Maybe one night after dinner your family can make candles or cookies. Or, maybe Saturday morning, you and your oldest can take a few hours to sew.

Don’t try to make more than fills you with joy, and avoid picking projects too advanced for your children to contribute.

Make gifts with your family. Give simple handmade treasures. No perfection needed. Just a little love.

 

Simple ways for families and children to make handmade gifts and give the gift of love.

About Kelly Sage

A writer, teacher, mother, homeschooler. Seeker of time, space, and resources to help foster the love of learning.

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