Crafting with kids to create great gifts

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And, we aren’t talking paper ties and macaroni necklaces … although lovely and very-much appreciated, they tend to get tucked away soon after being received.

Issac, Lyra and Addison Raymond, of Auburn, spent a day making Christmas gifts and learning that the season is not just for receiving.

“They love doing crafts,” said Sarah, their mom. “And what a great way to spend the day, having fun and saving money.”

Addison made a handprint on a Christmas ball, turning her little fingers into snowmen.

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“That was fun!” she giggled. “Can I do it again?”

Issac busied himself painting golf tees.

“We are going to put them in bags and make a label that says: You are TEErrific!”

Lyra, who could craft all day, and every day, made bracelets by wrapping colorful cording around inexpensive bracelets and attaching charms to them.

“These are going to be great for some of my friends,” she smiled.

Not only did the kids make gifts, they decorated tissue paper with shaving cream and food coloring to wrap their gifts in.

“And I printed my foot on a gift bag,” said an excited Lyra, “and painted it to look like a Christmas tree!”

Charm bracelets, like Lyra crafted, can be made by buying bracelets and charms in the craft department. Have your child take colored cording and wrap around each bracelet, dabbing glue as you go. When finished add charms — the more the merrier.

The tees, Christmas ball hand print, and gift bags were decorated using acrylic paints, as it dries fairly quickly and is easily washed off hands.

Decorating white wrapping paper or tissue was easy to do, just by putting dollops of shaving cream in kid’s hands and adding a touch of food coloring. They get to squish it all together and use like finger paint. Because they don’t blend in totally, the paper has almost a marbled look to it. Just be careful as it takes a bit of time to dry.

Here are some other ideas for useful gifts children can make — grandparents, aunts, uncles and even moms and dads will enjoy receiving them almost as much as the child will be proud in giving them.

Salt dough gifts. Recipe for dough: 1 cup of each flour and salt; add water till dough forms (about 1/2 cup). Roll out and cut or mold your project. Cook at a low heat for about 3 hours and let cool before painting. Use a heart or star cookie cutter then poke a hole at one end or push a small eye hook into one corner. Add child’s fingerprint and you have a key chain or an ornament. Two handprints can look like a heart. Cutting around a handprint and curling up the fingers make a ring dish.

Candy. Get lollipop sticks and have children stick them into Oreo cookies. Mom can melt white chocolate for dipping and kids can sprinkle crushed peppermint sticks on top.

Chocolate turtles are easy to do. On waxed paper have kids lay four pecan halves, making a star shape. Press a caramel squares down onto the middle and spoon melted chocolate on top.

Nutter Butter cookies can be dipped in white chocolate to make snowmen, or dipped in chocolate, adding small pretzels for antlers and made into reindeer.

Icicle ornaments. Have little ones slide colorful beads onto long, silver pipe cleaners (twist at bottom to stop the beads from falling off). Then give them a spiral effect by curling them around a pencil. Loop the top to attach to the tree.

Yarn bowls are super unique. All you need is some Modge Podge, leftover yarn (the more colors the better) and a bowl. To protect the bowl used for a mold and to be able to get the yarn bowl off from it, wrap with Saran wrap and tape it. Place the bowl upside down and put your yarn in another bowl with the Modge Podge. Gently squeeze the excess and wrap the bowl with the yarn. You can coil it and cover the entire bowl or go in any direction leaving spaces. Allow it to dry for about three days.

Making gifts with your children can make memories for both you and your child. Children all love receiving gifts, but to see the looks on their faces as loved ones receive the fruits of their labor is priceless.

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