The holiday season is marked with family time and gift-giving. When kids are very small, parents do most of the work for grandparent gifts. Baby pictures and grandparent T-shirts are frequently given to new grandparents in honor of new family members.
However, as your children grow, their creative capacity and personal autonomy do too. This year, equip older kids with the tools they need to make their grandparents meaningful gifts with their own two hands.
Here are six simple and clever ideas to get your family started:
1. Salt-Dough Ornaments
This classic gift is easy to complete and leaves a lot of room for individual creativity. To make salt dough, all you need is water, flour, and salt. Fresh salt dough resembles play-doh, and your kids will probably want to play with it before making their ornaments! To turn this fun substance into a memorable gift, roll it out like cookie dough and use cookie cutters to cut out specific shapes.
You can use a stamp or cookie press to create imprints and shapes on the ornaments or wait and just paint them after baking. Handprint impressions make really special gifts for grandparents of very little kids. Bake the dough at 200 degrees for an hour or more until it’s firm. You can use a straw to create a perfectly round hole for hanging and add ribbon after baking.
2. Fridge Magnets
Magnets are another great holiday gift idea – they’re fun to make and require only a little assistance from parents. Kids can get very creative with what they want to turn into a magnet. Small drawings, pipe-cleaner animals, pictures, and fused Perler beads all make wonderful magnets that will brighten up any grandparent’s fridge.
To make this gift, have your child create the front of their magnet. If the magnet is paper or a picture, help them laminate and cut it out so it will last a long time. Next, help your kids glue their creation to a magnet with a hot glue gun. If your kids are older, they can do this themselves. Always be sure to supervise magnets with little children – if swallowed, they can be very dangerous.
3. Fun Activities
This holiday gift focuses on quality time rather than creating a detailed DIY. Ask your kids to help you choose a game or other activity that they can do with their grandparents over the holidays. Gift ideas could include painting sets, puzzles, fun movies, and cookie-in-a-jar baking parties.
Quality connections are made when grandparents and their grandchildren live life together. Arranging for your kids to see their grandparents often is one of the best gifts you can give them and will make precious memories that your kids will treasure for the rest of their lives. Combine this quality time with a fun activity to make the upcoming holiday very special.
4. Potted Plants
If the grandparents like plants, consider having your kids decorate pots and grow seedlings to give as gifts for the holidays. This is a great teaching opportunity for kids, who must practice patience and take on the responsibility of nurturing young plants. A few easy houseplants for kids to grow are Pothos, Tradescantia, and African Violets – these can all be grown from cuttings.
While their plants are growing, your kids can have fun making their pots beautiful. Using art materials and a lot of imagination, they can paint, glue, and dip pots to create the perfect gift for grandparents. Older kids can try weathering terra cotta pots to get an aged outdoor sheen.
5. Handmade Coasters
Most grandparents drink tea, coffee, or both, and they’ll enjoy this daily ritual a lot more if they’re reminded of their grandkids every time they have a warm drink. Handmade coasters are another gift that kids can take in multiple directions – they can be made of wood, fabric, felt, corkboard, or ceramics.
Younger children can make handprints, paint coasters, or pose for pictures that parents can transfer to the final product. Older kids can sew, embroider, and paint finer details that reflect their own personalities or their grandparents’ hobbies. Encourage your kids to think outside the box with this one and try to only make a few. That way, you can make a different kind for next year!
6. Photo Prints
Grandparents love getting pictures of their grandkids. Turn these images into fridge magnets, coasters, Christmas tree ornaments, calendars, and photobooks. Ask your kids to help you get creative with these images, and take staged, funny photos to make the grandparents laugh.
You could also ask your kids to write a story and then photograph them acting it out. Afterward, combine these elements into a unique storybook they can read with their grandparents every time they visit. Another wonderful grandparent gift is an electronic photo frame that you can easily send new photos to throughout the year.
Get your kids involved in the present-making process this year, and watch them light up with creativity and love as they craft special gifts for their grandparents. Your kids will learn about themselves and their talents through the creative process, and you’ll save time and money trying to arrange gifts for them.
Meaningful gifts don’t have to be complicated or expensive – all you really need is a little creativity, basic craft items, and the willingness to try something new. Once you help your kids begin, you may be surprised at how far they go on their own!