Everyone loves a personalised Christmas present - especially those which have been lovingly created by little hands. With a little help from you, these Christmas gifts are so easy that even your toddler will be able to make them.
Hand painted t-shirt
If your little one enjoys painting, then why not share their artwork in the form or a t-shirt? Fabric paint comes in a wide variety of colours and is available from most good art-supply shops. You can also get fabric paint crayons and pens, which are great for older children who like to draw.>
Before you get to work ensure that your little one is wearing an art smock or old clothes – fabric paint won’t come out in the wash. Then let your toddler unleash their creative genius on a plain t-shirt. Who knows, maybe you have the next Peter Alexander on your hands!
(As an alternative, you can buy a small canvas for your child to decorate. They can be bought cheaply at discount stores.)
Salt dough thumb pot
Salt dough is easy to prepare and makes a versatile modelling clay. Just mix a cup of salt, two cups of flour and ¾ of a cup of water; knead together until the mixture forms malleable dough.
Thumb pots can be made by rolling a handful of dough into a ball and using your thumbs to make a hole. When your little one is satisfied with her pot, leave it somewhere warm to dry. Once dried, it can be painted and varnished however your little one sees fit.
Decorated picture frame
Start by purchasing some plain picture frames and a good supply of glitter, sequins, and beads. Help your little one smother the picture frame in child-friendly glue then let them stick the sparkly decorations to the frame to their hearts content.
Once dried, the frame can be completed with a photo of your little gem.
If your toddler likes to help out in the kitchen, getting them involved in some Christmas baking will put you both in a festive mood. Gingerbread is quick and easy to make and provides lots of opportunities for little ones to get involved, stirring the mixture, cracking the eggs. You can find a good recipe here.
Once the dough is prepared, help your little one roll it out then cut it into festive shapes using cookie cutters.
A homemade decoration can add a personal touch to even the most beautifully decorated tree. Cut out some cardboard stars for your little one to decorate, then lay out child-friendly glue, glitter, sequins and paint and let them work their magic. Once dried, pierce a hole in the star and thread a piece of ribbon through so that the star can be attached to a Christmas tree.
If you have friends and family living overseas then a video message will beam your children directly into their living room.
Practice a Christmas song together, or play some cheery festive music and get your kids to sing along. You don’t need any sophisticated filming equipment – just the video camera on your smart phone.
Once it’s ready, email it to recipients with a ‘Do not open until the 25th December’ message.
Calendars are a great way to enjoy a little ones artwork all year round. Purchase a mini calendar (usually available at your local newsagent) so all your little one needs to do is create some special artwork to stick it on.
It’s a good idea to use cardboard to make it more durable, but anything goes – a painting, a collage or a simple drawing. Once finished add some ribbon so that it can be hung on the wall and enjoyed for twelve whole months.
Peppermint creams are great for kids to make because they are quick an easy and don’t need time in the oven. You can find a good recipe here.
To add extra Christmas joy, help your little one make a decorative box to present the peppermint creams in. This could be as simple as using some of their artwork to wrap a plain box.
This is a great gift for a bookworm. Handprints work really well for smaller children because their hands are the ideal size. Pour child-friendly paint onto an old plate and help your children cover their hands in it – then get them to place their hands onto a sheet of card and press down. Repeat this process until you have a good supply of handprints.
It’s a good idea to prepare a bowl of warm soapy water before you start so that you can wash your child’s hands as soon as they’ve finished work.
Once the paint is dry, carefully cut out the handprints and add a ribbon or tassel.
A gift in a jar
There is something very festive about a gift in a jar, be it dried fruit, nuts or jam. Your little one can have fun decorating the lid and making labels – you just have to decide what to put in the jar!
Find more Christmas activities and craft ideas at Essential Kids.