No More Macaroni Necklaces!

Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles are always so polite when they receive the handmade holiday gifts that their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren make for them for birthdays and holidays. Of course they are delighted by the sentiment, but ultimately, what can they do with a macaroni necklace, or modeling clay sculpture, or cardboard picture frame dripping in glitter glue?

The good news is, that with the power of the internet, even the least crafty parent can help their young children through making something Grandparents and other relatives will actually love and use!

Kindergarten and Preschool-age children love to create, they just need the right materials and a bit of supervision. Pinterest is full of parent-labor intensive crafts, which are great for advanced crafters, but for the parent who does not own their own die-cutter, there are other options. Here are a few anyone can do:

  • Cinnamon salt dough ornaments- For relatives who proudly display Christmas trees, these flour, salt, and cinnamon dough ornaments are as easy as making sugar cookies but without the baking. The dough dries solid overnight and can even be painted or sealed. Any festive cookie cutter will do, and the kids can help make and shape the ornaments. Babies and toddlers can contribute a hand  or foot print into the dough. They last for years if kept cool and dry. Recipes are easily found online.
  • Body Scrub- A great gift for pampering a relative on a birthday or Mother’s Day, this involves a three ingredient concoction kids will enjoy mixing up, and it’s totally safe. Simply combine equal parts coconut oil in semi-solid form, with brown or white sugar. Add some essential oils, approximately ten drops, or coffee grounds for a wonderful scent. Kids can do all the mixing and potting, parents just need to measure and provide a decorative jar.
  • Habotai Silk Scarves- Simple white silk scarves are easily ordered online. Children can then layer sheets of colored tissue paper over the scarves and spray them with a water bottle until the saturated paper bleeds colors into the silk. Once line dried, the stains make a beautiful wash of soft color.
  • Artwork- This may seem like cheating, but it’s wonderful what can be done with photos and artwork now. No longer must we gift the cheap plastic coffee tumbler with photos tucked between layers of the cup, ultimately ruined by actually using the cup for carrying liquids. With services like Snapfish, Shutterfly, and even Costco have so many much better options for gifting. Now the treasured artwork and adorable photos can be made into everything from locket charms to lap blankets. Make a puzzle, a wall calendar, an etched-glass paperweight, throw pillows, tote bags, photo statuettes, whatever. Now the very special crayon drawings don’t need to hang on the fridge indefinitely, they can be part of something useful and beautiful.

With so many new options for toddlers and young children to gift to relatives, it’s once again exciting to brainstorm and prepare for gift-giving occasions!

This article is part of a child health and wellness series posted for the benefit of parents by Prime Time Early Learning Centers.  Prime Time is a family owned child care company that provides Infant Care, After Care, PreK, and Summer Camp programs for children from six weeks to 10 years of age in Paramus, Edgewater, Hoboken and East Rutherford New Jersey, and in Middletown (Walkill) and Farmingdale (Babylon) New York.  See what parents have to say about their experience with Prime Time Early Learning Centers on Google and Yelp!

Prime Time serves families in zip codes:  10940 , 12589 , 07652 ,07653 , 07630 , 07649 , 07450 , 07451 , 07020 , 07024 , 07010 , 07047 , 07030 , 07086 , 07307 , 07302 , 07310 , 07306 , 07071 , 07073 , 07094 , 07072 , 07074 , 07094 , 07070 , 07071 , 11735 , 11737, 11704, 11703, 11747.