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To share my love of art-making, I've started a Christmas tradition with Yummy (and someday Dooter) of putting together fun new art supplies to deliver to our local Crisis Centre.  We get to shop for fun materials and put them into bags so that kids, who might not otherwise have the chance, get some fun new art supplies to explore at Christmastime.  

 
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(I received this product for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)
I seem to be on a gift-giving kick lately; I suppose it is the season!  Last week I posted about 19 Child-Made Gift Ideas and explained how I believe it develops compassion, generosity and resourcefulness for kids to make and give gifts.  

I have had the pleasure of working through the Why I Give Activity Book by Corine Hyman with my kids over the past week.  The activities are wonderful -we've made quite a few gifts for our friends and family, using the ideas Corine has included.  I am so excited to share this activity book with you, and also to be able to offer a copy as a giveaway, so generously provided by Corine Hyman!

 
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Christmas is my favourite season: the warmth and coziness of being inside a colourfully lit home while snowy storms rage outside.  As with many things, the anticipation of this holiday is probably the best part, and I like to draw it out by starting early, making handmade gifts.  I have lost a bit of the excitement in receiving gifts, as I've grown older, but being able to plan and make presents for others makes me feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas again.  

Like I mentioned in my post about the giveaway (now closed) on Dot to Dot Connections, I strongly believe in the value of child-made gifts and what they teach: generosity, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, etc.  Here are some beautiful ideas for kids to create for friends and family.  Most of them are possible for pre-schoolers to make with a little help.


 
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Yummy and I explored baking soda clay as a medium the other day.  It didn't stand up as well as the photos where I got the recipe: the Etsy New York Team, but it was a wonderful sensory experience -so soft and silky to work with!  We were able to make it into small shapes (I forgot to take pictures of our clay-working!!).  We shaped the clay into balls and stuck straws through to make a hole.  Yummy also used a couple cookie cutters to make some fish and a heart.  After baking it for about half an hour, we had some homemade beads to decorate for one-of-a-kind neckwear.  

 
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This is a two-part art project; a festive garland to hang in a doorway, across a wall, in front of a window, wherever you need a bit of cheer!  Yummy's garland is intended as a gift, but it would be a wonderful homemade birthday or party decoration as well.

 
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Mr. Man's Birthday was on Friday; since Harvest was still in the works (we just finished last night -hurrah!), we didn't have much of a celebration.  Yummy's gift was his favourite part of the day, because she was so excited to give it to him.  I asked her to wait until he'd gotten a cup of coffee and sat down so he wouldn't be overwhelmed right away in the morning, and she was visibly vibrating from the anticipation as she waited patiently for him to do that.  

 
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Today is Dooter's half-birthday!  A whole year and a half old!  My own birthday is the day after Christmas, so my mom invented Half Birthdays when I was young, allowing me to have a summer party with my friends and not have the event overshadowed by the winter holidays.  Dooter is a Christmas baby as well (December 21st)  so the tradition continues on.  It's a fun little celebration that makes for another special day in the year.