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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.

1. PAPER MACHE PENS

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Yummy made a bunch of these pens these summer to give as gifts and they turned out beautifully (you can see the one she made for Mr. Man here)!  They require some adult help for a four-year old, in making the paper smooth and shapely around the pen, but the painting (and glittering) can all be done by the child.  They make a fun and practical gift.  Paper Crafts for Children shows you how to make these step-by-step.

2. PERSONALIZED NOTEBOOK

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Making a notebook from scratch (like Yummy's Father's Day gift) or having a child personalize a plain notebook is an easy and useful gift.  It goes very nicely with a paper mache as well!

3. SALT DOUGH HEARTS

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These colourful hearts from Homegrown Friends can each be painted specifically for special friends, using colours your child chooses.  A sweet little token of love and friendship.

4. BUSINESS CARD MAGNETS

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This is a gift that even the littlest crafter can make (as long as they aren't into eating glue-sticks, I suppose).  Thaleia from Something 2 Offer shows how to make a simple business card into a pretty fridge magnet for kids to give as gifts.

5. TREASURE BOWLS

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These beautiful bowls are quite easy to do and involved some sensory fun as well!  Dipped in plaster of paris and draped over a bowl, they make a lovely place for storing natural treasures, keys, coins, etc.

6. PRINT YOUR OWN FABRIC BAGS

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Jen from The Mad House shared this lovely project: plain bags printed with apples!  I have always wanted to try apple printing and perhaps this is the nudge I need.  I also love bags and could always use more -who couldn't?  

7. Painted Fabric Bag

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Here is another idea for a personalized fabric bag, this time from Mama Pea Pod.  Her daughter used fabric markers and fabric paint to create a lovely design.

8. REINDEER THUMBPRINT MUGS

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Also from The Mad House are these very cute reindeer thumbprint mugs.  Yummy wouldn't be able to do a whole lot of the little details just yet, but she would love making the prints and adding the eyes!  She also shows how she did the same with Christmas ornaments.  

9. DISCOVERY BOTTLES

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These are a wonderful gift for children to make for younger siblings or friends.  We have a few new babies in our circle of family and friends, so Yummy has been enjoying helping me put all sorts of beautiful and interesting materials inside bottles for the babies to shake, view, and play with.  Yummy created the Nature Discovery Bottle in this photo for her little brother's half-birthday and it was a hit!  

Anna from The Imagination Tree shows some lovely examples of discovery bottles.  

10. REGGIO INSPIRED SELF-PORTRAIT SHADOW BOXES

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These self-portraits from Meri Cherry show a child's unique personality with a photograph, as well as expressive painting and line drawing -a wonderful gift for grandparents!

11. PLAY-DOUGH Kits

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We love play-dough at our house and when you combine it with interesting accessories, it makes a fun gift for little friends and cousins.  Here are two sweet gift packs from Play Dr. Mom that kids can help put together for their young play-dough-loving friends:  Snowman Play-dough and Gingerbread Play-dough.

12. STICK PUPPETS

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Another gift that kids can make for each other!  Yummy can spend hours making up stories with homemade stick puppets, and they are very easy to make.  You can cut pictures from magazines, laminate them and glue them to popsicle sticks, or cut felt shapes and add googly eyes, if you like.  I made these horse puppets out of photos I printed off, for a future quiet bin for Yummy.

13. BOOKMARKS

Here are two beautiful bookmarks from Artsy Craftsy Mom that kids can make for others.  I love the design of the kite bookmark -Shruti also gives ideas for other designs.  And the thumbprint bookmarks are just so simple and sweet.  

14. KEYCHAIN OR JEWELRY FROM A CHILD'S DRAWING

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FormiaDesign takes your child's drawing and makes it into a titanium keychain or jewelery piece.  This is a pricey gift, but SO precious!  Yummy's early drawings are hilarious, and I know they would make super cute keychains to give away.  

15. Clay Bead Necklaces

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Yummy has already created a few of these necklaces to give to her cousins and friends.  She loves the heart one she made for herself, and Dooter struts around the house thinking he looks pretty awesome with his necklace on.  

*Caution: they do look good enough to eat.  Dooter took a bite from Yummy's heart so we will now have to repair that with extra glitter and mod podge.

16. Wooden Memory Game

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Melissa from Green Owl Art published a post on homemade gifts last year with lots of wonderful ideas, many that young children can help or take the lead with.  My favourite is this Wooden Memory Game -stamped on natural wooden rounds, they are both beautiful and easy to make.  

17. Scented Beeswax Crayons

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I love art gifts, especially natural ones.  These homemade beeswax crayons from Babes in Deutschland are a beautiful and useful gift!  Kids can help with the grating and mixing to create these scented art materials.

18. Word Cloud

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If you are short on time, this 5-minute gift idea is the one for you!  Using your child's description of someone (Daddy, Grandma, an aunt, etc), Jane at Mama Pea Pod shows you how to create a word cloud that you can print and frame as a sweet and simple gift.  

19. CHILD'S ART BOOK

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An adult has to take the time to put this together, but the result is a wonderful collection of a child's artwork.  I made one up for myself using Picaboo (we create so much art around here that it only makes sense to take photos for keeping instead of every original), and it was the subject of conversation at our last family gathering.  Apparently Yummy's relatives will be needing a gifted copy!  

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11/19/2013 10:03:55 pm

What a wonderful collection of child-made gifts! Thanks so much for including our homemade playdough kits in the mix!

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11/20/2013 03:42:45 am

My pleasure! Play-dough kits are so fun -makes it a new play material every time!

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11/20/2013 01:43:41 am

Love this round up of super simple and cute handmade crafts by kids! Thanks for including out Business Card Magnets:)

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11/20/2013 03:43:53 am

You are welcome! I can't wait to make some of those magnets with my kids!

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11/20/2013 03:54:50 am

Great list, Maria! I'm going to link to this post in one I'm working on about giving with children :) Thanks for the great ideas! Now to decide how many of these we can fit in before Christmas... ;)

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11/20/2013 04:01:14 am

Thanks Missy! Can't wait to read your post. I am hoping for the time to try these ideas in as well -if not for Christmas, then we still have ideas for birthdays and such!

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11/20/2013 11:14:27 pm

Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas! I try to make a homemade gift with my daughter for everyone in the family. :) I found this post at the Kids co-op. I would love it if you shared a post at my new link-up: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/2013/11/anything-goes-link-up-1.html

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11/22/2013 02:44:54 am

Thanks Angela! I did link up -I am away for a few days and only have my mobile, but will add the link-up to my post when I get back home. So nice of you to stop by, leave a comment, and invite me to link up!

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Kelly
11/21/2013 12:50:20 am

I love the idea of the child's art photo book! So you just took pictures of her drawings and made it into a photo book? Or did you scan them? Any tips on that front? Love that, it's original and personal.

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11/22/2013 02:51:18 am

Hi Kelly, yes! I just took photos! rather than scanning! since it takes so much time to scan (though I'm sure it would be better quality!). For taking photos, i put the artworks on a big sheet of white poster paper for a background and I made sure I had good natural lighting for taking photos and didn't use my flash. I took a few shots of each just in case a few were blurry, then edited them on my computer (increased the exposure for even better lighting on some, and cropped them nicely). Hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions -my photobook turned out so nicely, and my daughter lives flipping through proudly, remembering her past creations!

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11/22/2013 02:53:10 am

Wow, I didn't mean to include so many exclamation points in those first sentences. I sound very excited about it all!

Kelly
11/23/2013 10:34:09 am

Thanks so much for the tips. I will definitely be doing this at some point. It's such a great idea!!! Love it.

11/22/2013 05:41:28 am

What a great round-up of unique ideas! I especially like the paper maché pens - may try those for gifts this year! And thanks for sharing our Thumbprint/Handprint Bag *and* our Word Cloud gift!

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11/24/2013 08:54:07 pm

You are welcome, Jane! Glad to share your wonderful ideas! Enjoy making the pens -they really turned out beautifully for us!

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11/24/2013 06:45:11 am

What a great list! My boys always make something for the grandparents at Christmas so this will be a great resource! Thanks for sharing at our Mommy Club Linky Party! I can't wait to see more ideas and projects that you have!

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11/24/2013 08:55:11 pm

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment, Chrissy! Glad these ideas will be helpful for you!

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11/24/2013 07:51:54 am

These are a great bunch of ideas, but I must say that last one is my favorite!

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11/24/2013 08:56:35 pm

Hi Emma! Thanks for stopping by. I agree, that art book is a good one! I love having all of my daughter's art in one spot where I actually take time to look at it now and then!

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9/1/2014 06:48:03 pm

Thanks for your post, and i got children made gifts and i thanks to sharing these wonderful ideas!

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5/18/2015 07:54:46 pm

Nice collection for girls made gift. am waiting for your next beautiful post.

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2/8/2016 04:56:46 am

Good collection of crafts. I have shown these to my sissy's kid . She enjoyed a lot. If possible post steps on how to make on handmade treasure bowls. Thank you.

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12/17/2016 02:30:28 am

super , itz give me some more good idea to make gifts , thanks for sharing

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