Minimalist Holidays: 14 Kid Crafted Gifts

MinimalistParenting_holidays-badge.pngI'm a big fan of getting kids crafting; it doesn't need to be over the top and it absolutely shouldn't be stressful -- the point is to simply let your kid's creativity run loose with whatever you've got on hand...while also freeing you up for a stretch of quiet time. The holidays are a great time to inspire kids to create and give and today, as part of Asha and my Minimalist Holidays series, I wanted to share 14 ideas for kid crafted gifts. The ideas span a range of ability and interests and in minimalist parenting fashion, I recommend trying projects that seem doable and fun for both you (as set up person) and your child (as crafter). Meaning, don't stress about trying to be more crafty than you want to be -- simply pick something that feels fun and run with it. Enjoy!

1. Paper collages. Paper collages are simple and easy -- all you need is paper scraps (decorative or from your recycling bin) and a glue stick or double sided tape depending on your child's dexterity. Have your child stick little pieces of paper onto a large piece of paper (regular sized or cut out into a large shape, e.g., gingerbread person). Easy. Fun.

2. Framed artwork. Short on time? Need to declutter? The holidays are a perfect time to find a home for your kid's artwork. Simply toss the artwork in a frame and you're done. If you want to make it look elegant, pick frames with mats (IKEA is a great source for inexpensive frames) and cut the artwork down to size. We did this one year with some of Laurel's paintings and it looked gorgeous.

3. Bookmarks. Bookmarks are a great gift and kids can make them simple (color on cardstock), more involved (glue paper scraps on cardstock), or more finished, such as these photo bookmarks I made one year.

4. Origami picture frames. Try your hand at origami without crazy complicated instructions. These origami picture frames over at Make and Takes can be fashioned to stand up or as refrigerator magnets.


5. Classic potholders. Potholders are a great independent project for little ones. And functional too! One year Laurel made these for, well, everyone. We use them all the time.

6. Menorahs. I utterly adore these hardware store menorahs by Sheri Silver. I'm going to see if Laurel wants to make one of these for her cousin, who celebrates Hanukkah.


7. Handprint aprons. This handprint aprons by Make and Takes is perfect for the cook in the family. And for kids who love tactile projects.


8. Beaded necklaces. If your child can string beads, have them make necklaces. Laurel loves using beads to make necklaces, as well as bracelets, key chains, and bookmark tags.

9. Sculpey magnets. I've made glass and paper magnets with Laurel before, but how clever are these Sculpey face magnets? Abby Glassenberg shares a how-to. LOVE.


10. Sculpey pendants. And speaking of Sculpey, Laurel is working on Sculpey pendants for the holidays. She's simply freeforming the design of the pendants, punching a hole in the top with a pencil, and after baking, stringing with ribbon.

11. Painted pottery. If you'd rather outsource the crafting, visit a pottery painting studio. Laurel has made lovely mugs and plates for gifts. Usable gifts FTW!

12. Drawn pottery. If visiting a paint studio is cost prohibitive (it can be if your child wants to paint a lot of items) another option is to use a paint pen directly on pottery. Totally awesome. I didn't even know these pens existed until Jennifer Cooper shared them with me.


13. Glitter tape boxes. Thanks to Caroline Urdaneta, I want to go find glitter tape. Lots of it. Your kids can use it to adorn tins like Caroline did, or use it for artwork, the aforementioned menorah project, or countless other ideas.


14. Printed t-shirts. OK, this is a little more involved, but how awesome are these design your own t-shirts by Jennifer Cooper? I think Laurel would love this project. Totally going to try it with her. I'm going to ask her to make me a unicorn shirt.


Super fun projects, no? If you have other kid crafted gift ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below!


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This post is part of Minimalist Holidays, a series inspired by the idea that you can enjoy the holidays more when you do less. Between now and the end of the year, coauthor Asha Dornfest and I will share ideas for simplifying the holidays so you can focus on what's important: enjoying the season with your family. Visit the Minimalist Holidays page for links to the entire series.