Gifts for Kids to Make and Give!

One of the great joys of life is watching a child’s face light up during the holidays — not only when receiving gifts, but also in giving special presents to other people! To help your child cultivate the joy of giving early in life, make homemade gifts together. With developmental readiness in mind, here are some crafting ideas for the littlest gift-givers in your family:

Ages 0–1: With a little help, even the youngest family members can make a simple handprint or footprint for a unique keepsake gift. Be sure to choose a time when your baby is relaxed and comfortable. While you can use nontoxic, baby-safe inks on regular copy paper, the easiest technique calls for inkless hand and footprint wipes and a special, coated paper for printing. (Both are available at affordable prices through online retailers.) Just add the date and your baby’s name, finish it with a frame and present proudly.

Ages 2–3: Sensory play engages your child’s senses and is an important way to help develop connections in the brain, enhance motor skills and build problem-solving skills. Whether it’s using scents or squishing little fingers through clay or dough, toddlers are ready for — and love — sensory play. Take advantage of their enthusiasm by making soothing bath salts (stir essential oils, drop by drop, into Epsom salts, then package in a jar and tie with a pretty bow) or a batch of salt dough. Mix flour, salt and water into a dough and mold ornaments, key chains, figurines, pendants or whatever else may appeal, then bake and decorate. This activity is also great for older children and adults!

Ages 4–5: Crafting with scissors, paper and pens helps preschool children practice fine motor skills, enhance hand-eye coordination and develop language skills. Making decorated holiday treats builds early math skills — from counting out ingredients to identifying different shapes — as well as concentration and fine motor skills. Have fun and learn by working with your child to create a fun pop-up card or tasty treats for the holidays.

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