How to Make Homemade Gifts for Kids

Giving a fun and thoughtful gift doesn’t mean that you have to buy something from the store—there are tons of homemade gift ideas for kids of all ages! Take into account how old the kid is and what kinds of things they are interested in. You could make gifts that the child can use on their own, like clothespin dolls and homemade slime, or you could even make a gift that you can use together, like a personalized apron for baking adventures or coupons for special nights out!

EditMaking Gifts for Your Toddler or Preschooler
Use clothespins and yarn to make clothespin wrap dolls. Use the clothespins that have round heads rather than the ones that separate at the top. Wrap thread around each clothespin individually to create the illusion of “shirts” and “pants.” For example, wrap red thread around a clothespin until you get halfway down, then switch to black thread for a doll that is wearing a red top and a black skirt. You can also cut off some thread and glue it to the pinhead to make hair. Use a marker to make little eyes.[1]
You can make “shorts” or “pants” on the clothespin dolls by wrapping the bottom thread in-between the spokes of the clothespin.

Make a striped top or bottom by alternating colors for a fun outfit option.

Your child can create stories and play with the dolls just like they would with other dolls from the store.

If you don’t own the materials already, you can buy them inexpensively from a craft store.

Materials needed: clothespins, yarn or embroidery thread, markers, and glue or a hot glue gun.

Make bath crayons for a fun bath time activity gift. Buy glycerin from the craft store and melt it in a microwave-safe container for about 1 minute. Divvy up the glycerin between several different cups, and then add different colored food dye to each one. Pour the colored glycerin into a mold (ice cube trays work well for this!) and let them sit for 1-2 hours.[2]
When the kid takes a bath, they can draw and scribble on the shower and tub walls with the bath crayons. It’s like amped-up coloring because they get to do it at bath time!

Food dye normally washes away easily because of the combination with the soap, but if you’re concerned about your tub getting discolored, use specialty soap dye.

You could combine the bath crayons with a hooded towel and other bath toys to make a gift basket.

Materials needed: glycerin, food or soap dyes, and molds.

Repurpose scraps of wood into “food boxes” for creative play time. Paint a block of wood red, blue, yellow, or green, depending on what food item you’re mimicking. Search online for downloadable and printable labels, and then glue them onto the block once the paint is dry. For example, you could paint a block of wood dark blue and then print a label for macaroni and cheese.[3]
For extra adhesive that’ll keep that label in place for longer, use Mod Podge.

If you don’t have scrap wood at home, you could ask someone who has a wood shop to donate scraps to you.

Your child can use these blocks to play “grocery store,” “kitchen,” or “restaurant” along with other food-themed toys they might have.

Materials needed: wooden blocks, paint, printed food labels, a paintbrush, and glue or Mod Podge.

Stuff and sew a felt alphabet. Use different colored felts to cut out 2 sets of the entire alphabet, 1 set for the front and 1 set for the back. Stitch the corresponding letters together, leaving a small opening. Stuff pillow or craft stuffing into the hole until the letter is full, then sew up the opening. You can make the letters different colors and sizes, and you could even use differently colored threads to make the letters more colorful and vibrant.[4]
If you don’t want to freehand the letters, print off large letters to trace onto the felt.

You can use the letters to help them learn the alphabet and how to spell their name.

Materials needed: felt, scissors, needle, thread, and pillow or craft stuffing.

EditCrafting Gifts for Your Grade-Schooler
Make a personalized apron for a kid who loves to cook. You can use a tea towel, old jeans, or thrifted fabric to make an apron. Find a pattern online to follow, and use your sewing machine to make an apron that ties around the back and around the neck. Consider embroidering the kid’s name onto the apron for an even more personalized gift.[5]
You do need to have some familiarity with a sewing machine in order to make this gift.

Materials needed: scissors, a sewing machine, a dishtowel (or other fabric), ribbon, and safety pins.

Create a slime pack for a fun, cheap gift. There are tons of different slime recipes online that you can use. Generally, you’re going to mix together borax, water, and food coloring. Make different colored slimes, make slimes that have little bits of confetti mixed into them, or even make glow-in-the-dark slime. Store the slime in plastic containers.[6]
Make sure the child you are gifting the slime to is old enough to understand that they can’t eat the slime, as it can be toxic when consumed.

Materials needed: Borax, water, food coloring, bowls, and plastic containers.

Build a mini bowling set that can be used at home. Save up 10 empty plastic soda or water bottles. Remove their labels, decorate them with paint, and fill them with sand. You could even paint all the bottles to be different characters from one of their favorite shows, or make them themed, like magic, sports, or music.[7]
You may need to buy a mini-bowling ball online or at the store—they sell ones specifically for this purpose! If you can’t find one you like, you could even use a baseball that you paint to match the bottles.

Materials needed: 10 plastic bottles, paint, a paint brush, and sand.

Write out compliment or encouragement cards for a year-round gift. This can be done in a lot of different ways—you could prepare 52 notes to give to the child so they have 1 to open each week for an entire year. You could also mail 1 card per week so they get to experience opening their own mail. For the cards, feel free to decorate them with stickers, different colored markers, or even add some glitter. Write down what makes them special or different encouraging quotes.
For example, you could give a compliment card that says something like, “You are such a great older sibling, and you do such a good job helping your mom and dad around the house.” Try to be as specific as possible.

Materials needed: paper, envelopes, stamps (optional), stickers, markers, glitter, and other crafting materials.

EditCreating Gifts for Your Teenager
Design personalized pillow cases for your teen. Does your teen have something they are obsessed with, like a band or a TV show? You could even use one of their favorite quotes or funny sayings. Get some inexpensive white pillow cases online or from a crafting store, and then use fabric markers to draw, write, and design a custom pillow case. Let the ink dry, then iron the pillow case to set in the design (check the fabric markers instructions first!).[8]
Materials needed: pillow cases (preferably white), fabric markers, and an iron and ironing board.

Make a personalized sharpie coffee mug for a unique gift. Use a plain white mug and oil-based permanent markers for the best results. Draw a design or write a cool quote on the mug (practice beforehand on a piece of paper if you need to!). Let the design dry, then heat the mug in the oven for 20-30 minutes at . Once the time is up, remove it from the stove and leave it alone on the counter overnight, and then it’s ready to go![9]
Wash sharpie mugs by hand only—don’t put them into the washing machine or you could ruin the design!

Be careful when taking the mug out of the oven and remember to use oven mitts.

Materials needed: white coffee mug, oil-based permanent markers, and an oven.

Create a coupon book filled with special activities or allowances. Use stock paper to write out some fun activities, like staying out past curfew or getting to skip chores for one week. Put one item on each piece of paper. Staple the coupons together or punch holes in them and tie them together with a ribbon, and create a fun cover for the booklet before giving it to the teen.[10]
You could even create your coupons online for a more authentic looking booklet. Search for “coupon template” for different printable options.

Other ideas for coupons: trip to get ice cream or coffee, movie date, sleepover, manicure, new video game, trip to an amusement park, bowling.

Materials needed: stock paper, stapler or ribbon, markers, and pens.

Make a scrapbook for your teen for when they graduate from school. Include family and friend photos. Insert programs from activities they participated in, like sports or plays. Write captions on each page, or even include a few journal entries or paragraphs about your child and how they’ve grown over the years.[11]
This could be a project you work on annually, adding to it each year as your child makes their way from middle to high school, and then to graduation. In a world where most photos are stored online, having a physical book with memories can be a really meaningful gift.

Materials needed: a scrapbook, pictures, scissors, adhesives, stickers, stamps, markers, pens, and card stock.

Assemble a gift basket full of your teen’s favorite things. Choose a vessel to put the gifts in, like a pretty basket, a storage tote, or a purse or backpack. Choose items along a similar theme, like spa day, movie night, book club, or sports team. Visit thrift stores and dollar stores to find fun items to fill it up.[12]
If you’re trying to be frugal, set yourself a dollar limit, like $20, and see how many fun items you can find within that price range.

You could also put baked treats or homemade snacks into the basket.

Materials needed: a decorative basket and themed gift items.

Another fun idea is to take the child to a pottery painting store. You can both paint something together that the child can keep as a keepsake.

If you paint or draw, you could create something specifically for the child.

Try to lean into your strengths—if there is a skill you have, try to use it to make a homemade gift.

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Today in History for 17th December 2018

Historical Events

1895 – George Brownell patents a machine to make paper twine (Mass)
1907 – Ugyen Wangchuck became 1st hereditary king of Bhutan
1960 – “La Plume de Ma Tante” closes at Royale Theater NYC after 835 performances
1978 – Referendum approves new constitution of Rwanda
1989 – 78th Davis Cup: Germany beats Sweden in Stuttgart (3-2)
1991 – Soap opera “One Life To Live” airs its 6,000th episode

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1778 – Hunphry Davy, English chemist (discovered some elements)
1820 – Frederick Tracy Dent, American General (Union Army), born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1892)
1947 – Wes Studi, actor (Last of the Mohicans)
1948 – Jim Bonfanti, rocker (Raspberries-Go All the Way)
1964 – Frank Musil, Pardubice Cze, NHL defenseman (Ottawa Senators)
1965 – Scott Edward Gump, American PGA golfer (1991 International-2nd), born in Rockledge, Florida

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

695 – Begga, ancestress of the Carolingians/saint, dies [or 693]
1962 – Thomas Mitchell, American academy award winning actor (Gone with the Wind, High Noon), dies of bone cancer at 70
1996 – Wayne Barlow, American composer, dies at 84
1996 – Elizabeth Hill, Russian-English teacher of Salvonic languages, dies at 96
2003 – Otto Graham, NFL Quarterback, dies of a heart aneurysm at 82
2008 – Sammy Baugh, American football player, dies at 94

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How to Win at Tug of War

Tug of war is a classic game that’s frequently played at children’s parties and family gatherings. In a game of tug of war, 2 teams stand at opposite ends of a rope and try to tug the rope until the majority of it is pulled over their side of the center line or marker. However, the game isn’t as easy as it seems! There’s plenty of strategy that goes into winning tug of war, and a lot of it has to do with the team’s positioning and their technique.

EditPositioning the Team
Gather 8 people of varying sizes and strength levels. The great thing about tug of war is that you can learn how to win as a team, even if you don’t have the strongest people on your side! For organized leagues, you might also want to recruit 1-2 extra people as alternates in case someone gets hurt or has to miss a match.[1]
If you’re planning to play in a league, make sure the combined weight of the people on your team is less than the stated rules, which can vary depending on the age group.

Place a more experienced team member at the front to lead the tug. This person will act as the “leader” of the group. Choose someone who is a medium height for the team and has played tug of war before. This person should be able to keep a good grip on the rope while in a squatting position and have a lot of lower body strength to keep the front of the line from becoming too strained.[2]
It might be helpful to have the teammates stand from tallest to shortest and then pick one of the people close to the middle to be the lead tugger.

Stagger the middle teammates based on their skills to encourage teamwork. Position a less experienced member in between 2 more experienced members of the team so they can communicate throughout the game. That way, the knowledgeable teammates can set the pace of the tug and less experienced teammates can work on building up endurance and strength.[3]
Talking and communicating throughout the game can be helpful for some members, but remember not to give away your strategy to the other team!

Position someone with good endurance at the back of the team. Choose someone with good lower body strength and put them at the end of the rope so they can “anchor” the team. Make sure they’re strong enough to continually pull the team back while maintaining a tight grip on the rope.[4]
In general, the anchor normally wraps the rope around their back and keeps the team moving backward.

Normally, the anchor will set the pace for the tugging by taking a step back every 3-4 seconds. If the rest of the team can’t keep up, it’s up to the anchor to keep their grip and slow down so the rest of the team can reposition themselves.

EditPerfecting Your Technique
Grip the rope firmly with your palms up and hands positioned close together. Stand on the left side of the rope and pick up the rope with your right hand. Cradle the rope with your palm up, and place your left hand either right in front or right behind your right hand. Close your fist around the rope so that your thumbs are facing upward.[5]
Some sources recommend dusting your hands with chalk to help you grip the rope. This works well for some people, but you can still win without it!

Squat and lean back to dig your heels into the ground when the whistle blows. When you line up for the game, position your feet so that they’re about shoulder-width apart, and squat down so your knees are bent slightly. When the game begins, lean back at a 45-degree angle with your back straight to dig your heels into the ground and hold yourself in place. Don’t pull or tug on the rope just yet, and instead let your weight do the work for you![6]
If you bend your back or knees too much, you can cause unnecessary muscle strain, which can harm your endurance.

Take small steps backward as a team, digging in with your heels. Before the match, talk to your teammates and plan to take a step back every 3-4 seconds, starting with your left foot. When the game starts, carefully lift and plant your left heel about behind where it began. Then, repeat this with the right heel to slowly move backward, moving the other team. If you can, try taking larger steps as the opposing team begins to get tired.[7]
You shouldn’t be pulling or tugging on the rope. Instead, just hold it tightly and keep it close to your body as you move back.

You can talk to the player in front of you and listen to the player behind you throughout the game. However, avoid saying things like “pull” or “move back” during the game, as the other team might hear you and have time to get into a better position.

Keep your left leg straight and push off of it as you move back to counterattack. If you’re losing your footing, try turning your body toward the rope on your right side to set up a counterattack move. Dig your left foot into the ground horizontally to slow any forward movement, and push off of it to propel your body backward. Shuffle your feet back at a time as you push yourself backward.[8]
If you can’t pull back, just try to stay in place until the other team gets too tired to keep pulling. Then, it might be easier to start moving again.

Never wrap the rope around your hands to tug. This can cause you to strain your wrist or break a bone in your hand.

EditRelated wikiHows
Play Tug of War

Play Catch and Pull Tug of War

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