Monday, December 26, 2011

Handmade Holidays: Toddler Crafts

We really wanted Leo to feel invested in the gifts he was giving to family members.  So in addition to joining us for holiday shopping and giving input on picking out presents (which makes it take 10 times as long), we also tried to make some gifts at home that he could take ownership of.

The most successful of these attempts was our salt dough ornament project.  jb helped Leo mix, roll out and cut out the dough.  They used a basic recipe (1 cup flour, 1/2 salt, 1 cup water) and added a bunch of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice) to make them fragrant.  jb baked them during Leo's nap and Leo and I took it from there.

Once they were cool they were hard as rocks - which was the intent, since it would be great if they could last for years to come.  I gave them to Leo along with an assortment of crayons.  At first he wasn't sure about coloring on them, but after I demonstrated a bit he LOVED it.  Seriously, this kept him busy for over an hour.  That's like a year in toddler time.

With just the crayon they already looked pretty festive.  And it was obvious (in a good way) that a toddler had worked on them.

To finish them off we used a little glue. I took the lead with the glitter glue, but Leo really enjoyed watching and repeating "mama's turn". 

 The glitter glue was from the dollar store, the ingredients we had on hand, and crayons are always available in our house - so the cost was virtually nothing.  I think they turned out great for such a low cost and high involvement project.  Leo really helped with each step of making this craft - which is hard to do with a 19 month old.

We wrote the year, "To: _____" and "Love, Leo" on the back of each one in sharpie and used them as gift tags.  They were a big hit and Leo was so proud to give them.

These cookie jars were an idea we modified off of Pintrest.  Leo also helped putting them together - and while it got a little messy at times, he was able to dump the ingredients into the jars pretty well.  I initially tried to repurpose jars, but I worried I wasn't getting them clean enough and had a lot of trouble getting the labels off - so I broke down and bought Ball jars at a craft store.  Even with that purchase, these gifts also turned out to be very low cost. 

Although we are wrapping up our December 25th festivities, we will soon be ramping up for round two because jb's family celebrates Christmas in January.  So I'm still looking forward to trying out some more thoughtful, creative and affordable gift ideas.  What are your favorite DIY gift ideas?


  1. Sally Heaven12/26/2011

    Why does jb's family celebrate Christmas in January?

  2. Her family is Ukrainian Orthodox and they follow the Julian Calendar. It's pretty cool to celebrate twice!

  3. SO fun! A great gift to hold on to :)

  4. Jenn :)1/10/2012

    Last year we decorated toilet paper tubes and filled them with Hershey kisses to give to aunts, uncles and favorite cousins! :)

    I had aspirations of turning Gerber puffs containers in to snow people this year but ran out of year!