Top 6 Handmade Gifts for Kids

Top 6 Handmade Gifts for Kids
Every year I try to make some handmade gifts.  Often, I try to make a lot.  Often, I manage a few.  Sometimes, they turn out.  Sometimes, not so much.  This year, I have so many fabulous ideas, that I thought I’d share a few of them here.  Most of these fabulous ideas have come from other, fabulous, people.  So, here’s my shout-out to the inspirations that will be helping me combat consumerism – or at least lessen its impact (and ours) this Christmas.  Enjoy!

1. Hand-dyed playsilks.

I already had a problem with beautiful paper.  I am drawn to it.  The colours, the textures, the stunning variations.  I now, however, have to admit to a growing fascination with fabric.  The beauty of a piece of hand-dyed fabric has drawn me in.  And, the idea of natural fabrics decorating my home has captured my imagination.  So, this year, I am determined to indulge.  It’s for the kids, right?

When I found this post over at Bending Birches, I nearly jumped.  It was exactly what I had been looking for.  Step-by-step instructions, coupled with beautiful inspiration.  Could my home and my silks look like that?  We’ll find out.  The only question remains – do I try and do it myself on the sly?  Or, do I give the kids white play silks, and have us do it together as a project after Christmas?  (You see how I may have gotten out of one 1/6 of my handmade work already!)

2. Play Capes.

To continue with the fabric theme, I ordered the fabulous book, Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee.  Visit her over at Sew Liberated, and you’ll find a creative, Montessori-inspired Mom with amazing ideas.  The book is full of inspiring patterns for sewing projects that incorporate a love of the outdoors, and an appreciation for creative play.  I am going to embark on the adventure of sewing play capes for the kids.  Although she suggests satin (which would be stunning!), I managed to find a stately purple velvet, and a hardy grey suit fabric at the thrift store this week.

Also inspired by Kristin at Gypsy Junk, I can hardly wait to give them to my kids (if I can manage to make them look half as stunning as theirs).

3. Wands or ribbon rings.

I’ve been thinking about wands for awhile now.  Ever since my friend Carla made a ribbon ring for my darling Sylvie.  It was so beautiful.  And dead simple.

I have two options.  One, tying ribbons around a lovely wooden teething ring (as Carla did).  Or, two, adding a star or ribbon to a piece of wooden dowling.

There are so many easy tutorials out there, but I stumbled upon this one at Happy Whimsical Hearts the other day through Friday’s Nature Table over at The Magic Onions (if you haven’t already, you must check it out!).  I love it because it’s easy, and doable.  And the bell is a nice touch.  Plus, the post is written by another Kelly, so it must be good, right?

I’m quite sure my son will love having a wand with a tinkling bell.  In fact, I am thinking that we will make these together as presents for his cousins and his sister.  Another way to keep ourselves busy, and my after-bedtime craft mania to a minimum.

4. Sandpaper Letters

Okay, so these are a bit educational for Christmas, but my son has been asking for them.  Again, he wants to help me make them.  So far, I have purchased sandpaper, and thought I had figured out what wood I was going to use… when I stumbled across this post at Frugal Family Fun Blog.  Felt “sandpaper” letters, for under $10?  And it looks like such an easy, fun project.  What a great idea for a gift from one kid to another.

So, Dylan might be getting a bag of wooden disks and felt letters for Christmas.  Or, a painstaking, yet satisfying cut and paste project from his mama.  Time shall tell.

5. Reading Tent

As you may recall from my previous post on the topic, I’m a bit in love with this idea.  It appeals to the librarian in me.  And the child, who still loves to find that special, cozy place to curl up with a book.  And, of course, there’s the fabric thing again…

The best post I have found on the topic, is, perhaps, this one, which links to a myriad of options.  However, if you want to see one a little closer to home, please check out member Nicole of Once a Small Seed’s recent post on the beautiful tent she made for her daughter’s 4th birthday.  Dylan’s 4th birthday just happens to be on December 29th.  So, I’m thinking, maybe it’s destined to be.

6. Growth Chart

A year or so ago, I made a growth chart for my son, Dylan.  It was simple, but I was happy with it.  So, this year, I am making one for Sylvie (as she is now standing up and walking around!).  I’ll be attaching wooden birds to hers, and maybe a tree silhouette.  I’ll let you know when I finish it, but suffice it to say, it’s easy.  A few wooden shapes, a few paint brushes, and one piece of wood.  Easy and heartfelt, and (hopefully) beautiful.

Oh my, do I have to get to work!  Still, I always love ideas – so please share them, and I’ll be sure to Pin them for later!  (Yes, I am thankful for Pinterest).

Happy Creating!

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  1. Great list, lovely things to make :)Reading tent is a great idea!
    I was thinking of giving kiddos a box of wool roving to felt a playscape together.Or I will simply make new playscapes for them in secret. I also want to puttogether a starter embroidery kid for my son (6 y.o.). Also in plans artist’s bag for both of them with special pockets for sketchbooks, crayons and pencils. Pinterest is super swesome for finding ideas, true that :)

    • What fantastic ideas. I think i’d like to try felting one day. Growing Up Sew Liberated also has a pattern for an artist’s bag that I’m hoping to try one of these days. I may have to make one for myself, too… Thanks for visiting!

  2. Hello, I came through via Natural Suburbia to check out your handmade gift list and realised you linked back through to me! Thank you! I’m making more of the ribbon wands for Christmas too :-) And I have a height ruler to do too! Warm wishes, Kelly

    • This makes me smile. Thanks for the great idea. I think I’ll collect my supplies tomorrow… and I’ll let you know how they turn out. =)

  3. And I just realised you’re ‘Kelly Woods’ – my maiden name is Kelly Wood!!

    • I love it!

  4. Presents for cousins hey? Well we got our own started yesterday after a successful trip to the fabric store. I love the book Toys to Sew by Claire Garland that I can borrow from the library. Your silk scarf idea on a teething ring is a prettier version of the ones I made by tying some of my unused silk scarves to a jar ring from canning! The kids love dancing with them. The wooden version very lovely. I have to resist being drawn into more Christmas projects!

    • Phew! Hopefully they aren’t the same as what we’re making… who knows there might be some surprises yet. =)

  5. Very nice presents. Any child would love to get any of those.
    This year for birthdays I made crayon pockets.
    Last year I made felt crowns for all the children.
    This year everyone is getting a tent that you saw on my birthday post.
    Another good idea is peg people. We made them for easter presents.
    We also made a dollhouse for the 3rd birthday present, but it was a little too much to make more than one.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! You are amazing. Was the reading tent hard to make? And is it foldable? Considering trying to make our foldable… Dylan has requested a birthday crown this year – so the tutorial you linked to is perfect! I made a crayon pocket this year – turned out okay… That’s another good idea I’ll be “pocketing!”

      • The tent was not hard and yes it is foldable. That is why we chose it. I really liked the teepee ones, but the sewing looked challenging. Just remember that has the pattern on both sides.

        • Haha. Just emailed you about this. Sounds encouraging. Good luck to us!

  6. Thanks for the “shout out”. 😉

    I made a reading tent for my sons a while back – this pattern:,!hoE1hgrZ!)dBNhSo4pdcw~~_35.JPG&w=300&h=225&ei=gxHTTp3lKIby0gHZ2tUF&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1263&vpy=372&dur=911&hovh=139&hovw=186&tx=73&ty=74&sig=105194747898808232643&page=2&tbnh=129&tbnw=176&start=48&ndsp=49&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:48&biw=1920&bih=966

    It calls for PVC pipe poles, and it’s completely foldable. Our older son sleeps in it quite often, and otherwise it just folds up and can be stored under a bed, or in a closet.

    • Wow! Sounds so convenient, and fun! Thanks for the link, and welcome to the network!

    • Nice one, and it looks a little more sturdier than mine.

  7. I made capes for each of my children and gave them to them on their third birthdays. I just made up a design and cut 2 pieces. Then I turned it inside out and sewed. My kids love them.

    • Oh – I love it! Not sure I trust myself to make up a pattern. Did it for a few stuffed animals last year, and the results were… questionable. This year, I decided I’d finally go to an expert! We’ll see if they actually turn out any better. I did just pick out the most marvelous buttons for the clasps the other day.

  8. Great ideas for kids! Now that my daughters are a bit older (8 and 10 years old) I’m trying to think of things that I can make that they would enjoy playing with or using.

    One of the things that I made for each of them when they were younger that they still use are blankets – one side has cotton fabric and the other a soft flannel.

  9. These are great ideas… I really love the ring with ribbons. I think my princess-loving 4 year-old would enjoy that!

    I’ve made play silks before, some with kool-aid, and some with a higher quality fabric dye. The fabric dye had more staying power for me, for what it’s worth. They were a *great* present. They’ve lasted for years, and seem to be appreciated by kids at all ages. :)

    I’m excited to see what you decide to make!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Heidi. I’ve purchased the playsilks (waiting for them in the mail!) but not the dye, yet. Wanting to try natural dyes, although apparently, they are trickier. Glad to hear they are well used. I sometimes wonder if I’m making them just for me (I’m sure I’ll play and dance with them)!

  10. I love all the gift ideas! Kids can make a lot of those themselves (with guidance) and it would be fun too. I am thinking of all sorts of things my kids could make this year! 😀

    • That’s what I was thinking. It takes the pressure off, and gives us some meaningful experiences to do together. Thanks for your comments, and best of luck with your Christmas gifting, as well!

  11. i absolutely adore the growth chart idea! my older 2 agree and we are going to go gather supplies tonight to start one for the baby for the holiday. thank you for sharing.

    • What a great idea to do it together! We’ll see if I get mine done, or have to wait until her birthday… Thanks for visiting!


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