My daughter is only 23 months and she loves painting, coloring, getting messy, and just arts and crafts in general. She’s my free spirit happy to be painting her arms, the walls, and admiring her artwork, wherever it may be. This time of year leads me to wonder if Santa ought to fill her stocking with arts and crafts supplies. It also makes me consider making many gifts with the children to help them learn about giving gifts and the joy that comes from giving and making something for someone. With children making eco-friendly gifts this holiday season and any time of the year is easy to accomplish and very inexpensive.
One way to do this is with a leaf/flower press and my daughter and son (4 years old) both enjoy using ours. Using a leaf press this holiday season can be a very simple and fun way to create beautiful and earth friendly gifts for anytime of the year.
Using a press similar to the one I have from Natural Pod, press an array of seasonal holiday flowers that your children love and chooses. All you need for any of these projects would include the supplies listed below, flowers for the press and a non-toxic decoupage or my preference is Mod Podge.
*Tip: Tweezers work well for placing the flowers for any of the projects but they aren’t necessary.
Paperweight or Decoration
Need: Rock and the above supplies.
> Take a rock that your child has found and using a brush apply a few coats of decoupage or a few coats of watered-down non-toxic glue to the rock.
> Have your child choose one or two flowers (depending on the size) and place it on the rock where they would like for it to be displayed. My daughter would coat the rock with flowers but it works best for the surface to be hard.
> Coat with the water down glue or decoupage and let dry.
Recycle old Christmas Bulbs and Ornaments and Make them New Again
Need: Ornaments for your favorite PVC-free xmas tree that are ready for a makeover (round balls work the best or those with smooth surfaces) and the above supplies.
> Coat the ornaments with the Mod Podge or solution of choice and have the children carefully place the pressed flowers onto the ornament.
> For sentiments, sake uses old photos and have the children cut them out and add them to the ornament.
> Coat and dry for a new and recycled ornament.
Decorate a Beeswax or Soy Candle for someone’s Mantle this Holiday Season
Need: The supplies listed above and large soy or beeswax candle.
> Coat the one side of the candle with the solution of choice
> Have the child place flowers carefully onto the candle and gently coat with Mod Podge
> Let dry
When it comes to eco-friendly crafts recycling and reusing is what it is all about. Some easy crafts include reusing in your home what you already have and making it better, different or special, and giving it to someone who will appreciate it. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
Recycled Planters with Planted Herbs
Need: Old planter of any size (cleaned, washed, and ready to make special) Paint, Soil, and a Herb of Choice.
> Have your child paint the pot and decorate it any way they wish. They’ll be sure to make it beautiful and make someone smile when they see it.
> Fill with soil and plant any herb of choice that will grow nicely at a kitchen window.
This is the gift that keeps on giving!
Recycled Picture Frame with Missing Puzzle Pieces
Need: Non-Toxic Glue, Used picture frame, Missing Puzzle Pieces, and a Picture of the Child
> Glue the missing (in my case dinosaur puzzle pieces) puzzle pieces around the picture frame.
> Insert picture of the child.
The recipient has a gift from the child that the child made and if the pieces are like the ones I would use, it is very relevant to the child’s personality and has even more meaning.
When making any type of craft or art project it is crucial to remember that it is the process, not the product that matters. The child’s self-concept and self-esteem are very important and as adults, it is easy to want them to place this flower here or not glue that there because of our perception of the gift but it is their project and gift, not ours.
Try to wrap the gifts in artwork that the child has made. My children have stacks of paintings they have made and I save them to wrap gifts in. They look beautiful but this also saves you money from buying gift wrap and it helps the environment and saves trees. Kaboose.Com offers some great holiday gift ideas but please try to keep them eco-friendly in nature and whenever possible reuse and recycle.