Handmade Christmas Gifts

Kids love to give gifts. Unfortunately most of us can’t afford to “help” them give to everyone on their holiday lists. Thankfully, kids can enjoy making gifts that will be appreciated that much more by the receiver. Here are a few ideas to get you and your kids started:

The possibilities are absolutely endless! So what are you waiting for? You and your kids have a lot of gifts to make.

Calligraphy

Have you ever thought about encouraging your kids to learn the art of calligraphy? If you are anything like me, you struggle to get your kids to handwrite anything at all! My kids would much prefer to type everything while sitting at the computer. Did you know that the modern fonts that we enjoy on our computers actually were developed by a calligraphy master? We can thank those who have worked hard to master this art, for the wonderful fonts that we get to enjoy when we choose to use a keyboard rather than a pen!

Just like when your kids first started learning to write, you can start small. Perhaps they can use calligraphy to write out place cards for each of the guests you plan to have for Thanksgiving dinner? A little practice each day and they could soon be an expert calligrapher. This would be a wonderful skill that they could even use eventually to earn some extra money. There are actually people who hire calligraphers to make elegant wedding invitations and seating cards etc.

Lego Art

You may never have thought of legos as an art supply before, but they are! Especially after your child has spent hours working on their masterpiece! This is my son with one of his earlier masterpieces. As you can see he was quite proud of it and I was quite proud of him.

An added bonus is that legos are very educational! They get kids minds thinking creatively. You can even use them to teach engineering and math concepts. Can there possibly be any more fun way to learn fractions?? Legos can serve as a math manipulative while doing fraction lessons. Lego even has a site devoted to using their toys as teaching tools! This mom has even been known to enjoy playing with legos a time or two.

Anime

My daughter’s favorite drawing genre is anime. She has been practicing this form of drawing for several years and has pretty much taught herself the technique by watching youtube videos and searching anime images on google. If I may say so, she has gotten quite good.

Did you know that there is are different types of anime? There is Shojo which tends to feature young girls. Shonen tends to feature young boys. Seinen features teenage boys and Josei features teenage girls. Kodomo features small children and Chibi features characters with large heads and small bodies. Manga is what you would see in books, while Anime refers more to media and is the general name for this genre of entertainment. It seems that there is an entire vocabulary associated with Anime! Who knew?

Illustrated Journals

Now that our kids and we are getting back into the swing of school, you might have put art on a back burner for a while. One easy way to bring it back into your curriculum is to have your children start illustrated journals. These can be about anything they want them to be about. Many homeschoolers love to keep nature journals. This would be a fun way to tie art and science together as your children draw pictures of the creatures and plants they see while exploring the local park or their own backyard.

Another fun activity is to have them keep a story journal. They can practice their creative writing while honing their art skills by illustrating their own stories. Writing is in itself an art form as well. Who knows? You might just find that you have a budding young author/illustrator on your hands!

Cutting, Gluing, and Fun!

Most of us as adults take the skill of cutting something out of paper for granted. However, it is a skill that pre-schoolers need to learn and practice. So how does one do this? First it helps to have a pair of scissors that are the correct size and safe for little hands. You can simply make zig-zag lines on a sheet of paper and let your little ones try to cut along the line.

They will probably have more fun if you give them a stack of old magazines and let them go to town cutting pictures out. If you are like me and are not a big magazine reader, or if the few magazines you have are treasured (I’d cry if someone started cutting up my crochet magazines!), you can find them at your local thrift store. Or ask around at local doctor offices for their out of date magazines.

Once your littles have cut a stack of pictures give them a piece of poster board and let them practice their gluing skills. They can make a collage of the pictures they cut out and then display it on their bedroom wall. Both cutting and gluing are important skills that pre-schoolers will need to be ready for kindergarten.

Good Old Fashioned Coloring

Don’t dismiss the value of good old fashioned coloring! This allows kids to develop their small motor skills besides it’s just plain fun!┬áTalk to your smaller children about the pictures they are coloring and the colors they are using. Have your older kids outline the pictures before they color them. They can try using darker colors to create shadows. If they are using colored pencils they can experiment with mixing the colors to create shadows and textures.

You can print your own coloring pages from online. Kids love to color pages based on their favorite characters. Even my teens will go online sometimes and print out coloring pages! You can even let your kids play coloring games online.

Tub Art

With the heat of the summer bearing down upon us, even your “bigger” kids might enjoy this art project! Simply fill the tub with cool water and let them decorate the tub and walls with soap crayons. You can even let your kids help you make your own soap crayons! They can create fun shapes for their crayons. You could use this as a chance to teach them their shapes and colors. Older kids can review their color mixing skills.

Young children love to play with those little foam letters in the tub. Your bigger kids can see how many words they can spell using the letters. What a fun way to practice spelling words!

 

Art Kit

If you haven’t gotten an art kit for your children, you might want to consider doing this. It’s not necessary to spend oodles of money to provide art supplies to children. You can choose from purchasing a pre filled case with art supplies. Or you could gather the supplies yourself to create your own art kit. The supplies you select will depend on the age of your children, however there are some pretty basic art supplies that should be included in any art kit.

  • crayons
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • safety scissors
  • glue
  • water color paints
  • construction paper
  • drawing paper
  • hand held pencil sharpener

With school starting soon and the tax-free holiday coming up, this is a perfect time to build your art kit. Once you’ve gathered these supplies, you may be surprised how often they get used and enjoyed! If you build it, they will come!

Making Art From Letters

If you have younger learners, why not try having them try this fun art activity? Have them write a large letter. Whatever letter they would like. Perhaps they would like to start with the letter that starts their name. Then have them turn that letter into some sort of animal.This project would be great for teaching letter recognition.

You could have them work on a letter per week. One day they can make animals from the letter. Another day they can make glitter letters, perhaps the next day they could use macaroni to form the letter, or make the letter out of foil, or paint it with finger paints. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!