Homemade Gifts, Wrapping and Tags

It’s one thing wanting to give gifts but another being able to afford it. It’s our heart to teach our children to give, however with five of them this can often be hard as it all adds up so quickly! For this reason for Christmas and birthdays we make our own wrapping paper, cards / tags and when possible gifts.

Wrapping Paper

This Christmas was made very simple wrapping paper in that we simply hauled out some large pieces of brown paper we had, handed the kids some paint and brushes and set them to work – hint don’t use poster or powder paint as this tends to rub off and make a HUGE mess. I was very surprised how some children painted paterns, others random smudges and others detailed pictures.

Eventually Maiden #3 figured out that one could fill a spoon with paint and flick it across the page. This was a huge hit with every one and I was very grateful that we were wearing painting clothes and that we were in the art room so blue paint on the wall wasn’t too much of a problem 🙂

By the end of an hour we had enough paper for all our gifts and so many different wrappings to wrap with.

And then before we all run away it is SO important for everyone to learn that cleaning up is part of the “fun.”

Gift Tags

We made the most simple gift tags this year. I simply cut white card into small squares with fancey scissors. The children then stamped yellow stars in the middle.

Once the stars were dry we added some gold glitter to their centers.

You can then use them as they are or stick them to a coloured back ground.

 

For gifts we made gingerbread biscuits, calendars and stress balls. All were so appreciated and enjoyed by their recipients and so easy on the pocket too!

Stress Balls

This year for Christmas gifts I allowed each child to choose one idea that they could then make for everyone they wanted to give gifts to. Knight #4 chose the wonderful idea, that we found on the se7en website, to make stress balls.

These were so easy and fun to make and everyone loved them.

It started by us making some playdough.

We then cut the tops off some ballons, filled one with play dough and then pulled 2 more over this one to create a sealed ball.

Hint we found it better to cut off the whole neck as it pulled better like that. We also tried cutting holes in the top ball so the underlayer was more see visable. This didn’t work as well as planned as the playdough crept out some. I think next time we’ll leave the holes or add a forth layer with holes in it.

He then took great care to use our home made wrapping paper and tags to wrap everything himself. What a proud Mommy I am 🙂

Christmas Decorations

As we spent this year celebrating Christ as our king we decorated our table in red and gold. To do this we made crackers, serviette holders and angels as part of our Christmas decorations. I’d say above all the serviette holders were easiest to make and yet so effective.

All you need is some gold cardboard, scissors, glue, tape and sequins.

We simple cut some gold card with zig-zag shapes and then cut the strips in half.

Using wood/cold glue, we added 3 red and gold sequins to the strip.

Lastly we taped the strip shut to make the ring and added the serviettes.

We then make a thinner and longer crown to add to the top of our Christmas cake. It was decided that we’d simply make a small Christmas cake this year, so we cooked it in a bowl that looked a bit like a crown. We then iced it with royal icing and added gold and red balls to it, with the odd red icing flower. The crown was the final touch. The cake was so simple yet so effective in summarizing our advent celebration of Christ our King.

As a final gesture and touch we added little gold gift bags that was personally tagged and had a chocolate and homemade magnet inside – each magnet had a Bible verse on it celebrating Christ our King.

Although the decorations were simple and easy to make the theme and colour scheme meant a lot to the children and not only made it memorable but helped them remember why exactly we spent a day celebrating a baby born 2000 years ago birth today.

Christmas Crackers

Not sure about your corner of the world but here we all love popping Christmas Crackers on Christmas day – however we find they are so expensive and the contents are always so disapointing!

For his reason, as part of our year end celebrations, we have over the past six years made out own crackers. We have found a shop that sells the cracker part very reasonably and that is what first inspired us to try make our own. If however you can’t get your hands on these I’d still suggest trying to make your own as your are then able to choose prizes that suit your family, you can choose your own colour theme and your children are able to be apart of the making of them. We’ve found that what makes our Christmas times so special is that the children are fully involved – no things often don’t look perfect and are often not as I imagined them but the fun we’ve had making them always outweighs that.

Firstly you need to gather your materials:crepe paper, raffia, toilet roll insides, glitter, glue, scissors and treats.

The process is as easy as cutting the paper, adding glitter to it.

on the back of the paper add a strip of glue along each of the longer sides. Set the toilet roll on the glue and then roll it closed.

Once this is done take the raffia, cut it into small pieces and tie one end of the cracker – this also teaches important fine motor skills such as tying knots.

place the treat inside….

And tie the other end shut!

These are so easy to make and the children really enjoy this Christmas activity!

Have Fun!

Play Dough Recipe

We just love play dough and I have found the most amazing recipe that keeps in the fridge for months.

We keep each colour in a separate packet for as long as possible but eventually it all ends up mixed together and then it’s time for a new batch! Play dough is used for rolling and cutting activities which are fantastic for fine-motor and large motor development. We sometimes use it to make baskets or snakes and the kids love rolling it between their hands. Other times it is whipped out to be used in a maths activity or as food for the dolls. This last week my older son even used it to balance the nose of his glider he’d made for a science experiment.

The little ones love using it but it isn’t unusual to notice one of the older children hi-jack the activity. This is one easy to make, cheap educational product that you can make readily available to your child at any time. Have Fun

Play Dough Recipe
from Jackie French’s book “Natural Solutions”
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 Tablespoons cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons veg oil food colouring

Add all ingrdients – except food colouring – into a pan. (You can add a few drops of Dettol, eucalyptus or tea-tree oil to make it last longer) Stir until smooth over a low heat. Once thick like dough, take off and leave to cool. Divide into balls and add food colouring to each ball and knead in. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container and throw out any bits that become discoloured or smell.

My 7yr old make a viking ship!

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