DIY Kid-Crafts for Heartfelt Holiday Gifts

My 3 year old receives a lot of gifts throughout the year, and the holidays are no exception. But he does not have as much experience with giving gifts.  I purchase the gifts”from” him, wrap them, add his name on the cards, and encourage him to pass the items along to another person. Does my child really understand the concept of giving when I pretty much orchestrate the whole thing?

This year, I want to give my little guy a chance to be generous on his own.  What could my son give as a gift that does not look like it came from his dad or me?  My mind was blank until I realized that I was concentrating too much on things that could be bought.  Then the obvious hit me.  One of the best gifts an adult can receive from a child is a gift that is made from the heart!

Painted, personalized plate that has has been placed back in its original packaging.

I took a trip to the local craft store to give my child the materials and opportunity to make some gifts for his family. While the results are not perfect looking, I think that the family will love these gifts for what they represent.  He was truly thinking of each family member as he completed each project.  Here are the results, along with a few more ideas for your own crafty kid, below!


The picture frame was my favorite of the three crafts.  All of the crafts were very easy, but I thought this one had the prettiest result.  Along with a plain wooden picture frame, my son used non-toxic craft/acrylic paint, mosaic glass tiles and stones, craft or school glue, plastic dish with Q-tip for glue application, and a sponge paint brush.

Items used for this craft are spread out on my son’s play kitchen table, which doubles as a craft table.  

My son used the sponge brush to paint a plain 5″ x 7″ wooden picture frame the color of his choice, while I held the frame so he could get most nooks and crannies.  There were still some blank spots, but I resisted the urge to fill them in myself.  I was not going to make any adjustments because I wanted it to be truly his own creative project.  After the paint dried, he applied glue to the frame with a Q-tip and then stuck on pieces of colored glass.  The pieces were applied somewhat crookedly, but I held myself back from making any “corrections.”

Painted wooden frame with glass mosaic stones and tiles.

We will add a nice photograph of him, and then send it to the grandparents as a present over the holidays.  Total time:  10 minutes to paint; 4 hours to dry; 20 minutes to glue on decorations; additional drying time for glue.


Almost everything we needed for this project, from plate, paint, and brushes was included in Creatology’s Personalize It Plate Kit.  The only added component is an oven for setting the paint onto the plate.

Personalized, painted plate which has been baked and set, and is safe and ready to be eaten from.

The manufacturer recommends this as a project for 8 years and older, and an older child might have created a cleaner outcome, but my 3 year old did just fine with it (I took care of the step of baking it in the oven, though).  Total time:  15 to 20 minutes of painting followed by 30 minutes to bake, plus time to cool off.


At our local craft store, I let my son pick out a number of items to bring home for decorating a plain, green wreath.  At home, he placed the items in whatever arrangement he wanted.  I attached the decorations for him, doing my best to keep them exactly as he had placed them, including the big red bow.  Total time:  after shopping time, about 25 minutes.

Wreath hanging from a doorknob, against wall and cabinet.
In the past, we have also visited Make Meaning at Dedham’s Legacy Place, and made pretty soap arrangements.  Walking through a craft store like Michaels has also been the source of some ideas, and it even has kid crafting classes
Hopefully, this post may give you some ideas for embarking on your own crafty holiday, if that’s what you want to do, too!  On behalf of Parent Talk, cheers and best wishes to you and yours for a happy and heartfelt holiday season.  See you in the New Year!
About the Author
Darlene W. Cancell is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom, and most recently, blog coordinator for Parent Talk.

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