5 Great Gifts Kids Can Make

When young children make something unique to give as a special gift for a loved one, they feel proud and successful about what they can do and share. Often these child-made gifts are treasured for years to come. With the appropriate materials, the freedom to be creative, and a little guidance, the possibilities for child-made gifts are infinite.

5 Great Gifts Kids Can Make is full of gift-making activities for children three to eight years old. The ideas can be used with a group of children or with one child. Most of the ideas use easy-to-find materials, and many ideas cost only a few cents to make.

Easiest-Ever Photo Frame

Trim contact paper to frame a favorite photo.


  • clear contact paper
  • card stock or lightweight cardboard
  • glue stick
  • photo of child
  • tissue paper scraps, colored cellophane, stickers
  • magnetic tape

Before Beginning

Cut the card stock to the desired size and shape. It should be larger than the photograph with plenty of room for the photo and a border of collage material.

Make Your Great Gift

1.Glue the photo to the center of the card stock.

2.Arrange and glue flat collage materials, such as tissue paper scraps, colored cellophane pieces, and stickers, on the surface of the card stock around the photo.

3.Cover both sides with clear contact paper, and firmly press it down on the photo and collage materials.

4.Trim the contact paper to the edges of the card stock. Press to seal.

5.Place a piece of magnetic tape on the back of the frame

Seasonal Suggestion

The card stock can be cut into a holiday shape, such as a heart for Valentine’s Day or a flower for Mother’s Day. Heart-shaped stickers can be one of the collage materials. For autumn, cut the card stock into a leaf shape, and add leaf-shaped foil confetti.

Mini Birdbath

Plastic bottles come together to create a mini birdbath.


  • two 2-liter clear plastic bottles, cut off 5” from top, with lids
  • one 1-liter clear plastic bottle, cut off 3” from bottom
  • scissors or utility knife (adult use only)
  • nontoxic oil pastels
  • decorative materials to put in the base
  • glue gun (adult use only)

Before Beginning

Cut off the neck portion of one of the 2-liter clear plastic bottles that has already been cut off 5” from the top (adult only).

Make Your Great Gift

1.Decorate the outside of the cut portion with nontoxic oil pastels (or permanent markers). Add lots of color.

2.Push the decorated piece into another cut top from a 2-liter plastic bottle (with neck remaining). This will protect the oil pastel decoration.

3.Screw a plastic lid to the decorated funnel shape. Set aside.

4.Place a variety of materials into the base of the cut-off bottom portion of the 1-liter bottle. This will serve as the birdbath stand. Fill it about half full, allowing room for the birdbath top.

5.Push the decorated top, lid side down, into the base containing decorative materials. Some may have to be moved slightly so that the top sits securely.

6.Use a hot glue gun (adult only!) to fasten the pieces together. The birdbath is ready to fill with water!

Helpful Hints

  • Use sandpaper to sand any rough edges of plastic.
  • Use remaining plastic bottle parts to make funnels for sand or water play. Use the remaining bases for making Mosaic Bottle Organizers (see page 60).
  • Instead of putting water inside, fill with dirt, and plant flowers to create a unique flower pot.

Coupon Pocket

Give someone the gift of time using homemade coupons.


  • unlined index cards, 4” x 6,” cut in half lengthwise
  • markers
  • library pocket
  • magnetic tape
  • glue
  • sequins

Make Your Great Gift

1.Think about what kinds of activities the recipient enjoys, and what activities you and the recipient could do together. Include activities that are helpful to the recipient, as well as ideas that are recreational. Activity ideas could include:

  • cooking dinner
  • doing yard work
  • washing the car
  • going to the library
  • reading a book
  • going out for ice cream
  • making a picture for someone
  • going for a walk

2.These activities are to be done together, so be sure the wording of the coupon reflects that sentiment. For example, “This coupon is good for one evening of making dinner together.”

3.Write five or six selected activities on the index cards.

4.Use markers to decorate the blank side of each coupon.

5.Decorate the library pocket using the glue and sequins.

6.Place a piece of magnetic tape on the back of the pocket, and place the coupons inside.

Seasonal Suggestion

Consider selecting activities that are appropriate for the holiday or time of year. For example, in many places, a coupon for “help in the garden” would not be useful in the winter, but one for “help with the dishes” would be very well received.

Mosaic-Bottle Organizers

Make an organizer with tissue paper, liquid starch, and plastic bottles.


  • 1-liter or 2-liter plastic bottles, cut at half-bottle length
  • dark colored tissue paper, cut in approximately 1” squares or triangles
  • liquid starch
  • thick paintbrushes

Before Beginning

Demonstrate how to create a mosaic effect on the plastic bottles by applying a coat of liquid starch and placing the tissue paper squares slightly apart from each other to create a pattern.

Make Your Great Gift

1.Create a mosaic design on the bottle, filling the sides of the bottle.

2.After the squares are slightly dry, apply a light topcoat of liquid starch, being careful not to move the design.

3.Allow the bottle to dry.

4.Fill the bottle with a gift or make several to use as office organizers.

Helpful Hints

  • Sand rough edges of cut bottles with sandpaper.
  • Glue several bottles to a cardboard or mat board base to use as an organizer.

Seasonal Suggestions

Vary the colors for any holiday or occasion to create a grouping of organizers mounted on mat board. They could be used to hold cards, stamps, pens, and other supplies.

See-Through Ornament

Create a beautiful ornament to hang on a door handle, on a holiday tree, or anywhere.


  • clear page protector or scrap laminating film, cut into two circles
  • hole punch
  • thin ribbon
  • flat collage material, such as shredded paper or wrapping paper scraps

Make Your Great Gift

1.Place the two clear circles on top of one another, and use the hole punch to punch holes around the edges of both circles.

2.Lace ribbon through the holes to sew the edges of the circles together, leaving an opening at one end.

3.Fill the “pocket” with flat collage materials.

4.Lace ribbon through the remaining holes to seal the ornament closed.

5.Add a loop or ribbon for hanging the ornament.

Seasonal Suggestion

Cut the page protector or laminating film into a simple shape, such as a heart, star, or flower.

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