Simple, Homemade, and Inexpensive Gifts for Kids

The Holiday Season is full of so many wonderful memories for me. The fudge, the hot chocolate, the Christmas movies, the music, and on and on. But, some of my fondest memories were made in our laundry room at the sewing table. Each year, my mom would encourage us to make presents for each other. We’d lock ourselves in the laundry room and go to work. We made pajamas, soap, pillowcases and much, much more. Ironically, I’ve never repeated any of those projects with my own kids. My mom has much more sewing expertise and creativity. But, I have continued the tradition of having my kids make gifts for each other. Each year, I search the internet for great ideas. From there, I simplify the ideas and my kids get started. So as not to pretend like any of my ideas are originals, I’ve posted their original locations here so you can get all the directions you need. Remember, these are all easily made by kids with a bit of parental guidance.  They are also very inexpensive since my kids pay for their supplies.  Happy Gift Making!

1. An I Spy Bag Give to: Age 3-5   Made by: Age 6+    Instructions:  http://rosie-baby-crafty.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-spy-bags.html My total Cost: $2 per bag

How I simplified:  First, I used fleece.  No need to worry about seams and fraying that way.  Second, I used scraps of fabric I already had.  I didn’t worry about the 8X8 size, but instead made rectangles due to the size of fabric I had on hand.  Third, I just searched the house for trinkets.  You’d be surprised how many you already have.  To save even more money, you can use rice.  The $2 I spent was for the poly beads from the store.  Rice would have cost less and is nearly as great.  Fourth, USE TISSUE PAPER!  The plastic is a pain to sew with since it will stick to your machine.  So, pin tissue paper over the plastic and sew directly on to the tissue paper.  When you’re done sewing just tear the tissue paper away.  It will save you a lot of stress.  Easy project.  Lots of fun.

2.  Leaf Bookmarks    Give to:  Anyone   Made by: 2+

This project is so easy and so perfect for toddlers.  My 3 year old son and I went on a walk together just as the autumn leaves were starting to fall.  He had so much fun gathering leaves for his Christmas presents.  Once we got home, he helped me place them in books to flatten them.  We left them for a week and then set them all out on the table.  While you can press the leaves directly into the contact paper, I chose to glue them onto paper first.  Cut the paper to the size you want.  Then, let your little one pick out leaves and hand them to you.  Glue them to the paper with gluesticks.  Just put the glue on the paper and lay the leaf on top.  Once the glue is dry, cover entire bookmark with contact paper, leaving a 1/8-1/4 inch edge.

3.  Road/Village Car Mat

Have you ever seen these?  They’re lots of fun.  We had one years ago that Cheri had given my kids for Christmas.  But, in time it wore out and after a few moves, we gave it away, much to my dismay.  But, a couple of years ago, when my 7 year old, at the time, was looking for a gift to make for his younger brother, we decided to make this classic toy into a fun, simple, and absolutely free project.  


All you need is a big white box and markers.  Cut the box so it can lay flat.  You’ll want one large rectangle.  If you can’t find one, you can always pay a few bucks and get a display board in the craft section at Walmart.  That’s what we chose to do.  Then, have your child use a pencil to draw his village.  When he’s all done, fill it all in with markers and crayons.  Sure, it’s not professional.  But, believe me, this mat has been a favorite toy for 2 years now.  

4.  Fleece Scarves, Mittens, and Hats!  Made by:  5+  Make for:  Anyone  Instructions:  http://familycrafts.about.com/od/fleececlothesaccess/Fleece_Projects_Clothes_and_Accessories.htm


This gift is super easy and very fun for the kids to make.  Let them help with cutting out the patterns, pushing the pedal while you sew, and cutting the tassles for the scarves and hat.  It’s also very cheap.  Your only cost is the fleece, which you can find cheapest at Walmart.

5.  Homemade Thank You Cards  Made By:  Any Age   Make For:  Anyone.  Especially great for teachers!

This is the perfect and easiest gift.   All you’ll need is Cardstock and 4-3/8 X 5-3/4 envelopes (available at your local paper store, like Xpedx).  Cut each piece of cardstock in half across the middle, leaving two rectangles, each measuring 5.5 X 8.5.  Then, fold each rectangle in half so that you have a small card, measuring 4.25 X 5.5.  Have your child, draw, paint, or color on the outside flap of the card.  Make as many as you want.  If you are a bit more computer savvy, you can also scan artwork of any size into your computer and size it down in a word document.  Just print 2 pictures per page on the upper half of a landscape layout.  Cut and fold.

6.  Homemade Jewelry    Made By: 4+  Made for:  Any age


My son loves to do beads.  He always has.  So, each year, he makes jewelry for his older sister.  Last year, I discovered a bead kit from the craft section of Walmart which was inexpensive (about $2) and perfect for him.  It had all the beads, string, etc. that he would need to make a few necklaces and bracelets.  I just attached a quilting needle (large and basically blunt) to the clear beading elastic and left him to make his own designs.  When he was done, I tied a knot and put a dab of clear nail polish on the knot to seal it.

7.  A purse   Made by: 5+   Made for:  Any age  Instructions:  http://familycrafts.about.com/od/craftyaccessories/ss/simplepurse.htm

To be honest, this is the next project my son and I will be doing.  I haven’t done it yet, so I can’t testify of how simple it is.  But, it looks easy, so we’re going for it.  I’ll have him cut out the pattern, help push the pedal while I sew and voila!  We’ll have a purse.  I’m using scraps of fabrics from other projects so his final price:  $0.

I hope these ideas get your creativity rolling.  Each year as Christmas comes, I ask the kids what they are most excited about.  Without fail, they tell me about the homemade gifts they made and how they can’t wait to see their brothers and sisters open them.  I’m always surprised by how much that joy far outweighs their excitement for what they may receive.  It’s a treasure to cherish.  I hope these and other homemade gifts bring you that joy this season.  Merry Christmas!

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About Janae

Hello from Colorful Colorado! My name is Janae and I live at the edge of the beautiful Rockies with my six kids and wonderful husband. We’re a busy family who loves to work together, learn together, and most of all, play together. Like a post? Please comment.
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