By Tessa White
There’s no better gift for the holidays than a handcrafted creation — and not just because it doesn’t involve a frenzied trip to the mall. Having kids make gifts from scratch not only shows them the value of giving but also the brain-boosting benefits of taking up a hobby.
Hand-making a present involves more than gluing and coloring — it’s a great opportunity to learn a thing or two. A simple project like creating wax ornaments offers a lesson in beginning chemistry, and making gooey "play dough" helps math basics stick in youngsters’ brains. For older kids, designing a December-themed calendar teaches them the meaning (and math) behind the month and building a story-based diorama brings holiday literature to life.
Remember the dough ornaments that decorated many a Christmas tree way back when? Baked and painted to glossy perfection (well, maybe they had a few imperfections) and a staple at every school crafting event? They’re made of salt dough, which can be easily whipped up in your kitchen. Instead of churning out snowmen or angels, update the project by attaching lapel pins to the ornaments. A great gift sure to find a welcome spot on Dad’s suit or Grandma’s cardigan.
(Note: This recipe makes about 20 small ornaments.)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Ask your child to measure out the salt, flour, and water and mix them together until the dough is formed. Have her sprinkle flour on a clean countertop, and show her how to knead the dough until it’s elastic and smooth. (Tell her to pretend she’s a cat while she kneads.) If the dough is too gooey, sprinkle small amounts of flour until the stickiness is gone. Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter-inch thick. Set your child to work with the cookie cutters, using as many shapes as she likes.
Put the dough cutouts on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for two hours. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Once the ornaments have cooled, ask your child to paint each one — encourage her to include such details as ornaments on a tree or buttons on a snowman. After the paint has dried, she can use glitter glue to add a sparkly coating. Finally, have her glue a lapel pin on the back.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.