Easy Mother's Day Gifts That Kids Can Make or Do Themselves
by Katie Beltramo
Kids love to make homemade gifts, and mothers love a homemade gift for Mother's Day. In theory. But in practice, the littlest kids don't have too many skills for crafting yet, and older ones can get frustrated trying to make their artistic vision become reality. And while mothers are overjoyed with the thought and effort put into any gift, they also only have so much space in the house to display it all. One year, I attended a story hour that included making a Mother's Day craft. It was terrific, except that the cutting-and-pasting was too much for the toddlers. So the kids sat, bored, watching all of us mothers diligently creating gifts for ourselves! Here are a few suggestions for very simple but satisfying ways that kids can celebrate their mamas.
Plant Some Perennials
Instead of bringing home a bouquet, take the kids with you to a farmers' market or nursery and let them choose a flowering perennial. What's wonderful about perennials is that they come back every year, so it's a gift that keeps giving. You might even choose to make this a tradition: let each child choose, then take a picture of them planting their choice, then posing with it. As the years pass you'll have a garden that shows a history of the kids' tastes, and like the family love, this gift will grow!
Decoupage a Vase
This craft is is remarkably versatile: kids who have only just achieved the pincer grip can participate, and older kids and adults can enjoy the creativity inherent in this project. The (easy to find!) materials you'll need are:
A glass vase or jar (recycle a little-used one from a floral delivery or pick up a cheap one at your local supermarket)
Mod Podge, Elmer's, or another non-toxic, clear-drying glue
Tissue paper, torn into pieces
Coat a small section of the vase with glue, add torn pieces of tissue paper, and continue. Once you've added paper, coat it with glue again to seal it. We like to use cut pieces of clean kitchen sponge to apply the glue. Allow it to dry completely. This is a great group project, and you can complete it in one sitting or cover sections in stages as attention spans permit.
Use Great Materials to "Make" Jewelry
Craft stores these days offer awesome and inexpensive materials that kids will love to help choose and assemble something special for mom.
Decorative wire allows for tons of creativity for all but the youngest kids (edges can be sharp). Wrap wire around a special stone, twirl it around a finger, or form letters for a monogram. Or just wrap it repeatedly to make a unique pendant that becomes necklace once it's hung from a thin fabric ribbon. As you're shopping, notice the gauge. A 24-gauge wire (on the spool at right) will be easy to bend, but not too sturdy. A lower gauge wire will be tougher to work with but will hold its shape better. For a thick wire, an adult will need wire cutters to snip off a length, and kids might want to use pliers. This wire is so fun to work with that I literally hide it from my children, because otherwise my house would be wrapped in wire.
Jewelry-making and beading have gotten so popular lately, and enthusiasts have all sorts of fancy tools. But check out your local craft store and you'll find pretty, simple, and inexpensive elements to craft jewelry. The simple chain and two pendants to the right each cost between $1.50 and $4, and that was before the cashier added the sale discount. If you're working with a group, ask each child to choose a charm that they think is pretty or meaningful. If your child likes beading, you can find pretty beads. In fact, one of my most-frequently-complimented-on necklaces was concocted by my elder daughter in first grade.
While you're making sure that the grandmothers are acknowledged, you're also teaching your kids that there's genuine joy in giving. Hopefully, these ideas will make both tasks easier. And if there's something that you'd like for yourself, just buy a few extra supplies, sigh dramatically over the gorgeousness of your children's creations, and wait patiently for Mother's Day.
© 2013 Katie Beltramo.
Katie Beltramo, a mom of two, is editor of Kids Out and About--Albany. She also blogs at Capital District Fun.