As I’m writing this, I have so many gift giving holidays in my near future: Teacher’s Appreciation Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, plus the end of the school year. I needed some homemade gift ideas so I got thinking. I wanted homemade gifts that were inexpensive and easy to make. So here are some ideas I came up with, along with detailed instructions!
I tried to find some gift ideas that young children and students with disabilities could make. I remember this being a tricky task when I taught in a life skills program. When looking for craft ideas for students with disabilities, the challenge is finding something that they can make themselves without it looking babyish or age- inappropriate.
Plantable Seed Paper
This is a pretty cool concept and it was a fun gift to make. You make your own paper with seeds mixed into it. Write a sweet note, and let your gift recipient plant it! Within a week, they’ll have a nice botanical surprise sprouting up.
Here’s how you do it:
- Tear pieces of paper into tiny bits. You can use a shredder if you have one.
- Soak your paper overnight.
- Scoop your paper out with a flour sifter or slotted spoon.
- Blend your paper into a pulp mixture.
- Add seeds and gently mix in (Don’t blend the seeds).
- Scoop pulp out and press into your desired shape, using cookie cutters if you have them.
- Blot, blot, blot. Have lots of towels ready to press and soak up all of the extra water from your paper shapes. Blot until you think you’re done… and then blot some more. Trust me.
- Dry your paper shapes as much as possible. Flip them over after a few hours to dry the bottom. We let ours dry for two days, flipping them over a few times to dry them evenly.
- Write something on your paper and give it to your special friend or family member.
- Instruct them to plant their paper gift in soil as they would with regular seeds.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
This one is fun to do in the classroom, believe it or not. I used to bring an electric griddle to my classroom to heat up a bowl of chocolate melts. I placed the griddle in the corner of the room and invited students over one by one. Students were guided to pick up their pretzels using tongs and dip them into the melted chocolate. Then they lay the pretzels on wax paper to cool down.
Add sprinkled or colored sugar before they cool off. When the pretzels are finished, have students pop them into cellophane bags and tie them off with pretty ribbon.
You can do this with cookies, fruits, and candy too, so don’t feel limited to just pretzels. The students enjoyed making them and the parents always seemed happy to receive their treats. This one was always a hit!
An Easy to Care For Plant
Succulents can get expensive if you’re buying them one by one, but if you get a couple and let them grow, they will multiply like crazy and you’ll have tons to give away. I was gifted a pot of hen and chick succulents a few years ago and I can’t recommend them highly enough for black- thumbed gardeners such as myself. With little to no care (really! I don’t even water them), I now have HUNDREDS of happy little succulents all over my yard, spilling out of every pot I own.
Find out what plants grow well in your area and start there. I live in New Jersey and I can vouch for succulents doing well here. If you live in Florida, you might want to try air plants or something else. You get the idea.
Use these FREE GIFT TAGS to jazz up your plant gift! Just download, print, and stick ’em on your plant. Super cute gift!
This one is great for young children. I have received tons of positive feedback on it so I have to share it with you. It’s a calendar that features monthly poems and showcases the child’s fingerprints in a unique themed craft.
Parents are always thrilled to receive this fingerprint calendar. They often tell me that it’s something they will always treasure and that it is one of their favorite homemade gifts.
Bonus: It’s cost effective. You just purchase the calendar once and you can use it every year! Click here to see my Fingerprint Calendar on TPT.
This one’s super easy and quick if you’re short on time. Get some jazzy beads and have students string them onto a pipe cleaner. Twist the ends together and tuck those pointy ends in.
You could even make your own beads out of clay if you are so inclined. Once the napkin holders are done, you can send them home on a napkin or wrapped around a nice note to your special recipient. Easy Peasy!
Goody Bag Toppers
If you’re looking for a gift for a class or group, goody bags could be the way to go. They’re fun for children to assemble too, so let the kids join in! Just fill a ziploc bag with treats, fold the Goody Bag Topper over, staple, and done.
Easy, cute, and they come in every occasion!
Get them here.
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Keep teaching. Keep learning.
~Christy D. from Exceptional Thinkers
Here’s the Fingerprint Calendar Sample (It’s FREE). Enjoy!