Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ATLAS: DIY Gift Making with Tweens

Everybody loves presents, right?

Making presents is pretty fun too, so I figured it would be a good choice for December's ATLAS (At The Library After School). Gift giving is a pretty universal aspect of the holiday season (and a good thing to do year round), so it also provides a festive program that doesn't exclude any group that may not celebrate Christmas.

For this program I had three ready to make gift suggestions for my 3rd through 6th graders. I also gave them the freedom to make whatever else popped into their minds with the supplies. The goal was for the attendees to be as creative as possible, but at the same time make sure kids that were stumped for ideas had something to fall back on.

Supplies for this program were basically already on hand, although I did need to buy a box of Popsicle sticks. The only other cost involved was for snacks. Snacks are not necessary, but I chose to provide them mainly because I had hinted to a few kids that we may decorate cookies at this program but nixed that idea in my final planning. I figured as long as the kids were given some kind of treat they wouldn't be too disappointed! As it turned out nobody even brought it up.

The crafts

Fabric bookmarks:

I had leftover fabric from making superhero capes over the summer, so I cut it into bookmark sized rectangles and let the kids draw on it with fabric markers. I also provided string to make a tassel for bookmarks, which as it turns out was not the best decision because our hole punch couldn't go through the fabric. For the kids that wanted a tassel I ended up using scissors to cut a small hole myself.


Popsicle stick coasters

I found this idea at No Time For Flashcards. The basic idea is taping or gluing a group of Popsicle sticks together to create a homemade coaster. This was surprisingly one of the most popular gifts made.

The rainbow version.
The football themed version.

Candy cane ornaments

Inspiration for this craft came from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen. I decided to use it mainly for the purpose of getting rid of some unused pony beads in my craft cupboard.

In addition to these three main craft ideas, I also made additional suggestions such as Popsicle stick stars (made by gluing six Popsicle sticks into two triangles then gluing into a star), and Popsicle stick sleds (inspired by seeing pictures such as this one on Pinterest). I also provided construction paper, crayons and markers in case anyone was inspired to make a card for their loved ones. Brown paper bags were available for any gifts the kids wanted to keep secret. 

The atendees were all able to take gifts home, and some presents were given to their recipients on the spot. I was happy to provide an opportunity to supply holiday gifts that are both free and from the heart. If you've got any other creative gift ideas feel free to share them!

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