If there’s one thing that this year has taught us, it’s reminded us to focus on what, and who, we’re thankful for. When picking out gifts for our friends and family, we want to make sure they feel loved and appreciated.
With an abundance of online retailers, it seems increasingly easier to order gifts for our loved ones through a website. However, nothing warms people’s hearts more than something that’s been homemade, especially by a child.
Making gifts can be a great learning opportunity that teaches a variety of important skills! It also serves as the perfect opportunity to spend some extra time with our families and make wonderful memories together.
1. Making Soap
This DIY gift provides the perfect mix of creativity and fun for your little one! They will see chemicals in action as the glycerin melts, and then hardens. You can ask them to make a prediction, or hypothesis, about what they think will happen after the mold is filled and left to cool!
They can even improve upon their fine motor skills as they mix decorations into the liquid soap. There are endless possibilities at their fingertips – follow along with us below, and feel free to let your imagination run wild!
– A bar of glycerin
– Silicone Molds (can be any fun shape!)
– A bowl or measuring cup
– Food Coloring
– Essential Oils
– Dried Flower Petals
– Craft Stick
– Take your bar of glycerin and cut it in half.
– Place the half into your bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until it’s completely melted.
– Next, pour the glycerin into your mold.
– Here is where you can add whatever food coloring, glitter, or other decorations you’d like and mix with the craft stick. (Just make sure to do so quickly, as the glycerin will start to cool right away!)
– Let it sit and wait for about an hour until it’s fully hardened
– Remove the soap from the mold and marvel at your creation!
2. Under The Sea Craft Kit
Approved by Mandisa of @happytoddlerplaytime, this kit is sure to satisfy the lover of all things sensory and aquatic! This gift is also a great introduction to the world of STEM, building different crafts and inspiring lots of creativity!
Making their very own jellyfish puppets introduces them to the basics of engineering, while working on activities with geometric fish shows how math concepts can be used for fun as well! The dough, foam, and wax string can all be used to build countless inventions!
With so many different items in this box, little ones are sure to get hands-on experience with different STEM elements. You can also make some more holiday crafts with another box, here! And if your child loves dinosaurs and wants some super awesome DIY Dino activities, we’ve got some here!
– 5 oz. Jar of The Dough Project
– Bellzi Mini Sharki the Shark
– Bellzi Mini Narwhali the Narwhal
– Underwater Craft Kit
– BümoBrain Foam
– BümoBrain Wax String
– Memory Game
– Easy-to-follow video tutorials for each craft activity
3. Melted Bead Suncatcher
This gift will not only be loved by those who receive it, but there are plenty of ways that making it will help your child learn to love STEM! Observing the beads at the beginning of the activity, watching how they change form, and noticing how they’re different at the end, is a perfect way to learn about the different states of matter – (beads start as a solid, become a liquid, and then return to a solid).
Children can also see the chemical reactions that take place as the beads melt when they’re placed over heat! They can even attempt to make geometric patterns with the beads, or another pattern that they’d like.
– Metal Bakeware (Ex: Cake Tin, Pan, Muffin Tin)
– Embroidery Thread or Wire
– Pony Beads (Whatever colors you’d like!)
– Aluminum Foil
– Oven or Grill
– String or Ribbon
– String the pony beads onto the embroidery thread/wire in whatever way you want. (Make sure to fill most of the thread/wire with beads, and to tie off the end so they don’t all fall off.)
– Take your metal bakeware and cover in aluminum foil to keep this activity as mess-free as possible.
– Lay the thread/wire down and position it in the design that you’d like it to be at the end!
– Melt the beads either in your oven or on your grill for about 5 minutes, ideally at around 400-450 Fahrenheit.
– After removed from the oven/grill, let your creation cool.
– Once fully cooled, it should easily be peeled off of the foil.
– (Optional) Drill a small hole in the top (depending on your design) and loop with ribbon so your gift can be hung and begin to catch the sun!
Playing with the materials in this list will also help your child develop, and improve, their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which you can read more about here.
You can be sure that whoever receives these gifts will appreciate them even more knowing that the process of making them was educational and enriching. It may seem simpler to make a quick purchase for those you know, but your child can learn some fundamental STEM concepts, and make an awesome present, with any of these quick options!