We have all got gifts that we use and discard, but there’s always one handmade card that has stayed with us for years. I have a bunch of them, mostly given to me by my students.
As adults, our concept of gift giving changes based on our budget and the nature of our relationships; but with children, it’s the purest kind of display of their affection for the people in their life. As a child, I also loved to make birthday cards; and soon that interest became an obsession. Since I couldn’t afford anything with my pocket money, I had to innovate and find new material. To be honest, that was where my creativity really blossomed.
So when your child is trying to make something special for a loved one, here are ten ideas that’ll spark their inner genius
The door card
This is a card that’s just a wall with a huge double door. Here’s how you make it..
Cards using pressed flowers and leaves
This is for someone who’s extra special. It takes months of planning, to find a perfect fallen flower, preserve it in a book, laminate it on a card and gift it on someone’s birthday. When more children remember their friends’ birthdays, social media will have no place in their world of genuine friendships.
Some of my best wedding gifts were hand drawn artworks from my students. This kind of gift takes planning and a lot of thought and emotion goes into it. Along with building the child’s ability to plan a project, it brings out their sensitive and caring side that wants to make someone happy. Encourage our child to gift a painting.
Instead of buying readymade friendship bands for all their friends, encourage your child to make them with assorted yarn and beads. There are simple weaves and braids that can create lovely handmade friendship bands with simple material. It’ll also reinforce the idea of giving someone their time and energy to show how much that person means to the child.
A handful of beads and string is all that you need to make your child a designer. Experiment with plastic beads, ceramic beads, wooden beads and anything else available at your nearest novelty store. For an advanced class in fine motor skills, get a jewelry making kit with all the tools and watch those little hands create something gifts more beautiful than anything found in the stores.
This craft gained a lot of popularity for the simple nature of materials it requires and also the endless possibilities of what you can create. Using the basic folds, let your child explore their imagination on greeting cards, earrings, miniature paintings, wall hangings, pen stands and more.
The photo collage
All it takes is a bunch of photographs from your phone, printed out in colour, a pair of scissors and glue. It makes anyone feel loved to see their pictures put together in a lovely collage, and it also teaches the child to make a good composition.
A handwritten poem
If your kid has a flair for words, this is a great way to show off those rhyming skills. Otherwise, it’s the perfect opportunity to flaunt their cursive writing skills. A cute little poem handwritten with borders and illustrations is sure to melt anyone’s heart. Help your child compose a poem, or find one that goes well with the situation – like a birthday, or anniversary, or new year. Nothing more lovable than a child who writes a poem.
There are thousands of tutorials for simple origami crafts that anyone can learn in a day. With one sheet of good quality paper, your child can make a memorable gift that’ll stay forever on someone’s desk or softboard. It could be a flower or a bird or a decorative box to hold paper clips. That’s all it takes to remind a loved one that they’re special.
An artistic experience
Once your child has tried all of this and is bored already (it’s very likely) then encourage them to think of something new, and it doesn’t even have to be something material. For example, one year for my father’s birthday, I gave him a spotlessly clean room. I stuck a card on the door and opened it saying happy birthday.Another example is when a friend of mine recorded him saying ‘best friends forever’, took an image of the sound waves and got it framed like a painting. It’s the sound of our friendship and will stay forever.
Tell your children that a gift is something that makes a person feel irrelaceble, and important enough to deserve their time and energy – the only things they cannot buy with money. At the same time, let them feel the push to make something unique every year. Soon, they will not need that push any more. Because they would have grown to be wonderful people who have meaningful relationships.