The Gift of Giving
Making Something Special
Tags: Make Your Own Gifts, Holidays, Giving Gifts, Art Supplies, Make Your Own Book
Posted: 2009-09-10 11:47:10 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim


One of my favorite gifts is to make a book that your child can give to a grandparent.  Take some pictures that you have of your child (even better if they are with the grandparent).  Put the pictures on the top of the construction paper (or in a blank book that you can pick up at an art supply store or book store). If your child is younger, have them dictate a story to you about the pictures.  If your child is older, have them write their own story to go along with the pictures.  I guarantee this will become one of the treasured gifts of the season.

Here are some pre made kits that you kids can try and then give as a gift.



2003 Awards
Crunch Art
(Hands on Toys $6 Score: ) An innovative, open-ended designing project that is easy to do. Kids simply place a small piece of fabric on the foam board and push down with the "cruncher/puncher" tool (which is not sharp) and the fabric is in place. They can make designs or draw pictures to fill with colorful fabric, mylar squares, or chenille stems. A great office/quiet time toy. New for 2004, themed kits (Butterfly, Dinosaur, Rainbow, Panda, Fish and Toucan ). We prefer the open-ended kits, but some kids find the framework comforting. 5 & up. SNAP Award. This new art kit develops hand power as well as creativity. This does call for the ability to grip and press, but unlike a rug hook it is easy to do. It is pretty open-ended and mess-free.(888) 442-6376.SNAP: Grasping the puncher-cruncher calls for a firm grip. Using it may in fact strengthen hand muscles. Since this is a fairly openended product the act of doing this may be totally satisfying. For added stucture you can trace the child's initials on the foam board and encourage him to use ne color to to trace the letters. Once this is done he can use other colors as background.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.




2003 Award
Tie Dye Kit
(Creativity for Kids $19.95 Score: ) Recently reintroduced, this refreshed kit is still a clever twist on a popular craft. Here's what we wrote back in 2003. Under the heading, "What will they think of next?" here's the latest in tie-dye convenience. The dye is in the string that you use with your own tee-shirts or pillowcases. A good outdoor craft project. Our tester reported, "Don't use the same water twice, it comes out muddy."

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.




2004 Awards
Make-Your-Own Frames
(Made By Hands, Inc $17.95 Score: ) Here's a kit with 10 cardboard frames, pop-out shapes in colors and shining holographic card stock. plus one glue stick. There's no cutting but the shapes are interesting and easy to handle. All the materials fit back into the sturdy box foler with a velcro closer for safe keeping. Enough materials for play date fun or even a sleep-over gang. Load 'em up with kids artwork or recent photos for grandparents. SNAP: Materials lend themselves to success and open-ened exploration and they don't look babyish. There's no right or wrong way to use this material. Precut materials add to the ease of use and glus stick really holds!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.




1995 Award
Silk Painting Art Kit
(Alex $25 Score: ) Kids can transform two 9" x 45" pure silk scarves with special dyes, bamboo brush and salts for sealing in truly delicate designs. This makes a nice gift for a friend or relative with all the fun of making it by the giver. Adult supervision required for this somewhat messy project. We suggest doing it outdoors.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.




2009 Award
Creativity for Kids Fancy Felt Trinket Keeper
(Creativity for Kids $24 Score: )

A round two-tiered chipboard trinket box comes with over 100 felt stick-ons to decorate the box. The pink and white box has velvet lined shelves and the stick-on felt flowers and birds come in blue, green, orange and pink. A simple but pleasing craft kit that kids can use to store their treasures.  Comes with simple easy to follow directions and ideas. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on


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