Friday, November 10, 2017

Make a Fun Gift for Your Favorite Kid(s)

Today I am joining the Ten on the 10th bloggers to share a unique gift you can put together for under ten dollars.  Many of the supplies can be found at a dollar store.  It is also a great quiet time activity and will never need batteries.

As a former pre-k and kindergarten teacher, I find the amount of time kids spend looking at a screen to be pretty concerning.  Building blocks and art supplies are so much better for their developing minds and bodies!
Using construction paper shapes and glue to create snowmen, flowers, fish, fire engines, houses, and butterflies was always a favorite activity in my classroom.  I turned that idea into something that can be done over and over again using a photo storage box, sheets of fun foam, pipe cleaners, little pom poms, and wiggly eyes.  This idea is intended for children at least three years old and beyond the stage of putting things in their mouths.  These little pieces could be a choking risk for young children.
Kids love to be shown how to make something like a snowman or a fish, and then be able to do it on their own.  The pre-cut pieces may allow them to create designs that they would not yet be able to draw.

There are so many possibilities. Snow people can be personalized with a variety of hats, scarves, and props (whether it is 20 degrees or 70 degrees outside).

Here are some designs that I created to give you a few ideas.  Would your child prefer a  rocket ship, a "paper doll" with different outfits, or a silly face with options for eyes/nose/mouth?

The ice cream cone is very simple, but the "sprinkles" are great for fine motor practice. Of course a variety of scoops could be stacked.

The butterfly is a good basic to begin with (and to talk about symmetry.. but don't get me started....)

The ladder and hose on this fire truck are a little more challenging for young fingers.

I purchased one 8 x 12 sheet of blue fun foam, cut it to measure and glued it inside the lid of the photo storage box as a background and work space.  (That's the only glue involved in this project.  Everything else is intended to be used over and over, not glued down.)  For the other pieces, I used small sheets from a multi-color pack.

Then I just had fun cutting foam and pipe cleaners. I also used a paper cutter (not pictured) for most of my straight cuts.  

The lid will need to be flat on a table or floor when the child is creating designs, but the fun foam pieces placed on the foam sheet in the lid do tend to stay put.  They are also easy to move around and put away when it's time to make another design or clean up.

Word to the wise:  Just include a few of the little pom poms or wiggly eyes.  They add a lot to a design, but too many can become a problem at clean up time.

Each sandwich bag holds the pieces for a particular design and all the bags can be stored in the box.  Zipper style bags would actually be better for little hands than the type I had on hand.

A shoe box would be another option, but I like the sturdiness of this pretty photo storage box.
Once the lid goes back on, the box will look great on a shelf when not in use.  

A variety of shapes is also included so little ones can use their own imaginations to create.  There are also many fun pre-cut shapes available at craft stores, unfortunately many are self-stick and wouldn't work for this.

If you do have bigger budget for your gift, the book The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds and Julie Lacome would be a perfect addition.  You could also focus on snowmen and accessories and add the book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert.
Have fun and be sure to stop by all the great posts for today's Ten on the 10th!

Have fun!

The Scoop


  1. Ellis,
    I love this idea. We have 12 littles in our family that we buy for, this would be a perfect gift for our creative ones. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this idea and just happen to have a 4 year old great niece who would love this. Thanks for this fun idea. :)

  3. I love these bright and colorful ideas! Craft foam is a lot of fun to work with.

  4. Eilis, I love this protect. I am going to do this with my youngest. He will really enjoy it. Thanks for the great idea! Enjoy your weekend!

  5. What a good idea, Eilis! I can't wait till our Baby Grand is old enough to "make art." Since his parents don't have the art gene, his uncle Greg and I will be working on that one (and Grandpa Rick will do the bicycle and music and camping thing!). This would be a fun box to have when he comes to visit. Thanks!

  6. What a wonderful idea, Eilis! We have a granddaughter who is just the right age to enjoy this.

  7. This is a great idea, Eilis! I need tips like these.

  8. I am a former pre-k and kindergarten teacher myself...and a mom...and I think this is a four star idea! I have four great nieces that pop over all the time and they go straight to the art cabinet. I know they would love to have their own fun all boxed up. Awesome idea! Thanks.

  9. This is just precious!
    This is a perfect gift or something to have on hand at home:)

  10. Precious. It's a great idea for little ones. Perfect for keeping them busy and creating.

  11. I love all these great ideas! Vacation time is just around the corner, so we just might have to make a few of these. Thanks for the ideas!

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