Gifts from Kids to Relatives

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Creative family gift from toddler

Nov 2002

I am looking for creative ideas for something fun my 21 month old can give to grandparents, aunts and uncles at the holidays. I am open to a crafts project we could work on together or something we could have made cheaply that is personalized. As an example, last year, I ordered mugs with his photo on them from a catalog. I was really happy with the quality of the product and the grandparents loved them (for about $11 each). We've done hand and footprints already. He's a bit young yet for most crafts, but we could try! I am sure there are some creative minds out there. Thanks! Whitney

I remember last year someone had posted about MakeIt Plate Productions or something like that. They are the company that makes personalized plates and cups. We made some of their products last year and they were greatly loved by our relatives. Their website is Good luck! anon

I'm thinking along the same lines, and also trying not to give the relatives more ''STUFF.'' In our family, we've shifted away from gift-giving to consumables (candy, books, CDs, etc).

My solution for the grandmas (whom we'll see at Christmas--this is not mailable!) is to do a pot of paperwhites or narcissus. Buy the bulbs now, and start them around Thanksgiving. The kid picks out the bulbs and a pretty pot (can wrap it with paper or cloth of his choosing?) and some pretty rocks. Put the bulbs and rocks in the pot and water once a week. Keep 'em outside, in our climate. The green shoots will come up (exciting to check on progress!) and by Christmas they should be in glorious, fragrant bloom. virginia

Try Makit Products 1-800-248-9443. For around $5 or $6 they'll send you a kit with special pens and paper. You draw a picture, or you can use a photo (I think), mail it in and you get a plate back with your drawing on it. They also have other products based on the same principle. R. Low

Maybe you and your toddler could make X-Mas tree ornaments. Glitter, glue, cotton balls, little photos, and you've got...? Suzy

i see that you have done handprints and footprints, but have you thought of paintings by your toddler on ceramic christmas ornaments? there are many ceramic craft shops where you can choose from a variety of pieces to decorate. your pieces are fired by the shop in usually less than a week and the prices are very reasonable ($5-$20/piece). you can choose from serveware pieces, ceramic animals, picture frames, tiles, vases, etc. a very nice personalized gift that is fun to make! even more fun when done with other toddler friends and their families. jennifer

If your child's grandparents have computers, one idea might be to make a cd with video and pictures of your child. There is software that allows you to do so easily and even add titles captions, and background music that could be either your child's favorite music or the grandparents', etc. You can print a label for the cd that features a picture of your child with a title. You could also email them periodic film clips, personalized just for them. Then they could forward/email their friends the clip and brag about their grandchild. Another suggestion is to make an old-fashioned scrapbook with pictures of your child, your child with the grandparents, pictures of the grandparents and other family members at the same ages of the pictures of your child. You could write captions that are ''from'' your child to them. Another idea is a letter to them ''from'' your child reminding them of specific events, big and small, from their lives with your child's comments about them. Another idea is a personalized book starring your child or a homemade lift-the-flap book where Grandma and Grandpa try to find your child who is playing hide-n-seek with them. Perhaps a laminated finger painting and a photo magnet of the artist. hcolgin

Try Aran's Studio Glaze in Castro Valley. They have a huge selection of pre-made ceramics (dishware, figurines, all sorts) and then you or your kids can select from a large variety of paints, decorations, designs, glazes, etc, to put on yourself. Her prices are very reasonable. Example: to paint a coffee cup with all materials, paints, glazes, and firing included, is about $12. A great homemade gift for those hard to buy for relatives. I had my sons make cups for all their uncles for Christmas. The studio is a lovely artistic place, and fun for the kids to hang out and do projects. She does birthday parties too. Sorry, I don't have their phone number, but they're on Castro Valley Boulevard, in Castro Valley, at the Castro Village Shopping Center. (The crosstreet is Redwood Road.) About 15-20 minutes drive on the 580east from Oakland or Berkeley. Worth the drive! Good luck! -Islena.

I had fun making magnets out of extra photos. I would cut and glue photos onto advertising magnets that we had received. jen

Creative gifts from a toddler:

1. Ritz Photo (at least in SF) will take a photo, mount it on lucite, lazer cut around the subject person/people, and either make a magnet or a little stand-up item. I think they make other stuff, too, but this is what we've given to grandparents.

2. Get white pillowcases and decorate them with fabric markers. Maybe you'd even want to make matching sheets?

3. Cut 60 inch wide polar fleece into 9 inch wide strips (easiest if you use a geometric pattern), fringe each end, and you've got a great winter scarf (this would be too hard for real young kids).

4. My son and his dad once made me a ''love box'' filled with my son's drawings of his favorite food, favorite book, favorite food, etc. Very touching, and let's distant relatives learn a little more about your child 5. And a family favorite of ours: Have your child dictate a story, type it out in big font with 1 or 2 sentences on each page, have your child draw pictures, and you have a home-made book! We've also written songs and poems. wbrownsf

Check out Oriental Trading Company at for craft ideas or go to a paint your own pottery place and let him go to town on a plate, mug, frame, etc. Use a plastic ''Memory Plate'' or simply let him paint a plain block and glue a cute picture of him on the front - they did that at my son's preschool and it's adorable. Have fun! Julie K.