Our last blog listed many gift ideas, one of them being craft bags. One of our goals for the kids is to send things that are fun but also encourage learning and skill building. Reading, playing games, putting together puzzles, playing ball and crafting are just a few of the ways kids learn and have fun too. Making a craft bag is an excellent gift idea for non-crafters, kids or for those short on time. Theresa told me about a girl who was given beads from some of the Youthworks teens this summer and immediately started making necklaces and bracelets. These weren’t the same beads Native Americans use to make their beautifully beaded crafts, but still this girl was inspired to start creating something from these simple beads and even wished for more so she could make gifts for her family and friends.
Craft bags don’t have to be expensive but they do need the basic craft materials along with instructions which can be handwritten or typed, and a bag or plastic container to hold everything. Probably the most important requirements are listing the recommended age on your kit and making sure everything is non toxic, especially glue and paint. Beads and other small items are not recommended for children under 3. If in doubt look at the age limits printed on the item you’re including in your bag. Also think about visiting the craft section of your library if you need some templates for some of the projects.
There are plenty of ideas on the web, this St. Jude’s Pinterest page and this list from a hospital are two good ones, more good ones are here, here , and here . These are just suggestions, we don’t expect you to include every idea in your kit, use what you have on hand or what you can afford, tailor it to your budget and time. These kids don’t have any craft supplies so they will be thrilled with whatever you make. If you have kids or grandkids ask their opinions of your ideas or better yet let them help with the project. For the under 3 crowd there are plenty of Busy Bag sites you can use for ideas and you can include a book that teaches a skill.
- Play dough bag – attach the recipe but add 3- 4 containers of playdough, a roller, cookie cutters, plastic knife, etc. Laminate a piece of paper with contact paper or use a piece of an old vinyl shower curtain. Or if you like you can find free playdough mats on google.
- Clay bag – add air dry clay and then some washable markers to paint the item when dry and a mat to work on
- Stencil bag – Include stencils (can make your own), a package of washable markers or paints /brush and paper. Might give some masking tape to hold the corners of the paper still. Add a T-shirt and fabric crayons for more fun .
- Lacing/sewing kit for toddlers – Cut out cardboard shapes, color, laminate with clear contact paper, punch holes and add shoe laces to “sew” with. Look at the possibilities.
- tin foil art – some aluminum foil and let a child sculpt animals or whatever.
- Origami -a simple book on origami and supplies.
- Fingerprint art -A non toxic stamper, paper, colored pencils or crayons and a book on using fingers to make designs.
- Handprint art – non toxic paint in a few colors, paper and a book with ideas.
- Leaf art- leaf art book, glue and paper.
- Rock painting – throw in a few rocks, non toxic markers or paint and some designs to try.
- Jewelry kits – Embroidery floss, jute, elastic cord, etc. and beads, buttons and instructions.
- Sewing kit – to make a doll, sock animal, puppet. Include thread, scissors, stuffing, fabric, pattern and directions or get a pre-printed panel at the fabric store.
- Paper doll kit – Cut out paper dolls. Provide fabric to make clothing for the doll Can use velcro to stick on the outfits. Sometimes you can find a girl or boy doll in a coloring book to use
- Card making – Card stock, colored pencils and markers, stickers, etc. and instructions.
- Knitting or Crochet bag – WW or bulky yarn, needles or hook to match and “How To” book or instructions.
- Loom bag– small plastic loom, hook, yarn, directions to to make a hat, etc. Loads of idea for loom items.
- Embroidery kit – Project to embroider, embroidery thread and needles, small hoop and directions on stitches to use.
- Stamp kits – non toxic ink pads, stamps; numbers, letters, animals, etc. and paper pad.
- Drawing kit – 2B pencils, eraser, sharpener, colored pencils an “How To” drawing book. For smaller kids can make your own sketchbook.
- Sandpaper art – Cut out numbers, letters and have child color over them on paper. Include crayons, paper and scissors to cut them out. Or use on a T shirt. Lots of ideas on Pinterest.
- Drawing board – erasable whiteboard, erasable crayons, eraser or cloth.
- Chalk blackboard – Include chalk and cloth for erasing or small eraser.
- Duct tape crafts – Give a few fun duct tape rolls and some activities.
- Leather kit– piece of leather cut for a wallet, needles, lacing and directions.
- Coloring pages kit- Crayons, pencils and pages or activity/coloring books. Make a pencil or crayon roll for the set.
- Premade hand puppets to decorate – Base on a story book you include and supplies. Can cut off the fingers of a glove to make puppet kits.
- Finger paint kit – finger paints, freezer paper, and a small bib type apron.
- Create a story book – plain and lined paper, pencils, crayons, binder, story ideas. You can also find stories for younger kids to sequence and color. Older kids can use this type of sequencing
- Create a personal journal/diary – Include stickers, etc. for decorating and special pen. Make a holder for the diary and supplies
- Knot kit – cording and a book on making knots and their uses
- Popsicle stick art projects
- Recycled items crafts Lots of fun ideas to make
On another note, our Sew For Kids Facebook site is no longer just a page on my personal facebook page, we now have a group page “Sew For Kids Volunteers.” This is a page for crafters as well as non-crafters that prefer to donate purchased items. We would love to have you join us and welcome anyone that wants to help the children of Pine Ridge. We still have the Yahoo group for those who are not Facebook users and the Ravelry group for our knitters and crocheters. Information will be posted on all sites.
If you have ideas for craft kits/bags please share with us. We would love to put together a list of bags to make for other holidays, party favors, etc. Remember the Christmas clock is ticking. Donations should be sent to the High Horses by the end of the first week of December. Thanks from Sew For Kids.