One of the hardest things about Christmas for me as a parent, is striking a balance between the joy of watching my children's faces on Christmas morning and overindulging them. There is nothing better then their excitement and surprise over presents under the tree, but it sure doesn't take many years of excess before wonder turns into demand. We've tried different things to combat the greed that tries to sneak in. One idea that has stuck and turned into a much anticipated tradition, is letting the siblings make presents for each other. The fun of creating a treasure, wrapping it and then trying their hardest to keep it a secret until Christmas morning is a highlight of the season. Of course, this has the potential to turn into a huge complicated ordeal - anything but simple. To keep that from happening, this is what we do.
Each kid (with some direction from mom) chooses a single project that they will make - the same thing for each of their siblings. I shop and gather craft supplies. Then, each kid gets a "create day." On this day, he and I spend the afternoon making their project. All other kids are banned from the craft area - NO PEEKING!!! - while we work. Some projects may take more then one afternoon. Then we have a wrapping day, where each kid gets a turn with the wrapping paper, scissors and tape. Finally presents are stashed under the tree and the waiting begins. When someone takes the time, thought and effort to make something just for you, it conveys love in a way no plastic widget ever can.
Glitter Letters Initials:
Ahem - I can see you. Those of you who are twitching at the word "glitter". Just hear me out. I know you've vowed to yourself never to let that evil substance into your home. Just this once, it won't hurt - really. The glitter is so firmly glued in place that it can't move. I promise - it won't fall off the letter, get drug around and end up as errant flakes floating in your coffee cup. However, if you knock over the container, all bets are off. You'll be picking glitter out of your sock drawer for years to come. Don't ask how I know this.
This is a great project for a pre-schooler or kindergartener. Most kids that age are really excited about learning their letters and I haven't met one yet who doesn't welcome that chance to splatter paint about. A project that incorporates both is it's lots of fun. Four year old David, made this project for his siblings last year.
- Large wooden or cardboard letters - these can be found very inexpensively at any craft store.
- Acrylic paint
- White glue
- Wide paint brushes (the cheapo foam ones are fine for this project)
- Newspaper or something to use as a drop cloth
- First of all, let your preschooler make a list of the first letter of sibling names in your family. Help him choose a color for each one. It makes the most impact if you choose the same color paint and glitter.
- Cover your workspace with some kind of drop cloth. Let your child paint the letter. Cover it completely with paint - no white spots. Set aside to dry.
- When paint is dry, pour white glue into a paper cup. Have your child paint the letter again - this time with the glue. Then the fun - sprinkle glitter onto the glue. Make sure you have a nice thick coat. Shake off the excess glitter. Let the glue dry
- If desired you can turn the letter around and attach a picture hanger to the back with hot glue. Then the letter can be hung from the wall or propped on a shelf. These letters are a fun way to add a bit of personalization to a kids room.