When children learn the joys of giving, they learn that they have something acceptable to give.
But what can children give? And where are parents going to find the time to supervise their creations?
It's not easy. However, when the grandparent exclaims with delight over the apron that your child has hand-painted, and your child practically dissolves in delight and self-satisfaction, the out lay of effort will seem minimal compared to the payback. Our children used to decorate rolls of blank white shelf paper that we then used for wrapping presents. My parents proudly saved every scrap of it.
Our hardwood floors are splattered with fabric paint. Random blotches of glitter glue are stuck forever to our picnic table. The porch floor is splotched with wax droppings from our candle-making phase. (Not my finest moment when I realized I'd used flame retardant string for the wicks.) I think of these nicks and dings and misadventures as badges of honor. The memories, the messes, the memories of messes — it's all good.
FamilyFun.com brings organization to the chaos of possibilities. The site lists crafts by age and highlights crafts that are quick and easy. Easy homemade gifts and holiday gifts include everything from placemats to plant stakes.
A subscription to FamilyFun Magazine is a gift that will keep on giving.
"FamilyFun Crafts," "FamilyFun Cookbook" and "FamilyFun Boredom Busters" are three of my favorite books. They are packed with family-friendly activities — real things that real families would actually enjoy doing while retaining their sanity in the process. Bookstores carry these and countless other craft titles.
For even more ideas, check the craft books at your library, which are shelved under "745" in the children's nonfiction section.
Cherish the child with time and love. Create a priceless gift with time and love. Time and love can't be bought, but they certainly make great gifts.