Homemade Gift Ideas for Your Grandkids

gifts for grandkids

It’s been said that gifts from the hand are gifts from the heart. It feels so good to give thoughtful gifts during the holiday season. Great gifts don’t have to come from a store and they certainly don’t have to cost a lot of money. Homemade gifts for the grandchildren can brighten up their holiday and give them something they will cherish much more than anything you could get off the shelf at the store.

Making homemade gifts can actually be good for your health! A study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that creating things with the hands can help seniors improve fine motor function, build confidence, fight depression, and slow cognitive decline. Other studies have backed up the claims, finding that 73% of those who engaged in arts and crafts were less likely to develop cognitive impairment[1].

So why not create something beautiful to give as gifts? Here are some great options.

Knit or Crochet Something Lovely

Work on your fine motor skills and create something beautiful by knitting or crocheting. You’ll need the proper thread or yarn, a set of knitting needles or crochet hooks, and an idea or pattern of what you want to make. Consider something that could be fun and useful. For instance, if you live in a colder climate, knitting a grandchild a pair of mittens in their favorite color can make you feel great about keeping them warm. If you live in a warmer area and mittens or a scarf aren’t the best idea, think about crocheting a stuffed animal or a small set of puppets. The options are endless!

And contrary to what you might remember from years past, men can enjoy these activities just as much as women do. In fact, 29% of those who knit and crochet on a regular basis are men[2]. A study by Wool and the Gang found that no matter the gender, a person who knits or crochets can feel lower levels of anxiety and depression, as well as an enhanced sense of happiness[3]. It’s a win-win for everyone this holiday season.

Turn Old Clothing into Stuffed Animals

It’s a shame to throw out old clothing, especially when it’s incredibly soft. Old t-shirts and sweaters actually get much softer as they wear out. Why not take advantage of that and turn the material into a new stuffed animal that will delight a kid? Before you toss out that old shirt or sweater, consider following these templates to create a lovely new plush toy.

Note that creating these animals almost always includes the use of needle and thread. You might want to try your hand at using a sewing machine to make them. Take your time when using anything sharp. Sit comfortably in one place, have all your supplies on hand, make sure the area has excellent lighting, and remove distractions so you can truly focus on what you’re doing.

Make Fun Crayons

Giving a child a coloring book and crayons can make their day. But rather than give the typical crayons in a box, why not make your own unique shapes?  This can work especially well for the smallest kids who don’t yet have the motor skills to hold a typical crayon.

Start by tearing the paper wrapper off the crayons and breaking them with your hands until they are in small bits. Place the crayons in an oven-safe silicone mold. Choose a mold that reflects what you want the crayons to look like. The options are endless – from kittens and unicorns to trucks and cars, from hot air balloons to stars.

Set the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and put the filled molds into the oven to allow the crayons to melt. It should take less than 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven after all the wax has melted and let the crayons cool before you pop them out of their molds and put them into a small container for gift-giving.

In addition, customize the coloring book by printing out coloring pages of your choosing and binding them together with staples or old-fashioned string.

When you are using the oven, take care to cover your hands fully with pot holders when reaching into the heated space. Wounds, including burns, heal much slower in the elderly and that can lead to a higher risk of infection[4]. Never touch a hot pan with your bare hands, even if you think it has cooled down enough – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The risk of burns in the kitchen is another good reason to consider an emergency response solution from Alert1. Being able to press a button to summon help when an accident occurs could literally be a lifesaver.

Make Necklaces and Bracelets

Making bracelets and necklaces for the grandkids can be a lot of fun for you, too. All you need is string of the proper length and the items to decorate them. If you’re not sure what length to use, refer to this guideline to figure it out.

Get creative with what you use to make the jewelry. Does a beloved kiddo simply adore sparkly beads? Or maybe they like tiny shells? Whatever it is they enjoy, you may be able to find a version you can string.

Give a Handmade Picture Frame Complete with Photos

Give your little buddy a photograph as a memory of a cherished time together. Print out the photos with a cheap printing service, such as Shutterfly. Then make a frame for it. If you are great with woodworking, building a small frame should be a snap. If you aren’t good with that but you are great at painting, you can purchase an unfinished frame for a few dollars and break out the paint! Decorate the frame with paint, stickers, glitter, gems, and other items that you know the recipient will love.

Remember to be careful if you’re working with sharp tools. This is a good time to consider a medical alert pendant that can summon help at any time of the day or night.

Homemade Play Dough

Why spend money at the store to buy small amounts of play dough when you can make a great version at home in a matter of minutes – and you’ll have the peace of mind that there are no chemicals in the mix!

To make play dough, you will need:

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         ¾ cup salt

·         4 tsps. cream of tartar

·         2 cups lukewarm water

·         2 tbsps. vegetable oil

·         Your choice of food coloring

Mix together the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Add the oil and the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough thickens and begins to gather into a ball. Remove it from the heat, place it into a heat-safe bowl, and let it cool a bit before kneading it with your hands.

To make the colored play dough, separate the dough into pieces and place each in a resealable plastic bag. Add the food coloring one drop at a time until the desired color is reached. Continue to knead the play dough inside the bags until it reaches the right consistency. Then place the play dough in a small container for easy gift-giving.

Stay Safe While Getting Creative

Creating fun gifts for the grandchildren you love is a beautiful way to celebrate the season of giving. It’s also a great way to stay active, even if you are facing limited mobility. Arts and crafts can keep your brain sharp and your hands nimble.

When you are working with sharp objects or heat, always remember to take your time. Move slowly and deliberately to avoid cuts or burns. But if you do have an accident when making something for the grandkids, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to reach out for help right away? A medical alert wireless system allows you to do just that. A medical alert watch, bracelet, or pendant gives peace of mind.

Alert1 wishes you and your family the happiest holiday season!