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Keep the Spirit of Giving Throughout the Year With Kid-Friendly Craft Projects

Recently, Babble Voices writer Ana Roca Castro and Babble editor Dara Pettinelli traveled to Peru to launch a Cyber Sustainable Development Project.  This was a collaborative work with Babble Cares, Johnson & Johnson and LATISM. One part of the project involved setting up a cyber room, which would allow community artisans to sell their naturally-dyed, hand woven textiles online, and to give children access to e-learning.

Among the amazing stories and photos that came out of that trip were some terrific images of kids using craft supplies that Dara had brought. Dara’s post and slideshow, A Crafty Way of Communicating: How I Bonded With Spanish-Speaking Kids in Peru and the Health Benefits of Art, really highlights how well we can all communicate by simply making things with our hands.

Certainly the crafts my kids and I make at home aren’t nearly as beautiful as the things made by the women in Patacancha, Peru. But we definitely feel the benefits of crafting in our house.

Some of my friends aren’t into crafting, and that’s cool. However, I’ve realized that some of my friends would be into crafting, except they’re afraid:

  • That they’ll suck at crafting,
  • That the house will end up looking like it’s been glitter-bombed, and/or
  • Crafting will create more clutter because what the heck do you do with all this crap these charming items your kid just made?

Here’s my response:

  • Yes, you might suck at crafting. The good news is that your kid will still think you’re amazing at it.
  • Just don’t buy glitter.
  • Make craft projects with a purpose, and give your projects away.

One of the things that makes me sad in January isn’t just that the holiday season is over and it’s time to put away all the decorations (which I don’t feel like doing). It’s that the best part of the holiday season is the generosity that comes over us all like a happy compulsion. We–families, schools, churches, communities–focus on helping those in need during the holidays. And that’s great. But the needs don’t go away on December 26.

Below are some ideas for craft projects that you can make with your kids, and give away. I’d love to hear your suggestions, too!

If you’re not sure where you can donate your projects, check out Project Linus (for blankets), ask your nearest church/temple/mosque if they have any programs, or check with the social worker or counselor at your kid’s school — they always seem to know everything.

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  • Crafts to Make and Donate With Your Kids 1 of 12
    Crafts to Make and Donate With Your Kids
    A few of the projects I've done with my kids and my Brownie troop recently. Keeping the spirit of giving alive all year AND not cluttering up my house? Double win.
  • Not Exactly a No-Sew Hat 2 of 12
    Not Exactly a No-Sew Hat
    This project was low-sew, but it was "no-sew" for the kids in my Brownie troop. Basically, I did some very minimal sewing (an edge and a seam) and then the kids did all the fringe-cutting and tying. You can see my complete instructions on stark. raving. mad. mommy.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • We made a LOT of hats. 3 of 12
    We made a LOT of hats.
    In an hour, our Brownie troop made 37 hats. Each girl kept one hat for herself and the rest were donated to a nearby school (but not the one the troop attends). The church our troop meets in already had a donation program in place, so we just delivered them to the church office.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • A No-Sew Hat That Is Really No-Sew 4 of 12
    A No-Sew Hat That Is Really No-Sew
    Don't wan to sew at all? This cute fleece hat is truly no sew. Find the complete instructions for this and a TON of other awesome projects at Creative Jewish Mom.

    (Photo Credit: Creative Jewish Mom)
  • No-Sew Fleece Blanket 5 of 12
    No-Sew Fleece Blanket
    Craft stores sell kits to make no-sew fleece blankets, but you can make them yourself just as easily, and for a lot less money. Find the complete instructions at A Chelsea Morning.

    (Photo Credit: A Chelsea Morning)
  • To Give: LEGO Hair Clippies 6 of 12
    To Give: LEGO Hair Clippies
    This project involved hot glue, so I did that part. But the kids designed all the clips and dug through our LEGO bins to find the pieces they wanted. My kids gave these as Christmas gifts to their friends, but we kind of went overboard and have lots of extras. The extras will be donated to the school store, which raises general funds for their school.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • Why, yes, I AM wearing LEGOs in my hair. 7 of 12
    Why, yes, I AM wearing LEGOs in my hair.
    I like how the silver LEGO studs really bring out my silver, um, "highlights."

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • LEGO Lord of the Rings 8 of 12
    LEGO Lord of the Rings
    We also hot-glued LEGO pieces and little gems to ring bases, which are available at craft stores, to make LEGO rings.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • And then I kinda went insane with the hot glue. 9 of 12
    And then I kinda went insane with the hot glue.
    At some point during this particular crafting spree, I looked pretty much exactly like this.

    (Original image by the amazing Hyperbole and a Half. Additional nonsense by Joslyn Gray using Memgenerator)
  • Super-Simple Project: Bookmarks 10 of 12
    Super-Simple Project: Bookmarks
    I volunteer at our elementary school's library a couple times a week, and the kids go BANANAS for bookmarks. Seriously, you'd think we were giving out Pixy Stix or something. Anyway, it's not like our school has the money for bookmarks, so parents donate them. My Brownie troop used card stock to make bookmarks as gifts for their parents, and then we made some to donate to their school library.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • The (cheap) possibilities are endless. 11 of 12
    The (cheap) possibilities are endless.
    The girls came up with all kinds of ways to decorate their bookmarks. Bookmarks are also a great way to use up other random craft supplies; we tied on bells, pom-poms, and used up scraps of ribbon and yarn I had accumulated. Related: fine motor skill practice for the win.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)
  • We made approximately eleventy million bookmarks. 12 of 12
    We made approximately eleventy million bookmarks.
    Maybe not quite that many, but the girls made a LOT for their school library. And yeah, they might just be a LITTLE proud when they see other kids clamoring for something they made.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray)

Keep the spirit of giving alive all year! Check out the Cyber Sustainable Development Project, and consider helping fund this worthwhile cause.

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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