Gifts Kids Can Make

You can help your friends and family avoid long return lines at the department
store this year by helping your child create thoughtful, homemade gifts.

"Crafting as a family is a wonderful way to slow down the pace of the hectic holiday season," says Sue Hannah, author of "Crafty Concoctions" (Meadowbrook Press.) "Your children will love creating, wrapping and presenting gifts of their own."

Trish Kuffner, author of "The Arts and Crafts Busy Book" (Meadowbrook Press), agrees that a crafty gift can display love and care for your family. "Gifts from your children are gifts worth keeping," she says.

"Crafty Concoctions" offers step-by-step instructions for more than 100 cool concoctions kids can make with minimal adult supervision. The book offers a variety of the concoctions such as the "Jewels & Gemstones" recipe to make gift necklaces or "Tasty Glue" to stick pieces of a gingerbread house together.

"The Arts and Crafts Busy Book" is the fourth book of the highly successful "Busy Book" series. Parents of toddlers and preschoolers can find an array of gift ideas their children can create in the "Holiday Arts and Crafts" section of the book. Gift ideas include "Sand Art Brownie Gift Mix," "Kwanzaa Cutouts" and directions to make a Menorah.

The instructions for all these wonderful gift ideas are found below.

Crafty Jewels and Gemstones
From "Crafty Concoctions"

Add sparkle to any craft project with these beautiful imitation jewels and gemstones. They are perfect for making all sorts of crafts sparkle and shine.

Here's What You Need
Small glass jar
1 tablespoon Epsom salts
1 tablespoon hot water
Mixing spoon
5–10 drops of food coloring (optional)
Paper towel
Clear-drying glue

Here's How You Make It
1. In a small jar, mix the Epsom salts and hot water with a spoon. Add food coloring if you want
to make colored crystals. Stir the mixture a few times until most of the salt dissolves.
2. Set the jar aside in a place where it will not be disturbed. Do not cover it.
3. Beautiful crystals will grow in about 1 week. Gently scrape the crystals from the jar with a
fork, and lay them on a paper towel to dry.

Here's How You Use It
1. Use a paintbrush to spread clear-drying glue on your artwork. Sprinkle the crystals on top of
the glue to add a twinkling effect to your artwork.
2. Throw any unused mixture into the garbage.

Crafty Idea
To make a beautiful sparkling necklace, fill a clear glass or plastic necklace pendant with the
crystals. (Make sure the pendant closes securely to contain the crystals.) Thread the pendant onto
string or yarn to make a necklace.

Tasty Glue
From "Crafty Concoctions"

This tasty, edible glue is perfect when you need to glue pieces onto gingerbread houses or other
edible crafts. It also works well for gluing paper.

Here's What You Need
Small saucepan
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
Mixing spoon
1 1/2 tablespoons Jell-O mix
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Popsicle stick

Here's How You Make It
1. In a small saucepan, mix the cornstarch and cold water with a spoon.
2. Add the Jell-O mix and corn syrup.
3. Ask a grownup to help you place the saucepan on a stove and bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Ask the grownup to help you stir the mixture until it's thick and gel-like.
5. Ask the grownup to help you remove the mixture from the heat using a potholder.
6. Let the glue cool slightly before use.

Here's How You Use It

• Spread the glue with a Popsicle stick when gluing edible or paper crafts.
• Store the glue at room temperature in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate it.

Sand Art Brownie Gift Mix
From "The Arts and Crafts Busy Book"

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-quart canning jar with lid
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Scissors and Christmas fabric
Pen and decorative tag
1/2 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips (optional)

1. Mix the flour with the salt in a small bowl. Help your child layer the ingredients in the jar,
beginning with the flour/salt mixture, continuing in order, and ending with the white chocolate
chips. (You may not need as many chips if there's little room left in the jar.) Screw on the lid.
2. Cut a circle of fabric about 4 inches wider than the diameter of the jar. Tie on the fabric circle
around the lid with ribbon.
3. Write the following directions on a decorative tag: "Sand Art Brownies: Combine the contents
of the jar with 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, and 4 eggs. Beat until just mixed. Pour
into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes." Attach the tag to the jar.

If you like, substitute butterscotch or peanut butter chips for either of the chocolate chips.

ART: A jar of brownie mix, ingredients layered as described in step 1. Include the fabric and ribbon on top, and include the gift tag with "Sand Art Brownies" written on it. (The rest of
directions should also appear, but they don't have to be legible.)

Kwanzaa Cutouts
From "The Arts and Crafts Busy Book"

Scrap paper
Black, red, and green construction paper

Show your child how to cut a design from the scrap paper by folding the paper over and cutting a shape out of the fold. Have her cut out a shape from black construction paper (geometrical shapes like circles, squares, and triangles work well). When her design is complete, give her red and green construction paper. Show her how to cut out pieces from it and glue them behind each space to create a colorful piece of art.


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