Engage students in creative classroom endeavors, and then help them find ways to cherish their creations. Completed schoolwork can become a gift, but the greatest gift may be in teaching children the “art” of gift giving.
Decorate a box with buttons and bows; create a masterpiece with crayons or paint; embellish a jar with glue-on glitter or baked on paint. Personalize gifts, containers and wrappings in an appealing and individual way.
While most parents are pleased to receive artistic creations from their students, sometimes the constant stream of “take home art” loses its luster. Resolve to send home fewer projects, and aim for those that have lasting appeal.
A Plain Brown Wrapper
Brown paper bags are a perfect canvas for creativity. What dad wouldn’t love this creative shirt, complete with colorful tie, no matter what the gift inside might be? Use alphabet stamps to personalize brown paper and add colorful bows, or start with white butcher paper or plain newsprint and have children draw pictures, or adorn the wrapping with leaves and found objects.
Make the Packaging the Gift
Decorate a small jar with a holiday or seasonal theme — lidless containers are great for holding anything from cotton balls and Q-tips to spare pocket change. Such gifts are more likely to be kept and used than another paper picture to hang on the refrigerator door.
Forget the Wrapping, Adorn the Gift
A painted rock can be a paperweight for Dad’s desk. A wall hanging of tongue depressors or popsicle sticks listing great things about Mom and Dad would be cherished by any parent. There’s no need to wrap the gift when it’s a treasure in its own right!
Fingerprints and Special Wraps
What child can resist fingerprint art? The possibilities are endless for making special wrappings out of paint fingerprints, hand prints and even footprints. A roll of newsprint and some stamp pad ink will get you started — where you take it depends on the season. Keep it whimsical or build on a theme and watch your students create masterpieces.
Where in the World?
Grab up old road maps, travel books and world atlases at library sales and flea markets and use their pages to wrap up those craft projects in style. Or make a picture frame to showcase a writing assignment about another country or culture. Help your students learn geography in an inventive way. Parents and grandparents will be enthralled.
What you do in the classroom can become a lasting lesson!