Gifts for kids to make

Kids love making homemade cards and gifts. Children derive deep satisfaction from sharing something they made themselves, from macaroni necklaces to hand-painted cards. These gifts are easy to make, economical and can be personalized to fit just about anyone. The scone mix is a wonderful gift for teachers and looks pretty, layered in a canning jar.

Scone mix

In each canning jar layer:

2 cups flour (I like to use a mixture of unbleached all-purpose and whole wheat flour)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2-1 cup add-ins of your choice (think chocolate chips, dried fruit such as raisins, chopped dates or cranberries, citrus zest, chopped candied ginger or toasted nuts)

Combine the above ingredients in a quart canning jar. You can layer them for a pretty effect. I like to line them all up and fill them assembly-line fashion, doing one round of ingredient at a time. Garnish with a ribbon and affix a label hand-written or printed with the following instructions for the person receiving the gift:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix together 1 cup heavy cream and one large egg in a mixing bowl. Add the contents of the canning jar and mix lightly to combine. Drop ¼ cup rounds of dough onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

A five-pound bag of flour will yield eight gift jars. Scone mix makes a thoughtful gift on its own, but it can also be upgraded by packing it in a mixing bowl lined with a festive tea towel and a hand-painted wooden spoon.

DIY painted spoons

Wooden spoons

Fine sandpaper

Acrylic paint

Painters tape

Food-safe wood conditioner (optional)

Lightly sand the spoons and wash them with soapy water. Let them dry thoroughly before painting and then tape off the bottom of the spoon. Acrylic paint is not technically food-safe, so don't paint the entire spoon, just the handle. Paint the handle as you wish, ideally applying two coats.

Let them dry for a couple of hours. After they've thoroughly dried, place them on a foil-lined tray in a cold oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave them to cool completely in the oven.

Let the spoons sit for a few days before washing. Applying wood conditioner is optional, but it will give them a beautiful luster and make them last longer.

Mason jar terrariums

Bring nature indoors. Mason jar terrariums make great gifts and are a perfect crafting activity for chilly winter afternoons. They are as much fun to make as they are to give and are a creative way to upcycle old jars and toys. Bundle up and spend the morning gathering materials from the environment, then come indoors, spread out some newspaper and roll up your sleeves.

Wide mouth Mason jar

Small rocks or pebbles (collected from outdoors, or you could use aquarium gravel)

Horticultural charcoal (available in the garden center at most big box stores)

Potting mix, well-moistened

Moss (optional)

Small plant (ferns, small begonia and succulents all work well)

Accessories (small figurine, miniatures, souvenir)


Spoon a one-inch layer of rocks in the bottom of the jar, followed by one-half inch of charcoal and about one-half inch of soil. Use the chopstick to dig a little hole for your plant and help you place it in the jar. Arrange the moss on top of the soil, if using, and place your accessories.

Choose plants for your terrarium that like a similar environment. Ferns, moss, and begonia like a moist environment and will do well with the jar lid on. Succulents and air plants require less moisture and will thrive with no lid at all.