For the last couple of years I have made an effort to make at least one of my niece's Christmas gifts. In 2011, I used mixbook.com to create a one of a kind story for her.
In 2012, she opened up a suitcase to find a plethora of dress up clothes.
This year I brainstormed on her latest hobbies to come up with a gift to remember. She has always loved drawing and coloring, but lately her creativity is really coming through. A few months back, I received a lesson in how to draw a fantastical insect she called a "Daisy Lime." Who knew!
The kids table and shelf in the craft room is fully stocked with paper and markers, but at the rate she is going, the supplies dwindle quite quickly. So I set out to make Ella an "Art Box" for Christmas: one part trolling the aisles of Michaels, one part clicking through Amazon.com and one part trip to Target for the bin.
I found a pad of paper suited for watercolor paints and a How to Draw Monsters book on Amazon.com that I thought could help her work on her concentration skills down the road. A value pack of 50 washable markers, modeling clay, a set of paintbrushes and watercolor paints will help her explore different mediums.
I put together a pack of pom poms, googly eyes and pipe cleaners for potential 3D effects. I also added feathers and stickers, glue sticks and an 8-pack of colorful tape ordered from Amazon.
Lastly: her canvases. Michaels had packages of foam cut outs and cardboard "paper dolls" that were begging for decoration. I went through my own stock of scrapbook paper and filled a ziplock gallon bag with odds and ends for her projects.
The most homemade portion of this gift were two white tees I picked up in sizes boys' medium: much larger than Ella and her sister. Using fabric markers I wrote "My Art Shirt" on one and "Meant to Get Messy" on the other.
After the frenzy of Christmas had subsided, the kids let me throw the shirts on them as we headed up to the craft room the next day to dive into the art box.
What do you do with your kids' art? I love the ideas I see on Pinterest like scanning and shrinking them down into one giant print.
Or scanning them into a bound book for each year.
Some great options are out there to save the memories without filling an entire closet, prolific as children tend to be. Happy drawing!