Making Christmas Presents for Parents in the Classroom November 18 2009

[caption id="attachment_3638" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Photo By RagingWhisper"]Photo By RagingWhisper[/caption]My oldest son was in preschool when he brought home the first Christmas present that he made for us at school. It was a wallhanging with a wreath printed on it, and the wreath was made of handprints. His name and the year were on the back.

I will always treasure that - and every - gift my kids make for me in their classrooms. During this time of year, set aside some time for kids to create something really special for their families!

Focus on the Child

 Kids grow up really fast, and it's difficult to make the most of special moments in the grind of daily life. Parents treasure these gifts created by their kids as the years go by.

So why not make each child the focus of his/her gifts? Capture each student in your classroom where they are in a photo, or use the adhesive photos that teachers usually receive from school picture day. A third option is to ask parents for a favorite picture, but it will take away an element of surprise.

Another way to focus on the child is to use a handprint or footprint. This may be more appropriate for younger children, but I've seen many projects that feature these two types of prints. Consider making a small wallhanging with a footprint decorated as the face of a reindeer, or a simple handprint on a tile for families to display or use as a trivet. 

Whatever the project, make sure that the student's name and the year are permanently affixed somewhere on it! 

Keep Costs Low

 This is a tough economic time for many families, and kids have little money anyway. More and more, families are finding less expensive ways to celebrate the season, forgoing the elaborate presents which have all too often been the focus of the Christmas season.

Instead, plan a craft or project that will utilize materials you already have or can scrounge from others. Hopefully by this point you have a really good relationship with the school secretary; first, she knows where all of the random and spare materials are in the building and second, she has the keys to all of the locked closet doors behind which these materials sit.

Two more sources for materials are you colleagues and your classroom parents. Knowing myself as I do, as a teacher I am a bit of a hoarder. If asking your colleagues for what you need doesn't work, consider bribing or bartering. Also, you can ask for donations from the parents of kids in your classroom, especially if you're using common household items. However, because this Christmas gift is for them, I would avoid this option if possible.

Part of the Plan

 Make this Christmas present project part of your plans the two or three weeks before school ends for winter break. December is a crazy time of year and the classroom is no exception, so plan on finishing the projects the week before school gets out to give yourself and your kids a little more time. Also, provide tissue or wrapping paper and a few ribbon choices for your kids to wrap the presents they've created. They can also make a card to go along with the gifts they've made for their families!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post - Four Easy Photo Ornaments!