100 Inexpensive Gifts You Can Make for Kids
From birthdays to holidays to times where you just want to tell a child you love or appreciate them, there are many occasions where you may find yourself in need of the perfect gift. We’ve compiled a list of 100 inexpensive gift ideas you can make for kids, whether you are a parent, teacher, a daycare worker or a nanny.
Scrapbooks are a great way to gather up photos and souvenirs you have accumulated over the months and years. Check out these 10 gift ideas for different ways to make a scrapbook for the child in your life.
- Altered notebooks. Scrapbook explains how to alter a notebook to make it into a gift for the kids to put their own photos in or that you can fill with photos.
- Bookmarks. You can make fancy bookmarks for the kids to use at a very low cost. Some simple designs are shown on Serving Pink Lemonade.
- Travel journals. Find an inexpensive sketch book and decorate the front with scrapbook paper and embellishments for the kids. Scrapbooks Etc. show examples and provides instructions.
- Map envelope souvenir book. Spoonful explains how to make envelopes out of maps that you can then bind into a book where the kids can write about their vacation adventures and store their vacation keepsakes.
- Seashore scrapbook. Make the base of this gift from Martha Stewart, then finish it with trinkets found on your beach vacation.
- Chipboard mini album. From baby pictures to vacation pictures, this chipboard mini album is a great gift for the kids. Allison Kimball explains how to make it.
- Paper bag album. You can assemble this inexpensive album with or without pictures for the kids. Directions for making the album and an instructional video can be found on Two Boys One Girl a Crazy Mom.
- Accordion book. Flax & Twine explains how to create this small accordion book.
- Piano hinge mini book. Making Mini-Scrapbooks takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a unique book binding made from bamboo skewers for scrapbook pages. Once you’re finished you can fill it with photos for the kids.
- Playing card love book. Use an old deck of cards to add photos, journal entries or even advice, then hook them together with rings as shown on 52 Reasons I Love You.
3D Photo Projects
If you are a more adventurous crafter, you may want to try out a 3D project. We found 10 creative photo project ideas that will make the perfect gift.
- Photo icosahedron. This 20-sided ball can be made with greeting cards or photos and hung on a Christmas tree or in a window. Find the detailed directions on Filth Wizardry.
- Photo canvas ornaments. Using a $2 mini canvas and some craft supplies, you can make these sweet ornaments from Eclectic Momsense.
- CD wallet scrapbook. Wedding Bee shares how to put together a project using a CD wallet, some paper and photos.
- Distressed photo block. View from the Fridge explains how to create a keepsake made from a wooden block, photos, paint and upholstery tacks.
- Photo cube. Alpha Mom provides step-by-step directions for decoupaging photos onto a wooden cube.
- Giant picture. Sugar Bee Crafts explains how to take your favorite snapshot and turn it into a giant picture for the wall.
- Photo balloon bookmarks. Shabby Nest shows how to pose the kids for a picture, cut it out, and then add embroidery floss, contact paper and a foam balloon to create a one-of-a-kind bookmark.
- Photo dice. Style Blurb uses a template to align the photos on each side of a cube and then print it out. After cutting out the shape you can glue it together for a unique gift.
- Photo collage star. Scraps’n Scribs explains how to take an ordinary 3D metal star and cover it in photos to make a clever gift.
- Photo lampshade. HGTV takes you step-by-step through the process of making a photo lampshade.
Every child loves to play with toys, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush out to the nearest toy store to purchase them. Instead, read through these 10 articles for ways to make homemade toys.
- Wind-Up paper butterflies. These may look difficult to make, but they’re actually quite simple to assemble, and your kids will be surprised and delighted when one of these butterflies flutters out to greet them. Directions can be found on You Are My Fave.
- Magnetic fishing set. Doodle Craft Blog explains how to create this miniature fishing set that will fit into a mint tin.
- A paper kite. Kids love to fly kites, and with the directions found on Better Homes and Gardens you can make one to give them as a gift.
- Bath crayons. Add color and scent to glycerin soap to these fun crayons from Bath Activities for Kids that the kids can use in the bath.
- Doodle paint. Simple ingredients mixed up and put into squirt bottles will make the perfect gift for kids. You can even download labels to make the paint look official. See an example and recipe on Delaware County Moms.
- Homemade Play-Dough. Kristan Lynn declares this recipe as the best play dough recipe.
- Mini bow and arrow with carrying case. Since the bow is a craft stick and the arrows are cotton swabs, this bow and arrow is pretty safe. Directions for the entire set can be found on All for the Boys.
- Jet pack. Pinned It takes you through the process of turning two liter bottles into a fancy jet pack.
- Giant bubble maker. Instructables shows detailed pictures of how to make a bubble maker. You can present this and some homemade bubble juice for a unique gift.
- Magnetic paper dolls and fabric cover for metal base. Make It & Love It explains how she took a paper doll book and some magnetic sheets to create magnetic paper dolls.
If you’re making a gift for a child you don’t see often or are moving away, you may want to give them a sentimental keepsake. These 10 posts have gifts that will make a lasting impression that the child in your life can treasure forever.
- 10 Reasons I love you. Freckle Photo shares this keepsake book that she made for her child.
- Keepsake framed costume. House DIY Craft Pins shows a picture of a first dance recital costume preserved in a frame.
- Framed hand print. No need for paint or ink for this one! Blooming in the South made a photocopy of her hand next to the child’s. Pop this copy into a frame with a mat and write something sentimental to create a sweet keepsake. You might even want a copy for yourself.
- Artwork and projects book. Plum Print can take photos of each picture and project and put them into a book to preserve them forever.
- Keepsake box. First Palette details how to dress up a box with decoupage pictures to make something special.
- Custom art plush toy. You can take a character from a drawing and have it turned into a plush toy for the child, as shown on Babble.
- Time capsule ornament. Cleverly Inspired explains how to take a plain glass ornament and put a picture inside it along with something the child has written at that age.
- Photo present ornament. Toddler Approved shows a simple ornament that looks like a package that contains a picture and a ribbon. Include a picture of you and the child as a keepsake.
- Keepsake baseball glove. You could do this same idea with many different items, but Creekline House used an old baseball glove and spray painted it to make a special keepsake of early baseball memories.
- Baby quilt out of T-shirts. Wikihow explains how to size and cut shirts to make a baby quilt.
Whether you need to assemble a costume or have a little trendsetter who loves to wear unique pieces, homemade clothes can be easily assembled. These 10 projects are easy to make and fun to wear.
- Hair bow. Whip up a dozen of these stylish hair bows using the simple instructions on I Heart Naptime.
- Two T-Shirt Nightgowns. Skirt as Top explains how to take two large T-shirts and make them into a nightgown.
- Circle Skirt. This simple skirt can be made out of almost any fabric and dressed up or down as you see fit. Directions for making it can be found on Dana Made It.
- Solar dress. This dress can be quickly assembled and doesn’t require a lot of material. Find the free pattern on Indietutes.
- Tutu. Pull together this tutu to go over or under another skirt by following the directions on One Thousand Tutus.
- Upcycled dress. Follow this pattern to turn a man’s shirt into a dress for a little girl. Pattern can be found for free on All Free Sewing.
- Child’s apron. Check out this video on You Tube to learn how to make an apron from a tea towel in just five minutes.
- The Piper dress. Designed by Dawn Nicole posted instructions for a simple dress that can be made in a couple hours.
- Maxi dress. Try this maxi dress pattern from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom for a unique dress that can be made in no time.
- Garden party dress. This pretty dress by Nancy’s Couture is perfect for special occasions.
Friendship bracelets, fun necklaces and even homemade earrings can be easily assembled and are a gift that will be treasured. You’ll find 10 different ideas in the following blog posts.
- Star Spangled bracelet. All Free Holiday Crafts has a tutorial for putting together an inexpensive red, white and blue bracelet.
- Friendship bracelet. Find detailed directions for making hearts on a friendship bracelet on Honestly WTF.
- Cork charm necklace. Muy Ingenioso shares pictures of a fun, homemade cork charm necklace.
- Ring-a-lings. Parents shows washer necklaces decorated with fingernail polish. This craft is simple enough for kids to do, but an adult could make a very nice one to give a child as a gift.
- Washi tape necklace. Madredemialma came up with this easy craft that uses paperclips and washi tape to make a high-end looking necklace.
- Beaded macramé bracelet. Family Crafts explains the technique behind macramé knots so that you can easily create a macramé bracelet.
- Scrabble jewelry. Create a bracelet or ring using a scrabble tile. Find step by step instructions for this jewelry on Education.
- Faux leather feather earrings. All Free Jewelry Making has instructions for making trendy, faux leather feather earrings.
- Gem stone necklace. Find a stone that you like and make it into a necklace for your favorite child. Directions can be found on Lifestyle.
- Stretchy bracelets. You can make a bunch of these in different colors to please any child. Learn how to use a square knot on Eebeads to hold the bracelet together.
Dress Up Costumes
Part of growing up is trying on new personalities and identities to see which one fits, and playing dress-up helps kids imagine themselves in a different role. In the following posts you’ll find 10 costume ideas that will spark your child’s imagination.
- Chef’s hat. Learn how to make a child-sized chef’s hat using the free pattern on You Can Make This. Pair this hat with an apron and you have a whole costume.
- Bumble Bee. Real Simple describes how you can take a black leotard, black tights and yellow duct tape to create a bumble bee costume.
- Snail. Find directions for a simple and inexpensive snail costume on iVillage.
- Super hero cape. Surprise a child that you know with the no-sew super hero cape found on Kidspot.
- Cat costume. This simple costume from Activity Village can be put together in no time.
- Crazy glasses. Make up a bunch of crazy glasses for your child to wear with the printables available on Picklebums.
- Paper animal masks. Mr. Printables has a series of paper masks that you can print out, cut and add an elastic band or ribbon to for the kids.
- Firefighter costume. Two-Daloo explains how to put together a fire truck, hat and air tank.
- Disguises in a bag. Mmm Crafts shares how to put together beards and mustaches your kids can wear.
- Minion costume. Pull together this minion costume in no time using items you probably have around the house. Directions can be found on Joy Bobo.
For dolls that cater to both boys and girls, you need look no further than these 10 blogs. Your child will adore the different dolls and puppets you create.
- Tie snake. Learn how to make this simple snake from an old tie on Domestic Candy.
- Fox in socks puppet. J Daniel 4’s Mom shows how you can quickly put together sock puppets.
- Giraffe Marinette. Red Ted Art takes you step-by-step through the process of making the body for the puppet.
- Finger puppets. Take the fingers off of colorful gloves and make them into various puppets, as shown on Jenni Can Knit.
- Adorable monster. Break out the knitting needles and piece together this crazy monster with the directions on Daily Fix.
- Fabric dolls. A free pattern and directions are available on Make It & Love It for homemade dolls.
- Octopus doll. Perfect for boys or girls, this doll is easily assembled using yarn and a Styrofoam ball. Directions with pictures are available on K Craig.
- Cloth doll. Dolls are simpler to make than you may think. For basic directions check out eHow.
- Needle felted dog. Follow along with Rag Doll Rising as she explains how she made a few different dogs out of wool and wire armature.
- Russian felt doll. Directions for a flat doll made of felt can be found on Kitchen Counter Chronicle.
Crafts allow kids to be creative and a craft kit can help a child express himself artistically on a moment’s notice. For help putting together a craft kit, look no further than these 10 articles.
- Art bucket. Lil Blue Boo shares what she put into an art bucket and how she put it together to create a kit for the kids.
- Suitcase. Family Crafts explains how she used a suitcase to carry her crafts around, but you can make one of these for a special child too.
- Project size craft kits. You can make up individual craft kits with the help of the example explained on Yahoo Voices.
- Salt dough kit. Kids’ Activities Blog takes you through the steps to turn an empty margarine tub into a kit with all of the ingredients for making salt dough.
- Upcycled craft kit. Zakka Life uses a milk jug as the holder for her craft kit and includes other recycled items. You can fill the container with whatever craft supplies you like.
- Puppet kit. Puppy Love Preschool explains what to include and how to dress up a large zipper topped bag for a kit.
- Make your own. Mom to Mom List has some ideas of how to put together your own kit for various projects.
- Sewing kit in a jar. Snap Guide explains how to assemble a kid-friendly sewing kit.
- Budget craft kit. Bargain Babe shares a list of craft items that she has found work well for kids.
- Craft Kit gift. Mama. Papa. Bubba. explains how to put together the perfect craft kit.
No one is going to turn down homemade treats, and you’ll find some delicious options in these 10 articles. What are you waiting for? Start cooking!
- Salt water taffy. Cupcake Project has a taffy recipe that is just like the taffy you’d find on the boardwalk and is the perfect gift.
- Peanut butter cups. If you know a child who loves the store bought variety of these, try out this homemade version from Fifteen Spatulas.
- Handmade candy bars. Anyone can buy candy, but why do that when you can make it yourself? Give the gift of homemade candy bars like the ones on Sweet and Crunchy Blog.
- Homemade lollipops. Do you know a little friend who loves cherry lollipops? Make your own with the help of Food Network!
- Cookies. Mix up some Snickerdoodle cookies to give as a gift using the recipe on Betty Crocker.
- Brownies. Do a brownie mix in a jar for your budding chef. Pre-measure most of the ingredients so it’s easy for your child to make this recipe from All Recipes.
- Cupcakes. The Kitchn has a fun cupcake in a jar recipe that will make the perfect gift.
- Puppy chow. Box up some candy cane peppermint puppy chow to give to a child you know that would adore it. The recipe and box idea are on Living the Homemade Life.
- Fudge. Put together a tasty gift by filling a large cookie cutter with fudge, as seen on Pretty Providence.
- Caramels. Make a yummy batch of caramels and wrap them up for your child, like the ones seen on The Yummy Life.