• Sophie Smith

DIY Christmas Gifts for Young Children

Updated: Oct 12, 2019

There is something so special about getting a home made present. I would love to start a Christmas tradition where we all make something special for one another. Also, some years it’s not possible to splash out on fancy presents, but don’t be tempted to go for cheap plastic toys, try getting creative and making your own presents.


Make your own play dough set for your kids with different colours and essential oil smells. Once I made a few different colours, and bought some cupcake papers, colourful wooden beads and candles and Lexi used to make birthday cupcakes for months on end.

Craft set

Get a cardboard box which you can decorate with pens or stickers. Fill it with crafty goodies - dried flowers, stickers, glue, scissors, googly eyes, feathers, small rocks and shells, coloured paper, glitter, pipe cleaners, toilet rolls and pots of paint. I did this for Lexi last year and we are still using a lot of the things for crafty projects.

Dress up box (thrift store)

Hit up the local second hand shops and junk stores and find clothes and props for a lovely little dress up box. Scarves, princess dresses, construction jackets, old cameras, old tools - the options are endless.

A Play kitchen

This can be in the garden as a mud kitchen or in your home. You can make a beautiful little stove with a cardboard box and some creativity, or else a table and a tub in the garden will do the trick, although if your hubby can nail some pallets together, even better. Then head to your local junk shop and take your pick of all the utensils and metal teapots, bowls, pots and pans.

A book about me

Kids love looking at photos of themselves and the people they love, and these days we very rarely print our photos sadly. The Nifty250 prints are so affordable, why don’t you order a batch of them and make a little books of stories and memories for your little one?

A Veggie garden kit

Veggies are super fun and very satisfying. You can do this in a window box in an apartment, or a garden. We use old tyres for our garden or you can just find a little corner. You can buy seeds from the supermarket, or else we love ordering lovely heirloom seeds from Seeds for Africa or Living Seeds, because then you can harvest the seeds and plant them again the next year. You will need to do your homework about how is best to plant them and what grows best where, but what a wonderful, and valuable experience for your kids. Then pop to the thrift store and find a little metal trowel and watering can, and your kids will be all set.

Wooden blocks

Head to your hardware store and ask them to chop up some pieces of wood for you to create a set of lovely blocks, or find a carpenter who can give you off cuts. You may need to sand them down, and you could even stain them or paint them, just be sure to use a kid-friendly, environmentally friendly option.


If you are artistic, or once were before kids, why don’t you test out your skills and pick up some pencils or watercolours and paint something special or even try some embroidery. I was so inspired by my dear friend who made these alphabet pictures to decorate her children’s room.

Let's teach our children what really matters - love, time, and care going into their gifts, not just money. Let's try and reduce waste by recycling and repurposing things, because after all the best gift we can give our kids is a greener planet.

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© 2019 Sophie Smith