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1. DIY NECKTIE NECKLACE

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• 2 old silk neckties
• 24-inch length of wooden dowel
• 36-inch length of satin ribbon
• Access to a sewing machine

TIME: A few hours to 2 days depending on your skill set.

FOR THE KIDS: Stuffing and threading the necklace is a great activity for little fingers. It’s a great small motor exercise, and it’s loads of fun watching everything come together.

TIP: I found that the most difficult part of the project was resewing the neckties into a silken tube. In fact I had to outsource this portion to a neighborhood clothing designer who then was put in a spot when my wife visited the boutique to shop.

INSTRUCTIONS BELOW:

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2. CONFETTI EARRINGS

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• Card stock (decorative and plain)
• Hot glue gun
• Thin gauge wire
• Earring hooks (you could make your own, but I’d suggest getting them from a craft store)

TIME: Minutes to a few hours if you have really young kids helping.

FOR THE KIDS: Punching the holes? Gluing the dots? This is a busywork project that couldn’t be more perfect for the preschool set.

TIP: “Using just tiny dabs of hot glue, start arranging and gluing your dots together in a random, but linear fashion. You want them to look like they are falling.”

Instructions via Evie S.

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3. RE-PURPOSED T-SHIRT

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• One of your old T-shirts (maybe the one she always borrows, but never wants to keep in her section of the closet)
• Fabric paint
• Mod Podge
• Pantyhose
• Paint brush
• Sharpie (or other permanent marker)
• Embroidery hoop/Needlepoint ring

TIME: With kids, this project might take an entire day to complete.

FOR THE KIDS: They get to decide what stencil sends the right message and which color mom would like best. Plus, permanently making a mark on fabric is every kids’ dream.

TIP: If you’re working with kids under 6 years old, it might be best to go for a more abstract image using paint tape to create a negative image stencil.

+ A similar idea using freezer paper

Instructions via Calico Skies

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4. COLLAGE PHONE CASE

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• Appropriate phone case (clear would be best)
• Magazines
• Mod Podge (matte)
• Scissors

TIME: This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if the kids are being cooperative.

FOR THE KIDS: Step away from the work area giving the kids the room to truly get creative.

TIP: Pre-cut the collage elements for kids under 12 or simply give the kids a hole punch and a bunch of colorful magazine pages. The smaller and less busy each collage element is, the better they will look when combined as a full piece.

Instructions via Calypso Letters

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5. AROMATHERAPY HERBERRARIUM

The herbs sitting in the jar are just bursting with aroma, waiting for mom to pop the lid and take a whiff.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• Ball jar (choose a size that will fit on mom’s desk)
• Herb seeds or seedlings
• Moss
• Potting soil
• Gravel
• Miniature animals

TIME: A couple of hours is more than enough time to get through this project (if you don’t count the clean-up time)

FOR THE KIDS: They get to play in dirt, creating a miniature ecosystem that they can watch germinate and grow.

TIPS: Keep the jar right-side-up, as you want mom to be able to open the lid. Also: It may sound like a silly note, but be sure to choose herbs that don’t trigger an allergic reaction for mom (and not everyone likes the smell of lavender).

Instructions via MAKE

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6. FABRIC SAMPLE SELF-PORTRAIT

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• An 8×10 portrait of your child(ren)
• Sharpie marker
• Tracing paper
• Fabric samples or scraps
• Glue
• Scissors

TIME: Being a two-part project with a bit of trial and error by the kids, I’d suggest spreading it over two days.

FOR THE KIDS: An important exercise for any child is the self portrait. This project sees kids creating a drawing of their favorite person (themselves) while dad reinterprets their creation with a new medium.

TIP: Kids should help select which block of color goes where in the collage.

Instructions via Art Relief International