Family fun: Homemade gifts for Mother's Day

By Emelie Battaglia

They always say it's the thought that counts, and on Mother's Day, that's especially true. But getting the little ones involved can oftentimes be challenging. Lucky for you, we've put together a collection of Mother's Day crafts that are sure to leave Mom begging for more, and are perfect for getting children of all ages involved.

Pasta Heart Plate: Ages 4+

Keep it simple with a cute, fun project that's perfect for everyone. All you need is a colorful disposable plate (paper or coated), craft glue, dried macaroni noodles and yellow and green split peas. For younger children, dried beans work better, because they are larger and easier to grasp. Pick a color plate that you know Mom will like, found easily at any party store, and build from there.

Use the glue to draw a heart shape on your paper plate. Carefully plate the macaroni noodles onto the white craft glue on the plate. Then use the craft glue again to write "Mom" in the middle of the heart. Plate the flat side of split peas, beans or more noodles onto the craft glue. Try alternating color peas or using different-shaped macaroni. Let the whole thing dry completely before gifting.

Recipe Dish Towel: Ages 6+

Here's a project that's sure to impress moms and grandmas alike, and it requires easy work from your young one. Here's what you'll need for one project: crayons or markers, 8 1/2- by-11-inch sheet of white paper, 15-by-26-inch white cotton dish towel, washed and dried, and an iron.

To start, help your child pick a favorite dish or recipe that the best mom in the world makes. Give your child the crayons or markers and the sheet of paper, and tell them to draw a picture of the food, covering as much of the paper as possible, while still leaving room for the actual recipe. If the child is old enough, have them write out their own version of the recipe (whether actual or not), which can include ingredients and directions. Don't correct the instructions, because the cute differences (like substituting marshmallows for dumplings) are often Mom's favorite part. If the child is not old enough to write on their own, then assist them or do it yourself. Have the child sign and date it.

Take the piece of paper to the copy shop. Be sure to find a shop that does iron-ons. Bring the towel you'd like to use, as well. Have an iron-on transfer made at 50 percent of the original drawing size. This shouldn't cost you more than $10. If the copy shop has a heat press, then you can also have them iron on the transfer, but it's just as easy to do it yourself from home.

Mom's Plaster Plaque: Ages 7+

This one's perfect for Mom's bedroom wall or as a nice table placement. You'll need the following items: gypsum plaster, 1 cup measure, spoon, bowl, disposable pie plate, cookie sheet, large red silk flower and small colorful craft jewels.

To start, place the pie plate on the cookie sheet, and leave it there for the duration of the project. Mix together the gypsum plaster as instructed on the label. This usually takes 1 cup plaster with 1/2 cup tepid water in a bowl. Stir with a spoon until completely mixed, and then pour the mixture into the pie plate. Place the silk flower anywhere into the wet plaster that you'd like. Putting it off to one side may make the rest of the project easier.

Assemble the jewels you'd like. Choose any combination of size, color and shape. Carefully place craft jewels onto the wet plaster, one by one. You can place then however you'd like, but spelling out your name or "Mommy" would be a nice touch. To make application easier, keep a moist sponge or towel nearby to dampen your finger, making it easier to hold jewels and place them on the plaster. If any jewels sink or get placed incorrectly, simply use a toothpick to adjust them as necessary. For younger children, bigger jewels are easier to apply, especially if you allow the plaster to dry partially before starting.

Once finished assembling the jewels how you'd like (we recommend using writing out a name), carefully place the cookie sheet with the plaster creation in a safe place to dry overnight. The next morning, pop the plaster creation out of the pie plate. Place it on a cooling rack to let it dry completely, and then allow it to solidify for a day or two.

With these three craft ideas, you'll be well on your way to making Mom's special day all the better. Just don't forget to say, "I love you!"


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