Monday, December 22, 2014

Parent Gifts {Authentic and Personal}

Hi everyone! I'm Brandy from Firstie Kidoodles. I am SO excited to be a part of the Who's Who blog and to share some of my ideas with you.

Today I'm going to share with you what I had my firsties do for parent gifts this year.  I have always struggled with parent gifts.  The school that I teach at has a very diverse student population.  There are a variety of holidays and beliefs that are celebrated, so I feel like I have to be careful and not celebrate Christmas too much and give my firsties the opportunity to learn about all of the holidays that are celebrated by others during this time of year.  I try to keep that in mind when deciding what I would like to have the kiddos do for gifts for their parents.

I've done different things every year I've taught and haven't found one that I LOVE until this year.  While I love the idea of having the kids make an adorable ornament of some sort, I feel like that relates too much to a Christmas tree and not other holidays, so I've tried to stay away from them.  One year I had each kiddo make a handprint calendar.  Were they adorable? Yes. Would the parents love them? Yes. Did they take a lot of time to prep and make? Yes.  Did all of the parents actually keep them and use them? Probably not.  Last year I had each kiddo make their own puzzle, and I took head shots of each child,  had them printed in black and white, and sent them home.

Enter this year. I wanted to still do the head shots because let's face it. They are just adorable, timeless, and perfect for any parent.  I wanted to do something more with the picture to make it more of a gift.  Then I stumbled across these puppies on Amazon.

I had searched all over online for a picture frame that they could color or decorate and couldn't find anything that A-wasn't grossly overpriced and B-didn't look cheap.  There were many pros about these. 1-They are white and perfect for my firsties to draw on to decorate. 2-They fit a 4x6 picture. 3-They had the backing for the matte. 4-They had a storage bag to protect the finished product. 5-I could get a lot, for a small amount, to last almost 5 years! Sign. Me. Up!

The week after Thanksgiving I take all of my firsties outside to take a close head shot picture.  Although they are adorable in color, I typically get them in black and white because I think it's timeless.  I order them in a matte finish from Shutterfly.  Here's an example.
Once the pictures come in, I called a small group of my firsties back to my bean table to decorate their picture mats.  I asked each student to bring back their markers.  We talked about a few ideas on how to decorate.  Did they want to write the year?  Did they want to write a sweet message like I love you? Did they want to just draw a design? Did they want to write Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah?  I told them to really think through how they wanted to decorate it before they started because they would only get one to decorate.   And off to work they went. {HI, HO!}

Once they finished decorating the mat, I told them that if they wanted to decorate or write something on the backing that goes behind the picture they could.  Many of them wrote their name or wrote Merry Christmas 2014.

After they had decorated both pieces, I took the picture and put some double sided tape on the back.  I centered the picture on the photo backing, and laid the mat on top of that.  Once it was all together I put it in the baggie and saved them until it was time to send them home.

I'm sorry that I don't have a finished product to show you, but I promise you that they were precious.  They were authentic. They aren't directed towards a specific belief or religion.  They are cheap. They are easy to make. They were straight from the heart of a first grader. They are something that I feel confident would not just get thrown away.

I know that it is too late to make these with your students this year for the holiday season, but maybe you will find that you love them as much as I do next year.  I have also considered making these for Mother's Day.  We are out for summer break on Father's Day, but for those of you who aren't could make them for Father's Day too.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Hop on over to my blog or TPT store for more ideas and inspiration!


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