We are working on educator gifts from kids of different ages. I figured that this is an opportunity to teach my kids some new techniques. My goals are a project which 1. can be done by all ages and that 2. use materials we have at home. Consequently, the suggestion I made was bracelets. I assumed that the older children can make macrame type of bracelets and my younger child can do regular beading. We already started since these things tend to take time to finish. We started on a vacation day and continued at leisure.
I am teaching them how to do macrame style bracelets with a larger bead in the middle, and smaller beads between knots. Some like this method better than others. They all enjoy choosing which beads to use and working out a pattern, or not.
I only have an example that my youngest beader made, and it isn’t macrame at all. But he enjoyed making it:
In retrospect, macrame type bracelets were not ideal for the embroidery thread we are using, and still a bit difficult for a second grader. On the other hand, having exposure to the skill even if not using it, means later on it might be used for something else.
While working on the bracelets, my son said he did not want to give bracelets as teacher gifts to his male teachers so we came up with another project. Also a project that can be done, at different ability levels by all three children. For this project we chose infinity cubes.
I figured that infinity cubes make great fidgets, and in my son’s school, there are quite a number of fidgeters. So in all, this gift is a useful gift to get from a student. In addition, this child loves stuff that open and change so he was intrigued by the concept.
Really I figured all of them would like it, but particularly this kid. Conceptualizing an infinity cube is also a great mind expanding type of project, using brain skills that work on spacial skills. The other plus of the infinity cube project is that it uses fairly simple materials and basic skills- taping and cutting.
The mini wood blocks we are using are already colored. You can use plain wood blocks or even paper, but colored blocks speeds up the creating process. We used washi tape and colored duct tape that we already had. My youngest also added stickers to his. Here is an example of one of our infinity cubes, as a gif:
I don’t think it will last like this forever, but it is fun to put together and fun to have made it. All of my kids enjoy making them, and all can do it. For younger kids, you’ll want to help with the directions, and let them decorate the cubes with markers or stickers. However, the skills needed are fairly simple- choosing colored blocks, putting tape on, adding extra decorations. My older children found watching Miz Rivka’s tutorial on YouTube helpful in figuring out what to do.
My son also wants to make a shrinky dink present for his music teacher, using music notes. I thought using the music notes is a nice idea. We always like making shrink plastic projects, as can be seen from our teacher appreciation key chains. Maybe this time it will be a magnet. Another teacher’s gift we love are these funky pens.
What are you going to be making?
My son decided to make many shrinky dink necklaces as educator gifts and inspired his younger brother to make a bunch of shrinky dink necklaces as well. I will share these at another time. He also particularly wanted to make an infinity cube for the school guard, as he was worried that he would get board during the day. My daughter did not want me to take pictures of what she made for her friends because they had personal elements. Those were not specifically educator gifts, but my older kids made gifts for friends who they wouldn’t see in school next year.
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