What’s one of the best ways to spread holiday cheer? Giving a homemade present full of love! If you’re beginning to brainstorm creative gifting ideas your family can make and share, look no further. The National Inventors Hall of Fame® has put together a fun selection of five homemade gifts kids will be excited to make and to give — with a few STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts they can explore along the way.
Relaxing Bath Bombs
Embrace the coziness of the season by making fizzy, custom bath bombs to help a hardworking friend or family member unwind. With these instructions, you can use easy-to-find materials and discover how the acidic and basic ingredients within the bath bombs will mix with water to create a bubbling reaction in the bathtub. To personalize this gift, your child can choose a color and scent they know the recipient will love.
Delicious Chocolate Art
If your loved one is hard to gift for, a sweet treat might be the perfect solution. Combine chemistry and candy as you and your child make them a customized chocolate design! Is this for a grandma who loves daisies? Create a chocolate bouquet. Thinking of an uncle who loves his dog? Take chocolate lab literally and make an edible rendition of his adorable pet. As your family puts their culinary and artistic skills to the test, you’ll learn how inventors also benefit from making unique connections and combinations.
Colorful Tie-Dye Scarves
Does someone on your list have a passion for fashion? Then they’ll be thrilled to get a one-of-a-kind piece to wear with pride. Even better, these instructions for a colorful scarf don’t require messy liquid dyes — you’ll use permanent marker ink instead! As the marker ink you use to create your design meets the chemical solvent, rubbing alcohol, the ink will begin to dissolve and spread through the fabric. When the alcohol evaporates, you’ll be left with a beautiful tie-dye-like design that won’t dissolve in water.
Sweet Cookie Creations
Few things say holiday magic like the smell of fresh baked cookies. A platter of home baked classics like chocolate chip cookies is sure to make someone’s day merry — and spending time in the kitchen together is a great way for kids to get into the holiday spirit, too. As you dust off your coveted family recipe and throw on your aprons, take some time to talk about the science that occurs behind the scenes when you take basic ingredients and turn them into fluffy, delicious treats! NPR breaks down the kitchen chemistry you’ll witness.
Thoughtful Message Bracelets
If your child enjoys hands-on crafts, a special bracelet containing a secret message is a great gift to work on together. Start by asking your child what word or short phrase comes to mind when they think of the family member or friend for whom they’re creating the bracelet. Maybe their bracelet should say “kind” or “smart.” Perhaps “I love you” comes to mind. Once you have the message you want for your bracelet, follow the instructions of this STEM activity to turn your phrase into a Morse code bracelet, so your loved one can always keep your child’s message close.
Share Your Creations
If your family makes one of the suggestions above, or if you come up with a unique present that’s all your own, we encourage you to share your gift ideas and innovations with us on Facebook.