Do you cringe every time your child races through a colouring book, scribbling a single stripe of red down the middle of each page, knowing full well that these pages will never be re-visited? Or when they tear through a book of mazes with scant regard to where the book was made or if the paper was recycled?
It’s rare to find a logo on the back stating that the product is produced from recycled paper or even FSC Certified paper, so how do we know that these little activity packs of joy are created using sustainable practices?
We don’t, but there are ways to ensure this playtime can be more sustainable without killing the fun.
By making your own paper gifts, you have control over what paper is used (by buying and printing on recycled or FSC Certified paper) with the added bonus of creating a much more thoughtful and personal gift than say, a $2 colouring book bought on the fly.
Here’s my top 5 printable gift ideas.
Miss Logical really enjoys this game and the fact she can do puzzles, ‘just like Mum’. I like to laminate the puzzle pages and a heap of the coloured squares so it will last longer but you could also use contact if you don’t have a laminator. Colour Sudoku is a great start for opening up little minds to problem solving skills.
Make your own Crossword
This one is not just something the kids would enjoy, but adults too. I received a homemade crossword in the mail from my sister and her partner while they were away travelling. They had created a crossword using loads of questions and references personal to me which made this one of my favourite gifts ever. It was something I took time to complete, chuckling over each question and the story it reminded me of. It was obvious they had put a lot of work into it which made it all the more special.
Make your own Activity Book
This one is also inspired by my sister and her partner. For my nieces birthdays they put their coloured pencils to work and created homemade activity books filled with dot-to-dots, find-a-words and games. What kids love most is something made especially for them. Marketing companies can try all they want to make kids feel as if an item is unique to them, but nothing says it more than an activity book in your own handwriting with their name emblazoned across the top. If you are not feeling particularly crafty there are plenty of websites containing free printables. I found Preschool Printable Activities had a great range for younger kids or for older kids, (8-12 year olds I’m talking) try School Express which has a really cool make-your-own worksheet section which does a lot of the work for you.
Create Your Own Storybooks
This idea came from Miss Logical’s love of drawing and Mr T looking for something more creative to do. Miss Logical and I put together a number of these books as her own gift to her Dad on his birthday which she was quite excited about. They were able to create storybooks together with classic titles such as ‘Fairyland’ and my personal favourite, ‘The Princess and the Droid that Turned into a Boy and the Princess didn’t know the Droid turned into a Boy’. I’m not sure if this is the creativity Mr T had in mind but they did have a lot of fun creating the stories and illustrating them and it was special time spent together. If this is an idea that interests you, I have included a template so you can print the story template pages back to back, fold and add some paper for a cover.
I came across this idea on ToddlerToddler several years ago when I was desperate for rainy day activities. Again, I laminated it to make it last longer and am happy to say this game is still going strong today. It is a good one for siblings of different ages to play as it is easy enough for littlies and interesting enough for older kids to enjoy too.
What great resources have you discovered for printable presents?