My kids are getting older.
At 11, 9, and 7, they needed a little something different this year in order to get them excited about ornament-making.
And I think I found it.
In all things they do they’re like most kids.
They want to have control.
They want freedom.
They want to know I have faith in their ability.
So I created ornaments for digital kids–ornaments that any ‘digital kid’ would totally dig because they combine their tech-savviness and some hands-on, old-school crafting.
I’m sure all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents will love them.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Homemade Ornaments for Digital Kids:
I love school pictures. I don’t care how ugly or funny they are, I just love them.
I think they’re classic in a nerdy and silly way, so I often try to use them for holiday gifts for family.
Sure, I love the natural, outdoor, casual shots of family, too, but there’s something about school pictures that have always made me laugh a little.
Plus I think they’re even more fun to edit than other shots.
So for ornament-making for digital kids, what you’ll need is:
- a bunch of unpainted ornaments like the plain round one or plain tree (I got mine at the craft store for 50% off, so each came to $.50. Super affordable.)
- paper to print your kids’ creations (I used white cardstock because our ornaments were flat, but if yours are round, regular paper would work)
- mod podge (we used glossy mod podge and sparkly mod podge)
- thin ribbon
- black sharpie
- a photo editing program (we use–and love!–PicMonkey)
And because Maddy, Owen, and Cora knew from the Advent Activity Calendar that today was the day to finish up holiday gifts for family, they knew from the start that they’d be crafting in some way, shape, or form today.
So when I said, Hey guys, let’s meet in the kitchen in five minutes to get our craft on, they were cool.
(This one did not pass the ‘okay for family’ test)
I said, So today we’re going to start–and finish–our photo ornaments for aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. But we’re not just going to slap some glitter on the ornaments and call it a day.
Instead, you guys are going to do some serious digital creating. You are going to be the ones to put together your photos in any way you’d like. All I ask is that you make it so that we can clearly see your faces on each one. And each ornament needs to have all three of you on them, okay?
The kids had worked with PicMonkey before, so they were pretty psyched.
Like I said, it always seems that my kids are game to do things like this when I give them control, freedom, and my faith in them.
On PicMonkey, very simply, I set the kids up for success. I didn’t want them to frustrate, I just wanted them to have fun creating. To get them started, I:
- Went to ‘Design’
- Chose the square
- Made the background white
- Clicked on the butterfly (for overlays) on the left sidebar
- Clicked ‘Your Own’ to add my own overlay
- Added each of the kids’ school photos to the blank square
- Let. Them. At. It!
I taught the kids how to use PicMonkey for their ornaments.
They simply went to the little snowflake for Themes and some highlights of each Theme. I showed them how to add Santa beards, hats, and snowflakes.
I showed them how combining elements (clicking the little stack of papers with the arrow pointing down, right next to the gear on the top right of the screen) allows you to use Touch-Ups (click the lipstick), Effects (click the wand), or Frames (click the frame).
They figured out how to add text and change color, font, and size. They figured out how to add elements, change the background, and do more than I probably know, even after two years of using the platform.
Owen really got comfortable using the Halloween-inspired overlays.
He begged me to let him make an ornament of his face all morphed and crazy, but I told him that he’d most definitely give his grandparents a heart attack and make his little cousins have nightmares for years.
PicMonkey is super-easy to use, and though you don’t need the ‘royal’ features, I use it often enough that the royal features are way worth it for me. And now that the kids are more fluid in it, they can use it for school projects, invitations, or fun. I love it.
After the kids finished, I saved their ornaments onto the zip drives and moved them onto my computer. Then I added each of them to one word document. I made two columns and resized each ornament to 2.1″ x 2.1″. Our ornaments were tiny, but I wanted the whole thing to fit.
We printed their creations on white card stock and then we got to the crafty-crafty part.
We grabbed our blank ornaments, divvied up the family members who we needed to create for, and got working.
Creating the ornament was super-simple.
1. We mod podged one whole coat on the blank ornaments.
2. We added the photo and all of the sequins and bling we wanted.
3. We let them dry.
4. We mod podged over top of everything. Sparkle mod podge added a bit more bling, so some went that route.
5. We wrote ‘Maddy, Owen, and Cora 2014′ on the back with black sharpie and mod podged over the whole back.
6. We added a fancy ribbon, and we were finished!
And that’s it.
Super cute, super exciting for the kids, and super-beautiful when finished!
The most important thing? Maddy, Owen, and Cora were honing their ‘digital kid’ photo editing skills at the same time they were making something really cool for family members.
It makes gift-giving all the more fun and meaningful when kids are excited to share this way.
Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:
- True Holiday Spirit Lunchbox Notes
- Holiday Fun Fact and JOKES Lunchbox Notes (with Hannukah!)
- Holiday Time Fun Fact Lunchbox Notes
- Little Holiday Notes and Jokes
- Holiday Notes for Families
- The Polar Express tradition
- Scratch-off Cards
- K-Cup Advent Tree
- New Year’s Family Interview
- Happy Holidays Backyard Birds
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