FREE PRINTABLE GIFT IDEAS
If you are looking for homemade gift ideas suitable for either kids or adults, how about a custom made DIY activity book? Colouring pages for mom. Colouring, crafts and puzzles for the kids. Give your loved ones the gift of your own special creative touch; and one of the most valuable gifts of all… time.
This is the first of a two-part series looking at free printable Christmas gift ideas. It started out as just one post, then got a bit too ‘eye-glazey’, so I’ve had to split it up. The rate I’m going, it may even make it into a three-part series. :o Today we’re going to see how easy it is to make up our own fun DIY custom made activity book specifically tailored for your recipient filled with free printables for them to enjoy. This gift idea is not just something fun for kids, but also a great idea for them to make and give to others. Even Grandpa might like a custom handmade DIY puzzle book especially chosen and handcrafted for him from the kids. (How about a new trend of ‘Grandpa and Me’ Puzzle Book?) And not just for Christmas. This would also work well for birthdays; mothers’ day; fathers’ day; teacher appreciation; or any other time of the year where you want to give a very special personalised paper gift. It would also make a great boredom buster holiday activity. They could make their own activity book; or one for their friends.
Round out your custom handmade DIY gift package with some fun and free printable paper gifts, e.g. free Bible posters, make a personalised Bible bookmark with their name on it, stickers you have made yourself, free Bible wallet cards for your recipient to share around with family and friends, etc. You will find the links for them again below. Optional extra gifts you may like to purchase to go with your package might include some new artistic supplies to inspire their creativity (e.g. colouring pencils, markers, art or craft paper, glue, pencil sharpener, watercolour paints, paint brushes, a decorative storage box or folder that you have bought or handmade, etc). Okay, are you ready? Deep breath. Let’s get started…
MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS GIFTS ~ DIY ACTIVITY BOOK ~ FREE PRINTABLE
- Choose your theme.
- Select what you want to go into your book.
- Print / Assemble.
STEP ONE: CHOOSE YOUR THEME
The first thing to ask yourself is: what theme do I want? Do you want an activity book about one particular theme with different types of activities (colouring pages, puzzles, crafts)? Or just one type of activity (e.g. colouring pages)? Here’s some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…
- BIBLE DOODLES: Make an activity book of FREE Bible doodles. This is a great way for both kids or adults to relax and colour while they get to know the Bible better. How about a ‘Mommy and Me’ or a ‘Grandmommy and Me’ matching DIY colouring book? Mix and match Bible verses from all over the Bible; focus on just one part of the Bible: Psalms | Old Testament | Gospels | New Testament | More Bible colouring pages. Or choose a specific Bible hero or theme.
- BIBLE PUZZLES: Make an activity book of FREE Bible Puzzles. Choose a mix of different Bible themes; or focus on just one specific Bible hero or theme. Check out a cool DIY Activity Book of Puzzles that I made for my dad to get you thinking. Or download some general Bible puzzle sheets from a site like max7; Answers in Genesis; Calvary Curriculum; Living Waters; Creation Moments. Or make your own Bible puzzles; that way you can tailor them specifically for your recipient.
- FAVOURITE BIBLE VERSES: Make an activity book from a selection of your (and your recipient’s) favourite Bible verses. This would definitely work for a ‘Mommy and Me’; ‘Daddy and Me’; ‘Grandma and Me’; or ‘Grandpa and Me’ theme. Include some fun Bible doodle colouring pages and puzzles. Leave a family heirloom that will be treasured down the generations and make sure you include a personal note why each verse is important to you. It will be a legacy of faith that will help them grow in their relationship to God and just might help get them through future dark times.
- CHRISTMAS NATIVITY: Make a Christmas Nativity activity book and make it all about Jesus. There is tons to choose from to fill your activity book with hours of fun; but make sure you check these articles out for inclusion: A Future King is Born | The King of Kings is Born | Royal Baby.
- ALL ABOUT ME – YOU ARE SPECIAL: Make a ‘you are special’ activity book all about them. Include their own special free printable copy of the Father’s Love Letter; let them know that before they were born, God already knew them and that when they were growing there in secret God was onto it, orchestrating it all and knitting them together in an amazing way. Throw in some matching free colouring pages, crafts, activities and paper gifts or maybe these God made me – free paper gifts. Let them know how special they are to you with some of these Love (or just because…) ideas. Make sure you turn some of their photos into a colouring page (include their baby photos and other photos of them at various ages); or use one of these photo sites to do something special with their photos and then put them into a free photo frame or scrapbook page. Add a couple of free Bible posters, a free Bible bookmark; or make a bookmark for them with their name and favourite Bible verse on it, then add some photo props for some extra Christmas fun. Hey, why not do one of these activity books for each member of the family? And talking about families…
- MY FAMILY: Make your family memories into a fun activity book all about your family, that will be treasured for years to come. Maybe a future heirloom? Use some of the ideas from above; including: turn your family photos into colouring pages – using family and individual photos; pet photos; photos of extended family and friends; scenic photos of places you visited; fun or crazy things you have done together; relive your favourite family holidays and memories; etc. Make your own puzzles all about your family using familiar or obscure family facts. What was Great-Grandma’s favourite Bible verse? What country did Auntie Susie visit when she was just a teenager? Add a couple of free Bible posters, make a bookmark with each person’s name on it, some fun crafts or activities to round it out. You may also like to include some free printable photo props for some extra family fun and make some new family memories this Christmas. Keep the camera handy.
- BIBLE TREASURE ADVENTURE: Make a fun Bible Treasure Theme activity book full of pirates and swashbuckling adventure. YAR HA ARRR!
- BIBLE HEROES: Make an activity book about Bible heroes. Choose a mix of different Bible heroes or focus on just one. Your favourite Bible heroes or theirs. And if it is your favourite Bible hero, make sure you include a personal note telling them why. Maybe it will become one of their favourite Bible heroes, too. Here’s some suggestions: Noah | One of the Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph | Moses | Joshua | David when he took on Goliath | Warrior or Wimp (King David / King Saul) | Daniel | Jonah | Ruth | Esther, or look for your favourite Bible hero here.
- GODLY CHARACTER: Make an activity book about Godly character that will help them to live a full and Godly life: Beatitudes | Golden Rule | Fruit of the Spirit | Armour of God | God’s Top 10 for kids | Proverbs 3:5-6 (Trust in the Lord) | Okay, I’m in love… how do I tell if they’re ‘the one’? (Purity / Guard your heart) and matching paper gifts from Proverbs 4:23 – in red or blue. Or select your topic using inspiration from the excellent Wild and Wacky YouthBytes program and make your activity book all about that.
- CREATION: Make up an activity book teaching them about the Days of Creation and how magnificent our God is.
- ANIMALS: Make an animal activity book. Choose a mix of different animals or focus on just one, giving glory to God as designer: Birds | Bugs | Butterflies | Chameleon | Dinosaur | Dolphin | Elephant | Forest Animals | Frog | Giraffe | Horse / Zebra / Donkey | Kangaroo | Ladybugs | Panda | Polar Bear | Seahorses & Seadragons | Tiger / Lion / Cat | Turtle.
- GOD AS DESIGNER: Make a creation activity book giving glory to God as designer with these free articles for kids and round them out with some matching colouring, puzzles and craft pages: Butterfly | Chameleon | Colugo | Dinosaur | Elephant | Exploding Beetle | Frog in a Sleeping Bag | Giraffe | Horse | Kangaroo | Ladybugs | Panda | Polar Bear | Seahorses & Seadragons | Seashells | Snowflakes | Space / Universe | Tiger | Woodpecker | or talk biomimetics (biomimi-what?): Our designs are all inferior copies of God’s originals
- SPACE / UNIVERSE: Blast off into outer space and let them know how big our God is with a Space / Universe activity book. When they realise how big HE is, their problems and hassles will pale into insignificance, as they learn to trust Him.
- HEAVEN: Give them the greatest gift ever and ensure they know what Jesus has done for them on the cross and about Heaven (and how to get there). That little baby in the manger grew up to fulfil a vital mission for humanity. It is a free gift offered to all. But it is our choice. Make sure they don’t leave Earth without it.
- HOW TO TALK TO GOD: Make up a fun activity book about prayer and worship and teach them to talk (and listen) to God for themselves.
- BOOKS OF THE BIBLE / NAMES OF JESUS: Make up an activity book for them to learn the Books of the Bible; learn the Names of Jesus; or about the Mystery of the Trinity; or giving them an overview of the Bible.
- THE BIBLE IS REAL HISTORY: Make up an activity book showing them that the Bible is the real timeline of real history. History is His Story. You may like to include fun items about specific Bible heroes that fit into that timeline. Show them that they fit into the timeline of history, too.
- TOWER OF BABEL: Teach them where all the different languages and races came from.
- APOLOGETICS: Prepare them for the future and answer tomorrow’s questions today with an apologetics activity book. Help to ground them firmly in their faith.
- THE SECRET OF THE MISSING SCROLLS ADVENTURE: Teach them about The Secret of the Missing Scrolls and how God carefully preserved His Word down through the centuries; and that He is always in control, no matter how scary things get.
- SEASONS: Make a Winter / Snow theme activity book. Or maybe you would prefer one of the other seasons.
- NEW YEAR / DREAMS AND GOALS: How about a New Year activity book; or a Think Big activity book, encouraging them to focus on their dreams and goals for the new year, or inspire them in their long term goals.
- TRAVEL: Inspire them to broaden their horizons and think about somewhere they might like to travel. (Estefany has Paris in her sights).
- DEVOTIONALS: Make up a book with Devotional snippets they can sample each day (or week) of the year. Include some Bible colouring or puzzle pages for some extra fun while they are reflecting on what they have learnt.
- BIBLE STUDY: Make up a book with Bible Study snippets they can sample each day. Include some Bible colouring or puzzle pages for extra fun while they are reflecting on what they have learnt.
- BIBLE CRAFTS: Make an activity book of different Bible crafts. Choose a specific Bible theme, person or perhaps a particular type of activity (e.g. thaumatropes – optical illusion spinning toys) and concentrate on that. An optional gift for you to purchase for family and friends might include some artistic supplies to inspire their creativity (e.g. colouring pencils, markers, watercolour paints, art paper, paint brushes, etc).
- BIBLE CARTOONS: Make up a Bible cartoon activity book with some of these suggestions: Castle Glorious | Joyful Toons | Jungle Doctor; and if they like doodling, maybe combine that with….
- LEARN TO DRAW: Make a learn to draw or Nativity learn to draw activity book for the budding family artist. Throw in some extra Bible colouring pages or traceover pages they can copy to perfect their style, as well as some new artistic supplies (e.g. colouring pencils, markers, watercolour paints, art paper, paint brushes, etc).
- MORE DIY ACTIVITY BOOK THEME IDEAS: Flowers | Sports | Older boys | School.
STEP TWO: SELECT WHAT YOU WANT TO GO INTO YOUR BOOK
Choose what you want to go into your activity book, by clicking on your theme (in the above section); and then pad it out with some free printables from your selected page. Here are some additional links you may like to check out to include in your package:
- FREE articles for kids giving glory to God as Creator
- FREE colouring pages
- FREE puzzles / crafts
- FREE Bible posters; FREE Bible verse cards; or make your own poster / verse card
- FREE Bible wallet cards or make your own wallet cards
- FREE Bible bookmarks or make your own bookmarks
- Make your own stickers
- Make your own Board Game
- FREE Christmas Nativity posters
- FREE Christmas Nativity bookmarks and paper gifts
- FREE Stationery | FREE Note Cards | FREE Notepaper | FREE Envelopes | FREE Mini Envelopes + Mini Note Cards | FREE To Do Lists | DIY Stationery | DIY Note Cards / Notepaper
STEP THREE: PRINT
- Use plain paper for your colouring and puzzle pages. Take it one step further and create a custom made page border for your colouring and puzzle pages that your recipient will love (e.g. favourite colour and a design they will like) to tie your theme all together. And you will also need to think about your margins and how they will go in your final presentation (i.e. whether they are wide enough).
- Use photo paper for posters, bookmarks and maybe some of your craft pages too. If you are going to all this trouble to make a custom made activity book for your loved ones, make sure it looks professional. You may also like to add a magnetic strip to things like posters, verse cards, or wallet cards so they can be hung on the fridge.
STEP FOUR: ASSEMBLE
As Compassion sponsors, this is what we do every time we make up a package for our kids; so we’re already good up to here. Now, we just need to put it all together..
- COMB BINDING MACHINE: If you are familiar with comb binding machines (e.g. that companies might use to present their custom made documents), this is probably your best option for a professional finish. Hole punch your activity pages and put them into a book, held together with a spiral binding comb (plastic or wire). For your back page cover, use a shimmering metallic piece of quality craft card in your recipient’s favourite colour. For your inside front page, a single piece of paper with your recipient’s name in large letters (your page can be plain or decorated); protected by a piece of transparent plastic (called a ‘clear presentation binding cover’) from your local stationery shop. Alternatively, an additional piece of craft card that you used for the back cover. If you do not have your own comb binding machine, some companies (e.g. stationery shops, university bookshops, or perhaps libraries) will perform this task for you for a small fee. Simply present your book pages (intact), front and back covers; make sure they are in the order that you want them; and they will do the rest.
- DIY FOLDER: There are several ways you can do this. Make up a lapbook or file folder for your recipient. Or hole punch your pages and add them into your own (purchased or handmade) folder. Or insert your pages into plastic sleeves and then add them into your folder. Or if you are more adventurous, how about a harder and more durable cover like the one shown in the above picture? Simply cut a piece of harder craft paper (or board) to size; and decorate it in a way that will delight your recipient. Again, make sure you design a nice cover page with your recipient’s name on it to fit in the inside front cover. You might like to put your name on it too (e.g. a special gift chosen for… (name)… with tons of love from… (your name).
- EXTRA FUN: Things like posters and bookmarks can go into a special pocket (e.g. inside the back cover). This can be made by cutting down an extra sheet of one of your front or back covers and adhering. Note: you will need to figure that out before your book binding or folder is completed.
- THAT’S A WRAP: Gift wrap your masterpiece in a creative way that is sure to appeal to your recipient. And… that’s a wrap. Phew! I had fun… did you?! :)
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