Show your crafty side in time for the holidays!

December brings cold, snow, hot chocolate, and many opportunities for gift giving to family and friends! If your budget is feeling stretched (or non-existent), or you love surprising people with things of your own making, here are some ideas for homemade gifts that are easy, fun, and fun to give!

Duct Tape Roses – Give a “forever bouquet” to someone! The roses are a bit labor intensive, so be ready to commit a bit of time to this. 3 – 4 roses, and a nice glass vase, and you have a great gift! Here’s a great site to learn how: http://ducttape.pbworks.com/w/page/18372577/Rose

Handmade soap – melt and pour soaps are fun to make. This one is a little bit costly, but once you buy the molds, fragrance, soap base and color, you can use them several times. Here’s a site to explain the steps: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/meltandpoursoapmaking/a/meltpourbasics.htm

Earrings – Make some dangling sparklers to brighten up anyone’s holiday! With all the variety of beads and stones available, you can make some really exciting pieces. Here’s a place to start: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Hanging-Earrings

Mug cake – package this up with a pretty microwave safe mug, and it’s two gifts in one! http://www.budget101.com/recipes/id195.htm

Duct Tape iPhone cover – You can really personalize this, and duct tape comes in so many cool colors and patterns. I especially like the flame pattern for this one. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Duct-Tape-iPhone-Case/#step1

Keychain – Make it as colorful or crazy as you like! Everyone has keys to something!
http://crafts.lovetoknow.com/wiki/How_to_Make_Key_Chains_with_Beads

Summer Brain Food

Summer is a great time to read and try new things – books, audio books, and internet sites. Here are some fun summer web links.

Games and more

Arts, crafts, games: IPL2–Kidspace Fun Stuff  

Pop music news, reviews, concert info, lyrics, videos, downloads, links, etc.: About.com’s Top 40 

Youth Culture Online: Spank!  

More than 50,000 lyrics by over 1,500 artists; search lyrics by artist, band name or artist/ album/song: A-Z Lyrics

Fun, games, cool links, news, and more: Cyberteens Fun & Games 

Games, satellite photos, art, stamps, ecology, and more, are featured at this official Kids Portal to the U.S. Government: Kids.gov Games

Did You Know?

From the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco: Better Hair Through Chemistry

Why do teens sleep so much? Inside the Teenage Brain 

News summaries for the day, crossword puzzles, a selective guide to the Internet, and more: New York Times Learning Network: Student Connections, Grades 6-12

A Word A Day

Everyday mysteries, portals to the world, and local cultural oddities are part of the Library of Congress site: Kids and Families

The main entry to the official kids portal to the U.S. Government: Kids.gov

Math Games

Math Playground

Resources

Student Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Rhyming Dictionary: Word Central

The main entry to Internet Public Library’s Kidspace