Inside: Kid-made Christmas gift idea that is a pleasure to make and fun to gift. Make holidays more meaningful with homemade gifts, like this hot cocoa kit in a single-serve test tube.
Do you keep a few simple gifts like boxes of chocolates, mints, and hand lotions by the front door to hand out to neighbors or people who come to your house this time of year? I do, but these generic gifts can get boring.
This year, my youngest is a toddler (read: old enough to give me a chunk of independent playtime), so we finally have an opportunity to put together a few handmade gifts in addition to our usual stash. To this end, my kids and I spent a few hours one morning getting the gifts ready last week. It was super fun and relaxing.
But first, we had to decide what to make so I could round up the supplies. It had to be something fairly quick and easy, so my kids could do it independently if I ended up holding my toddler most of the time. But, most importantly, it had to be something that people could actually use (read: no pasta necklaces and artwork because our postman doesn’t need my kids’ artwork).
Kid-Made Christmas Gifts
Right off the bat, my kids wanted to bake their favorite Christmas-y muffins (peppermint-flavored muffins baked in snowflake muffin cups). I explained that it would be hard to keep them fresh for long.
The next idea up for discussion was handmade scrubs and lotions. It was my idea because I had just bought a large quantity of shea butter and beeswax that I was eager to put to good use, but nobody else was enthusiastic about it for some reason. When I finally suggested a homemade cocoa kit, however, everyone cheered.
Putting together a cocoa kit is easy. You only need three things: cocoa kit ingredients, a container, and decorations to make your kit festive and inviting. Scroll down for step-by-step instructions. And for another fun activity, try putting together a magic reindeer food mixture.
Kid-Made Christmas Gift: Hot Cocoa Tubes
What you need
- Your favorite cocoa mix (we love the all-natural Starbucks blend)
- Science Test Tubes
- Your favorite Marshmallows (We prefer all-natural brands without artificial ingredients, corn syrup, and preservatives. We haven’t found an all-natural brand that comes in mini size yet, so we chop the big marshmallow chunks into smaller pieces with a knife).
- Chocolate chips (optional)
- If you want to include a note, gather up writing supplies like paper (perhaps seasonal scrapbooking paper), pencils, and markers.
- Decoration: ribbons, seasonal stickers, and labels.
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What to do
Step 1: get the tubes ready
Wash the tubes well and dry them completely. Washing the tubes is easy. You can either place them in a bowl of soapy water and rinse or run them through a dishwasher. Drying the tubes is very hard, but it’s important to make sure there is absolutely no moisture left behind. We had the best of luck with cotton balls on the tip of a chopstick and with tightly rolled washcloths inserted all the way in and twisted repeatedly. Unfortunately, air drying is not going to work. Since the tubes are so long and thin, the moisture remains trapped inside.
Step 2: Prep the ingredients
If like us, you are using all-natural marshmallows that are too large to fit inside the tubes, chop them into smaller pieces. I know that most people don’t have a problem with store-bought mini marshmallows. But I couldn’t bring myself to use something I won’t let my kids eat. Sprinkle the marshmallow pieces with cocoa powder so they don’t stick to the insides of the tubes.
Step 3: Fill the tubes
To fill the tubes, wash your hands and line up your supplies. Fill the tubes ¾ of the way with the cocoa mix and fill the rest of the space with marshmallows and chocolate chips. We made a small fennel with a piece of paper to help most of the cocoa powder make it inside the tubes.
Step 4: Write a message
Cut a piece of paper into the desired shape. We used festive scrapbooking paper and wrote a note on the inside. One note said, “Enjoy the cold weather with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.” Another note said, “It’s a cocoa mix. Not an explosive mixture. Enjoy liberally.” The third note just said, “Mix with hot milk for a delicious cup of hot cocoa.” And also a short and simple instruction, “Just add a cup of hot milk :)”
Step 5: Decorate (our favorite part in any project)
Decorate the cocoa tube with ribbons, stickers, or anything else you can come up with.
Voila, we had a blast working on this project and talking about the people we care about who will get our gifts. My kids said it was like working at a candy factory. And it was a great way to channel the kids’ enthusiasm about the upcoming holidays and let them do something special.
Kid-Made Christmas gifts can be done without spending a fortune. What are you making this year? Share with a hashtag #kidsmadexmas.