Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
Creative Gift Ideas for Grandma and Grandpa
It’s not easy to come up with gift ideas. It is really not easy to come up with gift ideas for older relatives. Top-level difficulty is thinking of gifts that kids can give to older relatives. Yes, there are the typical items, like watercolor-painted popsicle stick picture frames with sequins and other doo-dads glued on. That’s cute once or twice, but no one wants one every year! Kids can paint a coffee mug for Grandma and Grandad, but if there is more than one grandchild in the family, they’re probably up to their necks in hand-painted mugs all ready. So, what else is there? The Pinterest mavens of the world will have no trouble sourcing ideas and materials. However, some parents aren’t crafty and don’t have a stockpile of craft supplies handy or space to do projects.
With all this in mind, Parents Press has compiled a local list of places where kids can go make nice, special things for all the Omas, Opas, Nai Nais, Yeyes, Grammys , Memaws, Bubbies, Zaydehs and Poppas.
Michaels Craft Store – Multiple Locations
Michaels has craft classes for multiple age levels, with take-home projects, but they also host craft parties. It’s totally possible to get a bunch of families to go in on reserving a Michaels party room and then chose from their thousands of projects and pay a per-head amount for kids to make something. Michaels will set it all up, teach the craft and do the cleanup. Contact a local Michaels for more information.
Richmond Art Center – Richmond
The Richmond Art Center isn’t just a great gallery. They have weekend and weekday classes for all ages, and even free one-day, take-home project classes. Last year, my kids made their own stationery and learned backstrap weaving. They can also learn how to shibori dye some nice dinner napkins for Grandma, or do some prints on a tote or T-shirt. Ceramics are also available, but not limited to mugs!
Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond. 510-620-6772, www.richmondartcenter.org
Older elementary-school-age kids and teens can not just make a gift but learn skills in wood carving and glass blowing, and even welding and blacksmithing, at this super-cool educational center. Weekend classes are helpful for busy families. Workshops are also available. Wouldn’t Grandad be shocked to receive a handmade end table?
The Crucible, 1260 &th St., Oakland. 510-444-0919, www.thecrucible.org
Jo-Ann Fabrics –Various Locations
Yes, believe it or not, they have one-day sewing project lessons for kids! Kids can make pajama pants, zippered pouches, tote bags, etc., with machines and instructors provided by the store, and they can pick out fabric that gives it a personal touch. Look up Jo-Ann stores nearby to see the dates and times.
Color Me Mine –Walnut Creek
This is for a quick, last-minute gift or a gift “from” a new baby in the family. No need to sign up for classes or spend a whole day making something. This place has many paintable items to choose from, including infant hand- and footprint impression keepsakes. There are mugs, but there are many other choices too!
Color Me Mine, 1950 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek. 925-937-1559, www.walnutcreek.colormemine.com
I Made It Glass – San Rafael
I Made It Glass is a super-cool place that allows anyone to create art using bits of glass on a glass base, like mosaic, but then it gets heated and pressed together to make an amazing fused glass creation. There are many projects to choose from. Items will need to be picked up at a later date, so plan accordingly!
I Made It Glass, 1938 4th St., San Rafael. 628-234-1005, www.imadeitglass.com
The Butterfly Joint –San Francisco
The Butterfly Joint is a woodworking studio for kids, including toddlers. While they have camps and ongoing classes, they also have private lessons where kids can learn hands on to make cutting boards, book caddies, small boxes, cheese boards, bud vases, etc. That’s an impressive gift for the relatives! There are classes for grownups too, so make it a family thing.
The Butterfly Joint, 4411 Cabrillo St., San Francisco. 415-894-2685, www.thebutterflyjoint.com
Haley Reen is an East Bay-based freelance writer