DIY Wrapping Paper for Empathy and Creativity

Get your children involved in the gift giving process and begin teaching empathy with a DIY wrapping paper project.

Young children are at the very beginning stages of understanding the feelings and perspectives of others. Giving gifts provides a concrete opportunity to introduce empathy to your child.

Using some craft butcher paper and some common preschool craft supplies; you and your child can create your own wrapping paper as you think about what the giftee would like and how the gift will make them feel.

Here is how:

1. Check out this printable flyer for art materials and ideas that are appropriate for your child.

Some materials are more difficult to use than others, so considering how old your child is or what they are able to do on their own or how much adult support you are able to give will help you decide.

2. Set up a space for creativity.

Some people prefer to do these kinds of activities on a washable floor so it's easier to reach the materials.

Consider your level of "messy" because some open-ended activities like paint can get a bit messy so think how to prepare a space in which you can be comfortable with mess!

3. Provide a model for your child on how to use the materials.

For example, “First dip it in paint and then stamp it on the paper.” Choosing to use paints is optional! Use stickers, or crayons for less mess!

4. Ask questions or provide ideas to help your child consider the perspectives of others.

For example, “What color do you think daddy will like for his wrapping paper?" Or, "I know daddy loves candy canes, do you think we should use the candy cane stamp to make his wrapping paper?”

5. Leave the design and creation open to your child’s ideas.

Open-ended art activities are ideal for developing critical thinking skills, confidence and independence!

6. As they freely create, ask questions or discuss how gift giving makes others feel.

For example, “How do you think daddy will feel when he opens his present?”

7. When your paper is dry and ready to use, include your child in the wrapping.

Some 4 year olds may be ready to sign their name or trace/copy letters. Others can use marks to represent their names.

Your little one will be so excited to be part of the holiday tradition of gift giving all while learning to take the perspective of others!

If you want to share this idea with other moms or teachers to promote open ended art, check out this printable flyer you can share or download the lesson plan.

Open-ended art helps young kids develop creativity, imagination and critical thinking skills. When they get to use it in planning for gift giving it helps develop their planning skills while building empathy.

To learn more watch this video where Anita explains the process and how it helps teach empathy.