December is one of the busiest times of the years with celebrations occurring through out the month. While it may seem harder to include local food during the colder season, winter is an excellent time to spread awareness about the local farms that you use! Creating DIY gifts using locally made materials is the best of both worlds- giving to loved ones and giving back to your neighborhood famers!
Teachers and caregivers have become increasingly creative about the small gifts they help children create to send home. You’ve seen the handprint ornaments, pictures of smiling faces to hang on the fridge, and collages heavy with sparkles and glue. As a former teacher, I know very well the scramble to find materials for gifts that are inexpensive and more importantly- easy for children to use!
This season, check out the farms near you that offer herbs and dried produce! Pennsylvania is home to over 20 lavender farms alone! When more expensive materials, like lavender, are combined with cheaper materials, like epsom salt or powdered milk, it can make this seemingly expensive gift perfect for a classroom full of children to gift!
Begin by researching the location and hours of local farms. Most locations have altered hours for the season. Keep in mind when purchasing herbs and dried flowers that a little can go a long way!
Next- let’s get creative! There are plenty of options for creating DIY gifts, including salt for seasoning, bath and body products, and even drinks! I’ve listed a few recipes below for teachers and care givers to use in the classroom. It is important to change them to include what is available near you.
Lavendar Milk Bath:
- Powdered Milk (1/2 cup per gift)
- Lavender Buds (1 Tablespoon per gift)
Allow children to measure ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until combined. Measure 1/2 cup into a baggie and seal. When it is time to use the milk bath, pour contents into hot water and enjoy the soak for 20- 30 minutes.
- 1 Tablespoons of dried herbs
- 1/2 Cup sea salt
Allow children to measure ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until combined. Measure into small baggies or plastic ornaments (be sure to properly clean the ornaments first!)
Lemon Balm Tea:
Ingredients and Materials:
- Dried Lemon Balm
- Coffee Filters (1 per tea bag)
Head over to the Make Your Own Zone to discover how to cut coffee filters into the shape of a tea bag here. Simply pinch the dried herb in the filter and staple. For an added bonus, find the local apiary and include a honey stick with the tea bag!
*Please note that when choosing to create these gifts, it is important to consider possible sensitivities. Food allergens (such as milk allergies) or fragrance sensitivity should be taken into account.