We always have a lot of left over packing paper at home, due to the amount of deliveries we get. Amazon in particular give a lot of brown packing paper in every delivery. Of course we do recycle anyway, but I thought rather than throwing the paper straight into the recycling bin it would be ideal to keep to use for some painting activities. As the packing paper is quite strong it works well for DIY homemade wrapping paper so Mr T and I used some for these homemade wrapping paper activities.
We spread the paper out on the table and experimented with lots of different designs. However your child wants to decorate will look great, it doesn’t have to be the neatest since that’s the charm of being homemade kid-designed wrapping paper!
We decided to use some cookie cutters to print shapes onto the paper. This is a really easy way to get some eye catching designs.
You can carefully design your geometric patterns with the cutters or littler children will probably just print them all over the place, but that will look cute too! Using lots of colours and shaped cutters is a great process art activity. When the results are something that you can save and use, that is just an extra bonus! Mr T enjoyed naming the colours and shapes as we painted, and had lots of messy fun with the paint!
Since all my boys love to get their hands right into the paint, it was inevitable that before too long Mr T was going to cover his hands and arms in it. So, why not take the opportunity to make some hand printed wrapping paper too! We printed with a colour that had already been a bit mixed up so it gave a multi coloured design that looked quite effective. You could also do a pattern by painting each hand a different colour and then printing them into hand print stripes on the paper, taking turns with each hand.
Once all the wrapping paper has been made and left to dry (we allowed one whole day for this to dry since the paint was quite thick especially on the hand printed sections) then you’re ready to use it to wrap. Since we had made this just for fun and not with any presents in mind that needed wrapping, we were able to use it for some wrapping paper activities.
Mr T loves tape, so giving him some cellotape and child safe scissors along with some items to wrap in fairly easy to wrap shapes (like boxes, cubes and cuboids) offers a fun way to work on cutting skills. Most young children would probably need help and supervision with this. Mr T (age 4) definitely still needs help and guidance. For older children or tweens they would be able to wrap presents themselves and might enjoy decorating more with bows, ribbons and other accessories.
The end results looked really unique and cute. If you are using them for real presents, it may be good to flatten the packing paper out under some heavy books before using to help to remove the creases. For us this really didn’t matter.
The wrapping can also be used for fun games like guess what’s in the parcel. Children can wrap up some of their own toys and then pass the wrapped parcels around among the siblings while they guess what’s inside. When they open it, they will see whether they were right! You can also use it to make a simple pass the parcel game at home using spare sweets, stickers, balloons or small toys you have at home. I always seem to have so much of these party bag type of things in my cupboards, and its surprising how much fun children can get from these small toys on a rainy day. I’m sure it’s the novelty value!
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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.