I have great aspirations of making 2010 the year of kids' crafts. They received a lot of cool stuff for Christmas - loads of construction paper, glitter glue (that I almost wouldn't mind using myself), pipe cleaner animal kits and more crayons than you can shake a built-in sharpener at.
But the coolest thing I found - I didn't know they even made these anymore! - are Shrinky Dinks. If you are a child of the 80s like me (or even if you aren't) you remember these fun little ditties.
I found these things at Borders, of all places, and during the Christmas season they were buy one, get one, I think. I should have bought them. I went back later and bought a box at the original price - $6.99 (my JoAnn's has these for $4.99 and you could use a coupon, but they were out of stock) - but figured we'd try them out and see what we could make with them. The box includes the special paper, several colored pencils, jump rings and chain to make a bracelet, and a tiny hole puncher (how cute!). You can get them in different themes, rather than just the "Make Your Own" box that I bought - which might be suitable for a little girl obsessed with butterflies or a boy who likes hot rods and cars. Whatever you like!
I saw some cute charms on The Nantucket Mermaid's blog site as well as other web sites that have interesting ideas. There's also a huge book of templates and designs - some easy and some pretty complicated - at AC Moore (although they don't sell the actual Shrinky Dinks themselves; go figure). I'm thinking Christmas ornaments, bus tags for kids' backpacks, charms, mobiles....the possibilities are endless.
A charming charm bracelet, featured at tipjunkie.com
And here's a link to even make your own from plastic - but make sure you get the right kind or you could have a serious mess and toxic fumes on your hands. It requires eating a lot of cookies, but might be worth the effort.