5 ideas on how to make homemade cards with a toddler

Ever since I can remember, my sisters and I have had the tradition of making cards for our parents and each other for birthdays, Christmas and any other special occasion worthy of a greetings card.  As well as being much more personal and meaningful than a shop-bought card, I think it's something we all enjoy; it gives us a chance to exercise our creative-artistic muscles in a small way and it's fun to create something especially for a specific person - you find yourself thinking about them as you're making it.

5 ideas how to make homemade cards with a toddler

For the past few years I've been really rubbish at making cards, even before I had the excuse of the baby taking up all my free time!  This year, however, I made a conscious effort to get back into it and to include my toddler in the creative process.  Admittedly, I've still been rubbish at actually taking the cards to the post office and sending them (*hangs head in shame*), but I'll get there eventually.

So how do you go about involving a toddler in the creative process and still get a cute and pretty finished card?  No offense to toddlers but if you let them take over, you'll end up with something that doesn't even vaguely resemble a greetings card, and will most probably be stuck to the table or else completely painted/scribbled over in an attractive shade of brown.  Sound familiar?

The key is to stay in control of the three main elements  - toddler, artwork and material.  This is not the moment for messy play - you can do that afterwards!  Or else find a way to incorporate it into your creations.

1.  Christmas cards
Emma was 21 months old in December and I decided the easiest way for her to collaborate on the cards was like this:
  • First I drew lots of outlines of Christmas trees and stockings on several blank sheets of paper and asked Emma to colour them in with some crayons. She obliged with a kind of multicoloured scribble which was just what I was after.
  • Then I got out some red and green watercolour paint and a paintbrush and she did more "colouring in" over the top of the crayon lines which gave us a really great two-textured effect; the paint, of course, only being able to take hold on the blank spaces on the paper where there wasn't crayon.
  • Then I cut out the tree and stocking shapes and arranged and glued them onto different coloured cards.  I also cut out some presents from the leftover pieces of Emma's paper, to stick under the Christmas trees.
  • I also stuck one shape - a tree, stocking or present - in the middle of the inside of each card.  
And they were done!  Quite simple.

Homemade Christmas cards

March and April are busy months for cards and I have to admit I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.  There are so many great ideas to use as they are or adapt in any way you like.  I need never think of an original idea again!

2.  Fingerprint balloons 
First was my mother-in-law's birthday, then my sister Alex's birthday.  I used the same base of fingerprint balloons to make two different designs.  Emma loved doing fingerprint painting  - the tricky part was getting her to put her fingerprints in a neat bunch of balloons arrangement, but we managed it!

Fingerprint balloons card

I took the idea of fingerprints as balloons from something I saw on Pinterest - unfortunately, the website it was from doesn't seem to exist anymore.

3.  Glue-sing it with collage 
For my Dad's birthday card, I saw this idea on RED TED Art and then completely changed it.  Instead of making a collage monster with geometric shapes, we made a collage lion which I drew the outline of on the card.  I cut up some different types of scrap paper into little squares and rectangles (the easiest shapes to cut!) and Emma used a glue stick (and began to learn a new skill) to paste the pieces on the lion.  She chose which colour paper and where exactly on the lion to stick each piece.  She did get a little over enthusiastic with the glue stick, as you can probably see in the photo!

Toddler collage card

4.  My heart in my hands
I found a very cute idea for a Mothers' Day card (or Valentines Day) on Krokotak.com.  Here Emma's contribution was letting me draw round her hands.

Handmade heart hands card

  • First, I folded a blank sheet of paper in half and got Emma to place one hand on it with fingers spread open so that her thumb and forefinger were' just touching the fold.  I then drew around her hand.
  • The space between the thumb and forefinger is vaguely heart-shaped; I cut it into a more perfect heart shape, then cut out around the hand.  Obviously, because I folded the paper in half I had two hands when I opened it out, but you must remember to keep them joined together at the tips of the thumb and forefinger to leave the heart-shaped hole in the middle.
  • Next I chose some pretty patterned paper and drew around my opened-out hand template on the back of the patterned paper.  Then I cut it out carefully.
  • I made sure the two hands would fit onto the background card and trimmed the edges where necessary, then pasted the hands onto the folded card.
  • That was basically it.  I also decided to add some extra little hearts, cut out of the same patterned paper and glued on the card in the spaces around the hands, and Emma drew some pictures inside the card!
5.  A birthday card for a toddler 
Finally, this last card was not made by a toddler, but for a toddler - this was the card I made for Emma's 2nd birthday.

Puppy ears card

I loved this idea as soon as I saw it on Pinterest.  You can find detailed instructions plus a downloadable PDF template to make the card on mmmcrafts .  It's such a fun card and Emma was fascinated with it, too.  You can see in the photo that it's already a little the worse for wear after many tongue-pullings (you pull the tongue down and the ears pop up!) with glitter glue covered fingers!

I hope you've been inspired - or at least entertained - by the creations here.  Do check out the pages I've linked to, you can find many more great ideas there, too.

I'd love to hear about your experiences with involving toddlers in card making or other creative projects - tell me about it in the comments below!

Linking this post with #KCACOLS


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  1. I love making homemade card with my kids too... I think it's appreciated more when we made one for their Dad because of the personal touch given to it. Your cards looks so cute and adorable. Thanks for the tips as well. #KCACOLS.

  2. lovely ideas here :) I really love the fingerprint idea - loads on pinterest I love too :) #KCACOLS

  3. These are wonderful. I love making cards with little ones, always the nicest gift for any occasion, and they always take real pride it their creations! #twinklytuesday

  4. I love these so much. I was just thinking that we should make a few home made cards so that I can use them on birthday gifts and other little gifts. I think we are going to give the heart and hands one a try. Thanks for the inspiration. #TwinklyTuesday

  5. These are such creative ideas. We usually just color on some paper but these are so much better! #KCACOLS

  6. I love seeing yours and Emma's card creations! Card making is such a lovely tradition I think x

  7. Great ideas here, my eldest is really getting into card making at the moment, may have to pinch a few of these ideas #KCACOLS

  8. Some really lovely ideas here, I love to do things like this with Arthur. I have also just given him a blank add before and let him do whatever he likes - I find it is just as appreciated by family as they know he did it himself lol! #dreamteam

  9. Aw I love these ideas! Especially the fingerprint balloon ones and the heart in my hands...I love receiving homemade cards and definitely going to try this with my daughter when she can...not too long to wait now as she's approaching 17 months! Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x