This section is from the book "How To Help The Shut-In Child: 313 Hints For Homebound Children", by Margery D. McMullin. Also available from Amazon: How To Help The Shut-In Child: 313 Hints For Homebound Children.
Illness forces us to become preoccupied with ourselves. When making a gift, a person turns his attention outward. This makes him feel that, even though he is ill, he is still a contributing member of society.
Encourage your child to be a "Santa Claus. " Help him to become aware of the fun of giving and the satisfaction of making something for someone else. Remember always, however, that children are not perfectionists. An object may look crude to you and yet seem beautiful to a child. Any doting grandparent or friend will be delighted to receive a gift that represents the efforts of a person who is usually on the accepting end.
148. Gay and unusual gift boxes are always convenient to have on hand for parents. With figured cloth or paper, the child can transform even an ordinary cracker box so that it will be suitable for holding a birthday or Christmas gift. A set of several of these decorated boxes of different shapes and sizes would make a good gift in itself.
149. Most hatboxes lose the pretty look they had when they were new. Let the child freshen them up by cutting pictures of all kinds of ladies' hats from magazines and pasting them all over the old hatboxes. Once again they are a gay note in the closet.
150. Matchboxes can be decorative containers for matches or for other things. A very small matchbox, gaily covered, makes an attractive pill box; other sizes are handy containers for paper clips, thumb tacks, stamps, and many other articles used in home or office.
151. Coverings for matchboxes may be made from bright bits of wallpaper, leather, felt, or cork sheeting.
152. Any housewife would appreciate having her kitchen matchbox covered with oilcloth. It adds a touch of color and is easily cleaned.
153. There are many decorating possibilities for matchboxes. A design may be traced in glue, and while the glue is still wet, sprinkled with finely crushed egg shells, sand or even Cream of Wheat. After the glue is thoroughly dry, the material which has not stuck to the glue design will shake off easily. Small sea shells make interesting decorations as well.
154. A container for knitting or crocheting can be easily made out of a tall cylinder such as an oatmeal box.
Cover the box with fancy paper, remembering to cut and paste a strip on the edge of the lid and to cover the top of the box. Punch holes on opposite sides of the box and tie a cord into them for a handle.
155. A cylindrical ice cream container can be similarly decorated. With a hole punched in the bottom it will make a holder for string or yam. This will be useful in home or office-for the latter especially, if covered with leather.
156. If you have just one large artificial flower from last years hat, let your child take it apart. The single petals are useful, pretty decorations for gift boxes.
157. If Father smokes a pipe, how about covering a large matchbox for his desk? Paste sandpaper on three sides of the outer shell and a piece of blotting paper on the bottom. His initials cut from scraps of felt and glued to the top will finish off this doubly useful present.
158. Another good present for Dad-a gaily decorated tin coffee can for a tobacco jar.
159. Your child can make a new clothespin box by using a round coffee can. Stick clothes pins around the rim and paint. This container can be used for other household articles as well.
160. Attractive wall shadow boxes can be made from tin pie plates or shallow cake pans. Colorful felt, or another material, can be used as a background. Pipe cleaners, matches, toothpicks, etc. can be used to form the "scene. "
161. A good holder for string may be made by painting a kitchen funnel to resemble a bird's head (using the pointed end for the beak). Put string inside and hang with the wide opening against the wall.
162. Save those tin screw top covers that come on jars -when they have attractive flower pictures pasted in them and have been shellacked, they may be used as ash trays or containers for pins.
163. Glass jars or bottles decorated with paint, oilcloth, or corrugated paper make pretty vases.
164. Three olive jars bound together with raffia make a vase good for interesting flower arrangements.
165. A wide-necked jar, attractively decorated, makes a good pencil holder.
166. A convenient box for Mother's trinkets is easily made from an egg container. Reinforce the inner sections with cellophane tape. Cut off the flaps on all sides. Cover the box inside and out with brightly colored chintz. A tassel glued to the lid adds a glamorous touch.
167. Do you know a cat lover? Then don't forget that the cat and its owner would enjoy receiving a toy for the cat. All that is needed is a cork of any size and a piece of bright-colored string. Thread a thick darning needle with the string, which has been knotted at one end, and run it through the cork. (A dozen of these, packaged in a pretty box, make an amusing gift. ) If it is difficult to get the needle through the cork, heat the point of the needle with a match to make it go in more easily.
168. An attractive personalized gift for your child to make is an inexpensive wastepaper basket redecorated with an appropriate design, monogram, or picture. When Cousin Sue gets married, one of her wedding announcements would be an especially appropriate decoration.
169. Why not a cookbook for Auntie, made up of recipes clipped from magazines? Paste pictures on the left hand page, and instructions on the right. This would also make another wonderful gift for the bride-to-be.