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When I was in the classroom, I would help my students to make a DIY gift to give their parents for Christmas. I always tried to do something that was low cost and relatively easy to make at school. One of my favorite gifts was the puzzle piece picture frames. There are so many ways to personalize this and it is a great way to reuse puzzles that have pieces missing. After doing this with my daughters (good thing their grandparents don't read this blog - Christmas Gift SPOILER Alert!), I love it even more because it is totally manageable for preschoolers and toddlers but also something second graders can do and have fun with.
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Puzzle pieces (use old puzzles that you have or grab some from a dollar store)
Acrylic Picture Frames 5x7 or 4x6 size
Washable Kids Paint
Paintbrushes or Foam Sponges
Kwik Stix Paint Sticks (less mess) (the Metalix ones turned out the best)
Fine Glitter (optional)
Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Pictures of student or artwork/writing piece to put in the frame
The quantity of puzzle pieces needed depends on how big your pieces are. We used a 650 piece puzzle and the pieces were about 1 1/4" long. For a 4x6 frame we used about 25 pieces and a 5x7 frame was about 30 pieces. When I did this project with my second graders, we did a couple layers of puzzle pieces so they were really overlapping. Decide the look you want when you are estimating the amount of pieces needed.
HERE and HERE. I had a total DUH moment. Why didn't I get these out the day before? It took a little bit more time to paint each piece, but it was a much smaller mess with the same results.
I printed out pictures of the girls from our Christmas card photo shoot. Some of them I backed with colored cardstock to add more color. If you are doing this in the classroom, you could take pictures of each student with a specific backdrop or props. You could also not use a picture at all and instead include a piece of artwork, a handwritten letter or a poem. If you want to do artwork or something written, these acrylic frames also come in 8 1/2" x 11" size. Just depends on your budget and what you want your end result to look like.