Gift a preschooler can makeAre you struggling to find something to give/make for someone on your list?   Wanting to give a handmade gift that people will really use?   In this day of heightened environmental awareness a canvas bag is a great gift.   I found  this was a project that showcased the work of   even the youngest budding artists in an aesthetically pleasing way.     Use it as the gift itself or as an eco friendly alternative to wrapping paper.

Materials to make your tote bag:

  • old cereal box to use as a “frame”
  • tote bags (pick the size and style that best suits your needs)
  • Fabric markers (we used the large brush style tips, but pick what best suits the artist who will be decorating the bags).
  • Ruler

Instructions for this preschool activity:Supplies to make preschool tote bag project

Cut a cereal box so it lies flat and  covers the entire tote bag.   (I needed one large side and the two long side flaps).   I saved the remaining large side to slip inside the tote bag so that the marker didn’t seep through the fabric.

Find an object that is the size you want for your frame of art.   I tried several bowls and boxes from my cupboard before I found my perfect fit.   It is best to choose an item you don’t mind using to trace around (ie a book would not be ideal because it is likely to end up with a little bit of marker on it).

Cut a frame sized hole in the centre of your cereal box.

Hold the cereal template over the canvas bag.   Make sure that the hole in centered on the bag.

Have a child colour a picture in the opening.     I really had to be sure to hold the template in place, but my son was quite easily able to work around my hands.

Remove the cereal box and use the chosen object to trace a black frame around the picture.   This does wonders to make the project look finished instead of chaotic as kids project have a tendency to look.

preschooler made tote bagExtras:

Talk to your child as they complete their masterpieces.   Take mental notes (or have your spouse listen in and take notes)  and after each project jot down a few bits of information.   Type up a “word from the artist” to include with each bag.

If you have the time, skills and some good solid material sew up a few of your own totes.   There is lots of great patterns out there if you enter the search term “tote bag pattern”.     Or you can hop over to for a simple pattern, clear instructions  and even an tutorial.

If you are purchasing your bags don’t forget to search for on-line coupons.   I took my husband along on one trip and then went back a second time.   We got everything needed for 40% off and it ended up costing about $5/bag (markers included).

Remember to pace yourself.   Don’t count on your child being able to crank out 14 bags in one day.   This project should a fun!!

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  1. Really when someone doesn’t understand afterward its up to other people that they will help, so here it takes place.

  2. I did an art party theme for my daughters 7th birthday. I took iron on transfer paper and did a head shot of each child on a different bag (Dollar Tree had cute bags for $1). Then each child took sharpie markers and decorated their bag and “drew”the rest of their body. I then filled each bag with a pack of gum, sidewalk chalk, home made clay, two cookie cutters. It was very fun! I also got really cut cake and printable from a site called One Charming Party – GREAT site full of ideas! Good luck! My whole idea was to give stuff that kids could use and partens would not throw away when kids are not looking. Kids who didn’t come to the party didn’t feel left out because they still got a bag and goodies!

  3. Hiya,

    Nice blog, just found from the bloggeries forum. I’ve got a young family so I’m always on the look out for ideas to keep them busy, I like this idea, kids love this sort of stuff!
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