5 Unique and Meaningful Mother’s Day Gifts You Can Make for Free

A mother gives her daughter a kiss on the cheek while looking at the homemade card.
Getty Images

If you’re out of money and out of ideas for what to give mom for Mother’s Day, you may be looking for a free Mother’s Day gift idea. Luckily, moms love gifts from the heart more than anything store-bought. Here are five thoughtful gifts kids ages 2 to 72 can make from supplies you probably have around the house.

So get those creative and sentimental juices flowing.

5 Free Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Kids Can Make at Home

A Mom Book

Instead of mom filling in a baby book about a child’s first steps, first foods and favorite lullabies, create a book with questions for mom to record her experiences as a mother. You can tailor the questions to prompt memories and stories from any time in her life

  • What other names did you think of for your children but decide against?
  • What children’s books did you like reading to kids the most and the least?
  • What did we do that landed us in timeout?
  • What memories do you have of my friends?
  • Can you remember a special Christmas gift you gave me or I gave you?
  • How did you decide on what you would be called as a grandmother?

Or make the book more of a collection of memories from her whole life, not just her time as a mother.

  • What were your favorite foods as a child?
  • What games did you play with friends or siblings?
  • What did you do that got you in trouble?
  • Where did you like to go on vacation?
  • What was your first job?

Write each question at the top of a page of notebook paper. You can decorate the pages with a pattern or small design around the borders. Tie the pages together with yarn or ribbon.

The most important part of the present is to have mom answer the questions herself or dictate her responses to a “family historian” by the end of Mother’s Day. Unlike many baby books, The Mom Book must be completed to become a true treasure.

My Mom Rocks

This photo shows a pile of hand-painted rocks.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Find rocks in the yard and paint them with nail polish or leftover paint from the garage as a free Mother’s Day gift. Paint cute bugs, flowers, the sun or a pattern. Put them together on a plate on which you can paint: “My Mom Rocks!”

Coupons for Time Together (Not Tasks)

Home-made coupons have been a go-to gift for many years. But usually they are to wash the car or walk the dog. And often, the well-intended offer never actually comes to fruition. Give coupons that MUST be redeemed on Mother’s Day that offer the gift of togetherness. Children any age offer to:

  • Take a trip to the park.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Watch a movie together, her pick.
  • Go through photo albums together.
  • Go on a walk together.

Portrait Made From Found Objects

Pictured is a portrait of a man with a mustache made out of found objects.
A portrait of Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, made from found objects. He is featured in the Netflix true crime documentary miniseries “Tiger King.” Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

No drawing or painting required. Just objects. You don’t have to be an artist to create a striking portrait of yourself, your mom, your mom’s favorite celebrity or perhaps, just, an icon of the moment.

Take tips from Hanoch Piven, Israeli mixed media artist known internationally for celebrity caricatures. He barely draws a line, instead using found objects that have a connection to the person in the portraits. Broken chains form Abraham Lincoln’s beard. Albert Einstein’s nose is a bright-idea light bulb, while Barbara Streisand’s is a microphone. Bob Dylan’s mouth is a harmonica. Get the idea?

So if mom works in IT, use a jumble of old cords for her hair and flash drives for eyebrows. If mom is a math teacher, try dice for her eyes and pencil pieces forming a smile for her mouth. If she loves to read, print out titles of her favorite books to make up her eyes and mouth, and try a light bulb for her nose. Get the idea?

Not every feature has to correspond to her profession or interest. You can also incorporate sticks, leaves, candy, coins, nails and bolts. (The red rind off all the cheese that’s being consumed these days makes for a perfect mouth.)

Game on for a Custom Necklace

Make a pendant or pin using board game pieces or jigsaw puzzles pieces. If you don’t have games or puzzles at home, buy them at a thrift store for about $1 each.

Glue together two or three poker chips then glue those to a pin backing from a craft store. (You can get a pack of ten for $3.)

Then customize it:

A younger child can paint this abstract creation and sprinkle glitter on it.

  • Paint a small picture with the puzzle pieces or game pieces as your canvas.
  • Enhance with a Monopoly house and add a card reading: “Mom Makes our House a Home.”
  • Use the Clue candlestick, rope and lead pipe with a card that says: “I Wouldn’t Have A Clue What to do Without You.”
  • Add dice and a card reading: “I’m so Lucky You are My Mom.”

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer and editor in St. Petersburg, Florida, and author of the book Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps & Lessons Learned.