Wrapping presents with Molly (4) has been so much fun this year! The wrapping paper I bought has a grid printed on the back side which is so nice for Molly to practice cutting on. After I measure the size of sheet we need, I start cutting on one side and Molly starts cutting with her little scissors on the other side until we meet in the middle. She's also really good about putting on the tape just right. I love having my little helper; someone to take over my childhood job as "tape lady".
In the past, Molly happily crumpled and ripped the paper, hiding under it and stepping on it.... much like Ben (1) is doing as my other little helper this year! Ben's addition to the tasks however is pulling out lots and lots of tape!
After we finished wrapping, we talked about how you're supposed to say thank you and act gracious and happy when you receive a gift - no matter what it might be! Later, we played the "Wrapping Paper Game" to emphasize the lesson:
I wrapped a piece of candy for each of my kids... in about 15 layers of different wrapping paper! (This is a great way to use up those extra scraps!) As they unwrapped each layer, I had Molly AND Ben say "thank you!" and had Molly act excited about her pretend gift. At the end, they each got to enjoy some candy but the real gift is *hopefully* their smiles and thank you's as they open that classic sweater with one sleeve longer than the other from their great aunt that everyone can relate to!
Other variations of this game include wrapping up several different objects (in just one layer each). Objects should be plain things from around the house, or toys the child already has played with. It takes a real actor to be thankful for an old toothbrush or your own socks! Also, you could start with the one present in many layers - and toss it back and forth between two siblings or yourself and your child. Each player unwraps a layer on their turn and goes through the gracious thank you's and such.
A version you can play at parties with several kids is like musical chairs: wrap a prize in several layers of paper and pass it around the circle of friends while music plays. When the music stops, whoever is holding the present unwraps one layer. Play continues until all the layers have been revealed and the final person to unwrap the prize gets to keep it. If you have enough time, that person should be out and then you start another round with a new present until each player gets a prize! Just stock up on that tape!!