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Tasha’s Biggest Activity: Decorated Gift Bags!

This activity shows you how to create a beautiful and fun gift bag, just like the one that Tasha puts Sam’s birthday gift in in The Biggest Gift of All. You can be as creative as you want and take inspiration from the book and from your surroundings. This fun project is a chance for you to experiment with different ways of painting and decorating, creating fun different shapes and textures on the bag!

Make sure to decorate your gift bag with a parent or guardian in case you need any help. You can even both make your own gift bags and be creative together. How different will your bags look from each other? 


  • Paper bag (any color, shape, or size)
  • Paints in your favorite colors
  • Paper plates or cups to hold your paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Old ruler or a strong piece of cardboard
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Household objects that can be used to make patterns (for example: sponges, egg cartons, big leaves, old LEGOs). Explore your home or the great outdoors, and find some cool patterns!
bag with paint and streamers on side.

Step 1: Prepare your paints!

Set out your different colored paints, either in different cups or different globs on a paper plate!

Step 2: Painting!

Choose one side of the paper bag, and use your paintbrush to paint your favorite flower, a monster, a big ol’ pair of googly eyes… whatever you can imagine!

We can start by using our hands to move the paintbrush. After a few minutes, switch hands. How does the painting change? Try painting something new, but this time, use another part of your body! Can you paint with the brush between your toes? What about using your mouth?

Paint dots on a plate.

To finish, let’s ditch the paintbrush altogether! Using the paint bottles or an old spoon to leave little dollops of paint in different colors on the bag. Find an alternative “brush” to use: it can be a pine needle branch from outside to make a swooshing scratch effect, a straight edge ruler or cardboard piece that we drag down to blend the colors together…or even our own fingers!

Step 3: Let your artwork dry!

Before decorating another side of the bag, let’s make sure our creation has time to dry. Leave the bag in a safe area, such as outside in the sun or on a table, for about ten minutes! This is a great time to start cleaning up, or gathering more materials.

Step 4: Collecting new tools to decorate!

Tasha used the world around her to add to her present, and now we can too! Let’s explore what we can use in our own environments to make fun new patterns on another side of the bag.

We can find some in our own homes– how about bubble wrap? Old sponges? A loose wheel of a toy car, an empty egg carton, building blocks… 

And now let’s discover the outside, like Tasha, Sam, and their friends at the party! Can we find big leaves with patterns on the backside? How about sticks, or rocks in all shapes and sizes, or even flowers? This stage is all about exploring, so take your time finding the materials around you that can become art!

Step 5: Stamping!

Now that we have our materials, it’s time to create! Lay out your paints in different cups or on a paper plate, and use the different materials to make a masterpiece! Lay or press the materials into the paint, and then gently press them onto the bag in different shapes. 

How can we use stamps to make different shapes, or patterns, or rainbows? Are there some materials that work better than others? Why do we think that is? How can we roll, drag, smack, and layer the materials to make different kinds of effects?

Step 6: All done!

Once we’ve finished, it’s time to let the bag dry off! Make sure it’s stored in a safe place and leave it until the paint is completely dry (approximately 45 minutes)! This is a great time to start cleaning up or re–reading the book to see how different your bag looks from Tasha’s!

We hope you had so much fun trying new painting and decorating techniques to create a one–of–a–kind gift bag! You can keep it for yourself or use it to surprise someone special in your life with a present! Take a picture of your amazing creation and tag us in the post! We would love to see what you made. 

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