Scrambling for holiday projects for your kids? If you feel like you are too busy, or it's too late, think again! I turned to Circle of Moms members and to some of my favorite bloggers to round up seven quick, inexpensive, and useful craft projects that are fun to do with your preschool-aged kids during the holidays. They include inexpensive handmade ornaments, easy hand and foot print creations, and a pine cone bird feeder that takes just minutes to make.
1. Foam Ornaments
Foam crafts are easy for little hands. Circle of Moms member Therese M. son's foam ornament kits from Dollar Tree ($1 apiece) that supply everything you need. Decorating the family's tree with her son's crafts not only helps him know that he's an important part of the celebration, but makes the tree "more kid friendly;" the more delicate ornaments in Therese's collection are in storage until he's older, to keep them from coming to harm.
If you want to get even more creative, you can also go with foam sheets and cut them into any shapes you like, then decorate the shapes with stickers and glitter. Foam sheets are available at many retail craft and discount stores.
2. Salt Dough Ornaments
Another Circle of Moms member, Cecilia D., shares a recipe for ornaments that bake in the oven. As she explains, all you need is cookie cutters and other ingredients you already at home, plus acrylic paint. Here's her recipe:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup warm water
Mix the flour, salt and warm water well and then add a little more flour if too sticky. Turn out on floured surface and roll to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Let the kids cut out shapes. Insert little metal hooks in the tops and then bake at 200 degrees for 1-2 hours. Turn over half way through baking time.
Cecilia also recommends "some shellac or shiny acrylic" to preserve them for years to come.
2. Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Britta is a super-creative mom, and she shares some great holiday craft and decorating ideas on her blog, made by Britta. The coffee filter snowflake caught my eye, mainly because it requires only two things: coffee filters and scissors! Your preschooler folds the filter into a layered triangle, makes very simple cuts, and then unfolds it to reveal a beautiful snowflake. Here are Britta's simple directions, with pictures for each step.
Foot Print/Hand Print Creations
I love keepsake crafts that are easy and guaranteed to provide lasting memories. Oh, and that require only three supplies: paint, a clean surface, and the appendages your kids were born with! Circle of Moms member Amanda, who blogs about hand print and foot print art projects at funhandprintart.blogspot.com, recommends using non-toxic tempera paint. She warns that acrylic paints are not only are not washable, but "dry on the hand really fast, causing the print to not turn out very well with lots of gaps."
Here are a couple of my favorites:
4. Reindeer Feet
I found this footprint design from a Texas woman after my own heart, Lindsay Stradtner, on her photo blog: life in motion. She used a white canvas as her surface, printed her child's footprints, embellished them to look like reindeer, and finished it off by hot-gluing ribbon around the edge of the canvas. I wanted to try it on paper before committing, and this is how mine turned out, using my daughter Isabella's feet. (See the picture on the left).
5. Hand Print Wreath
Circle of Moms member Stina B. shares step-by-step instructions to create a hand print wreath. This is a great project if you have a group of kids to work with. You'll need a large piece of paper, a cereal bowl, green and red washable paint, scissors, and a paper plate.
To prepare the wreath, trace around your cereal bowl, then draw a larger circle around that circle and cut out the shape just around the larger circle for now. With some scrap paper, cut out a circle to tape in the middle so when the kids paint, you can keep the center clean. Then put green paint on a paper plate.
Have the kids get paint on their hands and make hand prints all around the circle, to make the greenery of a wreath. When the green paint has dried, put red paint on a paper plate and have the kids use one finger dipped in it to add holly berries all around the wreath. Remove the scrap paper from the middle (and cut out the center if you want) and voilà, an adorable hand print wreath to decorate your home.
Stuff You Can Use, In Your Home and Outside
It's always a plus when your kids make things that are actually useful! Here are a couple of easy projects that will look great on display.
6. Santa's Belt Napkin Rings
You'll need a cardboard tube, 1 sheet each of red, white, and black felt, a gold chenille stem (pipe cleaner), scissors, and white craft glue. Follow Amanda's instructions, below, to make the napking rings:
- Cut cardboard tube into 1 1/2-inch segments.
- Place one piece of the tube onto the red felt and cut the felt just slightly wider than the tube. Wrap the felt around the tube and trim off the excess, leaving enough for a small overlap. Glue the red felt around the cardboard tube.
- Cut a strip of black felt, about 1/2-inch wide, and glue it around the red tube, lining up the seams.
- Cut two strips of white felt, about 1/4-inch wide and glue them around the outside of the red felt, overlapping the edge a little.
- Cut a 3-inch piece of gold chenille (pipe cleaner) and bend it into a square for the buckle. Glue the buckle to the black felt, be sure that the seam is on the opposite side. Let everything dry completely.
7. Pinecone Bird Feeder
This cute and easy project came from Circle of Moms member Jennifer S. It's perfect for winter time but can really be used any time of year. All you need is a pine cone, peanut butter, and birdseed: "My favorite thing as a kid was to go outside and find a pine cone, smear peanut butter on it, then roll it in bird seed. Tie a string around it and hang it outside, then watch the birds come."
What are some of your favorite holiday kids' crafts?
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