The Christmas period is always such a fun time for families, especially when you have little ones around to celebrate it with. There are plenty of family visits, writing letters to Santa, baking mince pies, and of course the Santa’s Grotto visits! But if you have some spare time amongst all of your other activities, there’s nothing nicer than sitting your kids down and getting crafty…
Crafts can be fantastic for keeping little minds alert and helping with hand-eye coordination, which is essential for positive growth. If your children can get creative with friends or siblings, all the better, as this type of activity is great for bonding and developing those vital social skills.
Here at Caboodle, we have gathered together ten fun, easy and safe craft ideas for you to try out on a rainy Sunday afternoon!
#1 - Stained Glass Ornaments
Decorating the tree is always a highlight for kids at Christmas time and getting them to make their own decorations really helps them get involved with the whole process.
For a really simple ‘stained glass’ effect ornament, follow these easy instructions from teachkidsart.net
You will need: black card, coloured tissue paper, string, scissors and glue or tape.
Place two pieces of black card on top of each other and fold them in half. Then ask your little one which decoration they would like to make. Some great suggestions include a tree, a bell, a star or a snowflake but feel free to get imaginative!
On the fold, cut out half of the design you wish to create. On the fold of this cut shape, cut out a smaller shape of the same design inside, with about ½ inch distance. When you open these up, you should then have two outlines of your tree, bell or whatever you decided to create.
Using the glue or the tape, fill one of these outlines with coloured tissue paper. You can use one colour or you can be creative and use lots of different ones to achieve a rainbow effect. Make sure the coloured paper stays on the inside of the shape and doesn’t peek out of the edges.
Then you can place the other outline on top with glue or tape and you have a stained glass design for the tree. All you need to do now is attach a piece of string to hang on one of the branches.
#2 - Rudolph!
Everybody’s favourite reindeer can be made in your very own home thanks to theimaginationtree.com! This one might get a bit messy so don’t forget to put some kind of placemat down on your surface.
You will need: brown card, red card, white card, finger paints, pens, scissors and glue or tape.
This is a really fun activity, but will need close supervision to keep it safe. First of all, cover your child’s hands with paint and get them to make a hand print on the brown card. It works best when the paint compliments the brown paper so make sure it’s a brown, black or white. Leave these handprints to dry, we’ll come back to them later.
Then cut out a large oval out of more brown paper - this will be Rudolph’s face.
You then need to make the eyes, so make some smaller circles out of the white paper and draw on some pupils - finish by sticking these onto the face you made. This activity is great for teaching your children about body parts as you make each of the facial features for the reindeer.
Now you need the memorable red nose, so use the red card to make another circle and stick it on to the face. You can then draw on a mouth with a pen and wait for the hand prints to dry.
When they’re dry, cut them out and stick them on Rudolph’s face as antlers!
#3 - Sparkly Small Christmas Trees
These tiny trees from play-trains.com could work really well inside a doll’s house, train set or even just beside the big family tree.
You will need: card, several pipe cleaners, scissors and glue or tape.
To begin, take the card and cut out a triangle with a rounded bottom. This shouldn’t be too large - a few inches will do. When you roll this up and tape it together, it should take the form of a cone - which will become the mini template for our trees.
All you need to do now is roll the pipe cleaner around this template, hold them for a while and then slide them off.
You can experiment with using different colours such as the traditional green or go with a frozen white. You might even want to try using several pipe cleaners and use both colours!
#4 - Thumbprint Cards
This is another craft activity from meetthedubiens.com that could get slightly messy so time to whip the place mat out again!
You will need card, finger paints, googly eyes, pens and glue.
Sending cards out to family and friends always goes down well when you add a little homemade touch. And despite the era of computers, you can still personalise them with traditional pens and paint!
To start, take a piece of card and fold it to make your Christmas card.
Now you can ask your children what they want to put on their card - a reindeer, a snowman, Santa Claus or even their favourite movie character. This will determine what colour finger paint you use - a reindeer will obviously need brown paint whilst a snowman will need white. The colour of the card will also need to contrast with the colour you use - a white snowman on white card is not going to look too bold!
Now take your little one’s fingers, dip them in paint and then make a print on the front of the card. This print will become your character’s face. When the prints are dry, add googly eyes, and draw on any accessories. Voila!
#5 - Ring the Bells!
Bells are all around during the festive period and you can include them in your crafts too. You don’t need a heap of scrap metal and a kiln to make your own bells! Try this activity from firstpallette.com instead!
You will need: paper cups, string, large beads, small bell decorations, glitter, paint and paintbrushes.
Take your paper cups and make a small hole in the bottom. Next, paint your bell to give it that Christmassy feeling. The best colours to use are traditional red and green but if you want to go all out then buy some gold or silver paint (or even some glitter if you’re not scared of the mess!)
Use the string to make a small pendulum by attaching the bead and the small bell decorations at the end. Thread it through the hole you made in the paper cup and tie a knot at the end. With a bit of luck, the bead and the bell decorations should clang together and make a small jingling sound. You might want to experiment before you buy these to see which noises work well together. If your kids are too young to do this activity independently, then get them involved by working with you and helping to choosing the more effective sounds.
Use some more string to make a handle for the top of the bell which you can use to either hang on the tree or up the walls.
#6 - Jingle Bell Sticks
You might not know what you’re getting yourself into when you make these as kids love anything that helps them to make lots of noise! But this accessory from rockabyebutterfly.com is lots of fun so you should definitely give it a go!
You will need: sticks (pencils, chopsticks, drumsticks - something along these lines), pipe cleaners, small bells and glue or tape.
Whatever ‘sticks’ you manage to get hold of, they needs to be thin enough to hold and long enough to hold a dozen or so bells. Take the stick and wrap it with pipe cleaners to spruce it up and add some colour.
Next, simply tape or glue some small bells along the stick - you don’t want the bells to fall off, so it might be an idea for an adult to use some stronger glue to hold these in place if your child-friendly glue isn’t quite up to the job.
You also need to make sure that you leave some room at the bottom so that your child’s hand has room to hold their jingle bell stick.
#7 - Cinnamon Ornaments
No Christmas tree is complete without hand-made biscuit ornaments! Here is a great recipe for some non-edible cookies to hang on the tree and if your child loves to bake, then this decoration from completelydelicious.com is perfect for them!
You will need: 1 cup of apple sauce, 1 cup of ground cinnamon and string.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix the apple sauce and cinnamon together until you get a ‘dough’ which you can mould into a ball which isn’t too sticky. You can also add some ground cloves to enhance the Christmassy smell but this is optional.
On a clean surface, sprinkle some cinnamon, as you would normally with flour. Roll out your dough until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
Now choose which shapes you want to decorate your tree with. Bells? Stars?
Cut these out and place them on the baking tray - but make sure they’re not touching. You will also need to use a skewer to poke out a hole in each of the shapes where the string will go.
They will take around 1 ½ to 2 hours to bake and will need to stay in the over until they’re rock hard. Take your string (feel free to get a decorative one or a simple plain one) and loop it through the baked decoration. Hang on your tree and enjoy!
#8 - Snowflake Decorations
With the phenomenon that is Disney’s Frozen, lots of children want themed trees and costumes this year so these snowflake decorations from poindextr.wordpress.com could easily add a touch of frost to your tree this Christmas.
You will need: white, blue or silver card, paint, glitter, hole punch, scissors and white string.
Take your card and trace a twelve point star-shape. Make sure the colour of the card is a cold icy colour. Take the scissors and cut out the shape. If you’re not happy with the colour of the snowflake, you can use paint to create a simple design in any colour. Alternatively, you can add some glitter to add a little sparkle.
Take the hole punch and make a hole in each of the points. These will act as thread points for the string so make sure they’re big enough for the string to fit through.
Take half of your string and thread through one of the holes - this will be your 12 ‘o’ clock point. Follow through and thread it through the 5 ‘o’ clock point and then the 10 ‘o’ clock point. Keep threading at internals of five until you reach 12 o’ clock again.
Repeat this process with the other half of the string, beginning at the 5 ‘o’ clock point and going to the 10 ‘o’ clock point. Keep going with internals of five again until you reach the 12 ‘o’ clock point where you should knot the two strings a few inches away from the card to make a loop. Now you can hang your decoration on your tree.
Don’t be afraid to add more glitter or more paint - be creative! You can also change the colours to golds and silvers to make a star instead of a snowflake!
#9 - Snowman Jar
This is a very cute decoration to hang on your tree from crazylittleprojects.com using some very simple materials you will probably already have laying around your home.
You will need: acrylic paint, paint brush, baby food jar, a nail, a hammer and a ribbon.
The first thing you will need to do is take your baby food jar (or any small jar) and take off any labels. Then paint the whole jar in white. It might take a few coats to completely cover it so be prepared! Whilst you’re letting this dry you can paint the lid black (if it’s not already black). This will act as a cute hat for your snowman.
When the jar is dry you can paint on the features of the face - two eyes, a carrot for a nose and a mouth.
Now is the riskier bit so make sure your children are out of the way. Grab the nail and hammer it through the lid so that you now have a hole to thread the ribbon through. Depending on the type of lid, you might not need a nail and hammer but as long as you can get a hole through the lid, then you’re set.
Take the ribbon and loop it, threading both ends through the hole. Knot these two ends together and you have a handy little handle. Screw the lid back on the jar and you have a snowman ornament!
These technique can work with any character you want to make. Maybe you want to create a Rudolph with added pipe cleaner antlers?
#10 - Christmas-Scented Play Dough
Depending on the age of your kids, you will have likely encountered the wonderful world of play dough. What about giving it a nice festive scent, courtesy of nurturestore.co.uk to go along with your Christmas candles and coffee?
You will need: a blender, a cup of salt, the zest of an orange, vanilla pods, nutmeg gratings, cloves, ground cinnamon, a bay leaf, 2 cups of plain flour, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 1 ½ cups of boiling water and food colouring.
Start with the salt and add the orange zest, vanilla, nutmeg gratings, cloves, cinnamon and the bay leaf. You will then need to blitz this in the blender until it’s all mixed together. You will begin to get the festive smell at this point and won’t be able to wait until it’s done!
Add the flour, the vegetable oil and the cream of tartar. Finish by adding the water and the food colouring. Mix this all together until it forms a nice dough to play with...
The food colouring would be great in red or green to go with the traditional festive colours - why not make a batch of both and experiment?
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Please note: Caboodle have shared these articles purely for your interest and enjoyment but are not responsible for their content. Any instructions are followed at the reader’s own risk. The Caboodle team recommends close adult supervision at all times when carrying out practical activities with young children.