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Holiday crafts for kids?

I'm a wanna-be Martha Stewart (the Portland version, with only one house, and with a decidedly black thumb) and, as such, I aspire to have my children doing crafts during every waking hour. Naturally this is not the way my life really works, although I *have* been able to interest them in paper chains and in anything that's epicly messy.

I've been having fun collecting assorted materials for Christmas this year, everything from felted sweaters from the bins (now cut up into a variety of scraps and largish pieces) to vintage holiday cards from estate sales. It's so Martha it kills me. Now what do I do with all this?!?!

So far I've come up with a couple of things, although the kids can't really help that much. One: these amazing, simple and fun-to-make stuffed trees from little birds [pdf link to pattern]. Two: these fun and super-quick felted leaves from Wise Craft [also inspired in part by the Martha, pdf link to leaf template]. I'm making mine in Christmas-y colors and the boys love to play with the finished product. Maybe I'll make a wreath? I'll probably end up cutting up the vintage cards for Everett to glue somewhere... Christmas cards? Ornaments?

But other than paper chains and fingerpainting, well, I can't really think of much to involve a four-year-old, much less Truman -- who's not even two. Any ideas?


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Not so crafty myself, but I love to read http://www.kiddley.com for ideas.

Hmm, I think you might have a holiday card project on your hands. Cut some cardstock to the size you'd like your cards, fold in half and let the little ones glue, paint and glitter to their hearts content. You could even use blank address labels to make a note of the year, your kids names and what each card was called or the story your little ones had for it and then stick it on the back.
Some items you didn't mention but would add a nice flair are glittery ricrac, mini pompons and stamps.
Just an idea.
Have fun!

Excellent topic; can't wait to hear more ideas. Our all-time easy-but-fun fave (since Philly was 3) is a Doily Angel: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/mshapesangel.htm

All it takes is some construction paper (fun to use silver or gold paper cut into triangles, then some cream/brown paper cut into circles for the face), and little lace doily things for wings.

Remember the year we made dolls? I think my Philly's doll is still face-less and has a hair-thinning problem. (see Crafty Plans, The Doll: http://www.cafemama.com/2004/nov/30_craftyplans.html)

I have the kids make our wrapping paper. Its just a huge thing of paper that I tape to our table and let their imaginations run wild! It also gets them excited to give gifts. We also have them paint, glue their own picture frames (small ones for the christmas trees and bigger ones for the family) pretty much we put the wood frames together and let them do the rest. we use shaped pasta that they glue on and then hand them the paint. when they are done, my husband sprays with a paint sealer/clear paint. I'm not completely sure of the product. Its a challenge since they seem to prefer to paint each other (the laughter is wonderful!) Tim (3yrs) thinks it funny to decorate Maggie (2yrs), so it can take a while for the projects to get completed. I do love that it keeps them laughing and busy for quite some time. :)

This will come off as amateur next to your superior craftiness, but here's an idea that I've used to good effect. Some of the abstract but colorful paintings that came come from preschool got cut into strips and glued onto blank cards in modern patterns. Sometimes just a single strip along the very edge did the trick. They turned out nicely, with very little effort.

Forgot to mention: another good site is Kids Craft Weekly at http://kidscraftweekly.com/.

Have a troll through 'oriental trading' [somewhere on the web]. They have quite a few kits and they're relatively cheap, or it will give you lots of ideas to adapt at home.
Best wishes

We started holiday crafting two days ago, my kids are very excited about Christmas. Here's what we've done so far:

Cut a big green Christmas tree out of construction paper. Let the kiddos decorate it with more construction paper ornaments, glitter, stickers, and of course a star.

Three paper plates stapled together make a snowman, my kids glued cotton balls all over to make him look snowy, then we added felt cut outs for a hat, eyes, buttons, and boots. Pipe cleaners made the twiggy arms and carrot nose.

Cut the center out of a paper plate and then cut some holly leaves and berries out of cardstock or construction paper. The kids glue the leaves on and then finish it off by gluing the berries on too. You can let them glitter the berries with red glitter if you want. Tie a loop with a red bow and hang it on their bedroom door(s).

I found a $5 three foot Christmas tree at the dollar store. We made ornaments from pipe cleaners, construction paper, and of course paper chains. After decorating it with a string of lights, they hung their ornaments and the little tree shines from their dresser.

Last year we made cinnamon-dough ornaments. And they (mostly!) turned out great. And ohhhh, they smelled good!

Instructions, and pics, are here:


fyi - we rolled our leftover dough into a remarkably real looking poop shape and left it on the edge of grandma's toilet seat after Christmas dinner. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING YOU DO THIS TO YOUR OWN GRANDMOTHER. I just thought you'd like to know. :)

I'm thinking we might strand some popcorn and cranberries for the tree. If we can convince the cats not to eat it that is... I've been needing to do something with the stale bag of popcorn that I thought was cheesy but is not :D

My favorite easy craft that actually looks pretty cool is making glass marble refrigerator magnets. My four-year-old and I had lots of fun searching through magazines for groovy-looking letters of the alphabet. We then glued them to the flat side of the flattened glass marbles you can get at craft stores (Collage on Alberta has a good selection). Once their dryish, you can glue on a small magnet (also from the craft store). Easy & cheap. We've even been able to grab them off the fridge to spell one of his friend's name as a last minute birthday gift.

I just did a search for easy crafts to do for a volunteer project I'm hosting for our (Portland-ites) local childrens hospital.
Here's one I found:
Craft Stick Star Ornament

Make a star pattern by criss-crossing sticks. Glue the craft sticks together to form a star shape. Glue a ribbon loop to the back of the star so you will be able to hang in on your Christmas tree.
Paint or color the star if you aren't using the colored craft sticks.
Glue on beads, buttons, jewels, and other decorative items, or use glitter glue to decorate your stars.

I'm envisioning a wall of homemade stars behind the holiday tree!

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