This is a great "craft" and holiday gift for your child's teacher, a neighbor or family.
We found two coffee mugs for $5 at Marshall's and the cone-shaped gift bags for the hot chocolate (with a snowflake design) came from Michael's. This is a great craft gift to do with your child. My 9-year-old enjoyed putting these together.
* Foam, round blocks
* White foam sheet
* Gold pipe cleaner
* Brown pipe cleaner
* Tiny pom pom
* Piece of foam block
* Miniature ornament
* Glitter Glue
* Craft glue
Note: For more of a winter feel, don't apply the wings and halo.
1. Cut the foam block in a square to be about a 1 1/2 inches square. (No need to cut if you find a block the right size).
2. Draw a face on one of the white foam blocks and glue on the nose.
3. Glue the blank, white foam block to your foam base and then glue the second white foam block (the one with the face) to the first one.
4. Cut out a wing shape out of the foam sheet and then glue it to the back of your snowman.
5. Take the gold pipe cleaner and insert it into the top of the foam block and then bend into a halo shape. (Cut it to size, if necessary).
6. Cut the brown pipe cleaner into two pieces. Insert each piece into either side for the arms.
7. Attach the miniature ornament to one of
* A wooden clothespin
* Pair of googly eyes
* Pom Pom (red preferred)
* Festive Foam stickers (we used a wreath and bow)
* Holiday Light string or similar (used for miniature trees)
* Glitter Glue and a paint brush (optional)
This is a very simple and inexpensive craft that can be done with young kids (as long as they don't try to eat the supplies).
1. Glue the eyes and pom pom nose to the clothespin.
2. Attach the clothespin to your wreath with glue if it's not a sticker.
3. Attach the bow to your wreath.
4. Wrap the decorative string around the "antlers" of your reindeer. Apply small amounts of glue to the antlers so the string will stick to some parts of the clothespin.
5. For some extra sparkle, spread some glitter glue on the antlers and face.
6. Place your festive reindeer in a prominent location and enjoy!
* Piece of paper or card stock (white is best) - you might need a few pieces
* Craft paint (gold for wings and halo, other colors optional)
* Sponges (get a bunch from a Dollar Store)
* Paper Plates
* A few disposable rags or lots of paper towels
Note: I did this craft with my 5-year-old which I think is the ideal minimum age. If you try this with a younger child, I would recommend at least two adults help with this craft.
This craft, based on a project in The Usborne Big Book of Playtime Activities, can be messy and a little time consuming but it is worth the effort and makes a great keepsake.
1. Start with the "body" of the angel and apply your paint color to a paper plate. My daughter chose pink.
2. Rub the sponge on the plate and wipe off some excess and then place your child's hand on the sponge to apply the paint to his or her hand (this is like having a large ink pad).
3. Firmly place your child's painted hand in the center of the paper. If you don't get it right the first time, try again with a new piece.
4. Let the "body" dry for a few minutes; take this time to wipe off the excess paint.
(Note: You could do the wings first to prevent multiple hand cleanings, but you'd have to be pretty certain of your hand placements).
5. Assuming you've done the body hand print first, now apply your gold paint to another plate. Spread a sponge on the gold paint (You could use the other side of the first sponge but you will get very messy. For a cleaner option, rinse the first sponge or just use a new sponge for this color).
6. Press your child's hand onto the gold-painted sponge. Wipe off any excess and firmly apply the hand to the paper, slightly overlapping your "body" hand print.
7. Then apply your child's other hand to the gold-painted sponge (you may need to add some paint to the sponge). Press this hand to the other side of the "body."
8. Allow the paint to dry a little and wipe your child's hands off.
9. Rotate the paper so the fingers are pointed down.
10. Use a pale pink or cream paint (or whatever skin tone you'd prefer) and have your child finger paint a circle for the head and two finger prints for the hands. For younger kids, you can help guide them.
11. Dip your child's finger in whatever paint color you've chosen for the hair color and apply the hair around the head in a dot pattern.
12. Draw a face with your choice of colors for the eyes, nose and mouth. (A paintbrush might be best here and an adult might be needed for this part).
12. Use the gold paint and draw a halo. Small kids can use their finger or a paintbrush.
13. You can embellish the picture with other decorations such as stars which can be drawn with the finger or a paintbrush.
* Assortment of beads
* Piece of wire
* Wire cutters
Note: If you have beads with wider holes, you can use a pipe cleaner instead of the wire.
1. Thread the first bead on and wrap the wire around that bead to create a "stop" so the beads won't fall off.
2. Thread the other beads onto the wire in whatever pattern you desire.
3. When you have enough beads, twist the wire into a curved shape.
4. Bend the wire into a loop and cut any excess wire (an adult should cut the wire).
Hang from your tree, mantel or anywhere in your house.
* Piece of clear or white plastic
* Piece of white garland material
* Decorative garland (the kind for miniature trees)
* A miniature ornament for tree topper (we used an angel)
* Pencil or marker
* Piece of ribbon
* Suction cup hook (optional)
Note: You can use a piece of card stock or cardboard instead of plastic to back your tree. We used plastic so the sun would shine through the tree for a sun catcher effect.
1. Draw a tree shape on your plastic or card stock. (Use a stencil if necessary).
2. Glue the white garland to the tree shape.
3. Wrap the decorative garland around the tree. Glue the ends to the back of the tree.
4. Attach the tree topper to the tree and glue it.
5. Tie the ribbon around the tree topper.
6. If this will be a sun catcher or window ornament,
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* A Jingle Bell (red color ideal)
* 4 white medium pom poms
* 1 small pink pom pom
* pair of googly eyes
* red piece of felt
* 1 white pipe cleaner
* small ring and piece of string
* craft glue; hot glue gun is best
Note: if using a hot glue gun, parental supervision - and parental involvement depending on the child's age- is required.
1. Glue one white pom pom to the top of the jingle bell.
2. Glue the other two pom poms to the bottom for his feet.
3. Cut the piece of felt into two triangles. Glue them to each other and attach to the pom pom head.
4. Once the glue has dried enough, bend the white pipe cleaner around the head and hat to make the hat's fur trim and Santa's beard. Cut the pipe cleaner if needed.
5. Glue on the pink nose and eyes.
6. Glue the top of the hat to one bottom corner of the hat and put the metal ring around the hat.
7. Thread the string through the hole and tie in a knot. Your Jingle Bell Santa is now read to be hung from your tree or elsewhere or it can be worn as a festive necklace.
Items Needed* Clay that can be baked (color optional; amount depends on the size of the hand) - note alternate materials below
* Baking pan
* Tin foil
* Clay knife or similar utensil
* Rolling pin for clay
* Depending on your child's age, an additional adult can be helpful
* Ribbon if you want it to be an ornament
* Access to an oven
It's not terribly expensive to buy a hand print ornament kit (the average price is $10), but you can do it for a fraction of the cost on your own, especially if you want to make more than one. In addition to making a hand print ornament as a gift for the grandparents (great for your baby's first Christmas) you can make your own hand print keepsakes inexpensively as your child grows.
Knead the clay and then roll it out onto your pan. I've done this several times so I actually have an old baking pan I use specifically for baking clay items. If you don't have a pan like that, then line it with tin foil and place your clay to be baked on top of that.
Roll the clay out to about 1/4 inch thick or so. You can make it a little thicker if in doubt. Roll out enough to have space around your child's hand. Sometimes if you flip it over the underside is smoother looking. Then have your child place - or help them place - their hand roughly in the center of the clay and push down. If the child is 3 or younger, you'll want to try and hold their hand down for a few seconds and gently push each digit into the clay just to be sure you get a full impression (of course your child's age, squirm factor and general attitude will play a large part). Then try to pull your child's hand straight out (note some younger kids will instinctively curl their fingers so pulling the hand back quickly helps avoid this).
If you don't like the impression, pull it off the pan, roll it into a ball and re-roll it for another try. If you do like it, then cut away any excess clay with the knife to make it a circular or oval shape. You can also use a clay tool or even a push pin to carve your child's name and/or the year. Also use the knife or clay tool to cut a small hole in the top for your ribbon later.
Cook it in your oven to the temp and time frame recommended on the clay package. Once it's cooled, tie your ribbon.
For an extra creative boost, wrap your gift in hand print paper.
Other tips and ideas:
* If you want to have keepsakes of your child's growth, buy the air-dry or baking clay in different colors and you can do their hand and foot prints at different milestones - 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and so on. At the two-year mark, I did my daughter's hand impression for that milestone, 2 1/2 and 3 years and then switched to paint hand prints as they're easier to store.
* If you use the air-dry or baking clay in colors instead of plain white, then buy at least two packs per color. I liked using a different color for each milestone (ie blue for 3 months, then green for 6 months) and as your child grows, you will need at least 2 packets (if that's how you buy the clay) for one hand or foot. You can buy white in a big box but be sure to put the excess in a zip lock bag or it could dry out before you're ready to use it again.
* You can get a shadow box to display the prints or just keep them in a nice decorative box. You can also mount them on a wall or place on a decorative shelf.
Cookie cutters for creative designs
* Cookie cutters (can use one or several)
* Paint (variety of colors optional)
* Tray or paper plate for each color
This craft was initially done by my 4-year-old daughter for Veteran's Day through the Middlesex Recreation's Pre-K Art Program. At that time, they used red and blue paint and stars but I thought this could easily be adapted for Christmas or as a general craft.
The image of the stars was done on green paper and we used green and red acrylic paint. I poured the paint into separate plates and she dipped the cookie cutter star into the paint and then applied it on the page.
She did a few different ones, experimenting with different shapes and overall designs. For the last piece, she dipped the cookie cutter into one paint color and then the next and then a third paint color before applying it to the paper. The effect was kind of neat.
Personally, I think the star and tree shapes worked the best, especially when she tried overlapping them but it's really whatever your child enjoys.
This can be a fairly quick and easy craft for you child to enjoy the holidays or for any occasion (depending on your choice of cookie cutters) and can even be a gift or stocking for Mommy or Daddy or grandparents.
Below you'll see two more options. On the left we used a white background and my daughter chose a tree cookie cutter in red and green. On the right is a green paper background and she used multiple shapes and mixed the colors. The angel and snowman look "thicker." She actually meant to do that; she placed the shape on the paper and held it there and then gently pushed it along the paper about a centimeter to create a kind of shadow effect. Sometimes it looked cool and other times it looked like a mistake. An older child might have more patience
Creative Gift Wrap
* Paint - as many colors as you want
* Brown or white craft paper (large or on a roll)
* Paper plate or tin
* Cheap sponges (optional but recommended)
I read about this idea of using a child's hand prints to make unique wrapping paper years ago and finally got around to trying it with my 4-year-old daughter. Depending on how busy your holidays will be and how far behind you are - and how patient you and your child are - you might want to try this for a few key gifts or attempt it for another occasion.
But we were brave and had some time, so my daughter and I tried it. I took a big roll of the craft paper and rolled it out onto the kitchen floor. You can do Christmas colors if you want but my daughter loves pink and purple so that's what we did.
I took pink paint and poured it into a paper plate and then took a cheap sponge and dipped it into the paint and wiped off the excess. Then my daughter placed her hand on the wet sponge before placing it on the paper. You can have your child dip their hand directly into the paint but I find that this means more paint on the hands and potentially sloppier prints.
She did pink all around the paper with one hand and then we washed her hand. Then I poured purple paint onto another plate and used another sponge. Then my daughter used her other hand and repeated the process.
I don't know whether it was the type of paint (the pink was tempera and the purple was acrylic) or she got lazier over time but I thought the pink hand prints came out better. If it was the paint, then you might want to try tempera.
This is a messy craft, but fun. Also, find a place you can easily clean whether it's putting a tarp down or using a linoleum floor like ours. I also recommend you and your child wear old clothes or depending on the child's age, have them wear only a diaper or underwear to minimize clothes clean up.
You also can do foot prints as a change of pace and if you have multiple children this is a neat way to showcase the different sizes.
I think this is a creative and unique way to wrap gifts, especially for grandparents, which is how we plan to use the paper. And they can even save some of the paper if they want.
If your child is really young and you want to do this, I'd recommend taking one hand print impression (and an ink pad might be better) and scanning it into your computer. Then just copy and paste it in a word document and print. This method would work best with smaller gifts.
Sandra K. Lee is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom with a 8-year-old princess & a 4-year-old superhero in Middlesex County, New Jersey.