This is the third in a series about enjoying the holidays with kids. Thanksgiving is this week and before you know it, we will be trimming the tree. How about adding something handmade to your holidays this year?
It is fair to say that I am on Pinterest all the time. This time of year is no exception as the anticipation of the holiday season begins. I really try to get my shopping and meal planning for Christmas done before Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy making things with my kids during the holidays. I also spend some time planning out and preparing for specific crafts so that the kids have an easy and festive craft-break afterschool.
This year, even with extra preparation, we are going to be crazy busy during the month of December. The older twins have at least one hockey tournament every weekend including the weekends before and after Christmas (I really don’t know who schedules kids’ sports on every single holiday of the year, but I have some choice words), the little twins have their pre-school Holiday Play and a holiday piano recital (I laugh a little every time I think about that one), Lauren has a two day dance workshop, and Théa is making her debut as a mouse in the Nutcracker. Phew! I’m tired and the season has not even started. Knowing that we are going to be busy has made me cut down on the usual afterschool craft time. But I’m still going to make stuff with my kids.
I try to incorporate simple crafts into the advent calendar, things that don’t take long to do but that I can set out for afterschool and the kids (including the older kids) can make during breaks from homework. Some projects we repeat from year to year, like making a gingerbread garland for the window above our kitchen sink and making gifts for friends (this year, we will be making marshmallow pops). We typically make at least one type of garland (paper straws and felt balls make great garlands, as do noodles, beads, and jingle bells) and many types of ornaments. We place a tree on the front porch, which we decorate with colored lights and all of the ornaments that the kids make during the season.
Here are some of the crafts that we are going to try this year.
We are starting off sweet with peppermint candy ornaments (1). I love how simple this idea is and think the kids will get a kick out of watching the candies melt. We may also try this technique with perler beads. Keeping with the ornament theme, we are going to try our hand at some pipe cleaner stars with pompoms and I’m hoping to get all the kids involved in crafting family angels. These felt hand ornaments (3) are adorable. The little kids can definitely trace their own hands onto felt and we might try using a needle (with initial traced onto the felt) to see how that goes. I can always embroider for them.
More sweets in the form of easy candy canes made of fruit loops (4). I’ll bet I can even talk Felix into bringing the kids some fruit loops. Did I mention that there is a reason that I put a tree on the front porch? We make lots of stuff.
How about some non-ornament crafts? We will be trying our hands at snow globes this year, for sure. Gus is obsessed. And I can’t wait to make a nativity this year. I bought an adorable, printable nativity set at Caravan Shoppe (2). The download comes with outfits for a full set of peg dolls and a supply list. You simply cut out the clothes and mod podge the clothes to wooden peg dolls. There are complete instructions (with a video) on how to make the nativity and templates for painting each of the dolls’ faces. I may have to set aside a morning to myself to make this. Gus is obsessed with snow globes and now I’m kind of obsessed with peg dolls. Look at what you can make with these! (While you are at Caravan Shoppe, check out the other mini folk and the very cool smollhouse, a foldaway doll house. I love these ideas.)
I'll be updating you on the finished products via Instagram as we go. Until then, check out this fantastic, homemade-by-my-kids decoration.
We have an envelope full of carrot noses and will be using this to play "pin the nose on the snowman" at our gingerbread party in December. I can't wait.
Next up? An introduction to Felix...
P.S. If you have older kids, check out this project by Christina Williams. Christina makes sock monsters for the Monsters and Leggings Project, which donates to children in local hospitals. This would be a wonderful advent tradition to start as a family. Inexpensive socks and a little sewing to cheer up another child? Great idea and a great tutorial.