Article by: Sarah Danielson for OurKids.net, Canada’s trusted source for camps and schools.
The holidays are a time for families to gather around the hearth – which is a nice way of saying the kids are home from school for a few weeks and will likely be underfoot and seeking entertainment at a time when you have your hands full with shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, and doing all the things that make the holidays special.
Luckily, there are all kinds of craft projects that you can devise on your own (or find on the internet) to keep your kids from bouncing off the walls. This will not only leave you free to pursue other obligations (while their hands and minds are otherwise occupied), it could also be a great way for them to make personalized gifts that they can feel proud to send off to friends and relatives. Here are a few simple crafts for you and your kids to try out:
Turning fallen pinecones into ornaments is not only easy, it’s also fairly inexpensive since the main component is free (if you live near a wooded area). Start by letting pinecones dry out, then decorate by dipping them in tempera paint or glitter mixed with decoupage glue. Add a loop of ribbon or yarn and you have your ornament. For something a bit more complex, paint the cone red, glue a white bottlebrush on the top, and add some cotton balls and stick-on googly-eyes to make a pinecone Santa.
You’ve probably seen these traditional crafts, since kids have been making them forever. They consist of two Popsicle sticks (or tongue depressors) crossed and then strung with colorful yarn. To find a diagram that shows you the exact pattern for winding the yarn, simply look online.
Instead of buying cards this year, consider having the kids make something a little more special. Use scrap paper from around the house (or look for recycled paper to be a little greener), make some copies of a recent family photo to paste to the front, and then pull out holiday stamps and stickers for your kids to decorate the cards. Friends and family will love receiving personalized cards.
Strings of Things
For kids that are a bit more mature (and dexterous) you can go old school with the tree decorations. Get some needles, thread, and a bowl of popped corn or colorfully wrapped candy to sew festive strings to run around the tree and the banister, or hang on the mantle.
Instead of springing for the shiny gift-wrap that can’t be recycled, have the kids put their own stamp on wrapping, literally. Get a roll of butcher or craft paper and some holiday colored tempera paints. Have your kids make handprints on the whole roll and then cut what you need for each gift.
With a little felt and a few decorations, your kids can make their own unique stockings. You may need to help by sewing them up, but with some fabric paint, cotton balls, and buttons they can put Santa, snowmen, or snowflakes on their stockings, along with their name so Santa knows where to put their treats.
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