Encouraging children to be creative helps them develop several skills as well as showing them that there is more to Christmas than going to the store to buy everything. They can make ornaments, cards and other little gifts for family members.
Children love to make things for others and for the tree. One fun project will require a bit of preparation by the adult in the home, but it is worth it. This project is decorating gingerbread men (or other shapes) with royal icing and hanging them on the tree. The cutting of shapes can also be done by youngsters by using assorted cookie cutters. In order to be able to put a ribbon through the top for hanging, use a drinking straw to make a small hole before baking.
One favorite Christmas decoration which can be made by even younger children is a red and green construction paper chain. This is an easy project and kids love seeing just how long they can make the chain. Cutting strips of construction paper half an inch by about three inches will allow for overlap and a link easy for little fingers to manage. Gluing the ends together may get a bit messy, so use water soluble glue if possible. An alternative is to use clear tape, but glue does give a nicer finish.
Children enjoy showing their creative side, so giving them a box full of markers, crayons, glitter glue and a few sheets of cardstock will have them making Christmas cards for everyone they can think of. They may require some assistance with the writing (depending on their age) but the design and decorating should be what they want.
Another neat idea for cardstock and markers is for them to make coupons for parents, grandparents or other family members. These coupons can be redeemed at any time for chores such as making their bed, taking out the trash, walking the dog or whatever they wish. It should be made clear these are “no questions asked” coupons and when the recipient wishes to redeem one, they should not dispute the fact.
Making cookies with youngsters can be messy, but it is a lot of fun. They can help crack eggs, add ingredients and stir the mix. Gingerbread and sugar cookies are great as they can also roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes before baking. Giving them an icing bag with a piping tip will help them develop motor skills and they will have fun doing it. If making drop cookies, kids can scoop the cookie dough onto the spoon and push it onto the cookie sheet. Take extra precautions when working around hot surfaces, especially when children are present. They should be made aware of the dangers of hot surfaces so there are no mishaps.
Recycling old Christmas cards into ornaments is also fun. Let children pick out their favorite part of a card and cut a three inch diameter circle. Fold the edge of each circle to make a straight edge (about one quarter of an inch from the edge) and glue together in a box shape. Add a ribbon and hang from the tree.
Children love to use their imaginations and will spend an entire afternoon creating cards, ornaments and even gifts for loved ones. Do not discourage their efforts by expecting perfection. Age appropriate activities will keep everyone happy, especially the kids.
Quick Salt Dough Recipe:
The recipe for salt dough is half, half, whole. Half a cup of salt and half a cup of water to a whole cup of flour. Put the salt and flour into a bowl, then add the water slowly to the dry mix. After about ten minutes of kneading, it should form a soft, pliant ball.
Once you have made your salt dough decorations, they need two or three minutes in the microwave to harden them up. Put them onto a layer of greaseproof paper, on a plate. If you don’t have a microwave then a really low oven will do (be careful not to actually bake them!), or just keep them in a dry place for a day or so to harden.
Top Ideas from Pinterest:
Check Pinterest for more amazing Christmas craft ideas
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