“Mommy, I want to do a project with you.”
This request comes from Sunshine at least once a day. She’s discovered crafts—and she’s excited to work on something. I can understand that; I used to do all sorts of crafts, from beading to cross-stitching to folk art painting to scrapbooking. However, I’m discovering that I have a very small amount of patience for doing crafts with four-year-olds and two-year-olds, whose efforts don’t quite match my perfectionist standards and usually result in big messes for Mommy to clean up.
So I’ve been searching for projects we can happily do together—crafts that match my daughters’ skill levels without resulting in lots of frustration for me. Here are some of the Christmas crafts for toddlers and preschoolers (tried and tested by my own!).
When Sunshine came home from preschool with a green-and-yellow painting, I knew exactly what we were doing with it.
I cut herart project into eight squares, which we glued onto white cards (you can either purchase these with envelopes at craft stores or use card stock to cut and fold your own cards). Then we added foam Christmas stickers to the cards—reindeer, elves, gifts. Voila! In a few minutes, we had a set of personalized Christmas cards.
I told Sunshine that this way, we could share her artwork with Grandma and Grandpa and other friends and family.
At a local craft store, we also found a kit for making foam ornaments. It had a dozen or so ornament cut-outs, string for hanging them on the tree, glue, glitter glue, and sequins. The girls happily squirted glue and scattered sprinkles until I happily put away the empty glue containers (after carefully moderating how much glue each ornament required) and gave them stickers to apply to their remaining ornaments (much less messy than glue and sequins). The glue required overnight to dry, but the sticker ornaments could be hung on the tree immediately. Plus, the foam ornaments were nice and light for hanging on the tree (or mailing to grandparents).
Beaded Christmas Ornaments
The girls have had fun with pony beads and pipe cleaners at other events, so I tried to show them how to do some Christmas crafts. They had fun, although they mostly just strung beads on a pipe cleaner to make a “rainbow” or whatever they felt like. Sunshine did attempt to make a candy cane, and strung about a dozen red and white beads before she got tired of that and began adding other colours to her strings. I got this idea from Make and Takes, who has further instructions.
I also helped Sunshine make the beaded Christmas star ornament.
These ornaments just required some pompoms (from the craft store), glue, and cardboard. I cut out shapes for the girls; they applied the glue using paint brushes (in fact, Lily was having so much fun painting the glue that she almost didn’t put any pompoms on her ornaments) and then we let them dry overnight.
To hang the ornaments, I just set the candy canes and wreaths over a branch on the tree. I glued two stars together with a pipe cleaner loop between them. This idea came from Skip to My Lou, who also added bows to her wreaths and used red cord to hang them.
Christmas Paper Chain
This idea came from my childhood. I remember the chain that my mom made with my brothers and I; for years (probably a decade after we made it), it went on our Christmas tree or hung over the windows or banisters.
So I had Sunshine make one. She was happy to cut strips of paper using my paper cutter, which resulted in thicker or thinner strips. I glued these together, though she could have also either glued or stapled them. She made her chain out of purple, white, black, and blue, because that was all the construction paper we had left, and we hung it on her bed. Children could also add stickers or cut-outs of Christmas trees, gingerbread men, starts, etc. to their paper chain.
Do you get the impression that we have a well-dressed Christmas tree? The girls have enjoyed hanging their new creations on our tree. What crafts do your children enjoy doing?