Posted by: Hannah | 12/20/2011

Xmas crafts for the not-crafty

Since I mentioned that I had a roster of Christmas crafts lined up for the week, I’ve had some requests for my craft ideas. Now, a disclaimer – I am NOT crafty. I wish I were, but it does not come naturally to me. So, there’s that. For page after page of freakin’ adorable and awesome craft ideas, visit my friend Lila at her blog. Some of hers need supplies I just do not have (a Cricut cutter, for example) but she has two young children and does crafts with them as well, so when you want to do something more keepsake-ish – or something to challenge older kids – pop on over and pay her a visit. Her finished products are beautiful.

Anyway, for a craft to make my list it needs to incorporate things that my non-crafty ass has hanging around the house; it needs to be quick and easy to make so it keeps the attention of four or five preschoolers; and it needs to not look entirely like crap when it’s finished as the kids take their crafts home and I know I hate getting page after page of red & blue paint smears from Ron’s preschool.

I find lots of craft ideas online, too. allkidsnetwork.com is a personal favourite because I do find when they say crafts are ‘easy’ they actually are, and the site is organized very well with the crafts grouped by holiday / topic. There are minimal pop-ups and overall it’s one of the better ones I’ve found.

This week we are:

  • Decorating gingerbread cookies. I used Nicole’s recipe which resulted in a softer, chewier cookie than I’m used to – but one that I actually like the taste of. (I hate rock-hard gingerbread. Yuck.) For an easier craft that small children can handle easily, I just covered the cookies with frosting from a can and gave each kid a dish with small candies & Smarties that they stuck in the frosting. Older kids would probably enjoy having icing in a piping bag or Cake Mate Scribblers to try out more complicated & traditional designs.
  • Making crayon ‘stained glass’. There are nice easy instructions here. Since Monkey likes to peel crayons and then break them in half we have lots of crayon ends kicking around for this craft.
  • Making salt dough tree ornaments. Good easy recipe and baking instructions are available here. That particular site recommends acrylic paint (!!) to which I say HA! and also YOU’RE TALKING CRAZY, CRAZY PANTS. If you’re worried about water-soluble paint flaking off, do what I do and spray the ornaments with a matte varnish after the paint dries. It’s an extra step but it will preserve the ornaments for longer. (I made a salt dough gingerbread man in 1989 for my youngest sister’s first Christmas. Would you believe it is still hung on my mom’s tree every year? These things last forever.)
  • Handprint and footprint reindeer. This is definitely for younger children. We will likely be  drawing the faces on because I don’t have enough red pompoms or googly eyes left for everyone.
  • Macaroni wreaths. Super-simple; cut a wreath shape from boxboard or heavy poster board. Apply glue and stick dried elbow macaroni on however you like. Once it dries, paint the whole thing green. You can add little pieces of red felt for holly berries if you like. Use red yarn or ribbon to hang it. I have a soft spot for macaroni wreaths. My sister and I each made one when we were in daycare and my mom still has them because they are basically case studies for our personalities. On mine, the macaroni is carefully arranged in anal-retentive and possibly mild-OCD rows. The paint is applied very evenly (especially when you consider I was maybe three when I made the thing.) We used red paint for our holly berries and they are all the same size and evenly spaced all around the wreath. It’s a little spooky. Whereas my sister’s has the macaroni thrown on haphazardly and the paint slopped on any old way. Hers looks fun & cute. Mine looks like many therapy sessions. Anyway, I am really keen to do this craft with my group here because I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like.

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Responses

  1. “Hers looks fun & cute. Mine looks like many therapy sessions.”

    Hahahaha! I’m impressed! Mine are past that stage now. Now they like to draw pictures of Santa getting shot by Rudolph. Should I start saving for therapy?

  2. Ooh. Thanks for the links. Lila’s blog looks lovely. Although when it comes to crafts, I am probably a lot like your sister.


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