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Keep Those Little Fingers Busy With These Kid-Friendly Holiday Crafts

By Melissa Summers

We all know that Santa has hordes of elves to take care of the hard work of Christmas decorating and present making. I don’t have elves, and I assume you don’t either, but we do have kids, which is pretty much the same thing. So get your sweatshop work space ready — I’ve found some simple crafts that make perfect gifts and decorations that your kids can make almost on their own.

5 Kid-Friendly Christmas Crafts

1. Button Ornaments
Martha Stewart’s button ornaments are so adorable and fairly simple: Thread buttons on a pipe cleaner to make shapes, like Santa or a snowman or reindeer. These ornaments also seem like they would be fun for little hands — well, at least if the kids with the little hands were working with someone other than me because I might want to take charge and make sure everyone used all white buttons for the snowman. No, snowmen aren’t red, what are you doing? Why are you crying? Okay fine, put a red button on your snow man … just make sure it’s the right size. No, that’s too big. But maybe you’re a little more easy going and don’t mind if the ornaments don’t come out looking exactly as planned, or maybe you have older kids who kind of get the idea. Either way, these make a great gift, or a nice decoration on a package.

2. Candy Cane Vase
I like this project because it fits all my craft criteria: cute, simple and inexpensive. You will need a jar or vase and some candy canes (I prefer the stick kind, without the hook on the end) — the vase should be about as tall as a candy cane, or maybe slightly shorter. The video, below, from Better Homes and Gardens, walks you through the process of covering the vase with the candy canes. (Spoiler: It’s super easy — your kids can totally manage this project.)

A candy cane vase makes a really nice teacher gift — fill the vase with flowers or treats and maybe add a gift card to a bookstore or restaurant. I volunteer in my son’s class each week and let me tell you, teachers deserve a special gift this time of year. Something more than a just cute vase wrapped in candy canes.

3. Snowball Wreath
When I suggested to my son that we make Martha Stewart’s snowball wreath for our house, he immediately ran to grab his coat and yelled, “Let’s get some snowballs!” When I told him we’d be using pom poms that just look like snowballs instead of actual snow, he lost interest. So maybe you should avoid the crushing disappointment and just refer to it as a pom pom wreath when you suggest it to your kids. Whatever you call it, it’s pretty simple: Glue various size white pom poms onto a base made of a sturdy paper plate. Add a ribbon for hanging. The directions say this is a project six-year-olds can handle, but I think sticking pom poms onto a cardboard frame is something the under-five set can manage with grace and dignity. I mean, it’s not glitter. Thankfully.

4. Custom Stationary
I like gifts of stationery, which is good because I get at least one pack of notes for each gift giving occasion. It’s one of those things I never think to buy for myself but that I always need eventually. Using your child’s artwork to make note cards would be a lovely gift for the grandparents. You can either have your child create original artwork for this purpose, or you can have your child go through the monstrous precious stack of art you’ve been saving and choose some of her best pieces. Scan them and print on card stock, either at home or at a copy center. Tie the finished cards in bundles with a pretty ribbon or pack them in a nice little box. And you’re done!

5. Hand-Decorated Note Blocks
Like stationery, note pads make great gifts. I write an average of 21 notes a day — grocery lists, reminders to myself, notes to school, to do lists, notes to the cats asking them to please stop waking me up at 5:00 am for food (they pretend not to know how to read). I’m sure I’m not the only one who is always reaching for a piece of paper. Your kids can easily make customized memo cubes with markers or stamps, which are both things kids love to use. Have them draw on the side of the note cubes with markers (fat tips work better — thin ones will slide between the pieces of paper) or decorate them with cute colored stamps. Tie a few decorated pads together with a pretty ribbon and you’ve got a nice little stocking stuffer.

More From AlphaMom

Make a Terrarium for Your Favorite Teacher
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Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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Comments

  • God bless my mom, she used to make ornaments with me when I was a kid. She would make a dough mixture of flour, water, and salt to make a fake Play-Do, and then we’d make holiday-oriented shapes. Poke a hole in the top of each one, brush with egg yolk, and bake in the oven until they get hard (no clue what temp)(ha ha, I said “get hard”). When they are done, we’d paint them with normal kids paint, string a ribbon through the hole, and hang them on the tree. Sometimes they’d break in the off-season, but they made nice, lasting ornaments. Well, less nice, more lasting, I suppose.

  • Tina

    Very cool craft ideas. Not sure I’ll try any of them with my 3 year old, but I’ll keep them in mind.
    Your last link reminded me of this site: http://www.popularfront.com/snowdays/
    It’s a bit easier to make snowflakes with and they go towards donating money to the Salvation Army.

  • Dude, we were supposed to heat the sweatshop? I forgot about that. Mine’s an ice shop and the slaves… ummm, kids, have dripping snot icicles on their faces. Better go turn up the thermostat.
    Anyway, thanks a lot – like I didn’t already have 4,000 craft ideas planned for this season, now you added all these other cute ones. We might have to push Xmas back a few months (years) so I can get it all done in time.

  • I’m going to link to this next week–good ideas.