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Best Children’s Holiday Craft Ideas: Kids love to work.

By Melissa Summers

I hope you’ve got that sweatshop in the basement all nice and toasty. I’ve got a few crafts you can use for your own home over the holidays and some you can give as gifts and your workers….er…children can do all the work. Make sure you look around at the sites I link to for other great ideas, I tried to pick my favorites but had to leave many great idea off my list because it was getting too long and look, I’ve got a sweatshop to run.
glassballornaments.jpgI like making ornaments with my kids to give as gifts for to attach to our wrapped store-bought gift. These painted clear glass ornament balls are fun and easy for kids to make. If you find plastic ones the process is the same but you don’t have to worry about overly excited hands breaking the ornaments.
1205_kids_buttonorn.jpgThese button ornaments are so adorable, but might not be as fun for little hands. Well, at least if they were working with me because I might want to take charge and make sure they 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 come out looking exactly as planned, or have older kids who kind of get the idea.
candy-balls.jpgCandy balls. I know it makes me laugh like a 13-year-old too but my 8 year old had no response when I mentioned them, so this is still a craft we can do together. Even though you’ll have to be in charge of the hot glue gun, kids can help place the candys on your styrofoam ball (and taste test some of the pieces for you…you know, to be sure they’re not poisonous).
kids_doorbells.jpgDoor knob doorbells could be decorations for around the house, attached to a store-bought gift or even used as ornaments on the tree. I wish Martha would give an age range for some of her projects, I can’t tell if a 3-4 year old would be able to do this. Probably, maybe just not with me….glitter? For preschoolers? Have you lost your mind?
candyvase.jpgI like this candy stick vase because it fits all my craft criteria: cute, simple and inexpensive. It would make a nice teacher gift, however, please add a gift card to a bookstore or restaurant with this little vase because I work in my son’s class each week and…uh….wow. Her patience has to pay off somewhere.
snowballwreath.jpgWhen I suggested to my son we make a snowball wreath for our house, he looked up and ran to the door for his coat. “Let’s get some snowballs!” When I told him we’d be using pom poms that just look like snowballs, he lost interest. So maybe just call it a pom pom wreath when you suggest it to your kids. The directions say this is a project 6 year olds can handle, but I think sticking pom poms onto a cardboard frame is something the under 5 set can handle with grace and dignity. It’s not glitter.
1105_sachets.jpgThis beanbag or sachet from Family Fun would be fun for older kids to help make. Do not be afraid, you birthed a child you can sew a straight line. Still not convinced? Fine, here’s a no-sew option but I still believe you can sew a straight line. I picture these made with Amy Butler fabrics, particularly this one or this one. Or with a shimmery silk like this or this. You can often find fabric remnants for half price at the fabric store, they’ll be more than enough for this project. Just promise me you won’t shove potpourri in them….try lavender buds and flax seed. Unless you’re making these for my grandmother then you’re going to want to find the most stifling scented potpourri you can find. No not that one, even stinkier. You need to smell like you own a potpourri shop and live there too.
famf69artcard_art.gifI like gifts of stationary, I get at least one pack of notes for each gift giving occasion. It’s something you don’t like to buy for yourself but you always need eventually. Using your child’s artwork to make notecards would be a lovely gift for the grandparents. You can either have your child create original artwork for this purpose, or you can go through that monstrous stack of artwork you’ve been saving with your child and find some of their best pieces. I was also thinking, if your child’s work is particularly abstract, you could use an image editor to create three or four thumbnails to put on the front of your cards, rather than one large image.
famf129memopad_memo.jpgI write an average of 21 notes a day. Grocery lists, reminders to myself, notes to school, to do lists, notes to the cats (“Please stop waking me up at 5 am for food!” They pretend not to know how to read). I’m sure I’m not the only one. Here’s a cute customized memo cube made with paint and stamps, both things kids love to use. These instructions have you making your own cube, but I’d like to think it would be easier to purchase a memo cube ready to customize because the thought of cutting all those sheets of paper makes me feel like one giant paper cut.
mousepad.jpgA customized mouse pad is another gift for the office your kids can help make. Your child can either create a collage out of images, use favorite photographs, printouts of artwork or use patterned paper to make a design on their mousepad. The construction of the mousepad requires adult help, but the design is all kid all the time.
I think that’s a good start. Tomorrow is December 1, my official start to the holidays and you know how little hands are. Slow. So if you want to have craft time before the end of the month, you’d better move along.
PS: I saw this while looking up crafts and if you need me I’ll be here obsessively cutting snowflakes and not doing a single craft with my kids. Oops.
Related Content:
2006 Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide
2007 Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide
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Kids’ Digital Cameras Reviews
Handmade Holiday Gifts To Make With Kids
Best Children’s Crafts Websites and Resources
Best Personalized and DIY Gifts
Dear Santa Letter Week: children’s stationery & resources
The Best Handmade Holiday Cards For Kids
The Holiday Open House: Five Easy Steps for Hosting
The Best DIY Advent Calendars
Complete Resource for the Best Advent Calendars

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

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


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

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  • 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:
    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.