Nothing screams the holidays like spending time with the kids gathered around a table putting together handmade gifts for family and friends. Grandma loves her macaroni necklaces, but doesn’t she have enough?
Switch things up this holiday season with these crafts that are easy to make with kids of all ages. Your little ones can proudly hand them out or set them up around the house for fun holiday decor. Then watch them point to the crafts with a big grin and a shout of “I made it myself!” when family visits.
1. Mini pine cone trees
Tiny Christmas trees are the perfect thing to decorate your holiday table. Bonus: These trees won’t shed needles all over the house!
Materials: Pine cones, spray paint, wine corks, scissors, hot glue gun and glue, any miniature decorations, like wooden stars, beads, spray glitter, etc.
Directions: Spray paint the outer edges of the pine cone and let the paint dry. Cut a wine cork in half and hot glue it to the bottom of the pine cone. Let the glue dry. Hot glue the star or any other decorations you like to the top. Allow the glue to dry.
2. Doily trees
Designed to look like a snow-covered pine, these doily trees add a hint of winter wonderland to your home, whether there’s snow outside or not.
Materials: Small paper doilies, hot glue gun and glue, wooden skewers
Directions: Cut two paper doilies in half and roll at least three of the halves into cone shapes, and secure the edges with glue. Thread the skewer through the tip of one doily cone until about two thirds of the skewer is visible above the tip of the cone. Glue the tip of the doily cone in place. Roll the glued section against the table to help the paper adhere. Allow the glue to dry. This example uses three half doilies, but add more for a fuller “tree.” Add the next few doily cones an inch or so above the first, and glue in place, again rolling the glued section and then allowing the glue to dry.
The trees can be added to your table centerpieces or propped up on a foam board. Just make sure the board is white to complete the snow effect!
3. Toilet paper roll snowmen
Making snowmen is a classic holiday activity. But when there’s no snow to be found, or it’s too cold outside to really enjoy bringing Frosty to life, toilet paper roll snowmen are the perfect alternative.
Materials: Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls cut in half, white paint, black paint or black permanent marker, paint brush, glue and any small decorations, such as googly eyes, foam stickers, ribbon, pipe cleaners, etc.
Directions: Paint the toilet paper rolls white, and allow to dry. Add faces with paint or marker. Now it’s time to really let your kids show off their imaginations: Let them create snowman “clothes” out of the other odds and ends from your craft box. Display!
4. Rudolph ornaments
Kids will be excited to not only create these happy-making reindeer ornaments but also to hang them on their Christmas tree, too. They make sweet little gifts for grandparents or teachers and can even be used as decorative additions on a gifted cookie platter.
Materials: Pinecones, googly eyes, pom poms, felt, twigs, ribbon
Directions: Cut a pair of reindeer ears out of felt and then glue them, along with the reindeer’s googly eyes, pom-pom nose and twig antlers in place. The last step is gluing a ribbon loop at the back for easy hanging.
5. Winter critter clips
Need a gift topper that really makes that present stand out? How about a pretty clip to hold all of your kiddo’s school paperwork together? These wintery critter clips make use of all those tiny toys your kids have lying around, and they’re useful, too!
Materials: Clothespins, hot glue gun and glue, glitter, small toys such as reindeer, snowmen, Santa, etc.
Directions: Spread a thin layer of glue along one side of a clothespin. Sprinkle liberally with glitter. Allow to dry. Choose one of the small toys to add a holiday feel. Dab glue along the bottom. Attach to the clothespin. Hold in place for a few seconds to help adhere. Allow to dry. Use on gifts, cards, the tree or anywhere things need to be clipped together!
6. Craft paper pockets
These craft paper pockets can be stuffed with small surprises, making them a fun option for the eight nights of Hanukkah, an alternative to the standard stocking or fun favors you send home with guests after a holiday meal. The pouches can be torn open like typical presents.
Materials: Craft paper or brown paper bags, needle, thread, scissors, pencil, tissue paper (optional)
Directions: Line two pieces of brown paper back to back. Cut the two pieces into shapes — you may want to draw the shapes on first, so you have a guideline to follow with the scissors. Grab a pencil, and draw a dotted line around the outer edge of one piece of your paper, leaving at least a quarter of an inch between your line and the paper’s end. Place your surprises in between the two sheets of paper (wrap them in tissue paper if they have sharp edges). Grab a needle and thread, and begin sewing up the pouch, following the dotted line. If you have a sewing machine, you can make even faster work of this!
7. Snowman gift tags
Who needs to buy expensive gift tags when your kids can make them with all the odds and ends lying around the house? Grab the scissors, and let’s do this.
Materials: Pencil, cardboard, hot glue gun and glue, construction paper, scissors, white buttons, glitter, thread or twine, hole punch
Directions: Use the pencil to draw tag shapes on pieces of cardboard, and follow the lines with your scissors. Use the pencil to draw one fat rectangle and one skinny, long rectangle on construction paper for the snowman’s hat. Glue the hat shapes and buttons to the tag in a snowman shape, with the hat near the top, the buttons below. Allow to dry. Line the hat shape with glue and coat generously with glitter. Allow to dry. Punch a hole in the top of the tag, and thread a piece of twine or thread through, tying in a knot.
8. Glitter-dipped feathers
There are few things a parent appreciates more than a quick and easy craft, and these glitter-dipped feathers are just about the quickest (and easiest) on our list. You can head outside to gather feathers or hit up the craft store, and they make a charming addition to any holiday centerpiece.
Materials: Glitter, school glue, paper bowl, feathers, large rock
Directions: Fill a paper bowl with school glue. Dip the end of the feathers in the glue, coating generously. Sprinkle with glitter. Allow to rest with glittery end hanging off a table so they will dry. To stabilize the feathers during the drying process, a large rock can be placed on the non-glued end of the feathers.
9. Cookie cutter ornaments
Homemade gifts are always a hit with grandparents, teachers, and of course your nanny. These cookie cutter ornaments are easy for even toddlers to help you make — with a little help from you — and they’ll be used again and again.
Materials: Silver metal cookie cutters in holiday shapes, ornament string or twine
Directions: Cut a 6-inch piece of ornament string. Thread through the cookie cutter, and tie in a tight knot. Ask your child to choose who gets each ornament, or let them hang them on your own tree.
10. Sled ornaments
Santa’s headed to town soon, but he’s going to need his sled. Thank goodness you’ve got some Popsicle sticks lying around, right? Time to make some sled ornaments.
Materials: Popsicle sticks or craft sticks, scissors, hot glue gun and glue, paint, paint brush, baker’s twine or other thread
Directions: Cut three popsicle sticks in half, or use three mini craft sticks. Line them up, side by side, and shift the middle stick slightly up, so it the sticks are staggered. Glue the sides of the sticks together to form the seat of the sled. Allow glue to dry. Cut another stick down to the width of the seat. Both rounded ends should be removed. Paint this stick and the seat. Allow to dry. Glue one full-sized stick, propped on its sized, on the bottom edge of the seat. Repeat on the other side. Allow to dry. Add a loop of baker’s twine or similar thread to the top, gluing in place. Hang on the tree!
11. Thumbprint reindeer ornaments
Bring Rudolph to life with the help of a little paint and little thumbprints. These reindeer ornaments double as decor and a yearly reminder of how much they’ve grown.
Materials: Solid colored ornaments, brown and red paint, black paint or a black permanent marker, paint brush, paper plate
Directions: Pour a dollop of brown paint on paper plate. Allow your child to dip the pad of their thumb in the paint (smaller kids may need a little help with this). Place paint-covered finger against ornament and hold for two seconds to allow paint to adhere. Repeat to create additional reindeer faces around the surface of the ornament. Allow paint to dry. Add antlers and eyes with black paint or permanent black marker. Allow to dry. Add a dot of red paint to the center of each face for a bright Rudolph nose.
12. Snowman treat box
Don’t throw out that old container! Re-use it to hold holiday treats and make a snowman canister that won’t melt away when the holidays are over.
Materials: Empty white plastic container (diaper wipes containers are perfect), black buttons, hot glue gun and glue, scissors, green fabric or felt, thick white paper, permanent marker
Directions: Thoroughly wash the insides of the container (especially if this will hold any sort of food). Wrap green fabric around the container, just below the lip of the lid. Where the two ends of the fabric meet, lay one over the other, allowing a few inches to hang off on each side. Use scissors to cut small slits in the ends to create “fringe” for the snowman’s scarf. Glue scarf in place and allow to dry. Glue black buttons along the front of the container. Cut white paper to fit the lid. Write a holiday message with permanent marker. Glue paper on top. Fill with treats!
13. Snowman ornament
Still feel creative and have lots of leftover Popsicle sticks? Then let the kids whip up some of these happy-faced snowman ornaments. They’re easy and cute.
Materials: Popsicle sticks or craft sticks, hot glue gun and glue, paint, paint brush, foam stickers, baker’s twine or other thread
Directions: Line up seven (or so) sticks, side by side, and then glue an additional stick vertically across them, about 1/3 the way down. Allow glue to dry. Paint the snowman’s face and his top hat and allow to dry. Then use stickers, markers or more paint to make a snowman’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Add a loop of baker’s twine or similar thread to the back and glue in place. A perfect package topper, which can be then be used as an ornament.