My children have made Christmas decorations for the boys in their classes this year, having already made hair ties for the girls.
We used a craft kit of foam decorations which they decorated and popped into an envelope with a Christmas card.
The kids loved colouring in the ornaments, to the point that my son even coloured along the edges of some!
The kids were excited and got into the decorating before I got photos taken so I only have shots of the kit in part!
The kit made things very simple and the kids enjoyed making the decorations.
The kit contains 12 foam Christmas ornaments (three each of four designs), lengths of golden string, four small textas and some glitter glue. The packet states ’embellishments included’ and there were two tubes of glue so I thought there was something else to glue onto the ornaments – it took a little while to understand it was glitter glue and that was classed as an embellishment.
The biggest issue with the kit is the size of the textas – they were cute being so small but didn’t last well enough for my kids thoroughly colouring in the ornaments and writing messages on the back. In particular, my kids used a lot of red (on Santa’s suit and other decorations) so ended up using their own textas and pens.
But you could certainly use the kit for a quick Christmas activity or as gifts like my children have done.
My children enjoy making a small gift to put with a Christmas card for their classmates.
In the last couple of years, they have each made something different. But this year they are both making one gift for the girls and one for the boys.
The girls will be getting a Christmas hair tie made by my children.
We started with a packet of hair ties and some rolls of Christmas ribbon. Actually, what I used was like a hollow string rather than a ribbon, but any Christmas ribbon will look pretty 🙂
I cut the ribbon into lengths of approximately 20 cm.
Then we simply tied a piece of ribbon onto each hair tie, making the two lengths equal.
We then tied the ends into a bow.
I say simple, but it was more challenging for my six year old than her brother or me – good fine motor skill practice though!
The resultant pile of Christmas hair ties is very pretty and festive! And hopefully will make a number of young girls happy when they open their envelopes.
If you are looking for other ideas of things children can make as token gifts to classmates and the like, have a look at previous things I’ve made with my kids:
As I posted last Friday, I recently made some foam Christmas masks with my daughter – one of Santa’s face and one of a reindeer face.
Neither took particularly long and did not require a lot of my input, but to keep the blog post a reasonable length I separated out the reindeer mask for today.
Whilst my daughter and I made these masks, it is my husband modelling the reindeer mask in the photo here, much to my daughter’s delight 🙂
Like the Santa mask, the kit was complete and consisted of a piece of elastic and foam shapes.
It was easy to make – some fine motor skills are needed to align the pieces correctly but otherwise it is not too challenging. And my daughter loved putting on the pink ear pieces!
My daughter was intrigued when she found that the antlers were a little different to the other pieces of foam – instead of peeling off the back of the foam, the antlers just had small bits of adhesive attached. Obviously, this is so that you don’t end up with a large sticky surface above the mask!
Again, this was a simple, fun activity to do and my six year old did most of it herself. My input was mostly some attention and tying the knots (like for Santa, I poked the elastic through from the front and tied it at the back of the mask).
Now we just have to keep the masks in a nice condition so they can be word at a Christmas event or two later in the year! Are masks part of your usual Christmas celebrations and traditions?
* I purchased this set and receive no rewards (money or otherwise) for reviewing this kit – I have no contractual or business arrangements with Kmart.
I recently had a short time with my daughter when we had nothing planned so we pulled out a Christmas craft set and enjoyed making some masks.
The kit was complete – most of the decorations were foam stickers so no glue was required and allowed us to make both masks quite quickly.
We decided to make the Santa mask first – and I’ll do a separate blog post for the reindeer mask.
They are very simple to make – start with the biggest pieces, peel off the backing paper, align it on the mask and stick it down. Depending on the child’s fine motor skills, the aligning part may be challenging and need some assistance – while things not being perfect is fine for kids’ craft, any sticky bits that are not attached will remain sticky and be a magnet for dust and fluff!
The pom pom on Santa’s hat is the hardest part – there are many little bits of foam to remove and then aligning all the lines takes some skill. I would expect adult help is needed with this for most kids under 10.
Then tie on the elastic and you have a mask to wear straight away – no need to wait for glue to dry! Note to add the elastic, poke it through the holes from the front and tie it behind the beard so when it is word, you can’t see the knots and there is less force on the edges of the holes.
Once the mask is finished, there is a reasonable bit of foam left over – certainly enough to keep my daughter happy with additional stickers to make something else with!
Do you like our fun Santa mask?
It’s a quick and easy kit to have in the cupboard to pull out when you need some brief entertainment – or if you need a quick costume for a Christmas party!
If you can’t find the kit to buy, you could just buy a sheet of foam to cut out the face and then some adhesive foam to cut out the beard, hat, etc – but you may want to find a pattern for that if your drawing skills are anything like mine!
* I purchased this set and receive no rewards (money or otherwise) for reviewing this kit – I have no contractual or business arrangements with Kmart.
When I got the BHG Christmas magazine, one of the things I decided to try was the wreath made out of Poinsettias – the aim being to make it with my five year old as a fun Christmas activity.
So, I have made it and the five and seven year olds both helped a little, and I think it looks ok. Once I got it figured out, it wasn’t too hard to make but it did take some thinking as the instructions were lacking in some areas.
Ok, to make this wreath, you need a few things. In the magazine, the instructions are actually divided into two as you can just make the poinsettia flowers to hang or you can use those flowers to make the wreath.
This is the trickiest part of making the wreath and certainly is not child friendly because of the hot glue.
First step is to cut out eight tear-shaped petals and one circle for each of the seven (or nine in my case!) flowers. The pattern in the magazine needed to be made larger so I free handed it.
My hint is to cut out a few of the paper templates so you don’t have to pin the templates quite so often! I certainly folded the material in half so I could cut two at once – there are at least 56 petals to cut out!
The magazine told me to glue each petal like a cone. With some experimenting, I can tell you that you need to keep the pointed end of the petal outwards and fold the curved end over.
Then add some glue and fold over the other curved side.
It is fiddly and I had my fingers in hot glue a number of times so please don’t give this to young children to do!
The next part if much easier – glue eight curled petals onto a circle of felt. You can lay them out perfectly around the circle by doing them in pairs on either side of the circle, but I found it much easier to add them side by side when the kids helped me as they had trouble getting the points centred otherwise.
Add three dobs of hot glue in the entre of the flowers and stick a bell on each one. This my five and seven year olds did manage and enjoying.
By now, you can clearly see the flowers and my daughter called them amazing! The big advantage of the hot glue gun is how quickly the glue is set – no wasted time waiting for things to dry.
The next part is easy – lay all the flowers on your wreath, adjusting the spacing until they all fit nicely and cover most of the wreath.
One by one, hot glue a flower onto the wreath until all are in place. Then, glue a bow of the ribbon into the gap between the last two flowers. You can tie a bow then just glue it on (or glue on the ribbon then tie a bow), but I glued it into place and to form a bow so I know it won’t come undone.
Turn the wreath over and hot glue a length of string onto the wreath to form a hanging loop.
All that’s left to do now is hang it! Or wrap it to give as a gift I suppose.
Pacific magazines Pty Ltd, Eveleigh, NSW
editor Julia Zaetta
As I’m always interested in Christmas ideas, crafts and recipes, I decided to buy Better Home & Gardens‘ (BHG) Christmas special this year. And in case anyone else isn’t sure whether or not to get it, I am sharing my thoughts about it here. 🙂
Okay, so to cover the basics, it is basically the same as any lifestyle magazine (in that it has articles and recipes) but has Christmas as the sole theme. It is 145 pages long and has some beautiful images and layouts. Being Australian, it is both relevant and approachable (for instance, the recipes are in metric).
For the crafts, there are pages of pictures of beautifully made items with the instructions for making them further on in the magazine. This arrangement is pretty but a little frustrating as you try to link images with instructions and materials to decide if it is something you could make with a five year old. The same approach is used for Christmas meals and treats – the recipes are not beside the main pictures.
I haven’t yet made any of the recipes in the magazine but some in particular look delicious. And they seem as easy to use as most magazine recipes.
However, I have read through a number of crafts in detail and worked on two of them with my five year old daughter. I was quite disappointed at the degree of difficulty in using the instructions as not every step is explained and some knowledge is assumed. The instructions, and the crafts themselves, are not aimed at children – I can see the value in aiming at adults to do a ‘nice’ Christmas items, but I am also aware that kids love making things and that it is a great time for adults to make things with kids. Perfection is not the ultimate outcome to my thinking – it is the doing, the thought and the resultant price that matter.
The poinsettia wreath was particularly difficult to follow as it makes use of flowers made in another part of the magazine. Just assessing how much material was required took a while.
The little Santa bags were cute in the magazine and when we made them. Again, the instructions were not as clear as I’d have liked and I had trouble finding all the materials (so adjusted it to suit).
Throughout the magazine are various themes for decorating a house for Christmas. This includes ideas of how to add some Christmas touches, things to make, wrapping ideas and tips for setting a beautiful Christmas table.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are not many ads in the magazine – mostly just on the covers, plus a list of stockists that is somewhat generic at points.
So if you are after inspiration, just like looking at beautiful Christmas photos, are an experienced crafter after new patterns, or you want some new Christmas recipes, you may just enjoy this magazine. But it certainly isn’t aimed at young families or novice crafters.
My daughter and I made some Christmas stars for her to give as gifts to her kinder friends last year – like for my son, I wanted something other than candy canes and it is so much nicer to make something.
I was inspired for these stars by Crafty morning’s snowflake ornaments. I prefer to make stars rather than snowflakes don’t mean Christmas to Aussie kids – and I think mine look more like stars anyway!
ribbon or similar for hanging
scissors and hole punch
cut cotton buds into two pieces – uneven sizes is the aim so don’t worry about making them equal or matching sizes!
Add glue to a piece of cotton bud – I found the easiest way for my daughter was to have a blob of glue on a plate and put the pieces in the glue.
Stick 5 or 6 pieces onto cardboard with the cut ends together and the other ends spreading out to for a star shape.
Spread some glue roughly between the cotton bud pieces – close to the centre, reaching out to different lengths.
Sprinkle some glitter over the star.
This stage needs adult supervision or assistance for younger children. Cut out the cardboard around the stars – it is easier to cut roughly around each star and then neatening it up. Rounded edges look nicer, I think, but sharp corners could be effective, too.
Then simply put a hole in the cardboard of each star, thread through some ribbon or twine and you’re done! I made a little loop of the ribbon so it would be easy for the kid to hang the stars on a tree, and it also made it easy to hang a number of stars on a length of ribbon at home, too.
The stars are small and light enough that my daughter could pop them into an envelope with a Christmas card to hand out to her friends.
I made some Santas with my kids recently from a kit I had grabbed, so I thought I’d share the results as a review for anyone else thinking of getting this kit.
I actually got this kit a while ago so I can’t remember the price but I don’t think it was particularly expensive as I got it as a back up activity to do with the kids.
The materials to make six Santas were in a simple plastic bag. Most things were counted exactly (eg there were 36 ‘diamonds’ for Santa’s belt) or are cut from larger pieces of paper (we used less than half a sheet of each colour). Note we just got little jewels whereas the packet mentions holographs.
I helped a four year old and two six year olds make these Santas, so adjust my comments as need be to suit the children you have.
One tube of glue for three kids meant a lot of waiting and stretched patience – in the end, the older two went and played until the four year old had finished with the glue. Which was admirable of them and made helping easier!
In addition, there was not enough glue in the tube to finish three Santas, let alone the six the kit promises. I had more craft glue but if you were relying on the kit to be complete, it would be a problem.
The kit did not come with instructions or even an image of the individual pieces. Overall, it’s not something you need instructions for – but kids doing it alone would need help.
I realised that the belt, boots, mittens, nose, mouth and face all had to be cut out of the provided paper. I had to use the Santa cut out as a sort of template to cut out the shapes which was a bit too tricky for the kids.
Yes, a bit of glue was all over their fingers and they had trouble gluing on the pom poms (because they stuck to their glue fingers better than the cardboard!) but that’s all part of children’s craft work.
Despite a couple of disappointments, these were fun to make and we ended up with some very cute Santas. We attached them to the wall above each child’s bed where they looked really nice.
Certainly a nicer result than making these from scratch and the kit would suit a fairly wide range of age groups. So I’d say they’re worth a look if you want a Christmas craft idea or some Santas to decorate with.
As I’ve mentioned before, I usually get my kids to make presents for their grandparents each Christmas. It can be difficult finding things to make as I want it to be something the grandparents can keep and enjoy rather than just a scrap of paper with a scribble on it, and ideally it will be something at least a little bit useful!
So one year they made scented sachets as gifts.
For older children, you could get them more involved in making the bags, too.
# Some I cut in 10cm x 9 cm pieces if that fitted my material better
* To make the bags, simply fold the fabric in half with the right sides touching and sew along most of the open edges, leaving a small opening to add the filling. To trim with lace, simply pin the lace between the two pieces of fabric (so the pretty part is hidden from view as you pin and sew) and sew as per the plain bags.
To solve the issue of what my son could give to his classmates for Christmas, we decided on a card and small gift for everyone rather than trying to choose who to give a personal present to.
I found some magnets and Christmas stickers so our gift idea was found!
If you manage to get stickers and magnets exactly the same size, then all you have to do is stick on the stickers! However, the odds are you won’t be quite so lucky.
If the sticker is bigger tan the magnet, you can just take off the backing paper and attach the magnet. It will look great from the front and back but (and this is a big but!) the exposed glue surface will attract dirt and dust and soon will become messy.
The sticky surface will also make it difficult to put the Christmas magnet into an envelope or gift wrapping.
I traced around the magnet on the back of the sticker and then scored the outline. I actually prepared a pile of them before my son got involved, but older children could possibly score the paper themselves.
It was then easy for my son to peel off just that bit of backing paper and attach the magnet, leaving the rest of the backing paper in place.
That’s it – no drying time or finishing touches needed! And because they are small and light, it’s easy to just pop them into an envelope with a Christmas card and you’re done. In half a day, my son had a gift and card done for all his classmates (and writing the cards was definitely the most time consuming task!)
When I was a child we use to make egg shell Christmas ornaments for the tree. Does anyone remember these?
They were super easy to make, the worst part was blowing the inside of the egg out YUCK!!!!!
An adult usually mama would give us all an egg raw of course, we would have to be outside for the first part of this project.
We would take a small nail, and very carefully punch a hole in the top and bottom of the egg.
Then we would gently press our pucker lips against the top of egg with the hole in it. We would then blow really hard into the hole.
Usually it would take us at least three good blows to push the yolk and white out of the other hole at the bottom of egg.
Once we had that done we could go back inside, and decorate the outside of egg with paint or glitter.
Just whatever we wanted to do with it was fine. We would use thread inserted in the hole to hang our ornaments.
* Image courtesy of 123rf
I just had to share this craft idea! Being so Australian I thought it would fit beautifully on this site, too!
I helped at my children’s kinder the other day and all the children were busily making some Christmas wreaths, and loving it. I was impressed with the great results but also that they were so very Aussie, well within the children’s abilities and also so much fun to make.
Although be warned if you try this at home because it took me ages to vacuum up all the glitter afterwards!
I didn’t see this bit, but the kids were given cardboard rings which they stuck together, with a loop of ribbon sticking out one end. I think they are double to be stronger, and it makes attaching the ribbon neater.
They painted this double ring green and left it to dry.
I then was there to watch them stick on gum nuts of various sizes, along with gum leaves and even sticks if they wished.
They also had some red felt leaves (which does add colour on the green background) but I think I prefer just the gumnuts, leaves and glitter – or is that just me?
Once they were happy with their arrangement, they sprinkled glitter over the top – first letting it stick to the excess glue already on the wreaths, then adding dobs of glue where they felt more glitter was needed.
As they dried, I got some photos – I think they are beautiful Christmas wreathes, don’t you?
Once they come home from kinder, there will be one hanging with pride on our front door!