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Christmas Crafts for Toddlers
It’s Christmas! Or very nearly so and the exciting countdown of the number of sleeps is on! For us ‘oldies’ who have seen it all before, it may have come around again rather quickly, but for our toddlers, last Christmas may only be a vague memory, or they may have forgotten it altogether. How beautiful to see their joy and wonderment when you take them to see the decorated shop windows? It’s a delight to share this excitement with them.
Another thing we can share with our little ones is the making of decorations. The results may not be great, but toddlers usually just love to help and it’s good to involve them in the fun as much as possible.
How to Make Paper Chains
Paper chains are simple to make and the results can be quite colorful. The easiest way is to buy rolls of ‘streamers’ – you know, those things people used to throw from departing ships.
- Decide the size you want the links to be, measure it off and cut lots of different colors all the same length. If you can make a few strips with gold or silver paper to add in at intervals, this will contribute to the sparkle.
- Take one of the strips, bend it around and glue the ends, overlap them, then press together for a moment until it is stuck. There are instructions below on how to make your own, very inexpensive glue.
- Thread another colored strip through this link, bend it around and glue the ends together. Sometimes, the thought of making a chain the length of a room is daunting and as it grows it can become rather cumbersome. It can help to make shorter lengths of chain and join them later.
How to Make Glue
Bought glue is fine but you need to be careful when making a choice as some glues have ingredients that are not child-friendly. If you want the project to be completely homemade and child-safe, it's quite easy to make your own glue.
- In a pot or saucepan, mix half a cup of plain flour with two cups of water.
- While stirring, bring to the boil and continue stirring until the mixture is clear. Make sure there are no lumps.
- If it isn’t thick enough, mix a little more flour in half a cup of water, stir it in and boil again, stirring until the mixture is clear and of a glue consistency.
- If it is too thick, add a little extra water.
- You can add a few drops of disinfectant, but if little fingers often find a mouth, it is best omitted.
- Make sure the glue is cool before using it.
How to Make Wrapping Paper
Christmas is a time of giving as well as receiving. Let your toddlers contribute to the joy of giving by decorating some wrapping-paper and later perhaps even helping to wrap some of the gifts.
- Choose strong plain paper, colored or white, or even brown paper.
- Cut it into manageable sizes.
Your toddler can decorate it with finger-painting (non-toxic paints mixed with diluted home-made glue) or handprints. Instructions for making potato stamps are below.
Smocks or an old shirt is a good idea for protecting clothes.
How to Make Potato Stamps
Potato stamps are made in a similar way to lino-cuts. They are not as durable, but easier to make.
- Cut a suitable sized potato in half.
- On the flat, cut side draw your design. It might be a star, a Christmas tree, a snowman or whatever you or your toddler would like, but keep it simple.
- Keeping the inside of your design intact, cut around the outside of the shape, paring the potato back to a depth of a quarter of an inch or less.
Your toddler can dip this in the poster paint and then press it onto the paper, randomly or in a pattern, depending on the child's age and ability. With a few colours and stamps the results can be quite creative.
More decorations can be made using paper mache. Depending on what you use for a model, you can make a variety of shapes, such as bells and small baskets for treats. A snowman can be formed over a 'sausage' balloon, blown up and tied in the middle for a waist.
- The mache is simple to make using the instructions above for How to Make Glue.
- The toddlers can have fun tearing old newspapers (the non-glossy kind are best) into small pieces. These may be put into the glue to soak a little, removed and place on a mould to make the required shapes for the decorations.
- Alternatively, the pieces of paper can be covered with glue separately and then placed on the mould.
- Overlap the pieces of paper and make sure enough have been used to make the decoration strong.
- When the object is finished, dry completely to prevent mildew forming.
- When dry, the object may be painted in bright colours.
Crafts for Children and Adults
- Children's Craft: How to Make Bookends
Instructions are given for making bookends for a children's bedroom using materials found around the home using greeting cards. Creative suggestions are also provided for other materials that could be utilised.
- How to do Brass-rubbings
Many cathedrals and churches in Britain have memorial brasses that were set in the stone floors to mark burial places in medieval times. Since Victorian times it has been a popular pastime to make rubbings of these brasses and it can be fun.
- Simple Paper Crafts for Kids
Paper crafts are a great way to improve kids' fine motor skills. The equipment is inexpensive and they can have lots of fun paper tearing, folding, cutting, glueing and weaving paper.
- Simple Handmade Greeting Cards
Suggestions for making handmade greeting cards include the use of photographs, purchased stickers and scrap-booking materials, quilling, calligraphy, sketching, drawing and painting your own. You can even make matching gift tags.
- How to Make a Tree Invitation
A Pre-Christmas tree-trimming party can be great fun, especially for children. This article gives instructions for making invitation cards for the event and is a good handcraft project for either children or adults. Handmade cards are always a hit.
- Angel Place Cards
Angel Place Cards are great for Christmas, but they could be used at other times of the year as well. The article includes a list of the materials needed and instructions on making the angels and the cards. They are fun to make.