Make Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments

Make Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments

Candy cane ornaments bring some cheer to your Christmas tree. Decorate your Christmas tree with beaded candy cane ornaments made by your child. This simple but rewarding activity teaches your child an AB pattern which is taught in kindergarten and essential for learning number patterns. Her fine motor skills will get some good practice as well. Make enough for relatives and friends or attach them to holiday gifts! Make a batch of candy cane ornaments with your child this holiday season.

What You Need:

  • Red and white beads with big holes
  • Red, white, or metallic pipe cleaners

What You Do:

  1. Twist a “knot” at the end of a pipe cleaner.
  2. Ask your child what colors are on a candy cane. Tell her she will make a red and white bead pattern on the pipe cleaner. Red, white, red, white…
  3. Have her stack red and white beads on the pipe cleaner. If it helps, repeat the pattern with her as she stacks. Say “red” as she adds a red bead and “white” as she stacks a white one.
  4. When finished, twist the end again so the beads stay on. Ask the artist to bend the pipe cleaner to form a candy cane shape.
  5. Hang it on your tree! Your child can make as many as she’d like to add to the tree or give as gifts.

For extra practice, ask her to count the beads on one of the candy canes or to count the candy canes on the tree. After all this hard work, share a real candy cane with your child!

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Craft a Red Nosed Reindeer Collage

Craft a Red Nosed Reindeer Collage

Christmas is a time of celebration, but it can also provide an opportunity to learn. Regale your child with the famous Christmas story of the red nosed reindeer, and then segue into a fun paper and glue art project. Construct a portrait of the beloved red nosed reindeer with your child using shapes such as circles, rectangles, triangles, and more. This Rudolph collage will facilitate a discussion about basic math concepts such as geometry, shapes, and the part to whole relationship. Additionally, this activity can easily be used as a lesson in color recognition, the narrative process, or animals.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper (brown, red, white, black, and any additional desired colors)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Red pom pom

What You Do:

  1. First, entertain your child with the story of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer from a well-illustrated book. Ask your child to look at the illustrations, and discuss what shapes can be found in the face and body of the reindeer.
  2. Help your child cut out shapes from the construction paper to build the reindeer with. Begin with the brown paper and create a face, body, and legs. If needed, use a shape stencil or other items to trace the shapes. The bottom of a drinking cup is a good size for the head. The body can either be a rectangle or an oval, and the legs can be long rectangles. If your child can find different shapes in the reindeer, go ahead and use those as well!
  3. Help your child to cut out small shapes for the ears (triangles) and eyes (circles).
  4. Ask your child to form the reindeer by gluing shapes together on a separate piece of construction paper. For a larger reindeer, try a piece of poster board. Compare this to putting together a puzzle.
  5. Add the red nose. Your child can use a red pom pom to create a bright nose for Rudolph. Have him place a dab of glue in the middle of the reindeer’s face, and then firmly press the red pom pom on top.

Brighten Christmas morning by giving this colorful collage to a special family member or friend! Or, simple hang your child’s creation up for a festive holiday display.

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Wreath Ornament

Wreath Ornament

Wreath ornaments decorate your Christmas tree and act as a fun sensory craft for preschoolers. There’s nothing quite as special as a holiday wreath ornament made by the little hands of a child. This charming craft will give kids a chance to work out his wiggles as they mix and knead dough. They’ll also practice following directions and shape recognition, skills that are essential as they enter kindergarten and beyond. When the project is done, you’ll both have a unique ornament to treasure for many holiday seasons to come. Make wreath ornaments with your child this holiday season.

What You Need:

  • ¼ cup uncooked white rice
  • Plastic bowl
  • White glue
  • Green food coloring
  • Yogurt lid or a similar round object to use as a mold
  • Paper clip
  • Red ribbon

What You Do:

  1.  First, help your child mix the dough for the ornament. Set the rice in a plastic bowl and have him pour the glue in with the rice until the rice is completely coated. The glue should make the rice clump together and form a thick, textured dough.
  2. Have him add a few drops of green food coloring. Let him mix the color into the dough by working it with his hands. Encourage him to describe what it feels like. Is it sticky or slimy? Squishy or hard? This is a fun sensory activity in itself!
  3. Using a yogurt lid as a mold, have him press the dough inside the lid, leaving a hole in the middle. This will be the wreath. Talk to him about the shape of the wreath. What other things are circular? How many circular objects can you see in the room?
  4. Bend a paper clip into a hook shape. Then, help him press the paper clip into the dough while it is still wet. This will allow you to easily hang the wreath when it’s dry.
  5. Let the dough dry overnight.
  6. When the dough has completely hardened, help him peel the lid from the wreath. Tie a red ribbon to the hook and you have a beautiful holiday ornament!

If he wants to make more wreath ornaments, try decorating them with different colored ribbons or giving them away as gifts!

Note:When my son was  4 years old also did not like this craft, in fact I ended up finishing it after he got upset about the glue and rice sticking to his hands. I found it to be too sticky, and I even added twice the rice. It was almost impossible for him to try to shape it in to a wreath, as most of the glue and rice was sticking to him. We even tried a cookie cutter and he liked that better. After about 10 minutes, I was able to shape them correctly without too much sticking to me. Maybe a child who isn’t so sensitive to things sticking to him would enjoy this better.

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Make Glue Ornaments for Christmas

Make Glue Ornaments for Christmas

Gooey glue is the star of this holiday creation that will delight your junior artist and add original flair to your Christmas tree. The method is so simple that it’s practically genius! Give it a try and see for yourself what a perfect indoor activity it is to keep kids occupied when it’s too cold to go outside and play.

I’m sure all the children will enjoy creating their Christmas Ornament as they stick on the many colorful beads and materials.

What You Need:

  • Glue
  • Assorted beads and small trinkets
  • Ribbon, string or wire
  • Wax paper

What You Do:

  1. Lay out a piece of wax paper on your work surface.
  2. Ask your child to squeeze a puddle of glue onto the wax paper. The glue will shift a little bit before it dries so check on it a few minutes after your child squeezes it out to be sure that it doesn’t form open gaps where the wax paper is exposed within the design. It is hard to peel if there are opening pockets.
  3. Push a curved piece of ribbon, string or wire into the top section of the glue puddle. This will be the hanger.
  4. Have your child decorate the glue by placing beads and small trinkets of her choosing onto it.
  5. Keep the wax paper in a cool place for several days until the glue is completely dry. Some colored beads may bleed and stain the glue creating pretty streaks of color and adding even more visual interest to the ornaments.
  6. Carefully peel the wax paper off of the glue. Your child has created a unique ornament that everyone will enjoy touching – albeit very gently — and admiring on the Christmas tree.

Why doesn’t the glue stick to the inside of the bottle? Because glue hardens when there is a loss of water from the formula. As long as the glue is inside the bottle and away from air, it will stay fluid. When it is exposed to the atmosphere, causing the water in it to evaporate, it becomes hard. That’s why it is important to keep the cap closed so that the glue doesn’t harden or dry out.

 

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Pine Cone Decorations

Pine Cone Decorations

Pine cone decorations are fun and festive for the winter season and Christmas holiday. When autumn arrives, there’s no shortage of pine cones falling off of trees. Rather than ask the kids to rake them up and throw them away, why not turn these little cones into something beautiful and useful for the holiday mantel or the Christmas tree?

This holiday pine cone decorations craft only requires a few pine cones, some paint and glue and a few cotton balls. The result—either a whimsical mini Christmas tree or a series of ornaments—will certainly spruce up your holiday decorations. And the best part is, the kids will look forward to raking up the pine cones! Make pine cone decorations with your child to celebrate the beauty of winter.

What You Need:

  • Pine cones – various shapes and sizes will work
  • Green paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Bowls for paint
  • Craft glue
  • Silver and gold glitter
  • Newspaper
  • Sequins – various shapes such as circle and snowflakes
  • Cotton balls
  • Red ribbon (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Lay newspaper on a work surface (this could get messy!)
  2. Turn a pine cone over and place dabs of glue on the bottom. Take a cotton ball one at a time and glue them to the bottom of the pine cone so some of the cotton ball is sticking out over the edges. Voila – we have snow!
  3. If you would like to make mini Christmas trees, you need to paint the pine cones green. If you want them to look like natural trees, wait until the next step.
  4. Turn the pine cone over and let it sit on cotton balls. Pour some green paint in to a bowl and using a paintbrush, paint the cone until it’s covered in green, being careful not to let the paint get on the cotton balls.
  5. Once it’s dry, dab some craft glue on the pointy tips of the pine cone. If your cone doesn’t have any paint, use the glue more liberally all over the cone.
  6. Sprinkle glitter on the cone until all the glue is covered in glistening silver or gold.
  7. To make the trees really sparkle and come alive (or if your kids just love sequins) dab more glue on the tips of the pine cone and place a piece of sequins all around the tree. And for even more added glamor, have the kids wrap a thin red ribbon around the pine cone like a garland.
  8. When you’re all finished, either place the trees on the mantle, or tie a ribbon to the top of the pine cone and hang from your real tree. The kids have now helped you clean up the yard and made you a new set of holiday decorations!

 

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Hanukkah Gelt

Hanukkah Gelt

Hanukkah gelt is a festive treat for the Festival of Lights. Make this Hanukkah gelt even more special by creating the gold coins our of chocolate-dipped apricots! Some scholars believe that the biblical Tree of Knowledge wasn’t full of apples, which didn’t grow in the Middle East at the time, but instead held ripe apricots. This recipe for Hanukkah gelt uses the same fruit dipped in chocolate for a fun and healthy alternative to the traditional chocolate coins. This Hanukkah gelt can be given to children as a gift or used in a game of Dreidel.

What You Need:

  • 24 whole dried apricots
  • 16 oz dark chocolate (sweetened)
  • Parchment paper
  • 24 aluminum foil candy wrappers

What You Do:

  1. Melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly to make sure it never boils. If you like, you can use a double boiler, but this is not necessary.
  2. Remove your chocolate from the heat when the chocolate is completely melted – smooth and glossy, without any lumps.
  3. Dip each apricot into the chocolate so that half of the fruit is fully coated. Carefully place each apricot on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Once each apricot is dipped, refrigerate them until they are firm, for about a half an hour.
  5. To give them away as chocolate gelt, wrap each piece in a small, square piece of aluminum foil, so that they look like coins.
  6. The gelt can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or eaten right away.

Your children can give small gift bags of the apricot chocolate gelt to other children as a Hanukkah gift, or it can be used to barter in the game of dreidel. Enjoy!

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Hanukkah Menorah Shape Collage

Hanukkah Menorah Shape Collage

Celebrate Hanukkah by creating a dazzling paper menorah using simple shapes! Shape recognition skills are a basic part of your young child’s budding math development. Try this collage activity that will encourage him to identify, create, and use geometric shapes such as rectangles, squares, and triangles.

The Hanukkah Menorah Shape Collage can also be used to introduce numbers and counting. Mark each of the eight nights by adding to this very special artwork. Extend the collage building over the course of the holiday, and remind your young artist to count the candles for each night as they are added.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Optional: metallic paper or yellow/gold tempera paint

What You Do:

  1. Help your child create shape templates that will correspond with the collage. You may want to choose triangles or squares to build the menorah, and rectangles for the candles.
  2. Ask your child to trace the shape templates with a crayon. Help him identify each shape by name as you go along.
  3. Help your child cut out the shapes.
  4. Have your child build a menorah on a separate piece of construction paper by arranging the shapes together like puzzle pieces.
  5. Gently lift up each shape, and have your child glue it to the paper.
  6. Add long, thin rectangles each night of Hanukkah for candles.
  7. Here’s a safe way for your child to ‘light’ the Hanukkah candles: Have him cut pieces of yellow or gold construction paper (or metallic paper if you have it on hand), and then glue the paper flame to the top of the candle. An alternative way to create ‘lights’ is to use a small dab of yellow tempera paint.

Extend this activity over the course of the entire holiday. Discuss the significance of the menorah and Hanukkah candles with your child as he creates his own paper representation.

 

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Dreidel Ornament

Dreidel Ornament

This dreidel ornament is a fun Hanukkah craft for your child! During the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, families often play games with a dreidel—a four-sided spinning top. Make a sparkling dreidel ornament out of popsicle sticks to hang in your window, on a centerpiece, or even on your wall to give your home a festive look for eight days. Whether you’re celebrating the holiday or just learning about a different culture, this dreidel ornament project is fun to do and makes for a beautiful decoration!

What You Need:

  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Small paper plate
  • Blue glitter
  • Yarn

What You Do:

  1. Arrange the popsicle sticks in a dreidel shape. An easy way to do this is by making a “house” shape out of them. Start by taking two sticks and putting them together at a point, like a roof. Glue them together.
  2. Then glue two sticks vertically to the bottoms of those sticks, like walls holding up the roof.
  3. Glue one horizontal popsicle stick at the bottom, like a floor. It should look like a house.
  4. Finally, glue the tip of a stick vertically onto the center of the “floor” of the house-shaped sticks. Flip it over, and it should look like the outline of a dreidel! Let the glue dry.
  5. Pour a little glue on a paper plate and dip the paintbrush into it. Brush the surface of the dreidel with the glue, and invite your child to sprinkle the blue glitter over it, making sure to cover the whole thing. Set it aside to dry. After it’s dried, you can choose to glitter the other side or leave it empty.
  6. Tie some yarn through the dreidel and hang it in the window! It makes the perfect Hanukkah decoration. This project is also great for families that celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, because you can hang the beautiful dreidel on your Christmas tree!

 

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Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

This Hanukkah countdown craft will help your little one count the eight nights of the Festival of Lights. Your child can create a Hanukkah countdown calendar by drawing a menorah, and positioning egg carton compartments above each candel. As each day of Hanukkah is counted down, he will receive a small treat in each compartment of the Hanukkah countdown calendar! This activitiy is an entertaining way to build his counting skills and his anticipation for the final night of the Festival of Lights.

What You Need:

  • An empty cardboard egg carton
  • Scissors
  • Poster board
  • Stapler
  • Paint, brushes, markers
  • Small treats: gelt, stickers, tiny dreidels, coins, love notes, etc.

What You Do:

  1. Have your child draw a  menorah and candles on the poster board. Don’t forget to make one arm taller for the shamash. For reference, ask your child to look on line for a picture of a menorah.
  2. Cut 8 cups out of the carton and discard the rest.
  3. Ask your child to staple the top of the egg cups above all 8 branches of the menorah, leaving the space above the shamash empty.
  4. Invite your child to number the eggs cups from 1–8.
  5. Each night of Hanukkah, ask your child to draw or paint a flame above the appropriate eggcup.
  6. After bedtime, hide a small treat in the egg cup for your child to discover the next night.
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Thumbprint Christmas Tree Cards

Thumb print Christmas Tree Cards

Recipients will agree that these homemade cards beat store-bought, boxed cards any day. With a little guidance from parents, youngsters can create a Christmas tree using their thumb as a stamp. What a unique way to illustrate how your child is developing, artistically and physically, while sending much appreciated holiday cheer to a loved one far away!

What You Need:

  • Green acrylic paint
  • Small bowl for the paint
  • White card stock and envelopes
  • Gold star stickers, sparkle stickers or similar embellishments
  • Brown marker
  • Iridescent flakes, optional (available at craft stores)
  • Adhesive tape from tape dispenser, or glue

What You Do:

  1. First, ask your child to pour some paint into the bowl.
  2. Demonstrate how your child will stamp her thumb, drawing it on a piece of scratch paper to help your younger child visualize how the tree will look. Explain that she will start at the top with one thumb print, make two thumb prints centered underneath that, then a row of three beneath that and end with four thumb prints at the bottom.
  3. Have her dip her thumb into the paint and scrape any excess off on the rim of the bowl.
  4. Have her press her thumb onto the upper quarter of the paper.
  5. Tell her to dip her thumb into the paint again and make two thumb prints, side by side, underneath the first thumb print.
  6. Have her dip her thumb again and add three thumb prints in a row beneath the second row.
  7. Then, ask her to dip her thumb into the paint and make a row of four thumb prints beneath the third row.
  8. Have your child set the card aside to dry and make another one. Keep working in small batches until you have enough cards to send to friends and family for Christmas.
  9. Once the cards are dry, your child can put the finishing touches on the tree. She can draw a brown rectangle under the tree and color it in to create a tree trunk. Then, she can top the tree with a star-shaped sticker and some sparkle stickers for ornaments.
  10. Let the cards dry one more time and then they are ready for you to address and mail! These hand made cards are sure to spread holiday cheer to all who receive them.

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