Now that my family has arrived for the holidays we have been watching Christmas movies, football, running out for errands and generally off our regular schedule. Sticking to a familiar routine helps my kids and stealing my daughter away from my mom for a few minutes to have some quiet time with me was just what we all needed. I got her up to the playroom with no plan at all. I looked at what we had and the time we had to do it in and this idea popped into my head. This is a simple Christmas tree craft but never seems to lose it’s magic even with older kids. Using the glitter glue was a perfect amount of shimmer without any mess.
So many of us are making big and little trips during the holidays and I thought that this word search might be useful for some of you. I know word searches are always great for plane rides , restaurant waits and even at the kids table on Christmas day. There are two ways to play depending on ability. For older children they can find the words but for younger kids the goal is to find all letters of each letter. I wouldn’t suggest doing the whole alphabet at once but you can pull this out a few times when you need a little breather and say ” Let’s see if we can find the letter g 10 times! ” it’s a little math too. Which letter comes up the most?
To print this click on this picture and print!
I didn’t plan this easy Christmas tree craft at all. I grabbed these little wooden Christmas trees off an end cap at Walmart to appease my daughter. I was zooming around the busy store looking for a specific gift that was not where one would think it would be and she was threatening mutiny from the cart. “What’s that you want a tree? Two? Don’t unclip yourself and we have a deal!” She sang to them while I finally found the obscure item and made a beeline to the check out just in time to get us home for the school bus. After we got home I looked at what we had on hand and this craft took shape.
Gather your materials. You will need little wooden trees, paint ( we used acrylic glitter and metallic paint ) , painter’s tape, some brushes ( we ended up using sponge brushes and q-tips but I had already taken my supply picture. We also used a paper punch to punch out the tape stars.
Let dry. Now hours later I am staring up at these next to their elf houses from last year and loving our growing collection. So thankful my daughter spotted them and I didn’t have the patience to do anything other than grab them to keep the peace.
We love playdough and this fine motor activity isn’t just a fun way to build and challenge fine motor skills it also naturally encourages counting, color recognition and or course pumping everyone up for Christmas. We had fun trimming our tree earlier this month and my daughter has been moving ornaments around so I knew she would be into a tree trimming themed activity. If you have Styrofoam from Christmas packages you could use that instead of playdough for the tree but we didn’t have any handy so we used this.
Gather your materials. You will need some mini ornaments ( these were found in Target’s dollar spot a few days ago), toothpicks, green and yellow playdough, a mat and a fun container for the ornaments.
Start by making a tree with a star with the playdough. Kids can do this or you can. I did it for my daughter. Make sure it’s thick enough to hold a toothpick upright.
My daughter was interested in the metallic colors trying to decide which gold tone one was rally gold and what the other one was. She ended up calling one gold and one pink-gold. I thought that was pretty accurate.
I was so pleased with how well she took to this activity. She loved it.
When they are done let them be done, don’t push to add them all. As long as kids gave the activity a great go pushing them to do more more more will only end up in a negative feeling about these little skill building activities and can result in them refusing to give the next one a try. They will have lots of must do activities while they are older when they are little I like to be a fun buffet of ideas to try instead. Leave it out if it’s something they can do independently and let them return or not return to it at their leisure. I left this out for a few hours. She was done for good though, and that’s OK.
This is more than a nativity craft for kids it’s also a lesson in shapes. My son did a similar cut and paste craft in preschool a few years ago and have always thought it would make a cute suncatcher. Well I think it does. I kept this bare bones with simple shapes that my daughter can identify and explore how when shapes work together they can make figures. We have been practicing our parts for our Church pageant and have just set up our nativity , so nativity scenes are very current around here. I was surprised that I didn’t have to help her at all. The addition of glitter didn’t just thrill my daughter they really added a celestial quality to the air in the manger.
Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in brown ( full sheet), blue, green, yellow and white. The last four colors only use a little so if you have a scrap paper bin I would dig through it and see if you have the colors you want. You will also need contact paper, glitter and scissors. A circle paper punch is optional.
Start by making your manger. You will need to fold your brown paper in half lengthwise and cut from the inside corner to the middle of the outside. Next cut the middle out so you have a frame. Peel the backing off of the contact paper and pop the manger frame on so the sticky side of the contact paper if facing up.
Start popping them on. As your child does this label the shapes for them. I asked her ” What shape is Mary’s head?” ” What shapes make up the cradle?” I don’t do this a ton because I want her to be enjoying the activity but here and there working it into the conversation. Kids don’t need to be quizzed like this to be learning about the shapes they are using. Just by using them they are learning so much.
Once all the pieces are on ( oh and I forgot to mention we used a little tape on baby Jesus’s head because my daughter wanted to place it on top of the oval body). It’s time to add glitter. Think she was happy to hear that?
BooksAll our book lists include affiliate links to Amazon.com
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown will sound very familiar to you if you are a fan of her book The Big Red Barn, which both my son and I am. I like this book but my son kept saying ” That’s not right” thinking that this was the other book. They are that similar. In this book though there is something that the other doesn’t have, most notably Baby Jesus. It’s a calm and gentle book about the birth of Jesus in a way only Margaret Wise Brown could accomplish. I would like to read it next year to my son when he can appreciate that it’s not supposed to be exactly the same as the Big Red Barn. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers alike!
Cock-A-Doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand is a really unique Christmas story. A little rooster is at the center of this book, he is so little that his cock-a-doodle doesn’t wake anyone up. He is very sad about his inability until that night he finds himself in the manger with Baby Jesus and finds his voice. It’s a simple book, with profound meanings. This is a great book for a Christan family or to read at Sunday school.
Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate is a sweet look at the animals in the manger preparing for Baby Jesus’s arrival. The animals aren’t sure who is coming but at the insistence of the mouse, they clean and prepare the manger until finally a very pregnant Mary on a donkey with Joseph by her side. The next page is probably my favorite image of the Baby Jesus image in any children’s book. Mary’s hair is down, feet bare and Joseph is protective by, the animals are watching and alert. Illustrator Ashley Wolff does a perfect job with this simple but fantastic book!