Green Christmas Crafts

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Today’s guest post is my Amy, who like her post explains is a mom and not really a crafter, although she has me fooled!  I love how she approached these holiday crafts for a large group and you will too. Thanks Amy for sharing ! You check out more about Amy’s adventures on her blog, Blog-o!

Crafting for a Crowd:Festive Crafts at the Winter Fair

When I signed up to run the craft room at my childrens’ school Winter Fair, I wasn’t in it for the crafts. To tell the truth, I’m not really a crafter. My problem  with crafts, particularly little kid crafts, is that they can  be pretty bad for the environment;often they involve gluing a bunch of non-recyclable things to recyclable things so you end up throwing the whole schmagiggy into the garbage. Not to mention the amount of pointless stuff that gets manufactured just so kids can glue it onto other stuff!

In truth, I signed up to run the crafts room with an agenda: I wanted to green it up. Our school is one of the leaders in the city on environmental matters and I thought our Winter Fair crafts room should reflect that. In addition to that challenge, I and my co-crafters Nancy and Tanya had to create a variety of crafts  which would appeal to children from JK (four years old) to Grade Six (eleven years old), and that wouldn’t be too messy or too expensive. Here is what we came up with.

Bows and Chains, or The Stapling Table

bows and chains

The simplest craft we offered was paper chains made out of strips of construction paper. We cut lots of different colours of construction paper into strips, and provided both staplers and glue sticks. This craft wasn’t very popular, I think because the other crafts were more glamourous (or messy). However, one mom made a nice long paper chain of her own and said it was very  relaxing!

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Also at the stapling table was our most challenging craft: magazine paper gift bows. To prepare for this craft, we cut strips about five or six inches long and wide out of magazines. (The best pages for this are pages which are mainly one colour on one side and another colour on the other.) We also cut little inch-by-inch squares from cereal boxes to  act as backs for the bows.

There are two ways to make gift bows. I call them “The Hard Way” and “The Easy Way”. Here’s The Hard Way:

1. Take a strip of magazine and fold the end over into a twisted loop. Use a dab of stick glue to stick the loop together.

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2. Turn the strip around and make another loop at the other end.

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3. Set that strip aside and repeat steps 1 and 2 for three more strips.

4. Stack the four completed strips on top of each other, angling them to get a full bow. Staple or glue the whole thing to a cereal-box square.
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Here’s The Easy Way:

1. Take a strip of magazine and join it into a loop. Bring the middle  of the loop together into a figure 8. You can staple this now, or just hold on to it, depending how dexterous you are.

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2. Get another strip of magazine, join it into a loop and bring the middle of the loop together as above. Put the two loops together  in the middle to make a +. You can stop at this point and staple the + to a piece of card to make a very minimal, chic bow, or continue…

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3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second +, then join the two together at an angle to make a fancier bow.

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These bows look great, but they would look even better if you could figure out a way to finish the middle of them. We were experimenting with  gluing a little loop in the middle on top of the staples. Perhaps you could stick a sticker over the staples, or it might be nice if you made them with coloured staples.

Cards

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We set up two tables for the children to make cards. At one table we provided small, deckle-edge cards along with crayons and watercolour paint. We drew simple holiday designs on some cards, and left the others plain. Some of the kids coloured with crayons and then painted over the crayons, and some just painted. This craft appealed to all age groups: the little ones made a painty mess and the bigger ones were very careful and precise with their painting.

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The other table had larger cards, some of which we stamped with  festive designs and others left plain. We provided pencil crayons, glue and foil shapes and let ‘em at it.

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Ornaments

The last craft;my favourite;was directly inspired by this one . To prepare, Nancy borrowed a die-cutter to cut a bunch of shapes out of card stock: trees, round ornaments, dreidels and stars.

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We cut lots of coloured bits out of magazines and sorted them into baskets by colour. We also cut out interesting little pictures, like animals and bugs, and cool patterns, as we came across them.collage5

Our little crafters stuck on the bits of magazine using stick glue, and then a helper trimmed any overhanging bits from the edges…collage9

And voila!collage11

This craft, as Allie says, works equally well for little kids and bigger ones. Little ones love the gluing and the sense of accomplishment, older kids like experimenting with colour and texture and combining images in unexpected ways.

In the end the Craft Room was a big success: everyone who came in, big and small,  left with a craft which they enjoyed making and were proud of. We managed to reuse a lot of stuff, and most of the things we bought,  like recycled paper and cardstock, and woodless pencils,  were easy on the earth. And even I appreciate crafting a little more! Maybe I will make some bows for my Christmas packages.

Nest Egg Ornament

Nest Christmas OrnamentMy original idea for this was to have it closed and have jingle bells inside , but I was concerned that if it broke the jingle bells could be a safety hazard. So I went back to the chalk board and decided to cut one side open and make a home for one of my favorite little bird ornaments that is getting old and needs a comfy place to rest. This is not nearly as hard as it looks but it’s finiky and would frustrate young kids, which is why it’s a naptime creation for older kids or adults to do while preschoolers snooze!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need yarn, glue, a dish, water, a balloon, some cotton balls , scissors , ribbon and your ornament of choice.Nest Ornament
  2. Start by blowing up your balloon a little, and tie it.Nest Ornament
  3. Mix your glue in a dish with some water. It’s about 4/5th glue 1/5th water.Nest Ornament
  4. Cut your yarn into manageable pieces.Nest Ornament
  5. Drench your yarn in the glue and wrap it around your balloon.Nest Ornament Nest Ornament
  6. Let dry- I clip it to a wire hanger and hang it over my utility sink.  I dried mine for a few days.
  7. Pop the balloon and pull it from the yarn .Nest Ornament
  8. Cut an opening in the yarn.Nest Ornament
  9. Add cotton balls.Nest Ornament
  10. Glue your ornament on.Nest Ornament
  11. Add ribbon.Nest Ornament
  12. Hang on your tree.Nest Christmas Ornament

Books

One Little Chicken: A Counting Book by David Elliot was a great library find. You count chickens as they dance all different styles, my favorite being the chickens who dance the hula ! The rhyming text is really fun and the pictures will make you giggle, I mean there are chickens in leotards doing ballet! Totally tickled my funny bone. The best part though is that it gets the reader involved after counting to ten, the chickens turn the tables stare at the reader and implore them to dance!  One of my new favorite counting books.

Birds by Kevin Henkes , illustrated by Laura Dronzek is stunning. I love this author but this book is absolutely about the pictures. The cover is beautiful but there are pages that I just wanted to look at the way I look at paintings at a museum. The book is perfect for toddlers and young preschooler, it’s non fiction , simple and has a great flow. The colors are so vibrant I would bet that infants would dig it too! Awesome awesome awesome!

Owl Babiesby Martin Waddell was an instant hit with my son. I knew it would be, much like little Bill the smallest of the three baby owls my son is fond of saying “I want my mommy”. The three birds are distraught when they discover mama owl is not there. I love how they huddle together, and think a lot before mama Owl returns non- challant about the fact that she’d returned. The illustrations of the owls are so expressive , which with very few facial features is impressive. Patrick Benson did a wonderful job bringing all three owl’s personalities out visually as well as making the setting ominous without being frightening to young readers. Great book!

Giant Christmas Ornament

Giant Ornament

When I asked my son what he wanted to make he said “Something big! so I grabbed some paper plates left over from his birthday party , painters tape and we were in business!  By using a spoge roller paintbrush the paint dried quickly and the tape didn’t have to stay on too long, and came off easily with no ripping. Have fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates, some painters tape, paint, glitter glue , ribbon and double stick tape.Giant Ornament
  2. Start by taping your plates. You can make all sorts of designs, don’t be limited just because we chose stripes.Giant Ornament
  3. Start painting!Giant Ornament
  4. Add glitter glue, it’s the holidays you want it to sparkle!Giant Ornament
  5. Let dry. Pull off the tape!Giant Ornament
  6. Tape the plates together , with ribbon looped at the top.Giant Ornament
  7. Hang wherever you need some holiday cheer.Giant Ornament

Books

Gemma

Happy Christmas, Gemma by Sarah Hayes is a hidden gem. The book is narrated by a preschooler, the older brother to little baby Gemma. Throughout this family’s preperations for and celebration of Christmas he notes how he does what he is supposed to and his baby sister does not.  She makes messes,  pulls the ornaments off the tree, has terrible table manners during Christmas dinner and so much more! What makes this a gem in my mind is that no one ever corrects her, these are all age appropriate behaviors and the family is loving and accepting.  Perfect for families like mine who are expecting a baby, or those with older siblings who like to boss their younger ones around and may need a reminder that babies are still learning, just like they are!

who-is-coming-to-our-house

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 insistance 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 Jospeh is protective by, the animals are watchng and alert.  Illustrator Ashley Wolff does a perfect job with this simple but fantastic book!

Kid Made Ornament !

star Christmas  ornament

I have the best readers in the blogosphere ! When I sent out a message to my facebook fans that I needed help with guest posts because morning sickness was leaving me unable to do much more than turn the tv on for my son , they flooded in! I still have more to come and I hope you have been enjoying them as much as I have. Today’s craft is perfect for our series of kid friendly Christmas ornaments.  Jessica for Muthering Heights was kind enough to share it with us , thanks Jessica!

{Super Simple Snowflake/Star Ornaments!}

This truly simple craft was originally inspired by a similar project that I, myself, made for my parents in my Kindergarten class.

{I will say, for the record, that a part of me died when I realized that it was twenty one years ago! Good grief!!!}

But *ahem,* I digress.

My daughter and I completed this project together. She is nearly three. And let it be known that she will be taking full responsibility for the wardrobe styling in the photos below.

The necessary materials are craft {ie: popsicle} sticks, Glue, dry pasta of your choice {we used Rotini}, paint {we used silver glitter paint}, and some sort of string {we used fishing line}. The paper plate pictured below is optional, for the neat-freaks among us.  Star Ornament

Step One: Using the glue and craft sticks, arrange and affix the stick in a star-like shape. star ornament

Step Two: Using the glue, arrange and affix the pasta on the sticks, as your child’s fancy dictates.

star ornament

Step Three: When the glue dries {the time lapse will depend on how heavy-handed your little crafter is with the glue}, apply the paint. Star ornament

Step Four: When the paint dries, attach the string. Hang and enjoy! OR, omit the string, and use these little beauties to adorn holiday packages! star ornament

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These ornaments are wonderfully simple, but so much fun for little hands!

Crafts Of Christmases Past

Christmas Craft for Kids

Advent Calendar
Angel Craft
Bow Christmas Tree
Candy Cane
Candy Christmas Trees
Christmas Card Holder
Five Minute Sparklers- Christmas Style
Gift Tag Ornaments
Hawaiian Christmas Tree
Mini Wreath
Noel Banner
Paper Plate Santa
Photo Ornament
Recycled Collage Christmas Tree
Rudolf
Scrap Paper Stocking
Sponge Painted Lights
Unbreakable Ornament
Wrapping Paper Patterns