Tape Resist – Easy Christmas Tree Craft

Christmas tree craft for kids 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. easy tape resist christmas tree craft for kids

The kids asked for stars so we used our star paper punch to make them. tape resist christmas craft

Start by taping your trees. My daughter asked for garlands which I did for her and then she added more detail. My son did a row of stars. tape resist christmas tree project

Next add the paint. Sponge on the green. Let dry. For the sake of the fading daylight I used the hair dryer for 30 seconds on each side to speed up drying time. tape resist centerpiece for christmas

Peel the tape off. tape resist wooden christmas tree craft

Add metallic details. wooden tape resist christmas treeMy son painted the edges of his tree gold while my daughter used the unpainted sections as a guide for her metallic paint. There is no wrong or right way. painting tape resist Christmas tree

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.Christmas craft for kids

Trim The Tree Fine Motor Activity For Kids

christmas fine motor activity for kids 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. Trim the tree fine motor activity for kids

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.

Invite them to play. fine motor christmas tree activity for kids

Stick the toothpick in and add the ornament. fine motor trim christmas tree

Look at that concentration! fine motor winter activities

Keep going and from time to time stop and count to see how many you have added so far. fine motor playdough activity for kids

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. fine motor christmas activity for kids

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.

fine motor fun for kids

Nativity Craft For Kids

manger craft for kids 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. sunday school craft

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.nativity sun catcher craft

Now cut out your shapes. You will need an oval and circle for baby Jesus, a triangle and circle each for Mary and Joseph, and a triangle and rectangle for the cradle. Oh and the star!nativity craft for kids

Start popping them on. baby jesus craft 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. nativity craft for sunday school

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? nativity craft

She started off timid. nativity craft for young children

But didn’t end that way.nativity christmas craft

Place a 2nd piece on top and sandwich the nativity scene. Press hard to keep all the glitter in and trim.nativity scene craft for kids

Ready for the window! nativity suncatcher craft for christmas

Books

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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!

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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.

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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!

Books About Santa

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christmas books for kids

I love Santa. My kids love Santa and nothing gets us more excited for his arrival than books. Here are some of our very favorite books about Santa to share with your kids. All books lists include affiliate links.

Babar and Father Christmas

Babar and Father Christmas  by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult I have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing .Babar books in general beg to be pre read , just trust me. In this book  Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the North Pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.

Peter Claus

Peter Claus and the Naughty List by Lawrence David. Peter Claus hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps someday. But then he ended up on the naughty list. Peter doesn’t think the naughty list is fair. He takes his dad’s sleigh and gathers all the kids on the list and bring them to the North Pole to explain to Santa why they did some of the not so nice things. One-by-one Santa takes the kids home while listening to their tales. He agrees if the kids do one nice thing to make up for a naughty thing they still might find a gift under the Christmas tree. This is a great story that realizes it’s hard to be good all the time, but that doesn’t make them bad. ‘All people do naughty things once in a while. It can’t be helped,” Santa explained. “Saying you’re sorry is what matters most.” ( review by Carrie Anne )

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Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola is a funny book about the classic family gathering. I don’t know about you but our family Christmas dinners were more comical than Norman Rockwell and I related so well to all the different family personalities, and quirks. My son thought the fact that one of Santa’s friends brought a polar bear was hilarious, but was perplexed by the absence of any elves.  I like that Santa is exhausted by his family but in the end happy he hosted such a large family gathering.  My son liked it, and loved the illustrations  but it is a longer book so take a flip through it to see if your child is ready yet.

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Oh, What a Christmas!by Micheal Garland is a sweet story about how Santa made do when the unexpected happened. As we all know reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh but when the reins break and Santa comes crashing down they are nowhere to be seen! Luckily a rag tag group of farm animals step in and save the day. The message that it’s not the reindeer but rather the magic that makes the difference is loud and clear . I like how this book can also open a dialog about how even special days can have unexpected bumps and you make do with what you have , just like Santa in this story.Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman  wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well.  The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.

How Santa Got His Job

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job.  It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty,  develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig!  There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book  jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!

Santa Duck Cover

Santa Duck and His Merry Helpers by David Milgrim is really funny. Santa duck is the duck liaison to Santa and he goes around to find out what all the other ducks want for Christmas. His younger siblings want in on the action too and start telling ducks that they can get them bigger and better gifts in an effort to out Santa Santa Duck.  Santa Duck explains that bigger and better gifts is not what Christmas is about . Christmas is about giving and sharing with your family. My son who is 6 and I both laughed at the smart alec ducks and while rude and annoying in many ways they were right when they said Santa Duck was hogging all the fun by being the only duck allowed to dress as Santa and be his helper.  Cute book !

Santa Kid

Santa Kid by James Patterson is a favorite library book in our house this year . My son inherited his love and curiosity of the inner workings of the North Pole from me and this book feeds that wonder. It also taps into something preschoolers are often seeking, power and a voice that gets heard. In the story Santa’s daughter saves the North Pole and Christmas from a corporate take over. I liked this book, and my son did too. It doesn’t focus on the religious celebration but rather on Santa and it doesn’t take a very sophisticated kid to know it’s make believe, 3 pages in my son said ” Mommy, this is a made up story right? Santa isn’t a regular Daddy, that’s silly!”  What it does is focuses on giving kids power to save something. Maybe it’s just my 4 year old but he spends all day pretending to save the day and this book spoke right to that desire to be powerful and good!

Santasaurus

Santasaurus by Niamh Sharkey is my new favorite Christmas book.  It’s perfect for all the dinosaur crazy kids and ones not even into dinosaurs will still enjoy the sweet story. Ollie, Molly and Milo are dino siblings who are getting prepared for Christmas by making decorations, eating treats and writing letters to Santasaurus. Milo asks for a trip on Santasaurus’s sleigh and on Christmas Eve he sneaks down to find Santasaurus waiting for him. I love this book because as a child I couldn’t think of anything more magical than going with Santa on his sleigh, well maybe hanging out in his toy shop, either way this brought back that wonder. The illustrations are bright , fun and add to the magical feeling of this book.

How Santa Really Works

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early in order to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides that made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories and movies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth .

hurry santa Hurry, Santa! by Julia Sykes is an okay book. I wanted to like it more than I did. The pictures are cute, the idea of Santa being late for Christmas morning has a lot of potential and the author tried but it just never gelled for me. I would still check it out from the library and test it out with your child, but I won’t be adding this to my must buy list.

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McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .

A-Small-Christmas

A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee is about as perfect a Christmas book as my son could ever read. My son is obsessed with firefighters, he rescues his baby sister all day long and the sound of sirens are pretty much a given day or night in our house. Fireman Small is a tiny firefighter that children immediately relate to because he is little. His heart is big though and so is his courage. In this installment though it’s not a fire he rushes to but Santa’s aid.  Your child doesn’t need to be as nuts about firefighters as my son is to enjoy this sweet holiday book.

What book about Santa is a favorite at your house?

 

LEGO printed wrapping paper – Easy Christmas Craft

lego print wrapping paperOn Monday we went to my son’s school book fair and while each of my kids chose a book to read right away they also chose one for each other to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree. Instead of using plain old bought wrapping paper my daughter made some using LEGO Duplo and paint.  I love how simple this easy Christmas craft is, it let her explore with abandon , mix colors ,and create something fun to give to her brother.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( easel paper works great), LEGO Duplo, a dish, paint, and painter’s tape. When it’s time to wrap you’ll also need scissors, tape and a ribbon. lego print wrapping paper for christmas

Start by taping paper to the table with painter’s tape and pouring some paint onto the dish. lego printed wrapping paper for kids

Invite your artist to come explore and make some wrapping paper. Lego wrapping paper

My daughter started slowlego painted wrapping paper but when she warmed up she was off her chair and banging the Lego down to make a fun sound on the table.lego painting wrapping paper craft

We let it dry by peeling the tape off the table and using it to hang the painting on the wall. Let dry. lego wrapping paper craft

When it’s dry trim the tape off and wrap up something special! lego painted wrapping paper craft