North Pole Play Mat

When I was asked to check out and create something festive with these Tulip Shimmer Sheets and Paints my first thought was a tree. Then this happened. My kids started playing cars together every day. I knew what I needed to make with all this glitterly goodness – a North Pole Play Mat ! This isn’t a kids craft but the end result is an awesome pretend play toy for your kids. Also who said that crafts need to be perfect? I am clearly no artists and my kids love this play mat. Here is how I did it.

  1.  Gather your materials. You will need a sheet or pillow case if you want to make a smaller play mat. You will also need Tulip Shimmer Sheets, Tulip Shimmer Paints ,Stick on jewels, glue and glitter. You will also need  a marker, scissors and an iron.Shimmer Sheets
  2. Start by drawing out the layout of your North Pole. I did this on craft paper first then laid my sheet over the paper and traced with a permanent marker.
  3. Next start adding the shimmer!  The easiest way to do this is to use the iron on  shimmer sheets . Take them out of their plastic sleeves and use the sleeve as a tracing paper. Trace the outline off of the outline already on the sheet . Slip the shimmer sheet back in the sleeve and cut. It fits right on! Iron it on following the directions on the package. So easy!shimmer sheets by tulip
  4. I also used the Shimmer Paint to make Santa’s house. I was amazed with how vibrant it was when it dried.
  5. After all the shimmer sheets were used for the toy shop, tree, elf houses and barn it was time to add some more sparkle! I used the stick on jewels for Christmas lights on Santa’s house, the toy shop and the tree as well as all over the reindeer barn.  I also used the heat set jewels to make the wreath. They were so much easier than I expected them to be. I so rarely craft with adult tools, please no kids it gets HOT.
  6. For the final touch I used some of the glitter glue and glitter for snow on roof tops and some snow banks along the road.  Let dry for 24 hours , trim the edges to make it small enough to play with and use no sew bond to hem it.
  7. And PLAY! I finished this last week and it’s been out in the center of the playroom floor since. The kids love it and have been playing North Pole daily.

Find more ideas and inspiration from Tulip on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. 

I wrote this as part of a paid campaign with Tulip and Blueprint Social . The craft idea and opinions are all mine.

Sticky Wall Christmas Tree Mural

My kids love sticky murals and this one was a big hit with my toddler. This Christmas tree craft is fun to make and the best part is that you can keep adding to it for the days and weeks ahead.Also now our playroom has it’s very own Christmas tree that doesn’t need to be watered and is safe for kids too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some green wrapping paper ( ours is glittery and awesome but messy when cut), contact paper, tissue paper in various colors , buttons ( optional) , a pencil, scissors and painter’s tape.
  2. Start by cutting out a Christmas tree from your wrapping paper.
  3. Trace onto the backing of the contact paper.
  4. Tape the tree to your wall using painter’s tape. Place the cut out contact paper on top and hold and peel. Tape it to the wall with more painter’s tape as your peel the backing off. The contact paper should be sticky side out.
  5. Invite your decorators. Give them the tissue paper and have them rip, crumple and stick it on.
  6. This was OK for my son but this activity really appealed to my 2 year old, she LOVED it.
  7. Add some buttons!
  8. Talk about colors and shapes while they work. She even found a googly eye in the button jar and added it on. She was so proud of her tree she wanted a picture with it.

Christmas Books

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson tickles my funny bone and my son thought it was funny and full of adventure too. Stick Man is a happy stick who loves with his stick family until a dog grabs him and he ends up far from his family but determined to get home. As the seasons change he is used as many things from a sword, a bat and even an arm for a snowman. After that he ends up in a fireplace just as a certain jolly old guy gets stuck in the chimney. This is a unique story we both enjoyed , you will never look at another stick in your child’s hands without wondering what it’s been turned into .

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!

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep. They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!

This post contains affiliate links

10 Easy Christmas Ornament Crafts

{Hello! If you are checking us out for the first time and like what you see you can follow us on Pinterest and Facebook to get new ideas to play and learn with your kids daily. }Christmas crafts for kids

Did I ever tell you the very first craft I designed myself was a Christmas ornament when I was 5 or 6. It’s true. My parents still have it. It was an empty spool of thread with wrapping paper carefully cut out and taped around it. It was finished with a pink ribbon. In the almost 30 years since I have not spent a single Christmas without making at least one ornament craft. These 10 easy ornament crafts are perfect for kids of all ages some so simple that even toddlers can make them.

Simple Lid Ornaments
Spin Art Ornaments
Yarn Nest Ornament
Recycled Photo Card Ornaments
Gift Tag Ornaments
Easy Letter Ornaments
No Mess Glitter Ornaments
Stamped Clay Ornaments
Easy Bell Ornament
Felt Wreath Ornament

Santaland Field Trip

Have I ever told you how afraid my son iswas of Santa? That is the first picture we have of the two of them together, it’s kinda self explanitory. I waited 4 years to get another picture and thanks to Macy’s, their inviting Santaland and a fantastic group of Seattle area bloggers it was worth the wait. 

When I got the invite from Jenny  to head downtown for some kid centered holiday cheer I couldn’t wait and I was praying he’d be ready. And he was!  My daughter, not so much. She was so upset she couldn’t even watch her brother sit on Santa’s lap. She screamed ” Bubba, no ho ho ho, no ho ho!” until I turned her to face the reindeer .

Chillin' with Comet

I gave my attention back to my son just in time to hear him tell Santa he wants a discountinued lego set for Christmas ( seriously ?! What’s wrong with the 300 easy to find ones ? Good thing he asked Santa for it  right?). Little missy  did sit with the whole group of mamas, but only because letting go of me was worse than getting close to Santa. I suspect we’ll get a pic of her on his lap come 2015.

Clockwise from bottom left – Me and little missy, Marie from Make and Takes,Tammy from Tammy’s Two Cents, Jenny from Jenny On The Spot , Kat from Mama’s Losin It, and Mandy from The Haps!  Lousie from Mom Start, and Lyndsey from The Stationery Place.

 As a blogger I have no staff room and  no after work happy hours so getting to hang out with some like minded local bloggers and their kids was a treat for me too.  Some of these women like Marie and Jenny have been friends of mine for a while but we often only see each other at blog conferences on the other side of the country. It took our kids and Santa to bring us together. The other mamas are bloggers I follow on Twitter and read their blogs ( I have read Kat and Mandy for ages!) but seeing them and their ridiculously cute offspring in person reminds me that mom bloggers really are fun, busy, awesome ( stylish!) moms. 

After hitting up a busy coffee shop with kids, strollers ,moms chatting non stop and many looks that could kill (especially when I started nursing my 18 month old, hipsters aren’t all pro extended nursing I guess) we hit the carousel.

She loved it.  I am still dizzy.

I hope you have a chance this holiday season to make new friends, see old ones, and get very dizzy while listening to your kids giggle in unison . Cause it’s rad.

___________________________________________________________________________

Disclosure : This event was sponsored by Macy’s , this post was not. As always I only work with companies professionally that I would recommend personally.

Clay Ornaments -made with stamps & cookie cutters

This year I have cut every corner there is to cut. My daughter has me chasing her , making sure she hasn’t swallowed any of my son’s Legos that may have escaped his room, I have much more grey hair this year… but a more full heart too.  This project isn’t ground breaking but using stamps and cookie cutters with the air dry clay was a great way of making this project attainable for both my kids. Air dry clay is not as easy to manipulate as say salt dough or play dough that little hands are used to so using tools like these help make it a fun successful activity.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some air dry clay ( although you could do it with salt dough or ready to bake clay too), cookie cutters, Christmas themed rubber stamps, a toothpick . Once dry you can paint with all sorts of paints, we used water color.
  2. Start by just playing with the clay. Then cut out with cookie cutters. Both wanted a star .
  3. Using stamps you can make designs on the clay. My daughter loved this and unlike when she uses stamps on playdough the clay was stiff enough that the impressions stayed.My son cut a second and started creating his own shapes … he still hasn’t painted it but if he never does that’s ok too, it doesn’t have to be painted.
  4. Add holes for hanging using a toothpick.
  5. Let dry for a few days.
  6. Time to paint.I loved using the water color because it was a great opportunity to have a lesson about colors with all in front of my toddler without a huge effort.
  7. She explored the paint… make sure it’s non toxic especially if you are doing this with a teething toddler like I did.
  8. I was impressed how vivid the colors stayed on the clay.
  9. Let dry and hang up.

 

Book

The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book) by Nikki Shannon Smith is a sweet book not just about Christmas but also about perseverance, attention to detail and hard work. In this story the littlest elf is working hard but just sin’t fast enough to get her teddy bear finished in time to be in Santa’s sack for Christmas. Santa delivers the bad news but encourages the little elf to keep at it and they will use the toy next year. She still doesn’t give up doing her best work even knowing Santa is already off to children’s homes everywhere. Right after she is done Santa comes back, a new baby was born and he needs that teddy bear! I loved the message and my son did too. Very sweet book.