Easy Snowflake Christmas Ornaments

snowflake craft for kids I titled this craft as and easy snowflake Christmas ornaments because that was our plan with this activity but my daughter has chosen to leave her snowflakes as decorations for her floor so it looks like it’s snowing in her room. It doesn’t matter if you turn your snowflakes into something to hang on the tree or something to facilitate pretend play like my 4 year old did, the fun is in creating them. I was just digging through my craft closet looking for shiny things to glue on these foam snowflakes when my daughter saw the highlighters. They were still in their package and if there is one thing this girl loves it’s opening packaging. Those packages that drive most people nuts, she sees as a personal challenge. All she wanted to do was open the pack but then she saw how bright they were and together we decided to use them to make easy snowflake Christmas ornaments. The results were awesome. These simple little snowflakes are so pretty and my 4 year old totally got into making them carefully dotting the foam.

Gather your materials. You will nee some white foam snowflakes ( psst! They are at Dollar Tree right now!) , highlighters in various colors and if you want to turn them into ornaments you will need some sparkly pipe cleaners. I have glitter glue in the picture but we never used it. You could but the simplicity of the colors on the white were too pretty to need any glitter. easy snowflake craft for kids

Mix one ( or more) kids, some bright and fun highlighters and snowflakes! easy snowflake art project for kids

Don’t you just love simple things? I loved watching her mutter to herself as she carefully dotted the foam. I didn’t tell her to make patterns or keep the colors symmetrical but you could use this project to teach both. I just let her go. snowflake crafts

If you are turning the snowflakes into ornaments cut a standard size pipe cleaner in two, poke a hole into the foam, and twist into a loop. snowflake christmas ornament

Or you can just keep coloring them ! We were doing this for so long I had to go downstairs and start dinner. When an activity goes that well I will find more supplies and make sure to leave them out in the playroom. Sure enough she found her way in there the next day to make more. easy snowflake ornaments

Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links.

jack frost snow

 

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara is another fantastic book that will have you aching for snow. A little boy is lonely after his friends have all gone into hibernation for the winter when Jack Frost shows up. They frolic and play exploring all the fun that winter has to offer friends but when the first signs of spring arrive Jack is gone. The illustrations are perfectly simple and will suck you into a wintery world that you won’t want to leave. My kids love this book and after one reading at the library we bought our own copy.

snowbots

Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds is funky, fun , and full of really awesome rhymes. The robot reality is a sweet one and my kids totally dug this book. We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting. My son loved the snowball fight and my daughter was all over the pink robot. I loved how they had cereal with gasoline and an oil bath. A huge hit with all of us.

White Snow Bright Snow

White Snow, Bright Snowby Alvin Tresselt is a total throw back to another time and it’s awesome. I love books that haven’t been updated because they offer readers a chance to go back in time and get a glimpse of the past. The story is about a town expecting a snow storm and how it’s different residents prepare and deal with it. The animals , adults , and kids all go about it very differently. The character that stood out for me was the policeman’s wife who doted on her husband and cared for his cold with a mustard plaster. I told you it was a total throw back! I didn’t know they still used mustard plasters in the 40s but that’s why these books are such treasures for kids and parents alike.

rp_books-about-snow-for-kids-442x800.jpg

Need more snow books? Check out our full list here!

 

 

Easy Candy Cane Craft

candy cane craft for kids These tape candy canes are my Christmas version of our insanely popular Tape Mummy. After a long day at preschool my daughter still wanted to make some crafts but I didn’t want to set her up for a meltdown. Instead I grabbed a few simple things and let her create. There is no waiting for glue to dry so these easy candy cane crafts are a great choice for class parties on the last day of school or as a 2nd activity at a cookie decorating party. They are so simple you can do it anywhere.

Gather your materials. You will need some red paper ( card stock would be perfect but all we had was flimsy construction paper… still worked out fine!), some tape in whatever colors you have, a pencil, and scissors. That’s it!easy candy cane craft for kids

Start by drawing a candy cane on your red paper. My daughter wanted to make a bunch so we made them using only half a sheet per candy cane. As you can see my candy canes are far from perfect and I think that’s a good thing. If you want your kids to try to create you have to make it accessible. If we reject ourselves when we are less than perfect our kids will learn from our example. I don’t want to just be sloppy but I want to be accepting of my own efforts so they are not afraid to try.candy cane craft for children

Invite your candy cane creators to the table and let them loose with tape!candy cane craft for kids

Some of our tape ( ours is a mix of masking, washi, and foil tape) was really hard to tear off. I started to reach over and just do it for her and she very rightly told me to stop that she can do it. It’s funny I don’t intervene like that with students, I always wait to be asked for help ( unless there is a danger) but with my own kids I guess I go auto pilot. I need to remember not to.

Pop the tape on!candy cane crafts

And on.

candy cane craft for kids

Or not. If your child is happy with one piece that is rad. I will say ” Are you finished with this masterpiece?” to be sure but if your child is sure, resist the urge to add more on to their art.

When it’s all taped down, cut it out.

cut out candy cane craft

See how it magically turns into a candy cane? Well maybe not magic, but my daughter loved it!simple candy cane craft

I told you they are simple but I think this time of year this is what you need. Something festive but FAST that doesn’t really make any mess.

Need more fast activities for the holidays? Here are some toddler activities to keep them engaged for a few minutes at a time.

screen free holiday activities

Artificial DYE FREE Christmas Treats For Kids

dye free Christmas treats for kids When I was a teenager I remember rolling my eyes at the parents who would put ” DO NOT GIVE RED DYE” on the health forms for day camp. I thought it was hogwash. Funny how a few years of maturity, your own kids, and a big dose of respecting other people will change your attitude. My kids both react to red dye and I will never forget my parents ( who thought I was nuts restricting it) falling all over themselves when they saw first hand how my then 3 year old son reacted after ingesting it.

Do my kids get some food color? Yes, but it’s something I really try to avoid. Not all kids have the same reaction but if you read this post Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Artificial Food Coloring by Megan over at Sorta Crunchy even if your kids don’t react to dye you will want to limit it anyway!

Most of the year it’s not hard to avoid dye especially when red is the main culprit. Around Christmas I start hearing the whining. ” But mom just a little won’t hurt! ” It’s true my son at 8 is starting to outgrow the hyper irritability that it seemed to cause but it’s so easy to let a little become a lot and why take the chance. We don’t have to anymore because over the years I have found wonderful alternatives. Here are two fun and classic Christmas treats with no artificial food dyes!

Rudolf Candy Canes – with Naturally Colored Candy Canes

candy cane reindeer craft for kids now dye free

I think I first made these in Brownies in the early 80s. I have made them as small trinkets for classes I have taught for almost as long. 3 year olds at preschool and 14 year olds in my Babysitter Safety class all loved them. My kids do too. Now they can love them more because finding dye free candy canes isn’t as hard or as expensive as it used to be. I picked these up at Safeway but last year I bought these on amazon  Organic Candy Canes Peppermint  ( affiliate link)

If you aren’t sure how to make these candy cane reindeer here is a quick tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need some candy canes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and a hot glue gun.reindeer candy cane craft

Add the pipe cleaners by wrapping it around the curved end of the candy cane twice and bending to make some antlers.reindeer candy canes with no dye candy canes

Add hot glue to the end and a pom pom on top.candy cane reindeer craft for children dye free

Add hot glue a little higher and pop on two googly eyes. Have a puppet show with them or, what we usually do with them, pop your reindeer on the Christmas tree.dye free candy cane rudolph crafts

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees with Naturally Dyed Candies and Icing.

dye free christmas treats no red food color

We did these ice cream cone Christmas Trees many years ago with artificial dye ( see how little my son is?) but it was before I discovered just how poorly my son reacted to all the artificial colors. I have been meaning to do it again with my daughter so this time we did it more naturally.

Gather your materials. You will need some sugar cones. I didn’t check the ingredient list on these because my kids won’t eat it. They will pick off the candy and leave the tree. There are lots of all natural options out there, check out the shopping list below. You will also need some icing Wilton was dye free , and I used India Tree colors which are all natural to make the green. You will also need candy and stars for the top, two paper plates, some knives for spreading and my favorite candy holders… an ice cube tray.dye free christmas treats

Start by spreading some white icing on the bottom and sticking the tree on top.ice cream cone christmas trees

Ice the tree in green ( now natural dye isn’t as bright but my kids didn’t say a word about it’s lack of vibrancy).cone trees dye free

Taste a little here and there.christmas tree treat dye free

Add the jelly beans, sprinkles and chocolate chips for ornaments.adding the ornaments candy tree dye free

When you are done add more icing for snow with coconut for flakes! Use as a centerpiece for a holiday cookie decorating party or just to add to your decor. My kids ate theirs which was quite the treat. edible christmas centerpiece for kids

Shopping list for Candy Christmas Trees
This list contains affiliate links.

White icing ( I can’t confirm this item as color free so check the ingredients on your icing or make your own to be sure! Ours was Wilton but I can’t find the exact item on line to provide a link)
Gourmet Jelly Beans

India Tree Natural Decorating Colors, 3 bottles(red,yellow,blue)

India Tree Jimmies – Carnival Mix – Natural Colour

Ghirardelli Baking Chips, Classic White, 11-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Coconut Flakes Unsweetened

Trader Joe’s Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars

39 Christmas Activities For 2 and 3 Year Olds.

Christmas activities for 2  year olds As many of you know I went back to teaching this fall and I am still over the moon about being back in the classroom. I am teaching 2 and 3 year olds and loving it. I thought I would put together a great list of  Christmas activities I have done, will do, and wish I taught more days of the week so I could do with my class. Of course you could do these Christmas activities with older kids too ( my daughter tests out everything I do with my students and she is 4), but just know that these 50 Christmas activity ideas for 2 and 3 year olds have and will be huge hits with your kids or students.

 

Candy Cane Crafts and Activity Ideas

candy cane activities for preschool

Cotton Ball Candy Cane  ( my students made this yesterday and LOVED it)
Reindeer Candy Cane from JDaniel’s Mom
Candy Cane Puffy Paint from Nurture Store
Candy Cane Sensory Tubes from Teach Preschool
Spin Painted Candy Cane Ornaments

Gingerbread Activity Ideas

gingerbread activities for preschool

Paper Bag Gingerbread Men
Make A Gingerbread Men Playdough
Scented Gingerbread Men from Fun At Home With Kids
Gingerbread Playdough from Teach Preschool
Gingerbread Number Hop from Toddler Approved
DIY Cardboard Gingerbread House from Inner Child Fun

 

North Pole Crafts and Pretend Play For 2 year olds and 3 year olds

Santa crafts and activities for preschool

Easy Elf Houses
Santa Star Crafts by Red Ted Art
Santa’s Workshop Pretend Play
Paper Plate Santa
North Pole Play Mat ( a holiday favorite around here! )

 

Nativity and Angel Crafts For 2 year olds and 3 year olds

angel crafts for toddlers

Find and Fill Nativity Game
Nativity Sun Catcher
Paper Roll Angels from Nurture Store
Coffee Filter Angel
Angel Sun Catcher

Christmas Tree Crafts and Activities for Toddlers

christmas tree crafts for 2 year olds

Sticky Wall Christmas Tree Mural
Q-tip painted Christmas Tree
Photo Christmas Tree from Toddler Approved
Button Christmas Trees
Playdough Christmas Tree Fine Motor Activity
Shape Christmas Tree

 

Christmas Wreath Crafts for 2 year olds and 3 year olds

christmas wreath crafts for 3 year olds

Shape Wreaths
Spin Art Wreath by Toddler Approved for Life Your Way
Cork Painted Wreath
Button Wreath Ornament from Wildflower Ramblings
Hand Print Wreath
Ribbon Wreath from Fantastic Fun and Learning

 

Christmas Sensory Activities

Christmas sesnroy activities for preschool
Painting with Jingle Bells from Teaching 2 and 3 year olds
Magnetic Christmas Sensory Bottles
Nativity Sensory Bin from Golden Reflections Blog
Christmas Sensory Bin
Christmas Cloud Dough from Growing A Jeweled Rose
Pine Needle Sensory Bottles from Teach Preschool

 

I am already adding a few of these ideas into my lesson plans for next year, I can’t wait!

Button Christmas Tree Crafts

 

christmas tree crafts It is the season of way too many boxes at our house.  I do most my shopping online and the boxes add up quickly this time of year. I don’t mind recycling most of them but I prefer to use some for crafts. This craft was spur of the moment. We’d received something from Amazon and decided to turn the box into trees! My daughter’s favorite craft EVER are these button letters and I suggested we make trees with the cardboard ( it’s easy to cut trees from cardboard), and she suggested the buttons. Here is how we made our button Christmas tree crafts.

Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, buttons ( we love our star ones from craftprojectideas.com ) , some green paint, white glue, and scissors. christmas tree craft

Start by cutting out a tree and a small strip of cardboard to make the stand. Cut a small notch in the bottom of your tree long enough for the strip to fit in. cardboard Christmas Tree craft

Paint the tree with green paint. Or pink… whatever your child wants. I like using paint markers for this because they dry faster so we can make the whole craft in one sitting. Make sure to paint the strip as well as the tree. Christmas craft with buttons

Glue time! christmas craft button tree preschool

Find your favorite buttons. button christmas tree preschool craft

 

Pop the buttons onbutton tree craft for preschool and don’t worry if there is lots of glue, it will dry eventually. cardboard and button tree craft for christmas 2

When dry slide the strip and in and stand it up! button christmas tree

 

Books About Christmas

Why do I put books with the activities? I think books are the base for all learning and you can choose to read first them create something or create then read more about it but books offer you a chance to really cement the learning and exploration of the activity. All our book lists include affiliate links.

the_year_of_the_perfect_christmas_tree

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by the First World War as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother is. She does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she  used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works.  It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.

ho ho ho tucker

Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker! by Leslie McGuirk is a cute story about an adorable little dog Tucker who is crazy about Christmas. While getting into the holiday spirit he burns his nose on a cookie pan . When Santa sees his bright red nose he asks him to come a long for the fun on Christmas Eve. There is a lot of good natured humor that any young child will giggle at , Tucker peeing on a Christmas tree got some good giggles at our house.  I doubt this will be a Christmas classic to read on Christmas Eve but it a cute book your kids will enjoy.

Mooseltoe

Mooseltoe by Margie Palantini is a funny holiday story with the characters from Moosestash , this time Moose is set on making Christmas perfectly perfect, only oops he forgot the tree!  I reviewed this a few years ago when my son was too little to really get the book or to sit long enough for me to finish but we re read it last night. He thought it was hilarious and by the time he was 5 he had fun repeating some of the great melodic text as we read it. The story is one kids and parents can relate to about trying so hard to make the holidays perfect that you forget something important like the tree!  It’s a silly story with a big heart.