This is a classic craft, when I asked my son what he wanted to make he said and I quote ” I just want to cut” he’s kinda into scissors right now. So while I did the cutting for the hand prints, he happily cut the red berries and got his wish to cut! Foam is tricky to glue with regular glue but not impossible. All you have to do is lay some parchment paper on top and throw a coffee table book to squish it for an hour or two. Also there is no reason you couldn’t use paper, I just chose foam because I had it on hand.
- Gather your materials. You will need some green, red and white foam or construction paper, a marker, scissors, glue and a paper plate.
- Start by tracing your child’s hand , instead of tracing it 10 times simply trace their hand once and use that as a template for the rest.
- Cut the hands out.
- Cut strips of red foam out.
- Have your child snip the strips into smaller pieces. My son loves to cut things, then use it as garbage for his garbage truck toys. So this was a big hit.
- While they practice their fine motor skills ( did you know that using scissors is great for that?) cut out the inside of the paper plate.
- Add glue to it. A lot.
- Add your hands. I have a big confession it drove me bananas that he put most of the hands facing in. I preach about letting your kids direct their art, and not fixing it but dude it drove me nuts. I resisted changing it but admit to being very happy when he added a few with fingers pointing out. What can I say I am not perfect.
- Add glue for the red berries. I did this glue.
- Add the kid cut berries.
- Let dry – remember parchment paper and a heavy book will do the trick if your foam isn’t sticking.
- Add a ribbon and hang up!
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practicle 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 aquires 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!
The Night Before Christmas Board Book by Clement C Moore and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. I was so excited to share this poem with my son, but was not as excited to share some of the illustrations with him. Some of them freaked me out. The first picture of Santa coming out of the chimney was creepy! That said my son wasn’t at all afraid and loves this book. The illustrations are mostly done from funky perspectives and are beautiful but not the polished happy mall Santa that you may be expecting. My 3 year old didn’t pick up on Santa’s and the father’s exchange with a cowboy figuring but adults will enjoy the message that we are never too old to believe and to be a part of the Christmas magic.
Hand Print Hen !
We love The Big Red Barn, it calms me to read it before my son’s nap or bedtime and the more I read it the more I love it. So I wanted to do some sort of farm animal craft to go along with it. This is what we came up with. I love crafts that use personal touches like pictures and hand prints, and so do kids. They enjoy seeing how their hand prints turn into feathers and the crown on this chicken.
- Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard or heavy paper, some markers, 2 sheets white paper, red and orange construction paper, one googly eye, scissors and glue.
- Start by drawing the outline of a chicken .
- Trace your child’s hand on the orange paper- just once, one time is hard enough!
- Have your child color the outline however they please.
- While they color the chicken layer the white and red paper under the hand tracing .
- Cut out. You should have one red, 1-2 orange and 4 white.
- Hand your child the glue and explain that the white and orange hand prints are the chicken’s feathers. Add the glue.
- Add the “feathers”
- While they do that cut a beak and some legs and feet out from the extra orange paper.
- Add your eye
- Add your beak
- Add the glue for the crown.
- Add the red hand print for the crown.
- Add your legs and let dry.
“Big Red Barn” by Margaret Wise Brown is the inspiration for this craft, and an increasingly one of my very favorite books. The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons. A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.
“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.
“Silly Chicken” by Ruskhsana Khan is an interesting book about so much more than a chicken. It’s a tale of jealousy and love, and how neither are silly at all. In the story a little girl is jealous of her mother’s attachment to a chicken but things shift when it disappears. I think this book can open up dialogue between parents and kids about saying things you don’t mean , and how they would feel if what they said really did come true. My son read the book with me but the depth of the book was too complex for him. He still enjoyed the surprise ending and book overall either way.