Recycled Christmas Tree

I love this craft, I have done it over the years with kids ranging from 3 – 13 and although he needed help and skipped the star my son (who is 2)loved it too. This is a great project when you have a wide range of abilities because it’s easily adjusted. For older kids have them add on ornaments or a Christmas message cut from the catalog’s text.

  1. You will need a brown grocery bag, some catalogs you are trying not to order things from, scissors, glue and a marker.
  2. Start looking through the catalog for green things, you want them to vary, it’s what makes the collage so cool. Cut them out. I have done this with 4&5 year olds and I would rip out pages that had green on them before starting the activity, and they would cut out the actual picture. Older kids can search for the pages themselves. Toddlers will may get very frustrated very fast, so do this step for them, or be prepared to do it with them.
  3. Draw or have your child draw the outline of a Christmas tree.
  4. Have your child color the tree- skip this step with kids that will be able to cover the whole tree, this fills in the gaps well with the little guys though, and they have fun!
  5. Grab that glue, no need to be exact !
  6. Start putting the cut out green pieces on the tree. Show little ones that you want the green side facing out, but if they object, I would let it be. If you are using this as a color lesson just label the color that is showing saying something like ” Oh wow your tree is purple”.
  7. Keep adding glue,and pieces of catalog. Don’t worry if all the corners are glued down, they will roll up and give the tree some texture. If you have a toddler help them with this step, once my son saw that I was popping the catalog cut pieces on anywhere he started adding one after another.Also the lines are just guides , if your collage goes over it that’s fine , you will cut it out in a later step. Let dry.
  8. These next steps I did myself, at this point my son has had enough and was off to play. Draw a star in the corner.Find gold and yellow pictures in your catalog and cut out.Glue onto the star shape. Let dry
  9. Cut both the tree and the star out .
  10. Glue the star on the top of the tree and voila!

Hung By The Chimney With Care

Scrap Paper
Stocking

I hate wasting anything and those little bits of wrapping paper start adding up if you don’t throw them away. So I decided to use them up with this fun little craft. My son loves seeing his name up on his stocking and keeps asking if we can “marker” his real one…um no!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, I am using a gift box that is ripped and can’t be used this Christmas, you’ll need scissors, glue,markers, one piece of construction paper, and some wrapping paper scraps.
  2. Draw a stocking shape on the opposite side of your cardboard and cut out.
  3. Have your child draw on the stocking to start with.
  4. While they color, cut the wrapping paper into smaller pieces, I am using pinking sheers to make it look fancy!
  5. Time to add glue! I let my son add and spread the glue himself today, lots went in the mouth but overall he did well.
  6. Now add the wrapping paper.
  7. While your child is adding the paper , cut out a rectangle of construction paper and write their name on it. If they can write even if it’s not perfect, or very legible they should try!
  8. Add glue at the top of the stocking for their name.
  9. Glue the name on and let dry!
Song!

That Means Merry Christmas !

Joyeux Noel
Joyeux Noel
That means Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noel
Joyeux Noel
That’s French for Merry Christmas

In Spanish it’s Feliz Navidad
In Spanish it’s Feliz Navidad

Joyeux Noel
Feliz Navidad
It all means Merry Christmas!

Books!

“What Is Christmas?” by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s origin in a simple matter of fact way.


“Merry Christmas, Mouse! “ by Laura Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star… 2 angels… etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found 4 bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.

Gift Bow Christmas Tree Craft

I was unpacking all my Christmas decorations and when I opened the box of used bows some were a little misshapen, which is perfect for this craft! So I gathered them and my son up and we made this tree that is now adding some shine to our foyer.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some strong paper my favorite choice are grocery bags, a marker, some green paint ( optional) , glue , a bunch of Christmas bows , some wax paper and heavy books!
  2. Start by drawing a large outline of a Christmas tree. As you can see there is no need for it to be perfect it’s just getting covered anyway!
  3. Paint the tree if you want, this fills in any gaps between bows and also adds some extra fun, but is totally optional.
  4. Add the glue , lots and lots of glue!
  5. Add your bows. Older children can try to make patterns , or stripes of different colors.I helped fill in the tree , after my son had done 5 or 6 by himself, I asked him which color he wanted and I found the right size in that color to fit. Older children can do it all by themselves though.
  6. Lay some wax paper on top of your tree and lay some heavy books on for about an hour, this will keep all the bouncy bows in place until the glue gets tacky.
  7. When the glue is dry cut the extra paper off and you have a fun and “Bow”tiful tree!
Additional Activities

Matching, Sorting and Counting Oh My !


All of these activities are crucial pre-math exercises, introducing your child to them with a novel manipulative like Christmas Bows is fun and memorable for little guys. We want to challenge children when they are learning so if 3 colors are too easy , add another, if they are struggling take one away. When kids are challenged the lesson will mean more and will sink in , however if it’s too hard, it will frustrate them and a frustrated toddler or preschooler is fun for no one!

  • There is no need for fancy containers , I just used matching construction paper but if you have something fun to pop the bows into go for it! Start with labeling the colors and matching them with the paper.

  • Next try counting them, each color, all together, whatever you want.
  • Find the largest bow and find the smallest.
  • With preschoolers you can play a guessing game , stuff all the bows in the bowl and ask them to make a prediction about how many bows are in the bowl, count and find out !

Do The Robot !

Recycled
Robot !

Kill two birds with one activity! This is a great way to reuse paper grocery bags and encourage your child’s imagination with some fun home made pretend play!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large brown grocery bag, a marker, some paint, a few pipe cleaners, scissors and stickers if you want. I had a stapler in there but only because I made the head hole HUGE and had to make adjustments.
  2. If like me you have a grocery bag with printing on the outside you will want to turn it inside out. It will make the bag wrinkly but my son didn’t seem to mind one bit.
  3. Cut out large arm openings, you don’t want holes because the bag will rip, instead you will need large openings from the bottom to the shoulder.
  4. Cut a large head opening. Here is should be a hole.
  5. Draw some fun roboty buttons and dials. I asked my son what he wanted and he said “button” as he pointed at my shirt so that’s what we did. There is no wrong way to do this!
  6. Add fun stuff like stickers, or cut out foam shapes, the sky is the limit. We added small star stickers.
  7. Start painting! We used a foam brush because it spreads the paint thin and you will want to have a quick drying robot costume since no child wants to wait to make believe!
  8. Add another color or two!
  9. Add some pipe cleaners for added flair – I threaded them through and bent all the ends so there were no sharp edges. Let the paint dry.
  10. Have fun playing robot!

You’re A Hoot !

Owl Puppet !

This craft is a fun way to encourage pretend play which our kids are not getting enough of according to the experts! So many toys and activities are passive and we need to get them using their imaginations, it will amaze you what comes from their little but very creative heads! So make a puppet and encourage them to have a puppet show!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an old cereal box or other cardboard, some paint, a paintbrush, popsicle sticks,a pen, glue, some buttons for the eyes, and scissors.
  2. Draw a big oval, 2 small ovals, a triangle and some wings ( wings aren’t pictured because I added them later – but you can do it right away! ).
  3. Have your child paint the large oval a light color, we chose white.
  4. Paint the triangle and the wings a darker color, we used brown.
  5. Paint the eyes a bright fun color , ours are red. Let everything dry.
  6. Paint the popsicle stick any color you want.
  7. Cut out , or have your child cut out the shapes.
  8. Glue the triangle onto the top of the oval.
  9. Glue on the eyes.
  10. Glue the buttons in the middle of the eyes.
  11. Glue on the wings.
  12. Glue the popsicle stick to the back and let everything dry.
  13. Have a hoot !
Song!

The Little Brown Owl

Hoo Hoo
Went the little brown owl one night
Hoo Hoo
Went the little brown owl,
Hoo Hoo
Went the little brown owl one night ,
And they all went hoo hoo hoot!

But we all know owls go ,
la di da di da!
la di da di da!
la di da di da!
We all know owls go
la di da di da
they don’t go hoo hoo hoot!

Books!

” The Owl And The Pussy Cat” by Edward Lear and Stephane Jorisch . The classic poem is brought to life with whimsical but pretty illustrations. The story of true love sailing off on a beautiful pea green boat is a classic for a reason, it’s melodic and will appeal to children in many age groups. I had to memorize this in grade 3 for Madame Griffin and still hold it dear to my heart!

” The Sleepy Owl” by Marcus Pfister is a cute little story about an owl who overslept. The author is well known for his “Rainbowfish” character but don’t overlook this adorable and happy story!