Shapes are such a simple way of sneaking some math into creative projects and that is exactly what I did with my kids when we made Christmas wreaths for their bedroom doors. You could make this a patterning lesson as well . The main goal with this project though wasn’t to learn the difference between a triangle and square it was to create something for my kids to decorate their own doors with. I remember feeling so grown up with my own wreath and I hope my kids feel the pride in decorating their own space too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard , green paint, glue, shape cut outs like these wood ones and felt stars from craftprojectideas.com and ribbon.
- Start by cutting out a wreath from cardboard. I used a salad bowl for the outside and a soup bowl for the inner one.
- Next get the table ready for painting. At first I had it like this. Way better for picture taking… but a table like this is way better for having fun and no one worrying about mess.
- Add kids and paint.
- Let the paint dry . Ours only took about 15 minutes to dry enough to glue. We played doll house and made Lego presents for our Little People while we waited.
- Now it’s time to glue and add some shapes.
- The mix of felt stickers and wood shapes were fun for my toddler to explore. But my favorite part was the conversation between the two of them. Listening to them talk and craft at the same time makes me so happy.
- Let the wreaths dry and add ribbons.Wait a full day before hanging up just to be sure everything stays put.
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 fam 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.
Santa Duck and His Merry Helpersby 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 !This post contains affiliate links
I stand by that title, this really is the easy and cheap too, but still a super cute 4th of July craft . We used felt but you could use fabric if you have it on hand. My son was busy playing knights with his grandparents visiting from Texas but I think he could have made this with me. It’s a great patterning lesson, though I would guess most 5 and under would tire of it after a few minutes so make this a group endeavor if need be.
I love wreaths almost as much as I love garlands! This Valentine’s Day craft is fun , easy to make and easy on your wallet. The foam hearts are super light and I was able to tape the wreath to a door in our house using only blue painters tape . Also if you want you can turn it into a patterning lesson as well or just randomly glue the hearts on.
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, glue, foam heart picks ( got mine 9 for a dollar at the dollar store), red markers and scissors.
- Start by coloring the paper plate with markers. We used red but use whatever color your child wants to.
- Start by having your child pull the tops off the heart picks. I twisted them so they were easier to pop off. This step was really fun.
- While they do that cut the middle out.
- Add a lot of glue. If you don’t normally let your child do the glue because they use too much, let them with this one. You need a lot of glue so let them at it!
- Add your hearts. Randomly or in a pattern. I just let him do it however he wanted and he quickly settled on a pattern and sang it out as he added it. You can also sneak counting in here if you want.
- Let dry.
We made this apple wreath weeks ago but wanted to wait until people were settled in the school year and the leaves turned a little more before posting. Originally I planned this as a garland ( which is why there is no paper plate in the materials picture) but decided that a wreath would be nicer and my son could do more of the steps with me if it was a wreath. So grab an apple, some paint and make this fall decoration for your house today.
- Gather your materials. You will need an apple, a plate, some red and green paint, knife, craft paper , painters tape, scissors, glue and a paper plate.
- Before inviting your child to come paint cut a large piece of craft paper off a roll ( find them for cheap at walmart – in the office supply section) and tape it to your work surface with painters tape.
- Pour some red paint into the plate.
- Cut your apple lengthwise.
- Start printing! If you have never done this with your child show them how to make a print by stamping and removing. If they just want to smear it that is fine too – you can just cut the smears into apple shapes if you want to make the wreath or just let them explore. My son did a little of both.
- Next dip your child’s thumb or finger into the green paint to make stems.
- Let dry.
- Cut the apples out.
- Cut the middle of the paper plate out.
- Add glue to the ring of plate. Did you notice the new PJs? It’s the next day, when the apples dried my son was not interested in finishing the craft, so we waited until the next day. Don’t force them to finish ( I am preaching to myself here too ) keep it casual and fun.
- Add the apples!
I have more than a few apple picking field trips under my belt and you can too with this website that lists a wide range of pick your own farms in the US and around the globe.
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.