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.

 

Easy Angel Craft For Preschool

angel craft for kids My daughter loved making this angel. She likes to remind up that she was an angel in the Christmas pageant at church and that she got to hold the special star. When I asked her what sort of Christmas craft she felt like making she suggested we make an angel and so I started thinking about how we could do that. I settled on a sun catcher with glitter because I was thinking about how beautiful our nativity craft was last year. This is a great easy angel craft for preschool.

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, card stock, scissors, sequins, and glitter.angel craft

Start by folding your card stock in half and cutting out the outline of an angel. When I do this I will usually draw the item then cut it out, fold it around another piece of paper and cut the final version. I would be a big ‘ol liar if I said this angel was easy for me to draw. I think I did 5 before I had one I liked. The others ended up as scrap in our cutting station. angek craft for children

Cut out the middle. Peel the paper off the contact paper and lay the angel outline on top.

Trim the edges and prepare the materials for your artist. angel craft for christmas

Add a little glitter loving 4 year old and let her do her thing. angel craft for kids Or his thing, my glitter loving 4 year old just happens to be a girl although her brother LOVED glitter when he was her age ( here is some proof) .

TIP : When working with loose glitter give your child only a little in a small shaker to minimize the mess. There will still be some glitter on your floor, in their hair etc… but it won’t be a huge pile that ends up everywhere for 6 months.angel craft sun catcher

Add sequins too.angel craft for kids You could just do glitter but the real fine motor workout is in this step. It is VERY hard to pick sequins up and she has to coordinate a lot of muscles to do this. It also gives her patience a little exercise which was not required for the glitter.fine motor angel craft for kids

Give the whole angel a little shake over a garbage can to shake off any loose glitter. Hang it up. angel craft for preschool

 

After we were done my daughter asked to color the left over angel shape so don’t immediately recycle that. Offer it up for some less adult directed creativity. She drew a little but then asked if I would be a student and she could be the teacher and we ended up playing school. What I love about pretend play like this is how much she talks during it.angel craft and activity for preschool For some children my daughter included speech is not always a given and opportunities to work on oral language through play is always a gift. Find what gets them talking and run with it. For us that is by par pretend play. After the play was done  I trimmed the angel’s contact paper even more and we hung her angel up in the window to watch over us.

angel craft for preschool

 

Books About The Nativity

All our book lists include affiliate links.

only a star book

Only a Star by Margery Facklam is a calm beautiful book about the first Christmas. A little girl asks her dad about the decorations on that very first Christmas day and readers are reminded that the true origin of the holiday.  The illustrations by Nancy Carpenter are stunning, they vary in perspective and unlike so many manger scenes, this one looks like a mom and a baby. They gave me chills coupled with the simple but profound text. A great holiday read .

 who-is-coming-to-our-house

Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate is a sweet look at the animals in the manger preparing for Baby Jesus’ arrival. The animals aren’t sure who is coming but at the insistence of the mouse, they clean and prepare the manger until finally a very pregnant Mary on a donkey with Joseph by her side. The next page is probably my favorite image of the Baby Jesus image in any children’s book. Mary’s hair is down, feet bare and Joseph is protective by, the animals are watching and alert.  Illustrator Ashley Wolff does a perfect job with this simple but fantastic book!

room for a little one

Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddel is another peaceful sweet book that gets to the heart of the nativity story. The story here is really about how the stable is a welcoming place to be and how Kind Ox shares his space with all who need refuge. The dog tells the cat that he won’t chase her, and the cat tells the mouse that he will be safe in the stable. It’s clear that this stable is a place for all no matter what. The symbolism is obvious but lovely and not sugary sweet. Kind Ox is showing us all how open doors and open hearts can change the world. I love this book and plan to buy it for my own bookshelf.

Paper Bag Gingerbread Men

shape paper bag ginger man craftMy daughter and I made these a while back but I forgot to post them. We’ve been learning all about shapes and in the same week that we made the Shape Wreaths my daughter and I made these simple paper bag gingerbread men with paper shapes .  I love using grocery bags and other recyclables for crafts because it’s cost effective and it teaches my kids to think creatively and to use items over and over before discarding them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper or thin card board ( think grocery bags or cereal boxes) , a glue stick, shape punches , scissors, thin paper like the origami paper I used, googly eyes and a pencil.      paper bag gingerbread men craft for toddlers
  2. Start by drawing a gingerbread man or two and cutting them out.gingerbread men craft
  3. Punch or cut out some shapes.shape gingerbread men
  4. Add glue .gingerbread craft
  5. Add your shapes  and eyes to the gingerbread man. Even though I pre cut many shapes she wanted to cut out more herself. ginger craft for kidsWho can blame her those punches are fun! gingerbread craft for toddlers Talk about the shapes, about the textures of the items ( our colored paper was really silky vs the rough paper bag) , about the colors and body parts too. There is so much to learn in such a simple activity.ginger bread craft for kids and toddlers
  6. Don’t forget to add your googly eyes.  My daughter has started pushing out her bottom lip when she is concentrating on a task it makes me giggle and I am forever trying to capture it . Do you see it?shape ginger bread man

Gingerbread Books

ginger

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup was an instant hit with my son but it was too long for my daughter who sat and listened but wasn’t engrossed in it. The story was all about pirate gingerbread men who come to life on Christmas Eve and faced Santa even though most of them were left for him to eat. There is adventure, there is humor and a whole lot of Christmas magic. What made this book for me were the illustrations by Matt Tavares. I loved that they were from the perspective of the gingerbread pirates . Love this book.

fairytale books

The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt is just such a silly story . What I do like about this tale is that while it still packs the punch of one character eating another like many fairy tales it’s just a gingerbread man so when the fox eats him it doesn’t seem so bad really.  My son loved the repetition of the text and sang along with me as we read. It’s a good story to talk about taunting, and showing off. We also played gingerbread man tag later that day, but we skipped the whole cannibalism bit. { Since writing this review my daughter had made this one of her very favorite books }.

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Fast & Mess Free Glitter Ornaments

christmas ornament

 We had fun making these Christmas ornaments and the best part there was no huge glittery mess! Christmas ornaments beg to be glittered and I don’t know about your schedule but mine just got crazy so I don’t have as much time for glue to dry , no need, these have zero glue. Both my kids love making these and even though we used them as ornaments they could easily be made into gift tags too.  I was inspired to make this after seeing this candle project from The Ivy Cottage on Pinterest.

  1. Gather your materials. I used card stock for the circles, I wanted to make sure the tape would stick permanently and knew from experience that it does on card stock. Also used glitter provided for me by the folks atcraftprojectideas.com , ziploc bags, scissors, hot glue and gun, and pipe cleaners. I had ribbon in the picture thinking I would hang them with it but the pipe cleaners were perfect!
  2. Start by drawing and cutting out the ornament. I made circles but any shape would be fine.
  3. Add the tape, it goes without saying I added it for my daughter but I also had to help my 5 year old the first time. The tape was so sticky .
  4. Add the glitter to the zip lock .
  5. Shake! Can you tell she loved this?
  6. add more tape.
  7. Pop it in the next color of glitter .
  8. Shake.
  9. Keep going until they are just the way you want them. 
  10. My son told me his has lightsabres fighting on it.
  11. As you may be able to tell after it was dark and sugar plums were dancing in my kids’ heads I hot glued some pipe cleaners on for hooks. 
  12. Hang up on your tree.

Recycled Lid Ornaments

easy christmas ornaments for kids to make

I sorta promised my husband I wouldn’t spend much on craft supplies this holiday so I have been keeping my word and finding great ways to recycle instead. These ornaments are fun, fast, and cheap. Also as I sit writing this I am looking at how awesome these ornaments are on a lit Christmas tree!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cleaned lids ( yogurt, icing, even jar lids will work), old Christmas cards or photos, scissors, glue , permanent double stick tape, a pipe cleaner per ornament and glitter.
  2. Start by choosing your photos or cards and tracing the lid on the back of it.
  3. Cut out.
  4. Using the double stick tape attach the picture to the lid. Press and hold for a bit.
  5. Grab the glue and add to edge on the front.
  6. Add glitter.
  7. Let dry.
  8. Punch a hole and thread the pipe cleaner through.  If you are using a metal jar you can use hot glue to attach a pipe cleaner to the back. Adults only though!

Christmas Books

The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer is a beautiful book. The dedication to his grandchild is perhaps my favorite part even though the book itself is wonderful too! Read it and you’ll see !  The story is a retelling of the little drummer boy , but in this book he’s a tiny little insignificant mouse. At least he thinks he’s insignificant until he follows the bright star to the manger on the very first Christmas night! The little acorn drum that this little mouse beats is anything but insignificant and he is thrust into the spotlight as Baby Jesus likes his music best of all ! The illustrations are amazing, they have so much detail I find myself opening this book over and over to just look. Great book, the test is lengthy for toddlers but preschoolers and older will love it.

Merry Un-Christmas by Mike Reiss is a fun twist on  Christmas Book. In it Noelle is tired of Christmas, because in her town it’s Christmas every day except one. She can’t fake the enthusiasm for another pony or bike but when she figures out that Un-Christmas is coming she is elated. It’s the only day she goes to school, it’s the only day the mail comes and it’s filled with tradition and special meaning. I love how this book turns everything topsy turvy and makes kids think what really makes Christmas special.

Mini Merry Book: Gingerbread Joy by Julia Woolf is a tiny little book that my 6 month old is nuts about. A good friend and I decided to do only books as gifts to each other’s kids this year and this was one of the board books my daughter received.  As expected it’s  a super simple book about baking gingerbread houses and people as a treat at Christmas time. What my daughter loves are the shiny foil inserts in the already fun illustrations. She smacks them over and over with her chubby baby hands and the text is simple enough my son can help read it to her. All in all a perfect little stocking stuffer !