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 !

Holiday Gift Boxes

I stole this idea for a gift bag at Walmart – at first I was going to make a reindeer gift bag but decided that by making it a box you can avoid any other wrapping ( or tissue paper) at all. Pop treats in and your gifts are done!  My son made the Rudolph with me then during quiet time I played around and made the other two in about 5 minutes. So easy and you can use them year after year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some 2 piece gift boxes, sticky back foam, crayons, scissors, painters tape and treats to fill the boxes with . We made fudge.
  2. For Rudolf start by tracing your kids hands on the black or brown foam. My son decided to do this solo after I showed him , he was pretty successful!
  3. Using painters tape make a v , you can skip this if your child will stay in the lines. Don’t press too hard, these boxes were cheap and as you can see later the tape ripped the finish off a little.
  4. Color with brown crayons.
  5. While they do that make eyes , cut out the hands and a red nose.
  6. Peel tape off.
  7. Add eyes,
  8. Add antlers- don’t peel the backing all the way off, just on the part that will touch the box.
  9. Add the nose
  10. Add fudge
  11. Go give it to someone special!

Christmas Books


Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo made me cry. It’s a simple story about children’s innocence and giving hearts. A little girl sees a homeless man, and that’s what she sees , a man in need, instead of the stranger her mother sees. When she leaves to go to her Christmas pageant she calls out to him to come, when he does the true meaning of her line in the pageant comes to life. Which is when I choked up. Beautiful illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline accompany this simple tale.

Albert’s Christmas by Leslie Tryon is awesome. I love this book and so did my son. It’s such an original story about a troop of animals who act as a pit crew for Santa and his sleigh. They give the sleigh a tune up just the same way race car pit crews do. If your child has seen the movie Cars , they are sure to make the link. The rhyming text is wonderful the pictures are adorable and the feeling of everyone pitching in made me smile. In a genre of similar stories.

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Letter Christmas Ornaments

This recycled project is possibly the easiest custom ornament I’ve ever made. These easy letter ornaments are kid friendly Christmas decor ( or even gift tags) with a dash of learning in the mix as well . These big foam letters are part of a floor puzzle that we’d grown out of , but there are similar bath ones for much less available online , thrift stores or you can use small ones that you can find in the dollar section of Target and Walmart.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam letters, newspaper , markers, glue, glitter and ribbon.  You will also need something to poke the ribbon hole in your foam, we used a paintbrush.
  2. Start by covering your table with plenty of newspaper or something you can simply fold up and throw away. Glitter is awesome, I love it but it’s a drag to clean up , when you can simply fold and throw it’s much easier.
  3. Lay out your letters and color with markers. Be prepared for your kid’s hands to get covered in marker, the foam doesn’t absorb it easily and it will smudge. If this will frustrate your child, skip it and move onto the glitter. I am trying to do everything I can to get my son writing ,he has little interest in it, so I sneak it in everywhere.
  4. Add glue!
  5. Add glitter. Don’t be shy dump it on.
  6. Let dry. I let them dry for 2 days , then shook the extra glitter off . If your marker was still wet when you added the glitter , the glitter will have initially stuck to the wet marker but will now fall off. A few taps will take care of it.
  7. Poke a hole in the letter.
  8. Thread the ribbon through.
  9. Hang up!

Christmas Books

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett is a great book to read whether your children are familiar with the song or not. I love that even though I think of it being a song, my son thinks of it as a math book, counting up the gifts on every page. In classic Jan Brett fashion the illustrations are incredibly detailed , in the side pictures you can follow a family trimming their tree and I particularly liked the holiday salutations on every page in different languages. Really my only complaint is the copy we got from the library was sticky.

It’s Christmas by Tina Burke is simple and brief but it’s not too simple to share with a wide range of ages. The story reads like a photo album with short descriptions of holiday preparations, traditions and celebrations. My favorite is the picture with Santa with a screaming baby. The heart of this book though is how it captures the feeling of having to wait forever for Santa to come.

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.

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