Clay Ornaments -made with stamps & cookie cutters

This year I have cut every corner there is to cut. My daughter has me chasing her , making sure she hasn’t swallowed any of my son’s Legos that may have escaped his room, I have much more grey hair this year… but a more full heart too.  This project isn’t ground breaking but using stamps and cookie cutters with the air dry clay was a great way of making this project attainable for both my kids. Air dry clay is not as easy to manipulate as say salt dough or play dough that little hands are used to so using tools like these help make it a fun successful activity.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some air dry clay ( although you could do it with salt dough or ready to bake clay too), cookie cutters, Christmas themed rubber stamps, a toothpick . Once dry you can paint with all sorts of paints, we used water color.
  2. Start by just playing with the clay. Then cut out with cookie cutters. Both wanted a star .
  3. Using stamps you can make designs on the clay. My daughter loved this and unlike when she uses stamps on playdough the clay was stiff enough that the impressions stayed.My son cut a second and started creating his own shapes … he still hasn’t painted it but if he never does that’s ok too, it doesn’t have to be painted.
  4. Add holes for hanging using a toothpick.
  5. Let dry for a few days.
  6. Time to paint.I loved using the water color because it was a great opportunity to have a lesson about colors with all in front of my toddler without a huge effort.
  7. She explored the paint… make sure it’s non toxic especially if you are doing this with a teething toddler like I did.
  8. I was impressed how vivid the colors stayed on the clay.
  9. Let dry and hang up.

 

Book

The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book) by Nikki Shannon Smith is a sweet book not just about Christmas but also about perseverance, attention to detail and hard work. In this story the littlest elf is working hard but just sin’t fast enough to get her teddy bear finished in time to be in Santa’s sack for Christmas. Santa delivers the bad news but encourages the little elf to keep at it and they will use the toy next year. She still doesn’t give up doing her best work even knowing Santa is already off to children’s homes everywhere. Right after she is done Santa comes back, a new baby was born and he needs that teddy bear! I loved the message and my son did too. Very sweet book.

 

Bubble Wrap Christmas Trees

This was supposed to be a craft just for my daughter, but when my son and his friend saw what we were doing they jumped in too.  I was not planning on 3 kids doing it all at once so it was a little chaotic but the playroom and all the kids survived… remember to use washable paint .  The kids have all used bubble wrap to print on things before so switching it so they painted the bubble wrap was new and a big hit.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bubble wrap, paint, painter’s tape, paint brushes , heavy paper ( paper grocery bags are perfect), a pencil and scissors.
  2. Start by taping the bubble wrap to the work surface with the painter’s tape.
  3. Next paint the bubble wrap with green. For my toddler I gave her a big brush for the green to encourage coverage. She was encouraged …
  4. Next add the lights colors. Let kids decide which colors they want, this helps with color recognition too.
  5. Ok this is when the boys busted in pretending to be Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader ( I know impossible right… not for two imaginative 5 year olds! ) and grabbed some brushes.
  6. Keep painting the wrap.
  7. Draw some trees on the paper and cut out.
  8. Press the paper into the wrap and peel back carefully.
  9. For my toddler I left the paper big so she could do as much as possible herself , the small tree would have probably gotten ripped. Leaving it big let her do it herself feeling the wrap under the paper and “bang banging” her hand to make the print.
  10. Let dry and cut out the tree shape for the toddler. 
  11. Hang up and show off the fun ( and wee bit of chaos…) remember washable paints!

Craft by Numbers – Christmas Tree

Do you remember paint by numbers? I used to love doing them but mixing the numbers up ( yeah I was that kid) my son however is all about numbers and this was a fun way to make something festive but also let his interest in math be spotlighted. You could do this with shapes, or letters too.  I didn’t tell him that the final result was a Christmas tree so it was fun to have him “decode” the craft as we went.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pom-poms in different colors, cups to sort them in,  construction paper, glue and a marker.
  2. Start by sorting your pom-poms by color into different cups, write different numbers on each cup. I wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 on mine since we’d just been chatting about counting by 10s.  To have your child help sort the pom poms just put on of each color in one cup to use as a guide.
  3. Write out the numbers on the paper in a design. I did green outline, with random colors and green in the middle.
  4. Start gluing the pom poms on using the code.
  5. hmmmm what could it be?
  6. All done! Let dry.

Great Christmas Book!

a creature was stirring by Clement C. Moore and  Carter Goodrich  was a recent find at the library. Around the holidays ( any holiday) my son and I attack the stacks like soldiers on a mission and look for the sticker on the binding indicating it’s a Christmas themed book. This was one of the few we found yesterday , and what a find! The book is an adaptation of the classic ‘Twas a NIght Before Christmas with a little boy interupting the poem with his own rhyming story.  It’s an adorable story about a little boy who simply can’t sleep , wants to be good but is oh so worried Santa will think he is naughty. I adore this book, it’s simple and fun and a great addition to the classic that so many of us have been read and will read to our kids this Christmas.

Plate For Santa – Crafty Field Trip

All I wanted was to make a keepsake plate for Santa’s cookies! Ever get an idea in your head and you HAVE to do it? Yeah I get like that during the holidays a lot. I had the idea of my son painting a plate for Santa for ages. I was planning on getting a kit and doing it at home , but all the kits were sold out . We drove around to 4 stores, with both kids, in the rain. I ended up close to tears, with no plates. So instead Monday we packed up and went to a paint your own pottery place and should have just done that to start with. It was the perfect day!

We picked our plate . My son chose a small one saying ” Santa eats a lot of cookies all night, let’s only give him 1 or 2.”

We painted it however we wanted. I did a mug, since Santa needs milk too.

The back was an homage to Ichiro and Tatupu my son’s 2 favorite athletes who share the number 51 . We both thought Santa might like them too.

We even used the numbered bottles for a fun ” Find the number game” . Hey I can’t help it , I see lessons everywhere, as long as he is into it I play.  He loves numbers so he was way into it.

Baby girl slept the whole time. It was precious and I will post the final product when we get it back next week, but wanted to share the idea in time for others to find a local pottery studio before Christmas. More than once my son proclaimed ” This is the best day ever Mama!” and it was, truly a holiday memory I will cherish.

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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