We like to tell stories at our house and one of the series we have created is based around Santa and his elves. Over the past three years we have created a complex north pole with a full community of elves . When I picked up a few birdhouses on clearance at a craft store I knew exactly what my plan was and how much my kids would be into it. What I love about this project is that these are great decorations to keep year after year and they will stand up to it too. We kept ours simple but you could add sequins, pompoms, jewels… your imagination is the limit.
- Gather your materials. You will need some unfinished wood birdhouses, acrylic paint made for wood ( I really love Martha Stewart Multi Surface Paint) , paint brushes , paper plates, table protection, painter’s tape and make sure your kids are in clothes that you do not care if it gets stained. These paints are not washable. I also has baby wipes on hand for quick clean up.
- Start by making a door and windows with your painter’s tape on the back of the birdhouse. Older kids can be encouraged to draw their own architectural details but using tape for a resist effect is such a fun way for kids who aren’t able to achieve the look they imagine but still want to create.
- Pour paint into paper plates. Since the paint was not at all washable I kept the bottles far out of reach and provided each kiddo with colors they helped me pick out.
- Invite your artists. Paint. A tip for choosing paint brushes for kids , give larger brushes for kids that are younger or have a harder time with fine motor control. They both loved this and I was so glad. Sometimes my son will just show his sister or else the activity will be so obviously past her ability that I will try to do it with him while she is napping . When I find something they both love I feel like I won the lottery.
- Let dry and peel off the tape.
- Display. Ours are prominently displayed in our family room – they look like little elf chalets and since they are turned around no one even knows they are birdhouses I grabbed on clearance!
Counting Christmas by Karen Katz is what you might expect from this awesome author. It’s sweet, cute and will get your littlest readers excited for Christmas. I like the sentiment that Christmas is a magical day to share with family . My daughter adores the illustrations of all the babies and the math element is a great bonus too.
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.
SantaKid by James Patterson is a favorite library book in our house this year . My son inherited his love and curiosity of the inner workings of the North Pole from me and this book feeds that wonder. It also taps into something preschoolers are often seeking, power and a voice that gets heard. In the story Santa’s daughter saves the North Pole and Christmas from a corporate take over. I liked this book, and my son did too. It doesn’t focus on the religious celebration but rather on Santa and it doesn’t take a very sophisticated kid to know it’s make believe, 3 pages in my son said “Mommy, this is a made up story right? Santa isn’t a regular Daddy, that’s silly!” What it does is focuses on giving kids power to save something. Maybe it’s just my 4 year old but he spends all day pretending to save the day and this book spoke right to that desire to be powerful and good!This post contains affiliate links