Tucked away in the craft drawers I found a packet of cardboard Christmas garland shapes. It consisted of ten pieces of alternating bauble and snowflake shapes that could be decorated and then combined to string across the wall or the top of a door or window.
Shaking on glitter.
Glitter was the only decorating material we considered, so we took the glitter tub and the cardboard garlands outside. The kids painted on glue with paintbrushes and then shook glitter onto the glue.
Creating patterns with the glitter.
L made some interesting patterns on her baubles and snowflakes. She added glue in a swirl shape and covered it with one colour of glitter, and then blew the excess off. Then, she placed glue in the plain section and added a different colour of glitter to this glue. She also did some stripes using the same method. These look great.
Some of the garlands hanging up to dry.
A liked to use lots of different colours all over hers, which also look great. At least twice, the lid of one of the glitter tubes came off, dumping a heap of glitter onto the shapes. As there was a lot of glitter left on the muck mat, I painted glue all over the last two pieces of garland, and then pressed them glue side down into the excess glitter. The glitter colours were very mixed up, but I liked the way they came up, and we didn’t waste too much glitter!
Ready to be combined to make a lovely glittery garland string.
Once the garland pieces were completely dry, I stapled them together, end to end. We tied the finished garland from the curtain rod on our large lounge room windows. It is quite festive!
Hanging from the curtain rod.
Pouring the cereal.
We mixed up a batch of reindeer food today in preparation for Santa’s visit later this week. The kids tipped some rolled oats, corn flakes and rice bubbles into a big bowl, and added lots of glitter! They stirred it all together and then scooped it out into plastic sandwich bags ready for Christmas Eve.
Before bed on Christmas Eve we will take the reindeer food outside and spread it across the grass. The glitter will sparkle and help to guide the reindeer to land safely on our lawn. While the reindeer are waiting for Santa, they can eat the cereals in the mix.
The kids get very excited to feed the reindeer with their reindeer food. They will also leave out some carrots in case the reindeer are extra hungry.
Spooning the reindeer food into bags.
There were Christmas craft ideas in some of the email newsletters from Educational Experience in the lead up to Christmas. One of the ideas was to create fingerprint Christmas cards. We tried this out at home, making Christmas trees and candy canes with our fingers.
A liked to smudge her fingerprints together for her trees.
L carefully creating a tree.
We started with plain white cards. The kids used green paint to create a triangle for the tree, and then brown paint for the trunk. The candy canes were alternating red and white fingerprints in a cane shape.
A making a candy cane.
To finish the cards, we added sparkly star stickers to the top of the trees, and little Christmas stickers in the corners of the candy cane cards.
This was a quick activity with minimal mess. And the end result looked good. We gave these cards to teachers and staff at the kids’ school. The card’s recipients were very impressed. On the back of each card I wrote the name of the child that painted the card, along with the year and the class that the kids were in.
Laying out the wings.
Doilies make pretty angel wings and skirts. We cut a triangular section from a doily, and used this piece as the angel’s skirt, while the rest of the doily was turned upside down and became the wings. We glued the pieces of doily to an oversized pop-stick (like the tongue depressors the doctor uses to look in your throat). This formed the body of the angel.
Attaching the skirt and face.
I cut out circles of white felt to use as the angel’s face, and a third of a pipe cleaner (chenille stick) was bent around to form a halo. The halo was glued to the back of the felt head piece. The kids decorated their angels with glitter glue and glitter paint, and added little googly eyes. The middle angel in the picture above is actually covered in glitter, but it can’t be seen in the photo.
Painting an angel.
We stuck the angels up on the window next to where our Christmas tree is.
The doilies are quite light and will not stay up on their own, and will droop without further support. We used blu-tack to stick the wings to the window, but we could have added another pop-stick (or two) onto the back of the angel to support the wings independent of where the angel was being displayed.
Pop-sticks are so versatile, and they can be used to make simple and fun Christmas decorations. We made stars and trees using the regular sized pop-sticks, and some small stars with mini pop-sticks.
Gluing the pop-sticks together.
Triangles ready to be glued together.
For the larger stars, we made two triangles with the pop-sticks by gluing the ends together. Then we placed one of the triangles on top of the other one, so that one triangle was point up, and the other one was point down. We glued the triangles together like this, and got our star. To finish them off we added glitter glue and once they were dry, I tied a loop of string to one of the points so it could be hung on the tree.
Adding glitter glue.
The Christmas trees were made with a triangle of green pop-sticks, and a natural coloured pop-stick glued behind the triangle to form the trunk. We had coloured pop-sticks, but natural pop-sticks could be easily painted green before construction. Glitter glue finished off the trees. Later, a loop of string was added so the tree could be hung up.
Gluing mini pop-sticks together.
The little stars were made by stacking the mini pop-sticks at different angles to produce eight points. A small dab of glue was all that was necessary to keep the pop-sticks together. Once dry, we tied some string around the stars to hang them from.
These decorations all look great hanging on our Christmas tree!
A found these foam spoon kits in Riot Art & Craft last week. She picked out two for her and two for L (who was not with us at the time). They were only a couple of dollars each, and they gave us an hour or so of Christmas crafting fun.
Each pack contained a foam spoon and all the bits to attach to the spoon to make a penguin, Santa or reindeer.
Sticking on the reindeer’s head.
The penguin packs had foam with a sticky backing so all we had to do was peel off the backing paper, and stick it where it had to go. The only problem with this was that the sticky area of the body pieces were much wider than the spoon, leaving the back of the body with nothing to stick to. The reindeer and Santa packs weren’t self-sticking, so we used craft glue to attach the foam pieces to the spoon.
Placing tiny bells on the reindeer’s antlers.
L and A very carefully followed the pictures to create their spoons. For some reason A’s penguin pack had two wings the same, instead of a left and right wing! She didn’t really care though, she just stuck the second wing on upside down and told me the penguin was waving.
Sticking on the penguin’s beak.
We have displayed these Christmas spoons up on the wall. They are very cute!
I was browsing in Riot Art & Craft the other day and we came across these little felt decoration kits. They looked like fun, so I bought two.
Sorted and ready to go.
The circles came pre-punched in felt rectangles, so the kids popped them all out then put the scraps in the bin. Once we’d sorted the circles into piles of different sizes, I noticed that we were short a few circles, and the kids had to go and get them from the bin (luckily they were in a new bin bag so there wasn’t anything yucky in there!). We sorted the piles from biggest to smallest to make it easier to pick up the right sized circles.
Threading the felt circles.
We tied knots in the end of the silver string and threaded the plastic needles. Then the kids got to work, first adding the cylindrical bead for the tree trunk, and then the felt circles in descending order and finally the star bead. This was where it got a little tricky however, because then the instructions suggested making a loop and taking the thread back through the beads and circles to tie it off at the base where we started. I had to help the kids do this, and the star bead mostly popped off when we tried to tie the thread at the opposite end. The star was easy to thread back on, and then I added a knot above it to stop it slipping off again.
I have added a drop of craft glue to the bottom of the trunk bead and the top of the star bead to prevent the thread pulling through in the future. And I trimmed the end of the thread ready to hang on the Christmas tree.
L (7 years) found this an easy and enjoyable activity that she could complete herself. On the other hand, A (5 years), had more difficulties and required more help with tying the knots and getting the thread back through everything. Putting on the beads and felt circles was easy enough, but she kept letting the thread go, and she had trouble re-threading the needle. A made several trees with help, and still enjoyed it, but L could have done this as a solo activity.
These Christmas tree shapes were in the Christmas bags from Riot Art & Craft, along with a container of Christmas card embellishments. The trees were a thin foam, and there were three each to decorate.
Foam tree shapes.
Some of the embellishments had paper backing that could be removed to reveal a sticky side to stick straight onto the tree or card. These bits of paper were very hard to remove, and in some cases, we actually pulled the sticky backing right off the embellishment along with the paper. After that we just used craft glue to stick the embellishments onto the trees.
Adding glitter glue.
Glitter glue in gold and silver added a final touch of sparkle to these great Christmas trees.
Once they were dry we used blu-tack to stick them on our front door.
While A was painting her Christmas wreath I decided to use a foam cone and foam ball to make a Santa Claus figure.
I wanted to use the cone for the body, so I painted it red. I later added a black belt with silver buckle about midway up the cone. For the head, I used the foam ball, first painting it white. His hat was made from a red felt triangle, and the fluffy edge and pom pom on top are both made from cotton balls, as is the beard. Once all that was dry, I started to add facial features, but I didn’t get any further than placing two blue dots for eyes. I found I really liked the way it looked without a nose or mouth.
Attaching the head to the body was a bit of a challenge, I tried using a long pin inserted into the apex of the cone, and the bottom of the ball, but it wasn’t strong enough. I fiddled with this for ages, using glue and pins, but still the head fell off. I really didn’t want a spontaneously decapitating Santa, so I used plenty of craft glue and attached a pop-stick as a support rod from the body to the head at the back. I had it lined up so the head was in a good position, and I left it to dry, which took ages, but it worked.
With the head finally attached, I cut two red pipe cleaners in half, and used one piece for each limb. I just stuck the sharp point of the pipe cleaner straight into the foam, and then bent them to give my Santa knees and elbows. I thought my Santa was perfect, but Big L said it looked like something out of Tim Burton’s The Night Before Christmas, anyway, I still like it! And the kids liked him too. He sat up on top of our TV throughout the Christmas period, watching to make sure we were all being good 🙂
I went looking for some plain, smooth baubles to decorate before Christmas. This task was actually harder than I had anticipated, so many of the baubles were already covered in glitter or patterns. I finally found a pack of gold baubles in Target. They were nice and large, which was good for the kids to decorate. I bought a pack of Christmas glitter glue, which included gold, green and red. These little bottles had fine tips and were easy to control.
I made little rings out of plasticine to place the bauble in so that it wouldn’t roll away while we painted them with the glitter glue. This was very effective, but when I asked the kids if they wanted to paint another bauble, they both told me they just wanted to play with the left-over plasticine!
A bauble sitting in its plasticine ring.
The kids each decorated a couple of baubles each, making dots, swirls, stripes, stars, trees and writing their names. A used a bit too much glitter glue on one of hers, while painting a Christmas tree. The glitter glue ran, making the tree appear as if it had melted.
The melted Christmas tree.
Painting a bauble.
I used the glitter glue to write each child’s name and the year on a bauble. Once these were dry, I turned them over and drew a star on one, and trees on the other two. The kids liked having a bauble that was made just for them. I also dotted one bauble all over with random spots of the three colours. L liked this one, and had a go at making one the same, though some of her dots were bigger, and ran a little.
Name and year on a bauble.
A spotty bauble.
The kids proudly hung up all of the glitter glue baubles on the tree once they were dry.