Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s: It can be a real challenge to avoid stress this time of year! If you need a reprieve this weekend, sit down with your family to do some holiday crafts for kids. These ideas are easy and fun, and best of all, each one leaves you with a memento to cherish in 2014 and beyond.
1. PAINT PINECONES
The best holiday crafts for kids involve just a few materials and a minimum of steps. Right? Right. This one meets both essential criteria, plus it gives you a reason to head outdoors. Having foraged (and found) a cache of pinecones, hand-dip each one in paint. Use one color or a dozen of your children’s favorites.
2. HAND-MAKE SNOWMEN
From Lines Across, these adorable snowmen are the product of polymer clay and little hands’ little thumbprints. Once the figures have been fully formed and accessorized to your satisfaction, bake them in the oven to harden. Use your snowmen as tree ornaments, decorative pieces for your holiday mantel, or surprise stocking stuffers for Dad.
3. STRING CANDY CANES
The wise parent knows that holiday crafts for kids succeed most reliably when at least one of the project materials can be eaten. Fruit Loop Candy Canes are a creative twist on a holiday classic—the popcorn garland. To make your own, simply string pipe cleaners (from the craft store) with colorful cereal (from your pantry).
4. ORIGINATE ORNAMENTS
What’s not to like about a holiday craft for kids that not only provides entertainment but also clears clutter? Place crayon nubs—the ones that are too small to draw with, too beloved to trash—into clear glass tree ornaments. Then use a hair dryer to melt the crayons through the glass. The result? One-of-a-kind swirled designs.
5. SET WINTRY SCENES
It’s not complicated to make a snow globe, but because the project requires a bit of patience, it’s best reserved for fourth and fifth graders. Start with a jar from your recycling bin. Adhere your snowscape to the lid, then fill the container with a mixture of glycerin, distilled water, and glitter. The effect is nothing short of magical!