With the festive season in sight, our attention turns to getting the house ready for the big day and welcomed guests, but the question turns to how to keep the little ones busy, without hearing the dreaded two words … ‘I’m Bored’. To give you a helping hand over the festive period we’ve enlisted the help of family crafting duo, Little Button Diaries, to share their top tips to keep the kids entertained right up to Christmas.
For us Christmas is just the best time for crafting. There are more opportunities to create than any other season and we are at our happiest sitting around the table with our children making a big old mess with festive tunes on in the background. We have made a lot (a lot!) of Christmas crafts, so we thought we would share with you our favourite makes and top tips for getting crafty with your children over the festive season.
10 festive things to make and bake
1. Making cards and printing wrapping paper
It is a great activity to do with kids that adds a personal touch to presents. Potato printing onto rolls of brown paper is really easy and works great for gift wrapping. Or create your own stamps by cutting up scraps of craft foam into festive shapes and gluing to a piece of corrugated card before dunking in the paint. Pipe cleaners, pom poms, festive stickers and coloured card are handy to have for card making. Sticking to simple tree shapes works well for newbie crafters as they’re easily definable.
2. Make your own crackers
Now is the time to get saving those toilet roll tubes to turn them into crackers. Find small toys from charity shops and get little ones to write jokes to add in. You can buy cracker snaps easily online or in craft shops at this time of year. Cover with paper (or old pieces of artwork by kids) and tie at each end.
3. Design your own Christmas jumpers
We’ve decorated our own Christmas jumpers and this is something we can’t wait to do with the kids this year. Use an old plain jumper (or find one in a charity shop) and decorate by gluing or stitching sequins, pom poms and felt shapes onto the front.
4. Simple Christmas Truffles
Every year we make these easy Christmas truffles with the kids. They’re great for a handmade gift for the family. Start saving up jars now to put them in for gifts, or get the children to make and decorate boxes.
5. Make Tree decorations
There are so many ways you could make Christmas tree decorations that can be used for years. Glue old lollipop sticks into a star shape, make pom poms to resemble Christmas puddings or sew together felt shapes before stuffing. One of our favourite ideas is to use a salad spinner to whirl paint round on circles of card to create jazzy baubles. Sprinkle biodegradable glitter on top and add string to hang them.
6. Winter pomander
This traditional craft leaves the whole house smelling of Christmas. Make holes in an orange with a skewer, then push whole cloves into the orange in a decorative pattern. Add a ribbon around the middle to hang. You can also cut oranges and lemons into slices before baking on a low heat to harden. Hang on string for a lovely scented festive bunting.
7. Salt dough
It is a wonderfully versatile craft materials to work with that can be whipped up quicker than Santa can get down the chimney. All you need to do is mix 4 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt, then add 1.5 cups of warm water. Roll it out and use cookie cutters to cut shapes, then add a hole at the top with a straw. Tiny tots could make hand prints in the dough. Bake for an hour on a low heat, then paint and add ribbon to turn them into gift tags or tree decorations.
8. Edible Christmas decorations
Make circular gingerbread cookies with a hole near the top. Decorate to resemble baubles or add festive characters with icing before adding ribbon through the hoop and hanging them on the tree.
9. Giant festive fuzzy felt
Creating your own giant fuzzy felt is a great way to keep little ones entertained. Use our templates to cut out your pieces and let them build their own Olafs, Christmas trees or other festive shapes.
10. Make Hats
You can make really simple hats but cutting coloured card into long crown shaped strips, or half circles to make cone hats. Have pom poms, sequins and scraps of foil and paper ready for kids to decorate them. Avoid mess by using double-sided tape to stick your decoration onto the hats.
Three top tips for Christmas crafting
- Don’t get stressed!
Festive crafting with kids is a lovely activity but it can get stressful when there are so many other things to sort out for Christmas. The key is to take your lead from the kids – give them a choice of what they want to make, be it astronaut angels or mermaid paper chains, if they’ve chosen the craft they will enjoy it a lot more. Meaning you will too. Set aside an hour to focus on just the activity, with no distractions. Get involved and make your own version of what they are making. You might find you are still there colouring in decorations long after the kids have disappeared!
- Be Organised.
This one is really key. If you start the activity before you have all or your festive ducks in a row, your kids will quickly get bored and the activity will get off to a bad start. So, get yourself organised with supplies all laid out before you begin. We like to divide our crafty things into little bowls, with tiny things like sequins and beads in ice cube trays. If you have children who squabble then give each child separate bowls.
- Ignore the Mess, and learn to manage it!
We struggle with this one a bit – especially when we have spent hours making the house look lovely for Christmas. But try to grin and bear it whilst chaos ensues and glitter (eco glitter of course!) covers every surface with a nice sheen, because it will make for a happier craft session. Manage mess by covering surfaces with an old table cloth (you can also lay another one out on the floor to scoop up the mess in one go at the end) and putting large old t-shirts on the kids for easy and comfy overalls.
Now you’ve got the kids kept busy, you can turn your attention to getting the house ready for guests – Happy Christmas!