Fine Motor Pipe Cleaner Tree – Christmas Busy Bags

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Today’s post is combining 2 of my favorite things this month! A Christmas busy bag and fine motor skills!

Remember that we currently have a sale on the ebook 99 fine motor ideas use the coupon “xmas” to grab your $2 off!

This little busy bag is a fascination to my kids.

fine motor skills with pom poms pegs and pipe cleaners

To make you will need:

To make your tree twist the ends on one side of the pipe cleaners together to secure them together. Next twirl them in spiral on a flat surface.

To store them you will be using the peg. The peg is also going to be used to pick up pom poms and transfer them.

Once you have your pipe cleaners in a spiral pull them from the center up to create a hollow tree. Make sure the opening is big enough for the pom poms.

making a pipe cleaner tree

Transfer the pom poms into the center of the tree with the peg.fine motor with pegs

Younger kids like my 2 year old who currently can’t open a peg can use their fingers or other items that promote fine motor pincer use.
using fingers for fine motor skills

Once the tree is full the kids can have MORE fun removing the pom poms from the tree one by one. Busy busy little ones!pipecleaner tree

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Fine Motor Pipe Cleaner Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

Take a look at what my co-hosts were up to this week!

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Felt Puzzles – Christmas Busy Bags

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This felt puzzle is another solving busy bag. Here the children get a bunch of felt bits and then can create with them.

Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

I made a mini felt board to go with this activity by gluing the green felt to some cardboard.

Use the tree and ornament template from the lacing shapes if you are unable to free hand cut these.

The yellow star below is also 4 triangles and a square.Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

This tree is 4 triangle and a rectangle.

I think my favorite about this puzzle is that the kids know that the pieces are going to make something but what? They turn the shapes around and around until they fit.Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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Find a New Tradition in the Magical Find Me, Santa! Snowflake

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As a young family we are rather excited to start exploring new traditions as well as adding those passed down from mine and my husbands side. This year we were fortunate enough to stumble across this Find Me, Santa! Snowflake which I think is a great way to bring even more adventure and MAGIC! into the Christmas season.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Hallmark, all opinions are my own.

double glowing find me santa snowflake

 5 Ways to use the Find Me, Santa! Snowflake

1. Do the easy thing! Hang it on the tree and watch it glow, glow, glow.

2. Hang it on the door knob! Your front door or your kids room door.

3. Stand or hang it in a window. All the better to see!

4. Take it outside if you have trees in the yard. Now the path is lit for Santa!

5. Are you traveling to family at Christmas time? The children might be worried that Santa won’t find them because you are not at your home. This snowflake takes care of that! Now Santa can find them anywhere because the snowflake has their name on it!

The batteries for this snowflake will last well into the night and even after Santa makes his arrival. You can also make it a part of the tradition that the kids go to bed with the snowflake on, so Santa can find them and then once they are asleep and the presents are laid under the tree, it can be put off because Santa found it and turned it off.

Even unlit the Find Me, Santa! Snowflake looks stunning on the tree. Another idea is to leave the snowflake off and only turn it on on Christmas eve, because you wouldn’t want Santa to arrive too early.

BONUS way #6: I have also been wanting to do the Christmas eve gift box tradition and I think that this would definitely fit well with that theme!

find me santa snowflake 5 ways to use

For just $9.95 I would say this is a really good buy and would be awesome in building a new family tradition with the magic of Santa. You can find the Find Me, Santa! Snowflake here. I admittedly got a bit sidetracked by a certain cookie shape roller while browsing about. But what Mom child wouldn’t want that super cool item! Seasonal baking yum yum.

I also love the main website that features all sorts of interactive things. Pop on by  and have fun clicking about!

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Threading Pipe Cleaners – Christmas Busy Bags

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Simple and classic busy bag! Great for fine motor skills.

threading skills for fine motor

For this one add some jingle bells for extra festive feel as well as star beads and don’t forget the Christmas tinsel pipe cleaners! pincer control with threading

Thread them randomly or thread them to a pattern.christmas busy bag threading jingle bells

When you are done make a jingle bracelet too! Our bag contained enough beads and jingles for 3 of these.jingle bell braclets

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Threading Pipe Cleaners - Christmas Busy Bags

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Memory & Matching Game – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just love a quick printable busy bag and the funny thing is the kids seem to love these more than the felt busy bags I make!

This one can be used in 3 ways. Simply to layout all the cards and comment on the images and tell a story, pair up the matching images or to turn the cards over and play a memory matching game!

memory matching cards layout

To make these memory matching cards you will need:

You can either print these on stock cards or paper and laminate them. These cards are made to the size of this laminating pouch which ensures I don’t have to cut each and every card a second time. It also makes the cards uniform which is great for storage.

Print the blue backing first then turn your paper over and reinsert into the printer so that the front of the cards print on the other side.
match them by picture busy bag

Use these seasonal cards to pair up the similar images or as a memory matching game by turning them over.

memory match the cards busy bag

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Memory & Matching Game - Christmas Busy Bags

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Festive Lacing Shapes – Christmas Busy Bags

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Lacing has got to be one of the original classic busy bags. In today’s Christmas Busy Bag we make some festive themed ones.

My kids are no strangers to lacing shapes as I have made them before, see my lacing shapes tutorial here but surprising them with some new shapes to lace has re-kindled the interest!

Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

To make these Festive Lacing Shapes Busy Bag you will need:

Trace your shapes, cut them out then use the hole punch around the edge. Try not to be too close to the edge as when little ones use this they tend to be ruff and the holes will easily tear if you made them too close to the edge of the foam. They work perfectly further in, like in the image below.

Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

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Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

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DIY Ribbon Angel Ornaments

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Today’s craft is for older kids and adults 😀

I had a ton of fun making these and as soon as we go to the city again (we live in the middle of nowhere) I will get a few more colors of this wired ribbon!

how to make ribbon angels diy

Aren’t these ribbon angels JUST gorgeous!

To make a ribbon angel you will need:

diy angels from wire ribbon

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how to make ribbon angels diy

How to make a ribbon angel

I found a lovely YouTube tutorial on how to make this ribbon angel!

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Build a Snowman – Christmas Busy Bags

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Everywhere I look these days is that Olaf snowman from Frozen! Well, my kids couldn’t care less about that movie. (insert shock, gasp reaction)

Today’s Christmas busy bag is based on the traditional snowman.

Once again a rather simple busy bag to make but a hit to keep the kids busy while doing Christmas preparations or waiting somewhere.

snow man busy bag

Gather your colorful felt collection and get cutting!

I made a template with all the parts to make this busy bag. You can download it here.

I also used some blue felt for a backing. I really should have checked that before I cut a hat the same color!build a snow man busy bag

But no matter we had a spare hat. Oh and those spare mittens? They can be shoes.. lolbuild a traditional snow man

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Build a Snowman  - Christmas Busy Bags

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Craft Stick Puzzles – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just LOVE these craft stick puzzles. We have also made a non seasonal puzzle which was a big hit with the kids. I personally loved the swirls.

As these are for the 25 Christmas Busy bags series I am doing this month I decided to make them magical and all shiny!

snowflake craft stick puzzles

These are also super simple to make!

To make this Christmas busy bag you will need:

Tape the 10 sticks neatly together like below and turn over to add your art!

how to make a craft stick puzzle

For my blue jumbo craft sticks I did a snowflake puzzle. I had to first search on your tube for a tutorial for HOW TO draw a snowflake, but once I saw how it was easy and I drew them all over.

Once the paint was dry I used the silver glitter glue and rubbed it randomly over the surface to give a shimmery and magical effect. Don’t forget to number your sticks 1-10 while they are still taped together!

craft stick puzzles for christmas busy bags

I also made a tree puzzle with actual beads on it for decorations. Try to keep the beads on one stick and not get the sticks glued together!

First up draw your tree. Here I used the tree template from the lacing shapes and took my green paint to make a glow effect to the tree then used a glitter pen to make the outline stick out more.

More glitter glue was used as tinsel and the beads as ornaments. Again remember to number your sticks 1-10.christmas tree craft stick puzzle

The only thing left is to let it dry then go play!

These make a fabulous busy bag and my kids just love puzzles so this one is a hit.craft stick tree being together

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Craft Stick Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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3 Free Printable Fine Motor Tracing Worksheets – Christmas Themed

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This Fridays Fine Motor Skills post is all about tracing!

As it is December and the kids are all excited about the tree that got put up last week I went with a Christmas theme.

fine motor tracing printable

I made one where the reindeer need help to get to Santa and his sleigh another where Santa needed help to get to the tree and a 3rd where the elves really wanted to put some candy in the stockings!

My 5 year old did mostly ok with his tracing, considering he has only recently taken an interest in doing these kinds of activities that involve using a pen! My 2 year old started out on the right track then decided to take a short cut up the side of the page! hehefine motor line tracing

Grab your free printables here.

Also used in this activity is my favorite Write And Wipe Pockets as well as Dry Erase Markers.

3 Free Printable Fine Motor Tracing Worksheets - Christmas Themed

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3 Free Printable Fine Motor Tracing Worksheets

See what my co-hosts have been up to this week!!

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Fine Motor Button Tree – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas Busy bag has a heavy focus on fine motor skills by using buttons.

Fine Motor Button Tree a great Christmas Busy Bags

I am sure you have noticed that all the busy bags we have made so far are rather easy to make and that is what I love about this series and all 25 Christmas busy bags.

To make this busy bag cut out a tree in green felt (I used this template) then make dots with hot glue on the tree felt and stick down the buttons. YES! that’s right! NO SEWING!

Next cut a few colorful felt circles and make small slits about the length of the buttons in the middle. You can use a spare button to measure this before you cut.

Make sure you also cut a star for the top! (use this templates smaller star if you are unable to free hand cut)felt circles and buttons for fine motor control

Have fun using your new  busy bag and decorating that tree!!learning to button

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Fine Motor Button Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

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20 Christmas Crafts for Kids

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Take a look at these 20 rather awesome ideas for christmas crafts for kids!

20 Christmas Crafts for Kids

Christmas Crafts for Kids

I just LOVE this collection. So easy to make and pleasing to the eye!

christmas hands

Santa handprint craft
Styrofoam Button Ornaments
Button Christmas Tree Ornament: Cute & Simple!

paper plate christmas

Gift Bow Christmas Tree Craft
Build-Your-Own Snowman (in a bag)
PAPER PLATE CHRISTMAS MASKS

santa and raindeer

Dancing Santa Christmas Craft:
Christmas tree activity
Candy Cane Reindeer Christmas Craft or Treat For Kids

stick christmas

Bottle Cap Reindeer Christmas Craft For Kids (Cute Ornament Idea!)
DIY Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Gift Boxes/ Packages For Kids
Craft Stick Snowman Ornaments

pom poms

Snowball Fight in a Bucket!
How to Make a Paper Christmas Tree – Simple Christmas Crafts
Pompom Christmas Trees

christmas star crafts

Gingerbread Men, Christmas Tree and Star Printables
Add Glitter to Anything Without it Falling Off
Pipe Cleaner Garlands

jungle bells

Stocking & Stuffer Ideas for Kids
Egg Carton Jingle Bells – Christmas Ornament Craft

Follow Nicolette | Powerful Mothering’s board Christmas Everything 4 Kids on Pinterest.

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Bow Sorting – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas busy bag is super simple and tons of exploratory fun!

colorful bows

To make this Christmas busy bag:

Buy a bunch of simple Christmas bows, you can buy them in varying colors and sizes. I used my usual tray to contain the busy bag activity and added a few plastic cups.

If you get bows in various sizes have the kids sort them by size. Ours were all the same color so we did some color sorting and counting as I had selected 5 of each color. christmas busy bag sorting idea

Use the added cups to further color sort or pour from cup to cup like my 2 year old loves to do!playing and sorting with bows

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Bow Sorting - Christmas Busy Bags

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Counting Christmas Lights 1-20 Free Printable – Christmas Busy Bags

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Continuing our 25 Christmas Busy Bags today this busy bag is all about counting up to 20 white lighting up the tree!

christmas tree with buttons busy bag

To make this simple busy bag you will need:

  • The free tree printable (download it here)
  • 20 buttons or pom poms
  • Optional laminator (keep an eye on this one if you don’t have one yet! It has great reviews and always goes on sale)

light up the tree with lights

You can use buttons like I did to “light” your tree or you can use pom poms or any other object that fits on the circles.

count up to 20 christmas lights on your pretty tree

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Counting Christmas Lights 1-20 Free Printable - Christmas Busy Bags

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Inexpensive & Easy Travel Games for Kids

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Happy holiday season from Kara at ALLterNATIVElearning! I am excited to be able to share with you several fun, easy and inexpensive travel games today to help you prepare with and for your kids! With Christmas and the holiday season as a whole, travel is typically a part of the routine for most families. And whether it’s a short road trip or a long flight, keeping kids occupied is always a benefit, especially when they are wanting to open present or play with new gifts.

INEXPENSIVE AND EASY TRAVEL GAMES

Check out these great travel games for toddlers and preschoolers!

Create a travel shape sorter game out of recyclable materials. You won’t be bothered if pieces go missing and you can use a holiday stencil to customize it for the season.

Velcro Dot Craft Sticks make a fun and easy-to use busy bags for your child to play with in the car or on a plane ride. Also, not a huge deal if you lose one!

If traveling in a car, these I Spy! Cards are really a fabulous idea. PLUS, no cheating by finding something in the car 😉

Make Travel Folders to explore different topics like stretch, texture, shapes, and more. They are easy to store and still a fun, interactive travel game for young babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Travel Game Ideas for kids | ALLterNATIVElearning.com for PowerfulMothering.com

Put together a Crazy Straw fine motor game. It’s so simple, so inexpensive, but the time kids spend playing with it is so priceless!

Get a Sensory Fix Toolkit to help keep kids occupied and focused even when they are on the verge of a meltdown!

Discover 11 Screen Free Activities for the Car. These great ideas are wonderful ways to help keep your kids enetrtained without pulling out a phone or movie.

Make fine motor activities out of bottles. This would be a self-contained travel game where the hold for the artificial nipple is where your baby or young toddler can place items of your choosing.

Have your children help you make Travel Activities!

Have a Craft Day before your trip and create a fun felt matching game.

Put together Busy Bags out of thrift shop finds. Check out this post to see how to browse your local secondhand stores and find great additions to busy bags that don’t break the bank and aren’t a tragedy if they get lost or broken.

Find ideas like this 11 page no-sew Quiet Book to keep your child occupied, especially when they start getting a little rowdy in the car or on the plane.

Create DIY magnetic travel games to coincide with the season.

Easy travel activities for children | ALLterNATIVElearning.com for PowerfulMothering.com

Assemble Dollar Store busy bags that encourage learning, but do not cost too much money.

Put together your own quiet book. Just make sure you have tons of stickers! 😉

Gather items for travel games where kids can work on patterns, numbers, and letters, like these busy bags by theme.

Design a cute little map game for your child to play with a car on (and maybe help them understand the sequence of events for your trip).

Kara Carrero promotes and alternative learning style at ALLterNATIVElearning.com


More about Kara:

Kara is a stay-at-home-mom and former teacher. She loves to write and share her experiences tot schooling. Recently she started writing more and is officially the author of two books, Every Parent Can Teach their Toddler and Adventures of Dot! Find her at ALLterNATIVElearning.com and don’t forget to follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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Felt Tree Stacking – Christmas Busy Bags

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Todays Christmas Busy Bag is full of size logic plus color sorting and you get a beautiful mini tree when you are done!

stacking tree made from felt

To make this busy bag you will need:

  • color felt in a variety of happy colors
  • 1 normal craft stick
  • 8 mini craft sticks (you can use normal ones inn a pinch)
  • hot glue gun

parts for the activity

Cut your felt into circles of varying sizes. I cut 3 or 4 pieces of felt at once making this a color sorting tree as well. The kids can match up all the color circles first before stacking them up. Cut a slit in those circles so it fits over the craft stick which will be your tree.

Don’t forget the star! (If you are bad at free hand cutting a star like I am, I used the smallest star on the star printable from this star craft we did last year as the template)

For the stand of the tree I used mini craft sticks and hot glued them together to support the main standing tree craft stick. To do this I took 2 mini sticks added a small bit of hot glue around the center area then took the green stick and put it standing up between the two mini sticks. Take another 2 mini sticks and lay them in the opposite direction so that the green stick is now wedged between the 4 mini sticks essentially creating a base for your tree.

Add 2 pairs just like this to secure.

the base for the stacking

Layout your busy bag and let the kids at it! After color sorting and size sorting the circles it is time to make a stacking tree.cut various felt circles

This one kept the kids busy for some time. Successful busy bag, YAY!stack the felt in size

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Felt Tree Stacking - Christmas Busy Bags

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Easy Felt Ornament Busy Bag – Christmas Busy Bags

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Another super simple busy bag today!

Don’t you just love super simple ideas that keep the kids busy!

For this one you will need some felt in your color choice cut to resemble an ornament. You can even do a plain circle.

Get creative with other felt cuts in circles, triangles or squares. Add some wavy or sparkly ribbons and you are all set to play!

Easy Felt Ornament Busy Bag

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Printable Reindeer – Christmas Busy Bags

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Part of my 25 Christmas Busy Bags series, where I bring you some fun busy bags to keep the little ones occupied.

This busy bag has got to be up there on my list of it is just AWESOME. 😀

The focus of this bag is fine motor skills by using the mini pegs to reattach various parts to Rudolf. This also provides an opportunity to learn some anatomy. Like why do reindeer have antlers? and what’s with the big red nose?

Completed clip reindeer

To make this Reindeer Busy Bag you will need:

Print out the page on your card stock and cut out. Laminate the bits for a longer lasting busy bag.

Now use your hot glue gun along the sides of the mini pegs and press them onto the cut out bits. Be careful to have the items all lined up correctly so that the ends clip on in the right way.

hot glue the mini pegs

At around age 3 or 4 your little one will be able to use pegs and mini pegs. My 2 and half year old is unable to open a peg at this stage so my 5 year old enjoyed this Christmas busy bag with many comments about the missing reindeer parts.

fine motor mini peg use

You will also notice that I use a tray in all my busy bags. I have a few reasons for this. Firstly it contains the items and secondly it contains the items to each kids busy bag thus stopping the fighting over loose parts and which belong to who’s activity!learning the anatomy of a reindeer

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Printable Reindeer  - Christmas Busy Bags great for fine motor skills

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Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas busy bag is one of the most popular with my kids.

It features a pulling of the ribbons with jingle bells on the ends!

ribbon pulling busy bag

I originally made this one in one spice bottle with bells on either end. This was great and the kids excitedly played with it but when the ribbons were all pulled out they tried to put it back into the bottle. The lid is a bit hard to open for the kids so this ended their play.

As is usual for me I wanted to improve this and give more play time with this Christmas busy bag.fun busy bag with jingle bells

So I got another spice bottle, cut it in half so I had two of the top sections. I had to use my husbands saw to cut the spice bottle enough to get my scissors in there but it turned out great.

To make you will need:

  • 2 spice bottles with largish holes (or other container)
  • a few lengths of thin ribbon in various colors
  • Cutting supplies, a saw (or similar), scissors
  • tape supplies, duct tape, washi tape
  • various colors of jingle bells

When measuring for the length of your ribbon use the length of your toddlers arm, because that is as far as they can pull.cut your spice bottle in half

I then used duct tape to hold the two tops together. Now this is rather ugly. Enter in washi tape!!

Tape up the middle and make it pretty.washi tape spice bottle

Thread the ribbon from the bottom up of the lid and attach the bells. I choose a bunch of different colors to make it interesting. Once the one lid is threaded pull the un-belled ribbon through the tube of the bottle and thread the next lid. Secure the lids to the spice bottles.jingle bells on ribbons

Now your new busy bag toy is ready for playing!

My 2 year old was more than happy with this altered version, which occupied for sure way longer than the one sided bottle!
ribbons in a spice bottle

I even caught my 4 year old helping himself to this toy! I found him sitting on the little mat I have in the kitchen pulling the ends in amusement.  Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells

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Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells - Christmas Busy Bags

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Cute Mini Christmas Trees

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For our fine motor skills Friday we made these cute mini Christmas trees. Simple to make, encouraging those fine motor skills with squeezing and pinching and I got some lovely art for the kitchen.

mini tree craft supplies

To make these cute trees you will need:

  • random loose parts. I have used buttons, beads and pom poms.
  • glitter pens
  • school glue
  • wooden pegs or anything to hold your tree up with
  • foam or cardboard trees

(Keeping it real. An optional stuffed toy that a certain 2 year old decided needed to be in this picture! hehe)

I cut out some paper to use as a template for the trees and managed to fit 3 shapes per page of foam.

triangle cut outs

Once these are cut add your items to a snack tray or various bowls and get crafting!

Lots of pincer exercise for picking up those tiny items to stick on the trees. Also the adding of the glue by squeezing the bottle and the squeezing of the glitter pens!

all set up for fine motor skills

It may look like a bit of a mess but once the glues dry they are invisible and the colors shine through.fine motor skills with glue and mini trees

Try to keep an area clear for the pegs, or add the pegs while crafting!

I especially LOVE the white tree with the glitter and buttons in the middle below. I am actually thinking of doing a similar projects just to frame it for my wall!mini christmas trees for fine motor skills

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Cute Mini Christmas Trees

See what my fine motor co-hosts have been up to this week!

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Counting Sticks – Christmas Busy Bags

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For our 4th Christmas busy bag I went with a counting combination with some number recognition.

This one is good for any season by changing up the items used on the one craft stick. To make this one Christmas themed I used stars and snowflake beads.

setup coutning sticks with pegs

To make you will need:

  • 10 jumbo craft sticks
  • 10 beads
  • 5 wooden pegs
  • black marker pen
  • hot glue gun

shapes matching to words

This one is rather simple to setup too! Hot glue those beads onto the jumbo craft sticks in order 1 to 5. Other glue works as well but just takes longer to dry!

Write the corresponding one, two, three, four and five. Then number your begs with the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5!

matching numbers to words

Now you have a lovely counting busy bag to play with! As you can see in the pictures the pegs can be clipped to the letters or the beads.matching up all the numbers

I love this set for my toddler for counting as well as my preschooler who is working on name recognition.complete set

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Counting Sticks - Christmas Busy Bags

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Feed Rudolf the Reindeer – Christmas Busy Bags

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Day 3 of our Christmas Busy Bags is a rather simple busy bag.

I used a spice bottle with largish holes that easily fits pipe cleaners and made it look like Rudolf!

Feed Rudolf the Reindeer

To make you will need:

  • a spice bottle
  • orange, green and brown pipe cleaners
  • googly eyes
  • a red pom pom
  • hot glue gun
  • optional bit of felt for pretend play grass

Cut the brown pipe cleaner into 4. To get the antler effect wrap one bit of pipe cleaner around the other. Hot glue the antlers and face on the spice bottle.

Cut the orange and green pipe cleaners into bits. These represent carrots and moss which reindeer eat.

PLAY!carrots and greens for Rudolf the red nose reindeer

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Feed Rudolf the Reindeer - Christmas Busy Bags

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Easy Popcorn Ring – Kid Made Ornaments

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Today’s super easy kid made ornament is inspired by Bear Stays Up for Christmas book!

We have the kindle version because this mamma can’t wait 3 weeks for international postage so she can read Christmas stories! If you too want a quick list of Christmas Kindle books perfect for kids check out this awesome list!

Popcorn Ring Kid Made Ornaments

Anyways, so while reading there is a section where they decorate the tree by stringing popcorn. Now you need to understand that my kids LOVE popcorn. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

So as part of the 10 DAYS OF A KID-MADE CHRISTMAS Ornaments series we decided to use popcorn!

Instead of stringing popcorn in a long line, cause that would involve a needle, ouch. I cut out a few circles.

We added some glue, popcorn and a ribbon.

Added bonus points if you can make popcorn on a stove top like in the book! POP POP POP!
popcorn ring

TIP: Remember that popcorn shrinks when it has been out in the air a bit. so to avoid a shrived up popcorn ring, let the popcorn stand a for an hour or so. That is if the kids don’t eat it all by the time you want to craft!!sticking popcorn

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Body Matching – Christmas Busy Bags

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Welcome to day 2 of our 25 Christmas Busy bags collection!

For this busy bag I made a few matching pouches for these little craft stick characters.

set of 3 busy bags for christmas characters

Below you can see all the parts that I cut out and gathered to make these cute characters.

The items are made from felt and glued together with hot glue. Because these are all very simple shapes I didn’t use a template.

Break down of busy bag items:

  • red, white, black, brown, orange and blue felt
  • 3 sets of googly eyes
  • brown pipe cleaner
  • 1 white and 1 red tiny sparkly pom pom
  • 3 jumbo craft sticks in red, white and brown (I painted the white and brown on a plain jumbo craft stick with water colors)
  • hot glue gun

how to make a body matching busy bag

Instead of sewing the pouches closed I use hot glue and measured with the stick still in the area I wanted it. I glued the left then the right because hot glue cools so fast so this gets me the maximum adhesive. hot glue short cut

Once your little characters are complete let the play begin!large craft sticks santa snowman and reindeer

Ahh this red one belongs to Santa!the santa craft stick and body

Just for fun put the wrong characters in the pouches or jackets as my 5 year old calls them. OH NO!reindeer in the wrong jacket

Yes! Mr snowman belongs in this one. These are also great for a bit of role playing.snowman in his correct jacket body matching busy bag

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Santa, Reindeer and Snowman Body Matching - Christmas Busy Bags

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Jingle Bell Abacus – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just love this time of year! So many family bringing together events and activities to be done, the festive season filled with tinsel and jingle bells. As well as any religious aspects that are celebrated.

This year I have made 25 Christmas themed busy bags for the kids! These are great to occupy while I tend to the new baby, housework, festive cooking and the other 50 million little items like laundry.

A new Christmas busy bag will be available every morning for the first 24 days of this December!

Our first Christmas busy bag is this rather cute and easy to make Jingle bell abacus.

jingle bells abacus with pipe cleaners

To make you will need:

First you will want to glue your frame together using the hot glue. You can use other glue but those take time to dry.

create a tree in the centre

Thread the jingle bells on to the pipe cleaners so they line up in numbers 1 to 5. Here you need to make sure that you have big enough jingle bells so that they move freely on pipe cleaners. I suggest taking a pipe cleaner with you when you purchase them or buy a few different sizes of jingle bells just to be safe.hear it jingle

Add a dash of hot glue then wrap the pipe cleaner ends around your frame over the hot glue securing them in place.

count the jingle bells

Time to play!

Count the jingle bells

Slide them up and down the pipe cleaners

Center them to create a tree

Shake the frame and dance about!

slide the jingle bells from one side to the other and count

This is a great touch and hear busy bag and both my 2 and half year old as well as 5 year old enjoyed it.shake and inspect the jingle bells

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Jingle Bell Abacus Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

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20 Easy Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

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Christmas time is coming soon! I have my 5 year old oogling the shop decorations already asking WHERE is our tree. We usually put it up the first week of December which to his delight is like next week!

While getting into the festive season I love to do a bunch of Christmas crafts and activities with the kids, below is just 20 of the ideas that have caught my attention and are on our to do list!

20 Easy Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

20 Easy Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

1. Cute Craft stick Decorations – The santa one is so getting made. Love the little beard.

2. Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree Ornaments – I love this one for all the folding practice and we get a pretty tree when we are done!

3. Easy Peasy Woolly Wreath Tree Ornaments – Simply gorgeous and think of all those fine motor skills getting used to make this.

4. Feather & Pipe Cleaner Angels – We made these last year, but our tree needs MORE!

easy christmas crafts for kids angels

5. Easy Tin Foil Christmas Decorations – Now these are awesomely creative. My kids are going to have a blast making them.

6. DIY Pipe Cleaner Trees Christmas Craft – We have made a few pipe cleaner trees in our play but never Christmas themed ones.

7. Salt dough candle holders – Although originally made for another holiday I really want to make some this year with a Christmas theme.

8. Paper Christmas tree – because sticking stuff is awesome.. AND I think I have some washi tape that I (erm.. Kids) am dying to use.

easy foil christmas tree

9. Gingerbread Man button counting busy bag – BUTTONS! LOVE.

10. Homemade gift wrap made with Christmas scented paint – A bit of artsy crafts! I’ll take cinnamon please.

11. Stained Glass Nativity Craft – I LOVE this one! I will have to do the cutting because it is a bit advanced for my little one. I know just the window for this!

12. Easy Bubble Wrap Kid-Made Christmas Ornament – I think I have most of this stuff laying around!

stained glass christmas

13. Pom-Pom Toothpick Tree – This one is so up my 2 and half year olds activity list.

14. DIY Cardboard Toy Gingerbread House – We have never made one! This seems like the safer place to start when with the edible one. hehe

15. Lacy punched salt dough ornaments – Making salt dough ornaments is always a must, I just love the look of these.

16. Button Snowman Ornament – More buttons! LOVE (see a trend here?)

pom pom christmas tree

17. Twinkly Light Caves – Technically not a craft, but what kid is going to resist this! I wonder if I can find a box big enough so I can lay in it too!

18. Pipe Cleaner Garlands – Simple and it looks pretty! We are doing a bunch of different colors this year for the windows too.

19. Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids: Craft Stick Stars – Once again I think we will extend these from the tree to the windows!

20. Personalized Star Ornament for Kids – Love, love, love these. So much so we will make more this year and see if we can make the faces funnier.

glowing lights for christmas

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15 Recycled Christmas Crafts

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Today’s post is by Nadia from Teach me Mommy.

Take a look at these 15 Recycled Christmas Crafts!

recycled christmas crafts

Recycled crafts do not have to cost much, and that is why we love them!

Like these Popsicle Stick Stars using only sticks and glitter and Egg Carton Jingle Bells where the only things you need, you probably already have! Both ideas from Powerful Mothering.

Another idea, using things you already have in your recycling cupboard, a cute 3D Christmas Tree.

And before you throw away an old brush, try making it into a friendly Santa Ornament by Glittering Muffins.

An easy craft from Crafty Morning for little ones is this Egg Carton Christmas Trees.

recycled christmas crafts

Mini Wreath Photo Frames using old wooden curtain rings makes a special keepsake.

Have lots of TP rolls? Sure you do! Use them to make a lovely Toilet Paper Roll Wreath by Totally Green Crafts or bend them to make Gift Boxes from Toilet Paper Rolls and let the kids decorate them festively as we did.

Counting down to Christmas will be great fun using this Advent Calender from Baby Wipe Containers idea from No Time for Flash Cards.

Reuse those old stack of Christmas cards making a beautiful Garland, by Learning 4 Kids.

recycled christmas crafts

Who knew Ornaments from lids and serviettes could look so nice on the tree, and a Magazine Wreath by Childhood 101 on the door!
Add these cute Reindeer Decorations from TP Rolls by Happy Hooligans to your tree too!

Brilliant idea from Crafts by Amanda to reuse Bread Tags , decorating them into snowmen!

And lastly, when traveling over the Festive Season, bring along your Tin Christmas Tree, because it is portable, stackable and can be decorated over and over again with homemade magnetic decorations!

Nadia is a teacher turned mommy to an almost 4 year old girl and 18 month old boy. She blogs over at Teach me Mommy about easy and playful activities with the aim to teach. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and G+, she would love to connect with you!

Teach me Mommy

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10 Christmas Ornaments to Make with Kids

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My name is Becca and I share my family life, frugal living tips, and travel adventures over at Bare Feet on the Dashboard. Thanks so much to Nicolette for having me over to guest post. I love all things Christmas and can’t wait to get in to the holiday spirit with my whole family.

Today I’m’ sharing ten fabulous yet easy DIY Christmas ornaments and decorations you can make with your children. These are not mom-does-it-for-them ideas, but activities kids can really do with you as their guide.

Ten Easy DIY Christmas Ornaments to Make with Kids

Crafting is great for fine motor skill practice as well as creating sweet mementos and memories.

You can find more fun ideas for a creative Christmas with kids here. If your little ones are still too young to help craft ornaments, try this toddler friendly mini tree decorated with bells.

1) Turn Your Child’s Art in to a Simple Holiday Garland from Bare Feet on the Dashboard – We took our our kids’ finger paintings and helped them make a festive garland to hang on the tree or around the house.

2) Easy Christmas Ornaments Made with Pipe Cleaners and Beads from Powerful Mothering – These are simple and make for great fine motor skill practice and look super cute hanging on the tree.

3) Simple Christmas Ornaments Made from Poms Poms and Popsicle Sticks from Coffee with Us – I love how much room for creativity this project allows. Every child’s creation will be unique.

4) Time Capsule Christmas Ornaments from Bare Feet on the Dashboard are really fun to make with kids and will provide sweet reminders of their childhood favorites for years to come.

5) DIY Glitter Ornaments from Glued to My Crafts – This one looks a little messy but fun. Glitter and I have a complicated relationship.

6) Glitter Monogram Ornament from Mama Papa Bubba – More glitter, but perfect for kids learning their names and the alphabet. If the thought of combining preschoolers with glitter gives you a headache, check out this tip for making glittery projects less messy.

7) Fun, Fill and Shake Ornaments from Craftulate keep the glitter and paint contained but give more fine motor practice and look really fun.

8) Gingerbread Man, Tree, and Star Printable Ornaments to Decorate from Powerful Mothering – These are great for a quick, printable craft and could be a great activity for a play date.

9) Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Ornament from Fantastic Fun and Learning are definitely on our to-make list this year.

10) Snowman Stuffed Ornaments from NateandRachael.com are so cute and easy to make.

10 Easy DIY Christmas Ornaments to Make with Kids

After you crafted a special ornament with your kids, check out my ideas for DIY holiday keepsakes for you. This DIY Baby’s 1st Christmas Footprint Ornament (for under $2) is my personal favorite.

I’d love for you to visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, to find more fun ideas and follow along on our adventures.

What are you crafting with your kids this holiday season?

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Gingerbread Man Shape Matching Busy Bag

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My kids love busy bags and with Christmas coming up soon I thought it only appropriate that I make a few seasonal ones!

This cute gingerbread man features shapes in various colors with a set of cards to style your gingerbread man!

matching shapes on the gingerbread man

Grab your printable at the bottom of this post. Cut out the gingerbread man template on the felt with matching color shapes.

I use trays for all my busy bags, this keeps the kids happy and each in their own activity. (In the past they would fight over pieces of various activities because they were everywhere.)
matching busy bag

Let the kids match up the shapes like in the cards! Oh and those colorful sticks in the upper corner are the ever popular Velcro Dot Craft sticks I made a while ago, they are STILL doing a fabulous job of keeping kids occupied.make a shape gingerbreadman busy bag

If you are not so much into felt you are also able to laminate the paper printout and use as is!

Personally I prefer felt because of the texture and that the felt sticks to itself. The shapes kept moving on the paper activity, which frustrated my toddler. use felt or laminate

Download your printables:

Gingerbread man and shapes

Gingerbread man copy cards

Pin this idea for later!


Gingerbread Man Shape Matching Busy Bag from PowerfulMothering.com

Then check out what my fabulous co-hosts made for their Christmas busy bags!

15 Awesome Holiday Busy Bags for Kids.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Gingerbread Man Shape Matching Busy Bag // Powerful Mothering

Christmas Activities for Kids Printable Busy Bag // LalyMom

Christmas Counting Busy Bag // Coffee Cups and Crayons

Decorate a Play Dough Christmas Tree Play Kit // Mama. Papa. Bubba.

Gingerbread Button Counting Busy Bag // Wildflower Ramblings

Snowman Busy Bag // Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Reusable Christmas Sticker Busy Bag // Still Playing School

Christmas Posting Busy Bag // Adventures of Adam

Christmas Tree Busy Bag // The Pleasantest Thing

Christmas Jingle Bells Fine Motor Busy Bag // Sugar Aunts

Printable Mix and Match Christmas Puzzles // Itsy Bitsy Fun

Christmas Chocolate Maker Busy Bag // Best Toys 4 Toddlers

Printable Q-tip Snowflakes // Playdough to Plato

Candy Cane Stripe Counting // Preschool Inspirations

An Early Reader Christmas Busy Bag // The Educators’ Spin on It

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Fun Christmas Felt Activities for Toddlers

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Today’s awesome collection is by the lovely Monique of Living Life and Learning!

As we approach Christmas I love this time of year because there are so many great Christmas felt activities that you can do with your toddler. I’ve only started my own felt projects this year and it has been a blast both for me and my toddler as well. She is having a great time exploring as well as her imaginative play as she creates whatever scenes she wants with her felt board.

Felt is super easy to work with and it sticks to itself so it’s so fun for little ones to create and play with it.

Fun Christmas Felt Activities for Toddlers For those Frozen fans, we made our own Olaf Felt Snowman, this is my daughter’s favorite movie at the moment so it has been well received. He gets into some trouble in the movie and the felt allows her to move him into some fun positions just like the movie.

The Felt Play Scene from Kids Activities Blog is a great way to discuss shapes as your toddler decorates the tree or builds the snowman.

Who can have Christmas without Felt Gingerbread Men? We love baking and decorating these cookies so they were lots of fun to create out of felt as well. I tried to come up with a variety of shapes and colors so that we could decorate our gingerbread men while learning about shapes and colors as well. winter-felt-2 The Christmas Tree Felt Board from Teach Beside Me includes a template and 4 Christmas tree designs that your toddler could try to replicate as well.

The Snowflake Matching Busy Bag from Teach Beside Me gets your child matching with shapes so that they can recreate the same snowflake patterns on the cards.

Crafty Connections includes a printable template if you would like to create your own DIY Felt Story Board. winter-felt-1 Kitchen Counter Chronicles has a great tutorial for setting up your own Snow Day Felt Board for Kids which includes storage ideas as well.

If you’d like a full size felt board idea then you have to take a look at the Holiday Felt Board from Homegrown Friends.

Love Play Learn has a wonderful snowman song to go along with this Once There was a Snowman Felt Storyboard. winter-felt-3Kids Activities Blog has a great tutorial for a DIY felt board.

If you’re looking for more ways to use felt, take a peek at 20 more ways to learn with felt activities and this awesome no sew quiet book!

 

prof2

 

You can find Monique writing about homeschooling tips, activities and parenting at Living Life and Learning. She is a SAHM and homeschools her 3 children, they love notebooking, lapbooks and a relaxed approach to homeschooling.

Follow Nicolette | Powerful Mothering’s board Felt | Quiet Book on Pinterest.

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Top 10 Advent Calendar Ideas & What to Fill them with!

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I am so excited that this year my eldest is old enough and interested in doing an advent calendar! I spent some time on pinterest looking around and gathered my top 10 Advent Calendar Ideas to consider for this year!

Which one will you do this year?

Top 10 Advent Calendar Ideas and what to fill them with

Top 10 Advent Calendar Ideas

1. I actually made our own box advent calendar this year, I am totally using it for my one child but that still leaves 2 kids to make an advent calendar for!

2. This Paper Gnome Advent Calendar is super colorful and I just love the look of them! They also would take up less space hanging on a wall.

3. Got some blinds? The paper chain Christmas tree advent calendar is perfect!

diy advent calendar ideas

4. My 5 year old is currently MAD about lego! This one is seriously on the consider list: Count Down to Christmas with a DIY Lego Advent Calendar

5. Save up those rolls and make a Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar!

6. Totally LOVE this muffin tin advent calendar idea. I have seen many versions floating around on pinterest but this one is one of my favorites.

lego advent calendar

7. Another super fun advent calendar idea is this DIY Punch Box Advent Calendar. I would totally do it for the kids once they are a bit older. Right now they won’t stop punching because it is so much fun! 😀

8. These happy colors with bright accessories little mismatched bag advent calendar idea is very appealing to me! Although the site is in another language you can easily see from the pics what is happening! (google translate too!)

9. My kids do so love picture books! Why not do a picture book count down advent calendar?

10. Totally easy last Minute Advent Calendar for Families!

last minute advent calendar ideas

Check out our collection of 10 Crafty Advent Calendar Ideas from our Cozy Christmas Connections Collection! Also 25 Days of Kindle Christmas Books for an Advent Calendar Idea!

My friend Heidi made a lovely DIY Memory Verse Advent Calendar.

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Truth in the Tinsel affiliate banner 468x60

Truth in the Tinsel: Spend December impressing God’s Word on your kids’ heart! You’ll get 24 days of Scripture reading, ornament crafts, talking points and extension activities. Plus fun printables and templates! More info here.

******************************************************************

What to fill an advent calendar with?

Advent Calendars available to purchase.

Because sometimes it is just easier to buy the advent calendar you like! 😉 (especially is you are not such a crafty person)

 Looking for more awesome Christmas Ideas for Kids?

Take a look at what my co hosts have for you!

top 10 christmas ideas for kids

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20 Cute Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

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Hi, it’s Laura from Lalymom! I’m so thrilled to be writing a guest post for Nicolette while she is snuggling with her new baby! I remember being really in love with all her Christmas Crafts and Activities last year so it seemed fitting to share some more inspiration in that area.

These Christmas crafts for toddlers are great because they can all be done with the younger set and older kids too!

My toddler and preschooler would both have fun with these! I Hope they help you have a happy holiday season.

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

20 Cute Christmas Crafts for Toddlers! With Lalymom.com and PowerfulMothering.com

Top row:

Toddler Made Christmas Ornament from Dirt and Boogers

Simple Toddler Made Wreath from Toddler Approved

Printable Gingerbread Ornaments to Decorate from Powerful Mothering

Easy Bubble Wrap Tree Ornament from Lalymom

Second row:

Christmas Tree Window Craft from Hands On As We Grow

Two Christmas Cards Little Kids Can Make from Mama Pea Pod

Toddler Made Christmas Wreaths from Sow Sprout Play

Super Simple Christmas Cards from Learn with Play at Home

Third row:

Tree and Baubles Toddler Craft from Craftulate

Hand Print Wreath from Lalymom

Pom Pom Painted Christmas Tree from Fantastic Fun and Learning

Build a Snowman Craft from Mama Papa Bubba

Fourth row:

Christmas Toddler Art from Lessons Learnt Journal

Easy Christmas Tree Craft for Toddlers from My Nearest and Dearest

Coffee Filter Trees from Happy Hooligans

Washi Tape Ornament from And Next Comes L

Bottom row:

Christmas Tree Water Bottle from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Scented Gingerbread Craft from Fun at Home with Kids

Paper Plate Christmas Tree from House of Burke

Hand Print Ornament from Sugar Aunts

If you like this be sure to check out the companion post over at Lalymom full of Toddler Christmas Activities as well as my collection of 25 Christmas Themed Fine Motor Crafts for Kids!

20 FUN Christmas Activities to do with Toddlers on Lalyom - I want to do some of these this year!

25 Fine Motor Christmas Art Projects for Kids from Lalymom

More about Laura: Laura is a Chicago stay-at-home mom to two sweet redheads: a son born in 2012 and daughter born in 2010, who are about as different from each other as can be. She keep her kids happy and learning by creating a mix of DIY Toys, quiet crafts and art projects as well as fun energy burners. Find out more on the Lalymom Blog and follow her on Facebook and Pinterest!

About Lalymom Chicago Area Mom Blogger at Lalymom.com

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DIY Boxes Advent Calendar with Free Printable

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Are you looking for a cute and just simply awesome DIY advent calendar for this year? I got you covered!

This year I have decided to make each of my 3 kids their own advent calendars. This is the first one and is basically a printable box with the image of a tree when the boxes are combined.

I also made it so that when the day has lapsed that the box can be turn and the number “disappears”. This keeps the tree intact and the counting for the littler ones more logical.

DIY Boxes Advent Calendar with Free Printable from PowerfulMothering.com

How to make your DIY Box advent calendar

Firstly you will need to download the free printable (at the bottom of this post) and print them out on white stock paper. There are 28 pages.

Next make a cuppa hot stuff (tea, coffee or yummy hot chocolate) and get your scissors and glue stick.

On the printables you will notice faint outlines, cut along the edges to get the box template.

Next fold along the remaining lines and apply glue to the areas marked as “glue”.
chocolates in advent boxes

I just LOVE that these boxes came out a decent size. Which means not only can I stick a bunch of chocolate in there I can totally put an entire mini toy into it too!!

I also added some shredded crepe paper to make it interesting when digging out those treasures!
great discovery

Once your item is in the box you can add a small dab of glue to keep the lid closed. Obviously you want to make the box easy to open, no tearing, so that you can place it back to keep the image of the tree.large boxes fit many items

The best part of this free printable is that it it has 2 sides and once the day has come and gone you can just simple rotate the box to display the side without the numbers!

This also gives a good countdown overview for the younger kids by having the numbers “disappear”.turning the boxes around gives no numbers

The empty boxes do stack well but I recommend that you use a pebble in the empty boxes to keep them weighted after opening just in case of some major bumping from the kids. (this happens to me all the time!)gorgeous christmas tree

DOWNLOAD the free Christmas Advent Boxes here.

Pin the free DIY Boxes Advent Calendar for later!

DIY Boxes Advent Calendar with Free Printable from PowerfulMothering.com

Also check out all the DIY ornaments we made last year for our tree! We landed up with an almost fully DIY decorated tree, it was tons of fun.

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Truth in the Tinsel Advent Calendar

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Today’s feature ebook is called Truth in the Tinsel, this ebook is full of really easy to accomplish ideas as well as 24 days of Scripture reading, ornament crafts, talking points and extension activities. Plus fun printables and templates!

This is the perfect book for kids of any age–from preschool to elementary!

Download Truth in the Tinsel for only $7.99

Click here to view more details & BUY NOW
paperbackfront-copy

Get the printable Truth in the Tinsel ornaments!

Use these on days you’re too busy to do a big craft, for toddlers, while you’re at Grandma’s or if you just want to save a little money on supplies! Click here to view more details

Truth-in-the-Tinsel-Ornaments-250-1024x1024

 Pin this for later!


Truth in the tinsel

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10 Star Crafts for Kids

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Don’t you just love star crafts? We do!

I especially love to pair star crafting with a book or a nursery rhyme like twinkle twinkle little star. Below are 10 activities for you to do with your toddler or preschooler. Have fun!

Take a look at these 10 just gorgeous star crafts for kids.

Star Crafts for Kids 10 Ideas

10 ideas for Star crafts for kids

For your browsing convenience all the below links open in new tabs / windows.

  1. Check out our Easy Craft Stick Star Crafts for Kids and the super cute Personalized Star Ornament we made for Christmas.
  2. These gorgeous star shaped summer twig ornaments from Happy Hooligans will look good hanging just about anywhere.
  3. Santa Stars by Red Ted Art is a super cute Christmas star craft for the kids
  4. Make an aluminum foil star and read themed stars book by Mama Pea Pod.
  5. Stunning Paper Star Crafts from The Enchanted Tree.
  6. Wishing upon a Shooting Star Craft by No Time for Flash Cards.
  7. How to make your own Sea Stars with paper by Kids Activities Blog.
  8. Straw, Pipe cleaner and Tri beads Star crafts for kids by Craft to Art.
  9. Make a Star Garland {Super Easy Kid Craft} such a fun crafts by Million Moments.
  10. Explorer Star Craft just for those Dora fans by We Homeschool.

What kind of star crafts do you love to create?

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DIY Glitter Star Tree Topper

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My last craft for the season is finally done! The tree topper that I am rather proud of I might add. Although not kid made because of the loose “mad hatter” glitter element, it fits beautifully on the tree.

Checkout our DIY Glitter Tree Topper!diy tree topper glitter star

I found a lovely tutorial over at Hello Lidy to make this. Unfortunately for me, she used already glittered paper. Which I do not have. So little DIY me kicked in. I printed the shapes off her picture and cut them out tracing onto a firm black cardboard sheet.

To make this cute Glitter tree topper.

Fold the diamonds in half to give it that 3rd look and for a better re-fold later. Taking some school grade glue paint the diamonds and sprinkle silver and gold glitter until the entire diamond is covered. Repeat for the other diamonds. Leave to completely dry. (They will go flat because of the wet glue but will refold perfectly once dry.)diy tree topper star cut outs

Now the original tutorial does not mention what is holding this star onto the tree. Since I seem to craft lots with recyclable materials I cut a 3rd of a toilet roll for this job. Optional glitterage, if you want on this one!

Once the diamonds are dry tap off excess glitter and refold on the pre-folded creases. Follow the hot glue gun instructions on the original tutorial and add the extra toilet roll on the back.

Put your new DIY Glitter Star Tree Topper up on the tree!!

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Salt Dough Ornaments & Star Window Mobile

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Don’t you just LOVE salt dough? So many things to make!

This last week while in the full swing of the Christmas season we decided to make some additional salt dough ornaments. We made so many star ones that to put them on the tree would just be over kill for the already rather full tree! This is where our star window mobile came in!

salt dough star and bead mobile

Our lovely salt dough ornamentssalt dough name ornaments

To make these salt dough ornaments you will need:

  • salt dough
  • cookie cutters
  • sharpies
  • for the mobile, additional beads, ribbon and string

In my salt dough I added extra cinnamon spice as well as some brown food coloring. It gives a lovely scent on the tree and coloring. The boys loved the cookie cutting bit. stamp stamp stamp…salt dough cookie cutting

Onto the rack they went and into the dehydrator. Baking in the oven is just as good! My oven was occupied at the time with some baking bread.

salt dough cut out shapes

Once fully dry you are ready to decorate! Here is our ornament on the tree. The little feather angel on the right also has a tutorial.love salt dough ornaments

For our Star window mobile I took some string and tied a knot on each star so that they hung in a line. I made 2 strings worth and the 3rd strung a few beads on to catch the sunlight. I also added 6 ribbons to flutter in the breeze.

Everything is kept together at the top with a rather twisty pipe cleaner. Pipe cleaners are great to use to hook on curtain rails!salt dough stars and beads

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments collection

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Pipe Cleaner Practice Tree

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With all the excitement of the season (and to distract from our large tree) I set up a little Pipe Cleaner Tree for the kids to play with.

The tree is also great for developing fine motor skills in my youngest as she aims for the branches and uses pincer grips to get those pipe cleaners on the tree!

I give you the Pipe Cleaner Practice Tree!

Pipe cleaner practice tree

This one is rather simple to setup. Grab a bunch of colorful pipe cleaners twirl them in various shapes and let the kids add them to the tree!Pipe cleaner fine motor skills

Ahh, the busy kids. Time for tea 😀Pipe cleaner practice tree closeup

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Yarn or String Ball Christmas Ornaments

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I have been looking for an excuse to make these yarn balls for ages! What a perfect ornament for our tree.

We actually had to try this one twice before it worked out well and I must say the results are gorgeous!

Here is how to make yarn and string ball ornaments.

Oh and in case you are wondering, that is a feather in the picture from our Angels we made.

how to make yarn christmas balls

To make your yarn and string balls gather your supplies as follows:

  • balloons (I used the tiny water balloons)
  • cling wrap
  • string / yarn (I went for the string on the 2nd try)
  • glue and bowl
  • optional glitter
  • pegs and a line to hang  on

Blow up your balloons till they fit in the palm of your hand. Next cover them in cling wrap but leave the ends of the balloon to stick out as this is where you will be hanging them from.

We use the cling wrap to prevent the string from sticking to the balloon, the reason for my first try to fail!balloons covered in cling wrap

Wrap your yarn or string around the cling wrapped balloon. Mix up your glue in a bowl, my glue is simple school glue. Water it down a bit so it is not so stiff, here is where you add your optional glitter, in the glue mix.

Now you have 3 options to get the glue on the balloon. 1. paint with a little brush till yarn is wet 2. Use your hand to scoop the mix over the balloon 3. Dunk the entire thing in the bowl. I found the best was using my hand to scoop the mixture.

glue the strings

Once you have soaked your yarn or string hang on a line with the pegs. Add newspaper under to catch any drips. Leave to dry.balls drying

Once dry you will need to remove the balloon and cling wrap. Use a scissors to pinch the balloon till it pops and then gently pull the cling wrap and balloon bits out.remove the balloon and cling wrap

Thread another bit of string or yarn and hang on your tree!

This craft is also suitable for kids! My 4 year old was almost able to put the yarn on the balloon but he loved soaking the balloons in glue.pink and purple yarn ball ornament

These look fabulous on our tree, these pics really don’t do them justice.yarn ball on the tree

Other DIY ornaments in this picture of our tree are: Egg carton jingle bells, pipe cleaner garland and beaded ornaments.

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Pipe Cleaner Garlands

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Here is a really quick and easy craft for the kids!

These look pretty on the tree or strung for decor around the room.

how to make a pipe cleaner garland

To make the pipe cleaner garland, cut your pipe cleaners in half and make a circle. Make sure you do this around your previous circle! Wrap the ends around the rest of the circle to make it perfect.twist your pipe cleaners

Now hang and decorate!simple Pipe cleaner garland

Other DIY ornaments in the picture are: Gingerbread Men, Craft stick stars, Yarn balls, Salt Dough ornaments.

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Christmas Color Rice Tree Craft

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My kids LOVE playing with their color rice and I am always thinking up things to do with it. Not only is rice great for sensory play it is also awesome stick down into glue. We have in the past made color rice spirals, fireworks, flags and even used it in a spice bottle for some shaking!

Our color rice tree includes a few pom poms as decor.

Christmas color Rice Tree Craft

To make this cute decorative color rice tree you will need.

I set up outside for this craft activity adding rice and pom pom’s to 3 separate bowls, one for each of my kids. I also had a 4th bowl with the glue in it, which I had watered down a little bit so it could be painted on the cone.

setup for making Christmas Rice Tree

Paint your cone with glue and let the kids at it with the rice! Mine threw the rice at it from the side and stood up on tippy toes and sprinkled rice from above.sprinkle or throw color rice at the tree

My 18 month old was more interested in the pom poms and loose rice than sticking things, but that is fine, everyone was having fun!

have fun with family

The cone was a bit soggy with all the glue and weighted down with the rice once we had got all the surface covered that only a few pom poms had made it on. I moved the cone inside to dry. Once dry the cone was once again sturdy enough to take some kids poking at it!
dry the color rice cone

I got a small bowl of glue out and let the kids stick the remaining pom poms on for decor as well as the star.Christmas Rice Tree add pom poms

And there we have it!

A beautiful Color Rice Tree!!

Christmas color Rice Tree Craft

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Stocking & Stuffer Ideas for Kids

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Welcome to our last week of top 10 gift guides! This week we are looking at what to put into those stockings but first I really want to share the stockings I made out of felt, no sew too!

These were very easy to make. I cut out a boot shape and basically used the glue gun on the seams while the stocking was inside out. Then attached these cool little personalized stars we made.

What are we filling these cute little stockings with?

Personalized star stockings

Here are 10 of my favorite ideas!

1. Arts & Craft supplies – Seriously, my kids love getting arts and craft supplies! Do check out my arts & craft supplies list from last week!

2. Animal TOOBS – Mine love to play with little animals!

3. Stickers! – We LOVE stickers, mine will be VERY happy to find these in their stockings.

4. Crazy Straws – What kid doesn’t love these! Warning: They might want to use them at the lunch table, but that is what makes Christmas 😉

5. Character socks or an awesome Santa hat

6. Maracas – We have some of these in our stockings this year!

7. A new little soft toy such as this flying monkey 😉

8. On the note of animals, these flying and moo’in / oink’in slingshot animals will give some giggles! Get the set of 6 and put one in everyone’s stocking!

9. Pull Back Racer Cars are always fun!

10. It is also a great time to be silly! Put one of these on your head! 😉

We would love to hear where you hang your stockings?

 

Powerful Mothering is taking part in Top 10 Holiday Lists. Please visit our friends to check out their favorite things too! Catch up on all 6 weeks on Pinterest!

Top Ten Holiday Lists

Stocking Stuffers for All Ages  {Top Ten Holiday Lists}  – Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Boys Ages 3+ – Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers – Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers – DIY Stocking Stuffers Ideas – Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers


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Kid Made: Feather & Pipe Cleaner Angels – Easy Christmas Ornaments

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Wow, the month is flying by and we still have to put up our tree! I can’t wait to decorate it with all the DIY Christmas ornaments we have been making the last few weeks.

I thought long about this ornament as I really wanted some angels on the tree. First I thought egg cartons then paper muffin cups, but feathers really pulled at me and I must say I am rather happy with how it turned out!

Kid made AND easy Christmas ornaments!

kid made ornaments angels

Our first making of the feather  and pipe cleaner angels didn’t have wings, but after sleeping on it we came back to make some more with wings.

To make Feather & Pipe Cleaner Angels you will need:

  • 2 or 3 Feathers
  • 3 pipe cleaners (1 body, 1 wings, half for a halo)
  • A bead, we used some of the plastic ones, but a wooden one would look beautiful!
  • Sharpie for drawning a face
  • String to hang

First gather your items and a willing kid, in my case my 4 year old and a very curious 18 month old!

Fold your first pipe cleaner in half and slide on the bead for the head. Twist the lower end to resemble arms.

bead and twist to make a body

Use another pipe cleaner, fold in half and loop to shape wings. Cut the last pipe cleaner in half and make a halo by twisting on your finger and folding the ends over the main halo to secure. Attach a hanging string in the loop of the pipe cleaner above the head.

angel pipe cleaner

Slide the halo over the hanging string to rest upon the bead head. Attach the wings to the body.attach wings to angels body and add halo

Now take 2 or 3 feathers (that’s as much as we could fit!) and stick then in between the bead hole and pipe cleaner. Trim any long ends that stick out the top if you need to.

add feathers

Draw a cute little face on.add a halo to your angel

We made many more in different colors, but I think the pink one looks fabulous and is my favorite!Kid Made: Feather & Pipe Cleaner Angels - Easy Christmas Ornaments

I just love easy and oh so pretty Christmas ornaments!

We are super excited to be participating in 20 days of kid made ornaments, today we are also joined by Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds and Tutus & Tea Parties. To catch up on ALL of the ornaments please visit the landing page OR check out the Pinterest board!

20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: OrnamentsWould you like to join in on the fun too?!

  1. Go to the landing page here, for this series that Melissa at Mama Miss is hosting.
  2. Just link up a KID-MADE ornament you’ve created with your kiddos (limited to 2 a day).
  3. Add this pretty little ornament shaped button below to your blog post, or your sidebar, or somewhere on your beautiful blog letting me know you are joining in on the fun too!!
  4. Label the ornament button: 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments
  5. Link the ornament button to: the landing page for this series.

 The link up will be open from December 1st until December 21st for all entries.

Make sure to pop by these other fabulous bloggers too, that are participating in this series. See the schedule here.

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Christmas Theme Activity with Sticky Contact Paper

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This weekend we got into the seasonal mood with some good old crepe paper and printed pictures that we stuck on contact paper. A really simple activity for the little ones to come back to over and over again during the day.

Christmas Theme Activity

close up of materials

You will need:

  • Contact paper and tape to stick to the table.
  • crepe paper in seasonal colors.
  • optional tinsel shreds.
  • cut out little pictures. (grab both of ours for printing, sticky pics 1 and sticky pics 2)

Christmas themed contact paper activity basket

Spread out and let the fun begin! Christmas themed group activitytabletop overview of christmas activity

My 18 month old came back many times during the day to re-stick the crepe paper. I had to remove the tinsel as she thought it was nice to taste.toddler activity

Love the colors!Christmas themed contact paper activity

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Quick and Easy Christmas Wreath a Kids Activity

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Are you looking for a simple wreath to make with your kids?

This wreath by far the easiest and most stunning craft we have done in a while. I’ll let you in on a little secret too. It is the first wreath we have ever made too!

To make you will need

  • some cardboard or a paper plate 
  • crepe paper in green and red
  • some glue and a scissors

If you are going the cardboard route you will need plates or bowls to make the markings on the cardboard to cut around. For the paper plate just cut out the inner so you have a perfect circle.

Also if you do not have one big piece of cardboard 2 smaller ones will do just fine. I taped mine together with tape to make a complete circle.

cardboard circle from 2 plates

Once you have your circle cut a strip of the green crepe paper and wrap it around the circle to get this effect. (Minus my daughters hands of course!)covered wreath

Gather your crepe paper together and bunch up cutting sections so that they can be glue onto the wreath on their sides.

I made lines with the school glue on the wreath base for my 4 year old to stick his crepe paper on. Try to get them tight by not too tight together to give you a good look.Stick down your decor

I just love the festive colors of our wreath!

Watch out for the sticky glue on the crepe paper, it goes mushy! My toddler discovered this when she wanted to move some bunches she had just stuck down.quick and easy christmas wreath sticky fingers

As we did this craft very late in the afternoon it started to get dark just as we finished, as you can tell by the almost done pic and the camera’s flash insisting on being on.
wet wreath

I had to remove one of the green bunches to make room for our crepe paper red ribbon. Once everything was glued on I left it overnight to dry.

The next morning a very happy wreath greeted us and after some 2 sided tape, we hung it on our front door.

Of course this wreath can’t get wet, so don’t hang it where it can.quick and easy christmas wreath

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Christmas Gift Guides for under 3 years old

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Ahh the season for family, remembrance and so many other traditions and inspirations! This year I am very pleased to share with you our collection of fabulous gift guides aimed at 3 years old and under. Although my 4 year old will most definitely still play with them!

christmas gift guides for under 3 years old

This year we participated in huge collection of guides with some of our friends who also write kids and parenting blogs. Our contribution is a collection of wooden learning toys for under 3 years old.

We have also teamed up with yet more of our friends to bring you our top 10 for puzzles, books, building toys, pretend play, arts & crafts supplies as gifts as well as stocking stuffers. (stocking stuffers is coming next week! so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive it in your inbox!)


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DIY Christmas Puzzle

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Last month on a trip to the city I spied some foam sheets and bought a few for some crafty adventures. After looking around and asking some friends what they made with their foams I decided to try out a little puzzle for the season.

christmas diy puzzle activity

You will need:

  • Foam sheets of various colors
  • a cardboard backing
  • cutting tools and pen
  • decorating things for the final puzzle.

foam materials for puzzle

I started out by cutting a white sheet to A4 size as my foam was in A3. I then glued the sheet to a cardboard backing the same size to give it stability. Using a sheet of normal paper I folded it in half and drew one side of a Christmas tree. When opening the paper you will have a perfect tree. Now use the shape to cut some green foam to the tree shape.

Place your green tree on a 2nd sheet of white foam and cut around the tree shape. This way we will get a good outline and mold for our tree to fit in.cutting the shape  of the christmas tree out

Do the same for any other items you would like to add to the puzzle. I cut out a star and some presents as well.

Once everything is cut out glue the 2nd white foam sheet to the fist to create an empty puzzle impression.matching up presents under the tree

Next use a uniform item to trace shapes on the tree. I made mine interchangeable so the decorations could be rearranged. I used one of my my sons Lego blocks that just happened to be on the table.
making identical sections xmas tree

Put the puzzle together and decorate it! We used glitter pens, pom poms, bits of tinsel and some pipe cleanersKids playing with the puzzle pieces

The interchangeable ornaments are a hit!

AND I have 3 little ones wanting to play with the puzzle at the same time.
Having fun with the christmas puzzle

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70+ Christmas Arts & Crafts for Kids

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I just love the Christmas season! This year is extra special with my 3 who love to do Christmas arts and crafts for kids! Besides my very ambitious goal of making all the ornaments this year for our tree we have been doing all sorts of other seasonal things.

Below is an awesome collection of 70+ of our friends Christmas arts and crafts for kids.

70+ Christmas Arts & Crafts for Kids

I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I do and remember to visit us on Pinterest for even more Christmas arts & crafts for kids!

On with the fabulous christmas projects!

Christmas Crafts for Kids

1. Footprint Snowman Craft for Kids
2. Toilet Roll Snowmen
3. Decorations from Pipe cleaners
4. Salt dough Santa ornaments 
5. Pom Pom Pinecone trees
6. Gift Box Collages Made by Preschoolers
7. Egg Carton Jingle Bells – Christmas Ornament Craft
8. Christmas Crafts for Kids: Santa Star Homemade Christmas Ornament
9. Paddle pop stick Christmas trees

jingle bells for christmas kids

10. Decorate Santa’s Treat Plate
11. Simple wreaths
12. Gingerbread Men, Christmas Tree and Star Printables
13. icicle ornaments: beads and pipe cleaners
14. DIY Snowman Christmas Ornaments
15. Tin foil Christmas Tree Ornaments
16. Christmas Bauble Keepsake
17. Christmas Activities for Kids: Decorate the Felt Christmas Tree
18. Cinnamon Christmas ornaments

 snowflakes

19. Printable Reindeer Antlers!
20. Snowflake Ornaments
21. Handprint Snowmen Christmas Ornaments
22. Baking Soda Clay Handprint Keepsakes
23. Christmas Angel Egg Carton Craft
24. Easy Christmas Ornaments for Kids: Pipe Cleaner + Beads
25. DIY Christmas Gifts: Painted Bowls
26. Christmas Skip Counting Games for Kids
27. Homemade Christmas Crafts: Pine Cone Elves

christmas trees

28. 1 Minute Christmas Ornaments
29. Simple Craft for Jingle Bells
30. handprint mitten ornament
31. Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids: Craft Stick Stars
32. Homemade Crayon Resist Gift Tags
33. Lacy Punched Salt Dough Ornaments. Beaded Ones, Too!
34. Christmas Tree Craft
35. TP Roll Santa Hats 
36. Candy Cane Christmas Trees

candy canes for kids

37. Sparkly Christmas Tree Banner
38. Christmas Crafts: Personalized Star Ornament for Kids
39. Snow Owl
40. Egg Carton Wreath
41. Circle Christmas Tree Craft
42. Mini paper angels
43. Cute Craft stick Decorations
44. 3 Kings craft
45. Play-doh Ornaments Craft

diy ornaments

46. Plastic Bottle Poinsettia
47. toilet roll reindeer
48. Kid Made: Sparkly Tinsel Christmas Ornaments
49. Quick Candy Cane Christmas Ornament
50. Homemade Pine Cone Print Wrapping Paper
51. Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments
52. Christmas activity: {Tin Foil} DIY Ornaments
53. Homemade Gift for Kids – Itty Bitty Building Set
54. Christmas Stampers

christmas wreaths

55. DIY Paper Christmas Tree Ornaments
56. Cardboard Gingerbread House
57. DIY Scratch Art Christmas Ornaments
58. Christmas Crafts for Kids : A Christmas Tree of Hearts
59. Paper Plate Angel
60. Make Your Own Glitter Ornaments
61. CD Christmas Ornaments with Paint and Glitter
62. Christmas Cards Preschool Kids and Toddlers Can Make
63. Crafts for kids: a Christmas wreath

christmas crafts and saltdough

glitter stars christmas craft

64. Christmas bulbs sun catcher
65. Frosty The Snowman Decorations
66. Gold Star Decoration
67. Curled Paper Christmas Tree Decorations
68. Christmas Crafts: How to Make A Snow Globe
69. Homemade Christmas Decorations: Popstick Wreath
70. Add Glitter to Anything Without it Falling Off – Glitter Stars

Check out our awesome gift guides for under 3 year olds!




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Add Glitter to Anything Without it Falling Off

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We have been making a lot of Christmas ornaments these last few weeks and it seems like our entire tree is going to be full of stars as this point in time!

Today I would like to share how to make these intense glitter stars as well as how I keep that glitter from falling off when I touch the stars or certain little kids decide to inspect them.. really up close.

To make these stars you will need to visit the tutorial on making the star shapes, then come back and follow these extra instructions.

How to make Glitter Stars

First you will need some school grade glue and an ear bud or small paint brush. Use these to spread the glue all over your star. Put your wet glued star on a sheet of paper so that when you sprinkle the glitter it is on the paper and excess can be funneled back into the bottle.

glue on the star

Sprinkle happily with glitter! I don’t let my kids use loose glitter at the moment as they are a little too “wild” with it 😉 Glitter glue pens are theirs and you can see how those look on glitter stars here too!

Leave the star to dry.cover in glitter star

Now for the trick! Once your star is dry, tap off the excess glitter and add a layer of watered down school glue with a paint brush by gently dabbing it on. Modge podge is even better, but I use school glue as my replacement. Let it dry.

This can basically be used for anything you want to add glitter to, just seal it and you are good to go!glue over the gliter

Once dry add your ribbon to the stars for hanging!

Below I took a pic of a before and after or with and without. The left has been coated with sealer and the right not. You can see the left if just a little bit dimmer in shine but when on the tree I have a hard time telling them apart. Except one gave me glitter fingers!
with and without glue cover

oh and I also made a gold one 😉Add Glitter to Anything Without it Falling Off - stars

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments collection

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DIY Christmas Ornaments

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This year I did something very different with our tree. This year we MADE a large percentage of our ornament collection DIY, home and handmade! A very large percentage is with the help of my kids.

Here are all our DIY Christmas Ornaments!

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Crafts: Personalized Star Ornament for Kids

Easy Christmas Ornaments for Kids: Pipe Cleaner + Beads

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids: Craft Stick Stars

diy kids ornaments

Gingerbread Men, Christmas Tree and Star Printables

Egg Carton Jingle Bells – Christmas Ornament Craft

kids make ornaments diy

Quick Candy Cane Christmas Ornament

Kid Made: Sparkly Tinsel Christmas Ornaments

Quick and Easy Christmas Wreath a Kids Activity

Yarn or String Ball Christmas Ornaments

diy kid made ornaments

Pipe Cleaner Garlands

Pipe Cleaner Practice Tree

Kid Made: Feather & Pipe Cleaner Angels – Easy Christmas Ornaments

mega pipe cleaner christmas crafts

DIY Christmas Puzzle

Christmas Theme Activity with Sticky Contact Paper

Christmas Color Rice Tree Craft

diy games for christmas

Add Glitter to Anything Without it Falling Off

Salt Dough Ornaments & Star Window Mobile

DIY Glitter Star Tree Topper

millions of stars

Salt Dough Ornaments & Star Window Mobile

Stocking & Stuffer Ideas for Kids

personal ornaments

70+ Christmas Arts & Crafts for Kids

70+ Christmas Arts & Crafts for Kids

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8 In-Laws Etsy Activities For Christmas Day – Cozy Christmas Connections

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Welcome to our 5 part series Cozy Christmas Connections. This week I’ll be looking at 10 great Etsy activities to buy for crafty fun with in-laws on, or leading up to Christmas Day. December is finally here, and Christmas Day is fast approaching. Grab some of these great Etsy activities now, and get prepared for some great bonding-with-inlaws fun!

Last week’s post looked at Crafty Advent Calendar Ideas. If you missed it, be sure to read it!

8 Etsy In-law Craft Ideas

Etsy Crafts

Silver Snowflake Ornament Kits

Your kids can make these gorgeous christmas tree ornaments in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, with grandma.
Find them on Etsy: OrnaKits for $50

ornakit

 

 Origami Christmas stars

These are super cheap and look so fun to make! Great paper colors too! Get them ON SALE on Etsy: legoods.

origami-star

Christmas Craft Pack

This pack looks SO fun, my 3 & 4 year olds would love this! A craft kit with felt, ribbons, buttons & Twine. Find it on Etsy: LoveToSewUK!

christmas craft pack

McCalls Christmas Craft Sewing Pattern- Santa

How sweet – making a stuffed Santa! Great for preteens to do with grandma! Get the pattern on Etsy: SewBohemian

make a santa

Make a Christmas Stocking & more..

These caught my eye and then made me linger, to get more info. So colorful and cute! Get the pattern for these Christmas stockings, wall hanging decor & tree skirt from Etsy: BaublesAndKitsch

make a stocking

 Decorate a wood tree

You could have some great decorative fun buying one of these beautiful trees, and writing family member names on with glitter glue, or decorating them with stamps, ribbon, paint or whatever crafty ideas you come up with. They could also be used as placeholders at the table. The possibilities are endless! Love these; find them on Etsy: FooFooLaLaChild

wood tree

Paint A Ceramic Christmas Tree

This calls for hours of decorative fun! Paint this gorgeous 11 inch ceramic tree with family this festive season! Find it on Etsy: DarkHorseStore

paint tree

Make a (printable) Treat Box for the Christmas meal table

These are super cute, and an exciting activity for little children – hiding surprise treats inside these cute boxes for all the family members at the table! Find them (printables) on Etsy: aLittleBirdTweetMe

treat box

 

If you have any awesome crafty goodies you love buying from a store on Etsy, that  you love making together as a family, we’d love for you to share them with us! What  will you be buying and creating this Christmas?
I hope you enjoyed this series! For more Christmas related posts from us, feel free to subscribe below! We’d love to have you join us 🙂

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