Encouraging kids to get hands-on with decorating not only includes them and their ideas in creating the holiday spirit at home, but the time spent together and the tactile experience of making something together are gifts in themselves. Since the arrival of my first nephew, Adly, five years ago, Christmas in my household has had a refreshing change. The predictable routine of gift-exchanging and dinners has been replaced by craft afternoons involving a lot of sprinkles and sticky glue. Making gingerbread houses and crafts are Adly's favourites, and during the season, my sister's house transforms into a gallery of his amateur artistic creations. Here are some things to consider when getting kids involved in holiday decorating:
- Simplicity –size="3"> Kids tend to have a short attention span, so it’s important to consider how long it will take when choosing a craft activity. Making sure all needed materials are gathered and preparing as much as you can beforehand will simplify the activity and help avoid any frustrations.
- Safety –size="3"> Use safe, non-toxic materials and child-friendly glues and scissors. If a craft activity involves precise cutting requiring sharp scissors, pre-cut materials.
- Fun –size="3"> Keeping the “fun-factor” up during the activity means allowing the child’s imagination to run wild and be as creative as they can be. This can get quite messy at times, so setting up a designated craft area, where the tables and floors are covered with newspaper, will create a stress-free cleaning zone for you.
Bring the Christmas touch into the house by decorating bedroom and bathroom doors with these mini wreaths.
What you need:
- 4 brightly colored, heavy-duty 7-inch paper plates
- White craft glue
- Decorative ribbon (enough to make 4 big bows)
- Decorations to glue on wreath - A nature-walk finds twigs, leaves, acorns and winter berries. A bag of fresh cranberries can add a festive burst of colour and texture as well.
- Prep before: With scissors, cut out the centre of the paper plates, leaving a rim of about 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide.
- With kids: Squeeze a thick line of glue around the plate, about 1/2-inch from the edge. Place decorations, one by one, on the line of glue. Squeeze another line of glue inside the first row of decorations. Place decorations, one by one, on the second line of glue. If desired, add your nature-walk finds like fresh greenery, twigs, leaves or acorns. Let wreath stand overnight to dry.
- Finishing Touch:Finally, thread a piece of ribbon through the centre of the wreath and tie a bow. Hang your wreath with the ribbon.
WINTER BERRY ICE CANDLE color="purple">size="3"> There's nothing better than the dim flickering glow of candle light to add warmth and mood to a cold winter night. This ice candle can also make a creative table centrepiece when placed in a shallow glass bowl.
What you need:
- 1 empty, clean and dried 250 ml milk carton
- Fresh fruits (cranberries, slices of orange, etc.) and/or garden trimmings (acorns, winter berries, small leaves, fir branches, etc.)
- 1 or 2 floating candles
- Prep before:Start with a used 250 ml carton of milk or half and half. Open the carton all the way and clean well.
- With kids:Carefully pour water and fresh fruits/garden trimmings into the carton, filling it to about 1 inch below the top of the carton. Small leaves work well if placed along the inner sides of the carton. Place floating candle or tea light on top of the cranberries and water in the centre of the arrangement. Carefully place the carton in the freezer on a flat surface and freeze overnight.
- Finishing touch: Once completely frozen, gently peel away the carton to reveal the frozen contents. Dip the carton in warm water if needed to loosen. Place your finished frozen centrepiece in a shallow bowl or deep plate.
PINE CONE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTsize="3"> 'Tis the season when there's no shortage of cones falling from trees! Get some help from your kids to clean up the yard and create some fun holidays tree decorations at the same time.
What you need:
- Pine cones (as many as you want)
- Paper towels
- Craft glue
- Silver and gold glitter or plastic gems
- Colourful pipe cleaner or very thick string
- 2 bowls for paint and glitter/plastic gems
- Red ribbon (optional)
- Clear sealer spray (optional)
- Prep before (with kids):