Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Easy Kids Christmas Crafts! PLUS Huge Giveaway!!!

It's already that time of the year!  Hard to believe but it's true!  I am excited to be part of another fantastic giveaway - this time for the coming Holidays!  There are two prizes and 2 winners!  So don't forget to sign up at the bottom of this post!  There are also a lot of great gift ideas from a bunch of creative bloggers - so check out the link up below as well!
I always love making Christmas crafts with kids.  So I thought I would share my top ten easy crafts we made during Advent last year.  These are simple for kids to make and a great way to kick off the season!

1.  Dove Ornament

This easy craft can be made with simple items you have around the house.  Leave them on doorknobs for neighbors to spread some holiday cheer or while visiting nursing homes this season!
  • 1 Paper Plate
  • Scissors
  • Green Construction Paper
  • Hot Glue
  • Regular Glue
  • Cotton Balls
  • Raffia or ribbon
First divide and cut the paper plate into 3 equal parts.  Then taking the center piece, draw on the back, an outline of a dove and cut it out (there are templates online if you aren't much for drawing).  Next, hot glue the two outer ridge sections onto the body of your dove, to make wings.  Next hot glue the ribbon onto the wings, to hang the dove when you're done. Cut out a holly or twig shape, from green construction paper and glue it to the mouth of the dove. Then, have the kids put glue all over the wings and begin pulling apart cotton balls, to stick to the wings for a "feather" appearance.  We wrote Matthew 3:16 on the tail.

2.  Angel Ornament!

Another good craft your kids can make for their Sunday School teacher or friends, in place of a traditional card or bring it along to a nursing home and make them with the residents!
  • Paper plate
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cotton balls
  • Glitter glue
  • Curling Ribbon
  • School white or gel glue
Divide the plate into thirds and cut the two outer sides off, using the middle to become the angel's body.  Then, take the middle and cut an angels body, with a head.  Then cut two arms (optional) and a halo, out of the extra piece at the top, with a small strip to hold the halo on.  Decide which side will be the front, and then hot glue on your angels wings a little higher than half way up the body. Next, you can glue your halo onto the little strip you cut (you'll need to bend the strip slightly to have it glue up under that halo). Then glue the little strip to the back of the angel's head. Next, glue the angel's arms, about mid way down the wings (or wherever you like them). Then use gel school glue to apply all over the wings and begin sticking the pieces of torn cotton balls onto the wings.  After that is done, glue a cotton ball collar, sleeve cuff and a cuff at the bottom of the dress. Now take permanent marker and draw eyes, nose & mouth on the angel's face. Next, apply glitter glue to the angel's halo and then spread some on the angel's body as well, using your finger to spread it around so it isn't gloppy, or making the halo too heavy. Last, glue on the curling ribbon for hair, using hot glue. You may need to tack the hair in place with hot glue, so you can get the hair to lay how you want it. 

3.  Adorable Snowman!

This was definitely one of my favorite kids crafts for sure!  It's easy, has a sensory component to it and it comes out so very cute!  Another great craft for kids! 

  • Tube socks (bought mine cheaply at Ollie's locally!)
  • Rice (ethnic stores are cheapest)
  • Rubberbands
  • Black permanent marker
  • pipe cleaners
  • felt (orange and any other color you choose)
  • Glitter glue (optional)
First you take a tube sock, and cut off the top half where the "ribbed" area is (about 1/4 of the top of the sock).  You lay that aside.  Then you flip the sock inside out, to get the "fuzzy" side out and then begin filling it with rice.  Once it's 3/4+ full with rice and nice and "fat", you can take a rubber band and close the top securely.  Then take a second rubber band and squeeze the filled sock, till you have a head and a body - place the rubber band loosely there (tight enough to keep the shape but not too tight or the head becomes wobbly).  Then you take the top 1/4 of the tube sock you cut off at the beginning, and rubber band that together on the cut side.  Then flip the sock inside out and place it on the snowman's head, as a hat.  Now you can begin to embellish.  We used black permanent marker to make the eyes, mouth and buttons.  We used pipe cleaners for arms cut short, felt cut into a carrot nose, gloves, and a scarf.  Lastly we sprayed them with glitter glue.  

4.  Recycled Magazine Wreath!

This is a great craft to hang on the door.  They come out really neat and you can do all kinds of interesting designs, depending on what types of magazine papers you choose.  
  • Old magazines (more colorful magazines are prettiest - ones with colorful ads work well)
  • Scotch Tape
  • Paper plate
  • Hot glue gun
  • Holiday picks from dollar store or craft store for the center
  • Twine (optional - to hang)
The first thing and probably the part that kids seem to like best and find the most fun, is to pick their magazine pages, tear them out carefully and then roll them into cones.  Roll them fairly loose so that you end up with cones that have openings at least a 1/2" to an inch wide (otherwise, they will have to roll a LOT of them - OK - that may keep them very busy - roll whatever size works for your crew!). Also, tell them to look at the pages and pick the side that is most colorful, and roll it so that the colorful side is on the outside of their cone, this way it will show when they add them together to make their wreath. Secure each rolled cone with a small piece of tape. Then take your paper plate and put it upside down and find the center spot of your plate.  Have them hot glue their cones going around the dot in the center, placing them evenly around the plate. Once they have gone around one time, then have them fill in the gaps between and glue down cones going around again. (A trick so you don't get burned, is to take a pencil and hold down each magazine piece till the hot glue has dried and stuck.  That will keep them or you from burning hands with the hot glue on this project.) They should have a layered look when they are done gluing all their cones.  We put a couple longer magazine pages (cones) intermittently in our wreath, to give it the look it has - do whatever you think looks good to you. Then take the pick that they choose and stick the pick through the center of the plate and fold over the metal wire to the side.Then you can turn over the plate and hot glue on the twine or ribbon, to give your wreath a hook for hanging it up. Beautiful and simple! 

5.  Ghiberti Christmas Craft!

Leave it to a homeschooling Mom to find a way to combine fine art with Christmas crafting.  You all remember Lorenzo Ghiberti, right?  He was that trained goldsmith, turned sculptor, from the late 1300's to early 1400's.  He painted the baptistry doors at the Florence Cathedral. Here is a good way to make a lesson in Ghiberti, but also a great way to make a craft that can even be a framable piece of art, for someone special this holiday.  
  • Tin foil
  • Cardboard piece -cut to desired size for framing, if you wish
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Wikki Stix or Yarn
  • Pom Pom
  • Black paint
  • Steel wool pad
  • Glitter Glue (optional)
Cut your cardboard to the size desired (got our cardboard from free boxes at BJ's).  Then let the kids design a Christmas scene, using popsicle sticks, wiki sticks, or yarn, and pom poms.   Glue it all down with craft glue.  Once the design is how they like it, have them gently place tin foil all over the design, pressing down gently around the design elements they made.  Take black paint and paint the whole thing.  Using the steel wool, have them gently scrape off the raised areas.  

6.  El Greco Snowman!

In keeping with some educational twists on the Holiday crafts, have your kids make some El Greco snowmen!  These could make very cute personalized and educational, Christmas cards.  You could even print out and paste a little blurb about El Greco, on the back.  

  • Colored construction paper in black, orange and two other colors for background and hat/gloves
  • Two different size circumference objects to trace
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White chalk or crayon or oil pastels
Trace 3 circles on your white paper in at least two different (or 3) sizes.  Then cut them out. Next, take the black construction paper and cut buttons, eyes, and a mouth.  Take your other construction paper color and and cut out a scarf and hat with mittens.  Last, cut out a carrot nose with orange construction paper.  Then you cut the snow man in at least two or three places, per circle and space them out, across the paper like above.  Then you color between them, to give it an elongated look. Lastly, we added all the embellishments, to make him have the snowman look! 

7.    Handprint Christmas Trees

Another homemade Christmas card that is personalized is the Tree.  

  • Green Construction Paper
  • Contrasting Colored Construction Paper
  • Sequins (or you could use pompoms or pastels or paint - whatever you have on hand works!)
  • Hot Glue Gun or Tacky Glue
  • Craft piping (optional)
  • Pastels (optional)
To access instruction and see photos, click here.

8.  Hand and Footprint Angel Cards!

Another choice for making homemade cards can be found by using your child's feet and hands!  Always a great keepsake craft for special family members.  

  • Construction Paper
  • White and Black Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Wet wipes (or something to clean feet/hands after painting)
  • Gold/Silver glitter glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Gold curling ribbon (optional - could paint it on or use glitter glue)
To access instructions and see photos, click here.

9.  Sharing Christ - Christmas Cards!

These are my favorite kind of Christmas cards to make!  I love them!  The Jesus in the manger, are the sweetest ever!  What a great card to send to that special someone that you are praying for this Holiday!

To access instructions and see photos, click here.

10.  God's Snowflakes Craft!

A favorite Advent Day countdown post from last year was regarding making "God's snowflakes" - each individual, each unique, each purposefully designed, and carved out by it's Creator.  Here is a previous post on making God's snowflakes...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Endocrine System!

Wonderful Wednesday was all about the endocrine system today.  The kids got the fright of their lives to start our day and then we ended our day with an Abraham Lincoln themed snack and review game, with fun learning in between.  We had some special guests today too - always love when a Grandparent (or two!) can come join our day!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Edible U.S Maps and More!

Today in Wonderful Wednesday, we stepped away from the science blitz format we've been doing.  We had already covered lungs in our previous week when we looked at the Excretory System and made a working lung model.  So, it seemed fitting to take a little break and focus on our geography and music theory, with a little abstract art for fun thrown in!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Battle of the Immune System!

This week in Wonderful Wednesday we focused on the amazing Immune System!  The kids dressed up as Vikings (a timeline event for this week) - which also fit with our end of the day activity of "fighting" germs!  The kids loved the immune system attack activity of the day, it was a ton of fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reformation Day!

Repost:  For those wanting to celebrate Martin Luther's Reformation is a blog post blast from the past!  

I decided the day before Halloween that I didn't really want that to be the focus of our October 31st this year.  While you all KNOW I love to have kids dress up and enjoy that aspect of childhood (and occasional adulthood too) - I wanted to "shift" the focus a little bit while still allowing dress up and fun to ensue!  So....I decided to invite just a few kids over to dress up and learn with us about the Reformation and life of Martin Luther the Reformer!
So we were able to pull out two Martin Luther's and a Pope Leo X!  That works....I thought!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Circulatory System Fun!

This week we had a blast exploring the circulatory system!  We all dressed up as "medical professionals" (I joined in this week since all I had to do was pull out a pair of my old scrubs - so don't expect any other week to see me...haha!) - I loved the pharmaceutical sales girl with her briefcase.  There has to be at least one in every gathering of medical professionals, don't you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Exploring the Excretory System!

Today we explored the excretory system with the kids.  I had a couple models planned, along with a few demonstrations and a surprising end to the day for the kids!  We had cowgirls and boys for our history dress up this week.  I loved seeing some of the kids bring their mop horses I had made in September!  Sarah chose to wear a costume horse she had from a few years ago!