I work in a public library, and so cannot use the picture ideas (which are always great, by the way). For Christmas this year I had all my Storytime kids trace and cut out their handprints on thin green paper, and then decorate the fingernails of the hands with glitter and small shiny Christmas figures (the kind that you put into Christmas cards). I layered the “hands” in a Christmas tree shape (the fingernails looked like ornaments), make a trunk from a paper towel tube, a holder from some shiny gold paper added snowflakes and gingerbread men, and had a great Christmas tree bulletin board!
At Christmas time we make tea light candle holders as gifts. Take empty baby food jars and have the children cover it with lots of glue and then with overlapping small pieces of tissue paper (we used red and green, but any colors work). After it’s covered, add an extra layer of glue over the tissue paper, then when its dry, cover the top part of the jar in glue, dip in glitter and add a candle! It’s very pretty, the colors glow from the light of the candle!
SUPER EASY CANDY CANES– Cut out candy cane shapes from white poster board. Place one candy cane shape in a cardboard shirt box top and secure with some tape. Add 3-4 marbles and a few drops of red paint and you’re ready to roll! Have the children shake the box and make the marbles roll through the paint and onto the candy cane. The red paint makes wonderful stripes! I did this activity with the children and some of their parents and they loved it! Very festive!
Garland: My class made garland with items brought from home. Together as a class, we made a list of things that could go on a string. Then, the list was sent home and each child was to bring in a small baggie with whatever items he/she had at home. We mixed all of the items in a large bowl and then strung them on a string. Some of the items that worked best were O shaped cereals and small pretzels. The kids loved seeing their creation wrapped around our class tree.
Supplies: Make approximately 7 little hands
1 cup cornstarch 1 cup salt 1 cup water
Add it all in a pot and cook on low until it resembles firm mashed potatoes. Then you will take it off and let it cool. Put a damp cloth over the top so the dough doesn’t dry out. Next, you will take 1/4 inch of the dough and let the child form a handprint in it. You will use a plastic knife to cut out the hand. Then you will make a hole a the top with a straw for the ribbon to go through and then you will take a film canister to cut a hole out of the center of the handprint. After you have done this, place them on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 200′ for 3 hours. After they are done baking let them dry overnight. Then the next day you can paint them green and decorate them with sequins. Tie a ribbon through the little hole and attach their picture in the bigger hole with a piece of felt behind it. When everything is finished. Spray it with Acrylic gloss so it will last as a keepsake.
Here’s a great way to use up all those small jars/lids that you have lying around. Give each child a jar and lid. Let them chose a small ornament or toy (I use McDonald’s toys) and help them to glue this onto the inside of the lid. Remember to use waterproof glue!!! When the glue is dry pop in some glitter (coconut is great if you want the snow look) into each jar. Then fill almost to the top with water. Place a small amount of glue around the screw part of the jar and then screw on the lid. Turn over and shake! These make awesome presents and the kids love them.
Take a large piece of poster board or mural paper and draw a circle about 12″ in diameter in pencil on it. Have the children put their hands in green paint, then make prints with their hands around the circle, with fingers facing out. Using a paintbrush, add tiny red circles for berries and you have a handprint wreath for the holidays.
Margarine Lid Ornaments: Hopefully you had all parents save their Christmas cards from last year…now is time to put them to use!
Give each child a plastic margarine lid (from the smaller-sized tubs.) Assist them in cutting two Christmas cards – cut each card in a circle to match the size of the margarine lid. (Sometimes we have two pictures from two cards – and sometimes we have a picture and a verse.)
Now glue these cut out circles – one on each side – to the margarine lid. Glue wide rick-rack around the rim of the lids. Now the teacher should poke a small hole in the lid (I use a warm needle) and run fishing line through so the ornament can be hung from a tree.
The kids like to do these because they choose their favorite scenes/verses from our huge stack of Christmas cards.
Christmas tree strings. Great for shape recognition, gluing, choosing materials and creating a gift for Christmas! Child cuts out 3 pre-drawn triangles. Chooses from a selection of materials such as glitter, shiny stars, sequins, silver foil. Glues on to triangles. These are then attached to a thick ribbon to form a tree which can hang up. Very popular in our group and not too adult led.
To make your classroom look even more festive around the holidays add a little spearmint candy sweetness! Using an old record player, have each child put a paper plate on it. (They will have to punch it through the record notch.) Then let them use red or green paint. Simply have them place a paint filled brush on top of the plate as you turn it on. They will giggle with glee as they watch their white plate become a festive piece of “candy” for the gingerbread house. When their paintbrush dries, simply re-dip it in the paint. Before it dries have them add some coordinating colored glitter to it. The next day, have them help wrap it up in holiday colored cellophane, don’t forget to add extra to the sides so it looks authentic. I hang them from my ceiling to really emphasize the gingerbread/holiday baking/fun theme! Super cute!