Christmas Arts and Crafts

Bow Tie Pasta Wreaths: To make pasta wreaths first, in a bowl of water add a few drops of green food coloring. Add bow tie pasta and stir until you have the color that you want, you can add more coloring if you want. Strain water and spread pasta on a cookie sheet to dry, it may take a night or longer, sometimes I put it in the oven on a very low heat and let it dry that way. Using a small paper plate, cut out a hole in the middle to make a wreath, allow children to color wreath green and then glue bow tie pasta onto the plate. Coloring the plate first covers up any spots the children may have missed. To finish craft glue a cutout paper bow onto wreath or make one using ribbon. You also can add a string to it so that they can hang it up. The bowtie pasta gives it a real wreath look. It’s a lot of fun.

Materials: Potpourri, plastic canvas stars (I bought these at Wal-Mart in a pack of 5 for $1.00), lots and lots of glue, and tin foil.

Have the children place their star on a piece of tin foil. Next, have the children paint the star with LOTS and LOTS of glue. Finally, the children can sprinkle the potpourri all over the star. Let the glue dry COMPLETELY, then remove the star from the foil. My two-year-olds loved this activity!

Puzzle Wreaths

Put all that puzzle with all the missing pieces to good use!

Take an old puzzle, with at least 100 pieces, and spread it on newspapers outside. (Please do not do this first step around the children.) Take green spray paint and cover all the puzzle pieces until they are the color you desire. Let the pieces dry.

Next, take paper plates and cut a hole in the middle of them so they resemble wreaths. Finally, take green food coloring and add it to your glue.

Have the children paint the green glue onto the paper plates and arrange the puzzle pieces on it any way they want. These wreaths turn out wonderfully!

CHRISTMAS ANGEL This can be done with the older pre-schooler, with an adult standing by with the baby wipes for when the hand printing is over. Using blue paint print the children’s hands (both left and right) on white paper, leaving a gap in between them to fit another hand, have the hands going in the same direction. (These are the angel’s wings) Then, using only the right-hand paint the child’s hand yellow and place it in the space you left between the two blue hands, going in the opposite direction to them. When these have dried get the kids to paint a pink circle on the yellow hand at the top where the wrist would be, this is the angel’s face. When this dries get the kids to paint in the facial features. These can really look angelic when they are finished, or like when I did it with a two-year-old they can look like a blue, yellow and pinky mess that the child was very proud of.

A great year-round project, but these made wonderful Christmas gifts. We put a dab of paint in several bright colors scattered in any pattern on a paper plate. We put another plate on top of the first, and the kids could pound, press, or rub the top plate. When the top plate was lifted, a piece of white tissue paper was inserted, the top plate put back on, and the kids could pound or rub again. Remove the tissue paper and let dry…it should have a bright stained glass effect. (if you get too much paint in the plates, simply lay the tissue paper on the paint and pick it back up again….repeat with new sheets until it is ‘safe’ to let the kids have a go at it again) We let them all have a turn with the plate pounding and didn’t worry about identifying who did what piece. They seemed to have more fun doing it in groups of four or five at a time pounding the plates. When the paint got too pale on the tissue we added more. After the tissue was dry, we let each child choose which piece of tissue he or she liked best. We then glued Popsicle sticks in a small square frame around the center portion, and let the kids write their name (the little ones drew a design) and added the year. We hot-glued some white lace around the sticks and added a nice ribbon in the back to hang from, and we trimmed the extra tissue away. The gluing and lace can all be done in a matter of minutes, you don’t have to wait a long time between each step. When they went home, they made a great ornament for the tree. Some parents told us that the then hung it in a window after Christmas for a beautiful sun-catcher.

For my Christmas activities, I wrote a letter to the parents requesting for recyclable materials which they may have kept at home or at the office. The following week, our school’s resource area was full of bags and tons of plastic cups and lids from takeouts, old cloth scraps, boxes of soaps, toothpaste, cereals and cakes, containers of shampoos, yogurt, margarine tubs, used gift wrappers, egg cartons, gift ribbons and a lot more. Now I am considering these as our valuable resources in making Christmas ornaments and instruments. they are mostly free and re-usable and most importantly, environment-friendly.

For a sentimental Christmas gift for the parents, buy the wooden wreath cutout at a craft store. Have the children paint it green. When dry, we “dot” the wreath with glue and then have the children decorate with sequins. Great small motor skill activity. Finish by adding a picture of the child to the back, and writing their name and the year with a gold pen on the front.

This is a handprint wreath with a western kick. Cut burlap sacks (old feed sacks work great) into 12×12 inch squares. Paint the child’s hand green and have he/she put their handprints in a circular pattern of a wreath. Use thumbprints for berries. Glue on plastic chili peppers at the bottom of the wreath. Attach burlap square to a 15″ dowel rod. Tie an 18″ piece of twine to either end of the dowel rod for hanging. Makes a cute western wall hanging for parent gift.

An art project that goes this a song/fingerplay already submitted, (Five Little Christmas Trees) Cut a simple Christmas tree shape out of a 8 1/2/ x 11 sheet of green construction paper. Let each child decorate it with bright colored sticky dots or glitter and glue. When the tree is dry staple it to a strip of construction paper which is long enough to go around the child’s head. Wear the tree hats when you sing the song!

Hand & Footprint Reindeer

Materials: light brown & dark brown construction paper, glue, small amount of red construction paper or red pom-pom, movable eyes

Trace both of the child’s’ hands on the dark brown construction paper and cut out. Trace one foot on the light brown construction paper. Glue hand “antlers” to the toe-end of the foot cut-out (heel end is the nose). Children can draw face on their reindeer or paste pompom on for nose & add movable eyes.

Around holiday time (or anytime) I like to add glitter to our kool-aid playdough – kids love their sparkly play dough!!