I love finding fun things I can do with my kids during the month of December, but it can be hard to come up with new things to do each year. We have some traditions, like gingerbread (graham cracker) houses, that we do every year, but this year I found a few new projects to get us into the holiday spirit.
Kid Project #1: Snowman Notecards
Since my boys are starting to get a little older, I wanted them to focus a little more on the gifts they are giving others this year (instead of just what they want to get). We made simple snowman note cards as a gift for their grandma using scrapbook supplies I had on hand and a couple packets of white buttons from the craft store. Originally I was going to add a stamped sentiment on the front of each card so Grandma can use these as thank you notes after Christmas, but I decided they looked cuter blank, and this way she can use them for any occasion she’d like.
To make these cards you’ll need: white cardstock for the card base, blue cardstock for the front, three white buttons for each card (try to find buttons that are larger than standard shirt-size), scraps of black and orange paper, and adhesive. If you use small buttons, you’ll also want some extra white cardstock to make a “hill” for your snowman to stand on.
I cut out the hats and noses, then let the kids go to town gluing everything on. We used Elmer’s to attach the buttons because that’s what I had handy, but I realized after the fact that glue dots would work better and cause less warping. But whatever you have is fine. Remember, this is a kids’ project, and it’s ok if the finished product looks like it was made by kids. Grandmas love this kind of stuff, and the kids will be way more proud of themselves if you just let them do their thing and don’t worry too much about making it perfect. My boys can’t wait to wrap these up and give them to Grandma.
Kid Project #2: Letters to Santa (and a quick layout)
Since my boys are starting to get older, I’m not sure how many more years Santa will be important to them as part of Christmas. I decided I needed a layout this year that preserved Santa letters—it’s going to be fun to look back and see what they wanted for Christmas, what their handwriting looked like at this young age, and how much they still love Santa right now.
So this project was as much for me as it was for the kids, but they still had a fun time writing their letters. I cut out 4x4 inch squares of cardstock in colors that coordinated with some Christmas patterned paper, let them each pick what color they wanted, and asked them to write a letter. Younger kids will probably need a larger piece of paper to work with, but I wanted to put all four letters on one scrapbook layout, so I stuck with a small size.
Once they were done with their lists (which took quite a while—there was lots of comparing and deliberating going on), I spent just a few minutes making this quick layout.
Kid Project #3: Photo Ornaments
For this project, you’ll need 3 ¼ in round unfinished wooden circles (I found them at Joanns), a circle cutter, photos, patterned paper, ribbon, adhesive, and a way to punch holes through the wood circles (a Cropodile works great, but a drill would work also).
We made these photo ornaments as a gift for Great-Grandma, so we gathered pictures of each great grandchild. The kids helped me cut the pictures and patterned paper into circles that would fit on the wood circles, then they glued them down (we used a very generous layer of glue stick because it’s easy for them to work with—but you can use whatever you’d like). On some ornaments we used a picture on the front and another picture on the back, and on others we used a picture on the front and Christmas paper on the back. I thought about inking around the edges of each ornament, but decided that leaving them unfinished would look better with Great-Grandma’s tree.
Once all the photos were adhered, all we had to do was punch a hole at the top of each ornament and thread a loop of ribbon through to make a hanger. Very simple and very cute.
Note: if you want to protect these ornaments from fingerprints, you could finish each ornament with a layer of ModPodge over top of the photos/paper. If you choose to use ModPodge, be sure the photos and/or paper are securely adhered to the wood with ModPodge or lots of gluestick—because once ModPodge covers the paper or photo, any parts that are not securely adhered down will puff up,
causing bubbles in the final project.
A Note from Monika
When my now 19-year old son was just a youngster, we lived in a townhome without a fireplace, and all kids know that Santa comes down through the chimney. Yep, he was worried. Mommy reassured him that Santa would find a way to get in and somehow Santa always left some gifts and ate his cookies!
When I saw the Santa page title dimensional stickers that SEI had in their Kris Kringle collection, this project came to mind. If you have little ones that are worried about Santa getting in the house, crafting this fun project together might ease their worries.
I had this door hanger in my stash from a project earlier this summer, so after inking the edges of the wood hanger and adhering my Snowball Fight textured cardstock from the Assortment Pack, I sanded the edges and then inked the paper edges. Add some SEI die cut accents and stickers and you are finished with your project!
Another idea would be to thread some ribbon through a key and attach it to the door hanger, so Santa has no problems at all finding a way to leave his Christmas goodies. Of course, make sure it’s not your actual door key...safety first!
Wishing each of you happy holidays and happy crafting, too, of course!
A Note from Beth
Buttons make anything cuter! Here I adhered them to Hershey kisses for an extra sweet holiday treat! This makes a super-easy, satisfying project for children to create—maybe as a substitute for traditional cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve!