Thanksgiving has come and gone. However if you’re like me, you might still be eating leftovers and are now parked next to your decorated Christmas tree. For my family, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, we dive right into full on Christmas mode. My family at home and my MTTES family love the holidays and we love getting to celebrate with you. This week, we’re excited to share with you some ideas for festive Christmas crafting to get your family in the holiday spirit!
Getting holly jolly!
How do you and your family mark the beginning of the holiday season? Maybe you got your tree up and decorated right away or fill your yard with giant holiday inflatables (is that just us??). Or are you someone who gets your apron on and starts your baking (if so, sharing is caring, ahem). My favorite thing to do is to turn on the Hallmark movies and get going on some Christmas crafting with my kiddos!
Christmas crafting time
Certainly everyone has varying degrees of what brings them joy during the holiday season. One thing I love (you know, besides Hallmark movies) is to make some super fun Christmas crafts with my kids. Interestingly, my son, who is 7 now and in 2nd grade, is outrageously creative. What has been really thrilling for me as a parent is to see what he comes up with; simply all on his own. So, this week, we have some awesome Christmas craft printables and ideas for you and your family. Additionally, we have some hands on activities, one that is specially prepared for you by Jack!
Inspired by nature
Earlier this fall, Jack and my youngest, Sadie (4), all went on a walk with our beloved pupper super mutt, Lottie May. Along the way through the neighborhood, the kids collected a variety of things- leaves, monkey balls, and flowers. The usual treasures of children. We found a few different styles of pinecones, some interesting branches and twigs as well. It was the beginning of the season change so we weren’t quite thinking about Christmas crafting yet, but the diversity of colors and textures was vast so it definitely set some gears in motion. We had everything from soft, pink flower petals, bright purples and an array of browns. What started with, “Oh! Look at this cool thing! Can I take it home?” turned into everyone’s pockets being laden with nearly the entire wilderness in them.
Our walk together was a great way to spend time together and experience our neighborhood firsthand. We spent our time looking up and around us at the trees and their changing colors. The kids also started to notice what was down underneath our feet having fallen or blown onto our path. We admired what was growing in our neighbors’ gardens and what was starting to die off for the season. My husband does a lot of spring planting, so Jack has learned a lot about annuals and perennials. He probably knows more than I do. This is often the case if you know Jack, or many other 7 year olds.
This walk inspired us to talk about the many, many colors and textures we discovered. I asked the kids the following questions: What do you notice? What do you wonder? I use these questions a lot in my classroom, but I use them just as often at home with my own kids. It always gets us talking about what is around us and forces us to step back, pause and take in what surrounds us. So much of our day moves quickly and we are apart for great chunks of time. I love getting those moments to see what my kids see. To hold onto their childhood just a little bit longer. All of us who are parents know that it simply just moves way too quickly.
Christmas tree, oh Christmas crafting.. tree
Once we got home, we laid out all of our treasured finds. We discovered that the big things like monkey balls and pinecones don’t really stick to paper super well once glue is applied, so we decided to focus on the leaves and flowers. Some tissue paper we had in our craft bin helped us get inspired and added some pops of color to our natural materials. It was time for crafting!
Sadie was happy to play with her gathered pinecones and crumbled up her leaves and generally make a mess, but I could see that Jack was starting to form some big plans. He was organizing what he found by color, and some by texture or size. I was up and moving around, entertaining Sadie, giving Lottie some fresh water and taking care of some chores around the house. When I finally circled back to the kitchen table, I saw that Jack had laid out his nature treasures in the shape of a Christmas tree. We were heading into Christmas crafting territory for sure!
Jack started by laying out his leaves and flowers in a Christmas tree pattern. Then he went back through and pulled some of the petals off of flowers and used his hands to pull off smaller pieces of some of the leaves so he could manipulate things more to his liking. He worked through the colors he had from his walk and started selecting certain colors of tissue paper to compliment his design. Once things were laid out the way he wanted them to be, he got busy with the glue. His Christmas crafting was really taking shape at this point.
What I loved about this craft experience with Jack was that it started out as one thing and became something entirely different, something unexpected. We simply want for a walk on a nice day and had some great conversations. Watching our kids take something in their imagination and bring it to life is an incredible thing.
Making your own Christmas crafts
Winter is here now in Maryland, so the outdoor treasures are going to be a bit different than they were for us in October. However, there are still plenty of things in bloom. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or through the woods and see what you find! When in need, take a cue from Jack and use tissue paper to fill in where you see yourself wanting to add some color.
Take a look here at his finished product:
Parents are always really proud of their children’s projects, but honestly this one really impressed me. He was able to take things that he found on his own and visualize them into something completely out of his own mind and I loved it.
One thing that we did discover is that over time, the leaves and petals became brittle and browned more. So, we did end up throwing this away eventually, but we are researching some ideas for better preservation of natural materials so that we can replicate this type of craft in the future and hold onto it longer. We’d love to see what you create with your families from things you find in your neighborhood and backyard explorations!
Further Christmas crafts
We wanted to leave you with more options for Christmas crafting this season. So, please try these activities as well with your family and friends over the holiday season.
- Name Christmas Tree– make your name into a festive paper Christmas tree. This activity is part of our paid subscription.
- Salt Dough Ornament Recipe activity– This is so much fun! This activity is part of our paid subscription.
- Reindeer Hat Craft- One of my daughter’s favorite crafts is to make festive hats. This one comes with Sadie’s stamp of approval. This activity is part of our paid subscription.
As always, please share your thoughts with us, send us your pictures of your projects. We love to see what you come up with! Merry Christmas everyone!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.