There are so many great ideas for indoor activities and things we can do during the colder months. Great ideas aside, it can be overwhelming or even underwhelming to execute. I try (emphasis on “try”) not to put too much pressure on myself and go with the flow. I do this in my classes and at home. This is often easier said than done. This week, we will piggy back on our previous Christmas Learning post and plan to have a little more fun with indoor activities and winter craft downloads. So, we’ll get right to it, let’s play inside!
Go ahead- finish it- “she’s just my type!” I’m probably aging myself a bit here with a Beastie Boys reference, but hey, a good song is a good song. Let’s talk crafts. This here is when I sometimes get a little overwhelmed- the planning. Some folks have lots of supplies on hand at all times. I applaud you. However, I am the opposite. Whatever end of the spectrum you find yourself on- either prepared or unprepared, I’m here to help you be ready to play inside! Most of what you’ll need for today’s crafts and activities can be found between Michaels, Target, and even any the grocery store.
Clearly, I have all kinds of song lyrics in my head today. Tell me you can’t hear “Be prepared!” without a chorus of Lion King hyenas. Just me? In any event, here is your checklist for our Christmas crafts and activities so you can play inside. Some you may have at home already and some you’ll need to pick up before you get crafting.
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Card stock
- Assorted color construction paper
- Glue (any type)
- Cotton balls
- Googly eyes (extra fun if its a pack of various sizes!)
- Cookie Cutters
- String, yarn or ribbon
- Paint (recommend child friendly craft paint)
Tis the Season- to play inside!
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Did someone say FREE DOWNLOADS? Ok, I did. One of the beautiful things about the holiday season is the diversity of celebrations. MTT strives for diversity, equity and inclusion for our whole community. The following free winter craft downloads are for our families who celebrate Kwanzaa and Hannukah. While these aren’t quite a “play inside” activity, the spirit of these activities is to offer safe indoor options for kids to participate in holiday celebrations while utilizing their fine motor skills!
The Kwanzaa celebration is observed by seven candles placed into a special candle holder called a Kinara. The significance of the number seven is to reflect the representation of the Seven Principals of Kwanzaa or Nguzo Saba. The candles are red, green and black to represent the African flag. This downloadable Kinara template works great for kids and is free from real flames (so if you hate real candles like me, this is perfect).
You can print the template out on card stock for a more sturdy craft, or print out on regular paper and glue to another surface. The candles are placed in the Kinara with the single black candle in the center, the three red candles on the left and the three green candles on the right. The black candle is lit first, followed by the farthest left red candle, then the farthest right green candle, then the next red, then next green, then the last red, and then the final green candle. Each candle is lit on an individual day and represents the principle of the day.
Often known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish celebration based on the story and tradition of the Jewish people’s defeat in the Holy Land in 165 BC. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days and is celebrated by the lighting of nine candles in a traditional candle holder called a Menorah. Generally, the center candle is slightly elevated above the other eight candles and is used to light the remaining candles.
This downloadable menorah template is a flameless creativity for families to do alongside their real holiday menorahs. Another option is that children could have their paper menorahs hanging up in their bedrooms! Print this out on card stock for a sturdier craft or use regular paper and glue to another surface.
During the celebration of Hanukkah, Jewish families often play a traditional game with a Dreidel. Dreidels are four sided tops and each side has a different Jewish letter symbol on the face. This Dreidel craft template is for families to create a hanging mobile representation of the traditional Dreidel game and a great way to play inside during the holiday season. Print out on cardstock for the best results. The end result should look something like this:
SO much fun winter craft downloads!
Snow Globe Craft
I am obsessed with snow globes. They are some of my favorite things and my son also loves them. When we were decorating for Christmas, we discovered that he has amassed quite a snow globe collection. I know that he is going to LOVE this snow globe craft. I’m looking forward to some time this weekend play inside and to do this winter craft download with him and my youngest, his sister.
For this craft, you’ll need to gather your supplies ahead of time and might need to make a special trip to the store. You’ll need card stock, glue (best with Elmer’s glue), crayons and most importantly, cotton balls. My daughter made one of these last year at her daycare and they laminated it for her and made it into an ornament which I thought was a great idea! It made me smile to unwrap it from the Christmas ornaments this year and hand it on the tree with her.
Reindeer Hat Craft
Hats are always in season. Make it a reindeer hat and you have yourself a festive headpiece for sure! For this Reindeer Hat Craft, you’ll need construction paper, googly eyes, stapler or tape and a red marker. You could alternatively use pom poms in lieu of the marker- for a special reindeer nose!
I love these types of crafts because it allows your little ones to practice their cutting which is an important fine motor skill to master. I also love the individuality each child expresses with their own hat creation. Making hats is a great way to spark an opportunity to play inside.
Salt Dough Ornament
Now it’s time to go big or go home! This Salt Dough Ornament recipe is an activity that the whole family can participate in and definitely needs adult supervision since you will be using the oven. This recipe resembles that of cookies and baking, but is unlikely to be very tasty. For this activity, you will need to collect: flour, salt, water, some festive cookie cutters and toothpicks. You’ll also need string, yarn or ribbon and some paint.
Start with pre-heating the oven to 325. Then, mix your flour and salt together while slowly adding water to the mixture. Once mixed, knead your dough until it is pliable and then roll out onto a clean, flat surface. Next is the fun part! Cut out dough in fun, festive shapes with your cookie cutters and use your tooth pick to create a hole for your string to be looped through.
Bake your shapes approximately 1 hour or until hard. When they are fully cooked, pull your shapes from the own and let them rest. Once they cool, you’ll be able to thread a string through and decorate as you see fit. After all the steps are complete, the ornaments are ready to hang on the tree or give away as gifts!
We hope you have a wonderful time crafting, creating and celebrating with your families. Happy Holidays to all of our MTT family. Please let us know in the comments how your crafts turn out!
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.