30 Easy Holiday Crafts for Kids

by Jennifer Holder on 13 December 2012 0 comments
Photo: Beth Rankin

Somehow, the dropping temperatures and smell of turkey makes children want to do nothing but make crafts. Below, check out holiday craft ideas from holiday-specific (Christmas, Hanukkah) to holiday-general (mainly snowmen), all arranged by craft supply. Keep in mind that supervision is required for some of them, but most they can do on their own while you’re cooking some tastiness for the table. (See also: 5 Fun Family Friendly Games for Your Holiday Party)

Pasta

Ahh, pasta — the quintessential child craft supply. The options are endless, but here are a few you can try.

1. Pasta Menorah

Using paper, glue, lentils, and macaroni, your kids can make this simple and cute pasta menorah. As the blog suggests, some supervision might be required for younger kids (after all, they might try to eat the dried pasta).

2. Ornaments

Using round pasta, there are plenty of options for trees, stars, and other pasta ornaments. Use paint if you’d like, or just keep them pasta-colored.

3. Pasta Tree

This pasta tree from Better Homes and Gardens is one of the more complex crafts, but supposedly it’s under $10 and takes about an hour. I personally think it looks the most fun.

Egg Cartons

It's likely you’ll have a lot of empty egg cartons lying around while cooking the many cakes, cookies, and casseroles associated with the holidays, so put them to good use with these fun crafts.

4. Christmas Tree

To make a Christmas tree, take two egg cartons and glue them to a piece of cardboard in the shape of a tree. Use green spray paint (or just regular craft paint), decorate, and voila! For a slightly more complicated egg-carton stand-up tree, try this tree craft out.

5. Menorah

Use an empty egg carton turned upside down and popsicle sticks to create this egg-carton menorah from Nick, Jr.

Pipe Cleaners

This classic craft supply can be bent into lots of fun holiday items.

6. Beaded Ornaments

This is a craft I did a lot as a kid — stringing beads into shapes to make different ornaments.

7. Snowmen or Reindeer Figurines

Your kids can also attempt slightly harder shapes, like a skating snowman or a stand-up reindeer.

8. Menorah

Joyful Jewish came up with an inventive (and adorable) way to make a menorah out of pipe cleaners (also pictured is the star of David). All that is needed for this one is pipe cleaners and a little elbow grease. She also uses gold pipe cleaners to “light” one each night.

Fabric and Paper

...including one of the most classic kids' craft supplies — toilet paper rolls.

9. Snowman

You can use equal parts shaving cream and Elmer’s glue to make a puffy snowman on a piece of paper or canvas.

10. Aprons

Make a no-sew holiday apron with the kids! Buy a blank apron in their size along with some felt, ribbons, and other fabrics, and have them design their aprons however they’d like. That way if they do end up helping in the kitchen, they’ll at least try to keep their clothes clean.

11. Toilet Paper Roll Figurines

There are no real instructions, per se (the idea comes from one of those Pinterest pins with no actual link), but the picture of the figurines is a good start. Use paint, paper, and glue (or anything else) to decorate old toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls.

12. Paper Dreidels

Enchanted Learning provides a printable dreidel to make this. With the addition of scissors, glue, crayons, and a small dowel or straw, your child can make this craft. Grab some game pieces and play, play, play.

13. Star of David

All you need is white paper, scissors, and glue, and you and your child can make some Stars of David. You can use them to decorate the wall, or, as the link suggests, put them together with paper towel rolls to make a mobile.

Glass

Although these two crafts are very safe, make sure to supervise children when they're working with glass.

14. Light Bulb Snowman

Start with a light bulb meant for crafting (real light bulbs won’t screw off just right and could burst into pieces in your hand). Use marshmallows or cotton balls for the inside, and use a black permanent marker, stickers, googly eyes or whatever you’d like to complete the outside. You can use black felt to make the hat and a small amount of ribbon to make the scarf. Add some string to the top, and it also makes a great ornament!

15. Food Jar or Mason Jar Snow Globes

Here’s the cheapest option — start saving jars leftover from jam, olives, or mayo (especially since so much cooking is going on). After properly cleaning a jar, buy some glitter, figurines (try the Dollar Tree), and other bits and bobs to fill your jar with. Now, you can go at this two different ways: Martha Stewart suggests how to make your snow globe with water, while the Salt Tree offers a waterless alternative. Take a look at each and decide which you like more (and/or which is easier to make with the kids).

Buttons

I’ve told you about lots of ways to use buttons in the past, but there are plenty of other options.

16. Christmas Tree

Use thick paper (or canvas if you have it), glue, and all the green buttons you can summon to make this Christmas tree. Perfect decoration for the wall!

17. Snowflake

This snowflake ornament (or wall decoration) requires a wire coat hanger, a glue gun, and white buttons. There is no need to try and wire the buttons through the coat hanger, just glue them on and go. Of course, be careful that nothing is burned or poked out.

18. Ornaments

Martha Stewart serves up a number of different types of ornaments made out of pipe cleaners and buttons.

Candy

Your kids will hop right on these crafts (if you can keep them from eating as they go).

19. Chocolate Dreidels

With chocolate kisses, chocolate sprinkles, marshmallows, and pretzel sticks, you can make chocolate dreidels. They won’t quite work to play with, but they’ll be delicious.

20. Gumdrop Pops

Using assorted gumdrops and a rounded-off toothpick (only if these are going to be used as decoration and not made by small children — otherwise use a candy stick as suggested), you can make any sort of Christmas creation. If you’re not planning on consuming them, Martha suggests to put them in a jar of sugar for table decoration.

21. Mint Wreaths

Better Homes and Gardens provides some fun ideas to do with candy canes, including these mint wreaths, which require a hot glue gun.

22. Snack Cake Penguins

These snack cake penguins are adorable and delicious at all once. OK, the base of this particular craft isn’t candy, it’s Swiss cake rolls, but the other ingredients are candy.

Gingerbread

The (delicious) holiday staple.

23. Men

My mother, a third grade teacher, has been baking gingerbread men every year since I can remember for her class. They’re not the edible kind, but the kind that gets really, really hard so you can decorate them with some paint and hang them on the tree every year until someone (me) accidentally breaks them. You can also go for a more edible recipe and make cute reindeer.

24. Houses

The houses require more frosting, gumdrops, and graham crackers, and surprisingly — less gingerbread. Unless, of course, you want to go all out. The internet provides some good gingerbread house recipes, including one for a Hanukkah gingerbread house. Get some supplies and see what happens. If anything, it’ll be delicious.

Ball Ornaments

The most common ornament can also be the most fun to decorate. They’re also everywhere, so finding the blank ornaments doesn’t require a special trip (although I’d advise to get these and most other supplies at the Dollar Tree). Here are some ideas to spruce them up just a little.

25. Reindeer Thumbprint

This reindeer thumbprint ornament is easy: take some brown paint, put it on your thumb, stamp it on the bulb, let it dry, and decorate. No muss, no fuss (as long as you quickly and properly clean that initial paint off your children’s fingers).

26. Snowman

Fill a clear ball ornament with fake snow, screw on the top, and decorate. To try and keep it shatter proof, make sure you have the kids put it right back in the same carton.

27. Ornament Ball Tree

Big surprise, I really like this tiny tree craft. Use a Styrofoam cone from a craft store, hot glue, and ornaments to decorate. While the first part of this craft might not be totally for the kids, you could always have them decorate the tree with paint afterward.

Pinecones and Acorns

Here are some fun ideas for the pinecones and acorns you might have in your backyard.

28. Pinecone Snowmen

These pinecone snowmen combines a previously-mentioned craft supply (pipe cleaners), popsicle sticks, a pom pom, googly eyes, and, well, pine cones. Grab some tacky glue or a glue gun and slap the whole thing together.

29. Pinecone Trees

My friends and I recently set forth on the mission to make a pinecone tree we saw on Pinterest. What we weren’t prepared for was that it takes a LOT of pinecones to properly cover the trees. However, with a little patience and a ton of hot glue, you really can pull it off. With supervision, this can be a good way for kids to learn how to fit pieces together better than Lego castles ever taught them.

30. Acorn Dreidels

To make acorn dreidels, use acorn shells, modeling clay (any color), and matches. Roll the modeling clay into a ball, put it in the acorn shell and put a match in (tip down) and spin away.

What is your favorite holiday craft to do with the kids?

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