Making personalized crafts with kids is a great way to encourage creativity and bring unique holiday decorations to your home. Craft expert Nancy Harris of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is a certified pre-school teacher and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Educational Coordinator. Here she has shared some of her favorite holiday projects.
Educational Coordinator Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
4387 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, FL 34606
Creating With Clay
Nancy recommends non-toxic, fast-drying, soft-modeling agents like clay to open up a world of possibilities for small and large hands to mold things like animals for a manger or a Thanksgiving table centerpiece, or ornaments for a Christmas tree. Freestyle always works but if you like structure, try some cookie molds for more intricate shapes. Tiny hands can shape details like eyes and smiles to bring the objects to life. Since most of these clays dry in 24 hours, young artists won’t have to wait long to show off their creations.
Here’s a use for all of those holiday magazines and catalogues you’re starting to get. Grab them and pile them up in front of the kids. Arm them with kid-friendly scissors and glue, a couple of scrapbooking pages and an artist’s canvas. Then sit back and let their imaginations take them where they want to go. The beauty of a collage is it can be anything that strikes the fancy of its creator. When all is said and done, you will have a holiday work of art that only you and your child could have come up with.
You don’t have to be a baker to make extra special holiday cupcakes. Grab a box or two from the supermarket, and while you’re there, pick up some sprinkles and ready-made frosting and colorful icing tubes. Soon you and your kids will have trays of holiday treats and no pans in the sink, which means less work for mom and more fun for everyone.
As the name implies, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate what we are grateful for. A Thanksgiving calendar is just the thing to help your kids see the good things in their lives. Get a piece of foam core or a cork board and a week’s worth of mini craft envelopes (regular envelopes will do). Each day of the holiday week, have every family member write a note explaining something they are thankful for and place them in the envelope. At Thanksgiving dinner, open them up and have everyone read theirs aloud. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate the true meaning of the day.
Here’s a super easy one. All you’ll need are some medium-sized, smooth rocks, colored tempera paint, pasta letters and glue. You can send the kids out to the backyard to gather enough stones for everyone who will be at your table or you can pick up a small bag at a garden center. Have the kids color the rocks, spell out the names of the diners with the pasta letters and then glue them to the rocks. You’ll have personalized place cards that were fun to make and are guaranteed to delight everyone at the table.
Maryann Tobin is an award-winning writer based in Tampa, Florida. She has appeared on the History Channel’s ‘DECODED’ series, and her investigative reporting on animal welfare issues led to a WTSP 10 News Investigators report. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.