Having the children at home for the holidays has lots of pluses and one big minus. My joy at having almost 3 weeks without doing the school run quickly wears out when I hear the children whining about being bored. To be fair, many vacations I do offload them at my parents which is ready-made entertainment. But what to do with those cold December days when they are at home and need amusement?
Here are two of my old standbys for Christmas crafts. They fit my 3 criteria for home crafting: i) easy to do, ii) create a minimum of mess and iii) minimal equipment needed.
Hama Bead ornaments
I adapted the Hama Bead ornaments from this craft post by Red Ted Art. In the United States, they are called Perler beads. Basically, both are little beads you stick on peg boards and iron so they melt together. My kids can spend hours with these beads.
By the way, you should iron both sides of the beads to make the ornament sturdier. The string can be threaded through one of the holes prior to ironing the other side because most of the holes will close up post-ironing.
If you have a round peg board for the beads, making traditionally-shaped ornaments is definitely easier. We didn’t and so we just made slightly lopsided circular ornaments of our own!
The children got quite creative making up their own designs. My favourite is the chimney with Santa’s bottom and boots sticking out of it.
Salt Dough ornaments
This recipe for salt dough is the best because it doesn’t involve messing around with conventional ovens for the dough to dry out. A couple of minutes in a microwave oven is all you need.
So, first create Christmas (or otherwise) shapes with cookie cutters. Put a hole in the dough with a toothpick to string the ornament before you nuke in the microwave. Use acrylic paints to decorate. I used glitter paints to avoid using actual glitter.
Some of the ornaments we put in vases and plates to decorate the house.
We have saved ours from year to year. If you varnish them after the paint dries, they will last longer.
I’ve never been much of a home-spun crafty Christmas sort of person. The children, however, like having their own ornaments on the tree because it makes them feel connected to the festivities. No doubt I have just started a family tradition. What sort of Christmas traditions does your family enjoy?