Holiday Crafts for Toddlers

With limited attention spans and less manual dexterity than older children, toddlers often quickly lose patience with crafts. Here are some simple and quick holiday craft ideas for small children. It’s a good idea to have craft supplies laid out and prepared before little ones sit down to work.

Cookie Cutter Stencils

Like using stencils or sponge painting, a cookie cutter can help your toddler create something he recognizes when he doesn’t know how to draw the object. It’s also a good starting point for the toddler who is reluctant to participate because he doesn’t want to get messy or doesn’t like the way tactile activities like finger painting feel.

Tips:

  • For a young toddler, put the paint and cutters inside a newspaper-lined pan. This will keep him from making too big a mess as he scoots the cutters around while loading them with paint.
  • Older toddlers with a bit more practice can just use a paper plate. Both clean up easy.
  • All ages should wear a smock or old T-shirt

If you don’t have cookie cutters to go with every season (and who does?) then use what you have around the house. You can easily cut shapes into a potato leaving behind a surface that will hold paint and leave a uniquely patterned print behind. To make this activity toddler friendly, you can stick a craft stick or a fork into the potato so it’s easy to handle. After you get the leaves printed, your toddler can dip his fingertip in red paint and add the berries. If you have large enough paper you can even make a wreath

Cotton Ball Snowman

Cut 2 large circles out of white paper, making one a bit larger than the other.  Dip cotton balls into glue and glue on the circles.  Have toddlers decorate the snowman with shapes from construction paper to make eyes, nose, mouth, a hat, mittens, scarf and boots.

Frost Scenes

Toddlers will enjoy making winter scenes on paper. Using a mixture of half Epsom salts and half water, use paint brushes to cover the paper with the salt mix.  As the salt mix dries, shiny crystals will appear on the papers making frosty scenes.

Decorating Cookies and Gingerbread Houses

Making cookies and decorating gingerbread men/houses are always a holiday favorite of young children and those young at heart.  If you are baking cookies or gingerbread yourself try having all ingredients set out and  measured before you include your toddler.

Store bought cookies and gingerbread houses are a fun family activity and children can participate as long as their interest level permits.  If you choose not to purchase a gingerbread house one can always be made with graham crackers or plain tea biscuits, icing and treats (see photo above).

Holiday Placemats

Your toddler will love to set the dinner table with these festive place mats. With each family      member’s picture adorning a mat, he will be able to easily identify to whom each mat belongs. Toddlers also love to have personalized items-these placemats sporting their picture will delight them all through the holiday season.
Materials:

Sheets of red, green, or white construction paper (one for each family member)
Coordinating construction paper
Small holiday stencils (optional)
Scissors
Glue stick

Individual pictures of child and family members

Directions:
To prepare for this craft, use stencils to trace small holiday shapes (trees, snowmen, snowflakes, stockings, etc.) on coordinating construction paper, or freehand draw the shapes. Cut out enough shapes to decorate all placemats.
Have toddler use glue stick on the holiday shapes and affix them as they like on placemats. When he finishes, attach the each picture to a different placemat and write the family member’s name below their picture.

For more durable placemats, take these to a printer to have them laminated.

The holiday season is everywhere you look starting as far back as October, so take this opportunity to teach your child about the things you see. Since this time also marks the early winter in most areas, taking a walk around the neighborhood or to a park will likely yield plenty to talk about. Walk around churches to inspect the nativity scenes. Take a walk in the snow and build a snowman (top him off with a Santa hat.) Take a drive to look at all the festive lights. Pick a different thing to talk about during each shopping trip, focusing on the things that interest your child or that are a part of your own family’s celebration. This is also a great time to reinforce colors since there is such an abundance of green, red, silver and gold.

Toddlers love to have creative outlets, and they love spending time with their parents. Start building warm holiday memories for your child by completing these simple holiday crafts with her this season.

Happy Holidays!

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