As the holidays approach, everyone is eager to make their contributions including the tiniest members of the family! Creating art projects that you can display as a part of your decorations or give away as gifts is a meaningful way to involve your child in the spirit of the season, but can also teach them that the holidays are not just about consumerism. Read on to discover a few simple art projects that will not only make your child swell with pride but will boost enrichment by engaging the 5 senses!
- Cinnamon Dough Ornaments — These classic and rustic looking ornaments can be whipped up with 3 ingredients and smell fantastic! They’re also a great way to build up motor skills, help with shape recognition, and strengthen basic math skills through numbers and measurement. Simply mix 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce with 1.5 cups of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of craft glue and mix it up with your hands until a sturdy ball of dough is formed. Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Don’t forget to add a hole on the top to string your ribbon! Allow to dry on a baking sheet for a few days or bake in the oven at 200℉ for 2 and a half hours. These ornaments look fantastic on the tree and would even make adorable, handmade gifts for grandparents!
- Cardboard Winter Village — These create a beautiful display on a windowsill or atop a credenza and also encourage recycling, resourcefulness, and creativity! Save a number of small boxes of different sizes as your family goes through groceries. You can go as big as cereal boxes to as small as match boxes. Variety is the key here. Wrap your box collection in wrapping and/or construction paper for a colorful village or in brown paper for a more rustic village. Have your child decorate each box with windows, shutters, doors, etc. Arrange your village and use tape on the bottom to help it stay put. Add cotton and fairy lights on the “ground” for an extra special effect!
- Orange Pomanders — Here’s a craft whose history dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, smells divine, and encourages motor skills and pattern recognition! Orange pomanders are about as simple as you can get in the area of ornamentation and still look wonderfully elegant stacked on a cake stand as a centerpiece, or piled into a basket and topped with a ribbon as a gift. All you have to do is take firm oranges and stud them with whole cloves in varying patterns! If your child isn’t quite strong enough to get the cloves in themselves, take a pen and pre-poke a pattern and have them fill it in. Be sure to supervise very young children closely, as the whole cloves can be a choking hazard.
- Edible Garlands — A long time tradition, popcorn garlands have adorned Christmas trees since the 1800s and have provided families with wholesome, holiday fun as they gathered together to create these charming decorations. Recreate this tradition by using floss or fishing line and a tapestry needle to string patterns of popcorn, (day old works best,) cranberries, mini marshmallows, and even dried orange and apple slices into garlands long enough to hang on the mantle or around the tree!
- Pinecone Mini Trees — Help your little one hunt for pinecones to create these cute, little Christmas trees any tabletop would be happy to display! Have your young artist paint the cones green, turn them point side up, and glue mini pompoms on as ornaments once the paint has dried. You can create a little pedestal out of clay or glue cork on the button so they can stand upright. Adorable!