My uber-crafty mom and I were recently asked to run one of six Christmas ornament craft stations for six groups of kids ranging in age from three to sixteen. Rather than coming up with several crafts for different age groups, we decided to keep our activity ideas simple enough for little ones yet make them challenging enough for older kids. We also – selfishly – made a pact to stay clear of anything that involved paint while at the same time making use of easily accessible materials.
We decided on the following supplies:
The beads came from a huge stash that we've been collecting over the years. The pipe cleaners and drinking straws can be purchased at any craft or dollar store and the construction paper and hole punch were easy (not really) to find in the bottom drawer of my desk. We also dug out a pair of scissors sharp enough to cut the pipe cleaners and some sparkly ribbon.
Now, if you've never placed a bucket full of beads in front of a kid (assuming of course that kid is old enough not to put the beads in her mouth), you need to try it - soon - because something magical will happen when you do. And I'm not just talking about the fact that while your kids are happily digging around in that bucket, you will have enough time to sit down and drink a cup of tea from start to finish.
Kids LOVE beads which makes them perfect for making the following super-easy, super-fun, super-cute holiday crafts.
This is a prime example of what happens when you leave kids alone with art supplies. To make these ornaments, all you need to do is string some beads (and cut pieces of a drinking straw) onto a pipe cleaner, twist the ends into a hook and boom, you're done. Honestly, my daughter sat for hours making these.
If you want to get fancy, form the circular shapes into hearts, add some ribbon and voila, you've got heart-shaped decorations.
To make this cool ornament, string a combination of beads, cut pieces of a drinking straw and bits of construction paper (punched with a hole punch) onto a pipe cleaner. Make a loop at the top to hang it on the tree.
To make a star ornament, you will need:
Start by twisting two pipe cleaners together to make one long piece.
Next, string ten beads and ten straw pieces onto the pipe cleaners - alternating between the two - making sure to leave room at either end. You should end up with a bead at one end, and a straw at the other.
Go to the end with the bead and cut away all but a one-inch section of pipe cleaner.
Now fold that bit of pipe cleaner into the bead. This will create a little loop.
Push the other end of the pipe cleaner through the loop you made.
Snip away all but a little bit.
Fold the end and push it into the straw, thus creating a circle.
Squish and fold the circle, keeping the straws straight and the beads at the ends.
Let go and marvel at what you just made!
Add some ribbon and that baby is ready for the Christmas tree.
The Fine Print: If you are looking for big wooden beads like the ones in these photos, keep an eye out for car seat massage covers. Just one will give you hundreds of beads, just right for crafting. Also note that beads are a choking hazard, so if you're working with little ones, make sure you provide lots of adult supervision to prevent any accidental ingestion.
Check out Andrea's YummyMummyClub blog The Art of Childhood for more great Kid-Craft ideas.