Crafts are always a ton of fun in my house, but it can be hard to find something that suits both my five-year-old and my one-year-0ld. Their skills, interests and abilities to follow direction are all different. If I try to compromise too much, and give each of my sons a different project to work on, chaos ensues.
I’ve found that if I pick a theme and modify the materials to match each of my boys’ capabilities, things run much more smoothly. My favorite craft theme is the garland. It’s a Christmas decoration for kids of all ages, because there are so many different ways you can make a garland.
Before you start gathering materials, consider safety. Is your child old enough to use scissors? Will he put beads, noodles or other small objects in his mouth? Is he likely to poke himself if he uses a needle? Asking yourself these questions will guide you towards what kind of garland you should work on.
Ideas for Materials to Make a Christmas Decoration for Kids
- Natural materials– pinecones, dried flowers, cuts of pine, nuts, cranberries, dried fruit
- Other edibles– noodles, marshmallows, popcorn
- Odds and ends– puff balls, beads, buttons, ribbon, cut straws, small toys, construction paper, wrapping paper, silk flowers, artificial holly, pointsettias or mistletoe (the real ones are poisonous)
If you’re using materials that are edible, you might want to work on your garland shortly after your tykes have had a good meal. Of course, this won’t completely fight the urge to nibble, but it will make a significant difference. If your little lass is too young and is at a higher risk of choking, forego edibles altogether. Kids are sneaky and will slip things into their mouths without you even knowing it.
Also, if you’d like to use natural materials like pinecones, consider picking them up at a store rather than in your yard. The pinecones you find in your yard are perfectly fine for crafts, but certain kinds are somewhat flimsy and cleaning them up can be a chore. By the time you’re done, you have an unattractive brown skeleton where your pinecone used to be.
Types of Garlands
Paper chain– For really young children, the most basic garland you can make is a paper chain. You or and older child can cut the strips out of construction paper or heavy wrapping paper and you can help your little one link and paste them together.
Stringing without needles– If your son isn’t old enough to safely use a needle, he can still make a stringed garland. He just has to use materials that have holes already bored in them. The most convenient items to use are buttons, beads and noodles. You can dress up one of these garlands by adding an occasional bow. If you check out your local craft store, you can find all kinds of cool, user friendly beads, charms and materials to really jazz it up.
Stringing with needles– If you’re children are older and can use a needle to string “solid” objects like popcorn and dried fruit, really have limitless options. I do recommend piercing and stringing harder objects like cranberries yourself. They could really hurt themselves if they’re applying too much pressure to the needle and slip.
The most important thing to remember when you’re working on your garland is to keep the material you use age appropriate and have fun. There are many beautiful ways to make a great Christmas decoration for kids if you match the project to the child.
Jessi Arias-Cooper is the senior writer and an editor for Advice4Parenting.com. She is a work-from-home mother of 3 boys and has been married for 10 years. If she had time for hobbies and interests outside of parenting and keeping house, they would be jewelry making, baking, watching bad B-movie horror flicks and creative writing . If you have a question for Jessi, click here.
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