Getting Crafty: Christmas "Construction" With Your Kids

We are in the final stretch, and Christmas is only a little over a week away!  School is winding down this week in Polk County, and we know you'll have some antsy and excited kids on your hands at the beginning of next week.  After all, Christmas is RIGHT there and the gifts under the tree will have them a little distracted. 

If the thought of having your little (or big) ones underfoot until the big day, here are some fun and simple projects you can pull out that just might take their attention away from the gifts and holiday goodies...at least for a little while. 

"Scaled Down" Gingerbread Houses

Making a gingerbread house with your family has long been a Christmas tradition.  However, who actually has time to bake all that gingerbread and deal with the risk of the whole thing falling apart?  These gingerbread houses give the same fun results, but in an individual size. Best part?  No baking involved for you at all! Simply use graham cracker squares as the sides and roof of your house, and then let your kids go to town decorating with as much frosting and candy as their heart desires.  They are a fun treat, or a great display piece to show off to friends and neighbors who stop by during the week of Christmas. 

Pro tip: If your "gingerbread" houses are going to be used as display only, and not eaten, use hot glue to fasted the sides together and to put on the roof.  It holds better than frosting and is so much easier.  You'll want to help your kids with this part to avoid burns. 

Artistic Flair

A great way to keep your kids busy is to put a paintbrush in their hand and a blank canvas in front of them.  Kids of all ages enjoy painting, and they can express themselves through colors, shapes, and designs.  If you want to keep in the holiday spirit, limit the color palette to greens, reds, golds, whites, and silvers.  Let them work and you just might be surprised at the masterpieces you're left with! 

Homemade Gift Giving

Turn your holiday crafting time with your kids into a great gift-making extravaganza.  Have your kids make ornaments for different family members.  For a super simple idea, simply print out shrunken photos of your kids or family and insert them into clear plastic ball ornaments from your local craft store.  They are cheap, and can be made as festive as you'd like by adding ribbon, glitter, paint, etc.  Another great idea are personalized plates or mugs.  Designs made on oven-safe plates and mugs with permanent markers will become "washer safe" once baked. They are a great gift idea for grandparents! 

We hope this has sparked your imagination with some ways to entertain your kids this holiday season.  Make the wait for Christmas Day fun, and make some memories while you're at it! After all, spending time with the ones you hold dear is what makes the holiday season special.