If you are looking for easy crafts for kids, whatever their ages to keep them busy (potentially all the way up to Christmas!) look no further! A wonderful bonding activity that will also make great presents for friends and family ! All these crafts for kids are also low waste and eco-friendly – enjoy ☺
This year, we got our first Christmas tree – we felt we finally had enough space to squeeze a tree in. We bought a fake one because we won’t be able to pot a real one afterwards and it won’t survive on our city balcony. We’ll miss out on the smell but thought it wasn’t worth the waste. Since we’ve never had a tree before, it’s the perfect excuse to make as many decorations for it as possible. We decided to embark on a decorations project, making lots of them for friends and family too.
Here are three different crafts for kids (and adults) that you can do to make gorgeous Christmas decorations with your little helpers!
Dried oranges – A classic craft activity that always lives!
What you’ll need:
5 oranges, cloves, red ribbon, rope, scissors, knife and chopping board, oven
On a chopping board, slice the oranges as thinly as possible (3 mm thick slices are ideal). Let your children help you place the slices on an oven mat and then bake at 200C for one hour (or more depending on thickness). Make sure to turn them halfway through.
When the oranges are dry, set them to cool. Then you and the little ones can decorate them with cloves. You can add cloves to the skin area or to the centre.
With scissors, make a small hole at the top of each orange pulp. Now, you can make orange garlands adding many orange slices to a red ribbon, or single orange hangers. You can use rope for a more natural and neutral look. I have an orange circle hanging on all my doorhandles! Dry oranges and cloves smell amazing and they will add a Christmassy atmosphere to the whole house! I also love arranging orange garlands around our Christmas tree. Top on our Crafts for kids list!
Natural play-dough crafts
This craft activity for kids is a bit longer. Duration will vary depending on whether you decide to colour the ornaments, if you make incisions on them and how long you cook them for. I will explain a few variants as we go along and recommend you mix and match to make as many types of decorations as you like!
What you will need:
4 cups of flour, 1 cup of fine salt, 1.5 cup of warm water, cookie cutters, rolling pin, oven mats, oven, protective coat spray
Mix flour, salt and water in a bowl and then use your hands to knead the dough – children will very happily help you! If you like the decorations to be of a specific colour base rather than white, you can add a few drops of food colouring in the dough. You can also make different coloured doughs for a multicoloured Christmas tree!
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough on a table/kitchen top. The ideal thickness is about 4/5mm and certainly not more than 1cm. Grab as many cookie cutters as you like, cut the shapes and remove the excess dough.
With a straw, cut a circle close to the top of your Christmas decorations – this is where you will later insert a ribbon and hang your decoration. Now you can decorate the shapes using a fork to poke tiny holes on their surfaces, or using any other utensil you can think of. Straws are also a great tool to make larger circles. We usually decorate half of the shapes and leave the other half smooth, as those will also look cute ☺ If you like, you can add cloves to the shapes, perhaps creating snowman’s eyes, or gingerbread men’s buttons!
Place your decorations on baking mats – you can help yourself with a spatula – and place them in the oven at 150C for one hour. You can leave them for longer if you want them to get browner (cookie colour, although you have to remind your little ones that they are not edible!).
Once cooled, decide if you like your decorations as they are or if you want to paint them. If you are leaving them as they are, add ribbons to their holes and they’re ready!
If you’ve decided to paint some, select the ones to colour. We usually pick out the ones that already look perfect and set them aside as they do not need colouring. If you have some that look less symmetrical, I recommend colouring them. You can use any kind of paint – we used acrylic. Put the decorations on newspapers so that paint doesn’t spread on your table or all over your house! I love making fading shades, as they look particularly cute on star or circle shapes. If your kids love glitter, this is the time to add that on wet paint too. Let dry overnight and then spray with protective coat spray (do it outdoors or with your windows open as it has a strong smell and is not good to breathe in) and let dry.
Now your decorations are ready and you can add ribbons to their holes and hang them to your tree. I love choosing different kinds of ribbons – reusing old ones and mixing and matching. If you like, you can use a sharpie to write the year at the back, it’s lovely for family and friends to bring out your gifted decorations the following years and remember the age of your children when they made them! My parents still have decorations made more than 20 years ago when I was a child! Now thats awesome crafts for kids don’t you think?
For non-edible (sigh!) amazing smelling Christmas decorations, here’s your perfect crafts for kids activity! No need to colour them once dried as their brown shade is absolutely lovely. Only downfall is you’ll have to check the little ones don’t try to eat them as these are very close to cookies in looks!
What you will need:
1 cup of applesauce (not sweetened), 1.5 cup of cinnamon, 2 tbs craft glue, 0.5/1 cup of flour
Mix apple sauce, cinnamon and glue in a bowl to form a ball. Add flour until the dough is compact and is easy to knead.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough on a table/kitchen top. The ideal thickness is about 4/5mm and certainly not more than 1cm. Grab as many cookie cutters as you like, cut the shapes and remove the excess dough. Be patient, and remould the excess dough into a ball and repeat the process until you have used up all your dough.
With a straw, cut a circle close to the top of your Christmas decorations – this is where you will later insert a ribbon and hang your decoration. Now you can decorate the shapes using a fork poking tiny holes on their surfaces, or using any other utensil you can think of. Straws are also a great tool to make larger circles. We usually decorate half of the shapes and leave the other half smooth, as those will also look cute ☺ If you like, you can add cloves to the shapes, perhaps creating snowman’s eyes, or gingerbread biscuits’ buttons!
Bake at 100C for 2 hours – make sure you stay home because the kitchen will be smelling amazing then!
Let cool and add ribbons as before.
NB: you can sprinkle some flour on the decorations before baking them to make them look like snow kissed. Even once dried, flour will spread around a bit if you touch the ornament a lot, but otherwise, hang them on your tree and they will look like snowed under cookies!
Now that your crafts for kids are ready, we want to see your creations! Tag us in your pictures and use the #CocoRioCrafts hashtag ! You might get lucky and win an hour of free creative childcare (social accounts linked below).