Many families begin decorating for the holidays shortly after Thanksgiving, so you may be in the midst of hanging garland, putting up a Christmas tree or menorah and stapling lights around the outside of your house. When my kids were little, they always wanted to help decorate, but many of the decorations were too high or too breakable for them to be able to do so safely.
The answer here is to let them help you make decorations. Now, when you have children helping to make holiday items, your home is not going to look like the ones featured in Better Homes & Gardens, but you’ll have plenty of time for that once they’ve outgrown the desire to help you. In the meantime, here are some ideas for homemade decorations that the kids can help you make.
- Anything with glitter. Glitter is shiny, sparkly, seasonal, and the kids love it! Little ones can enjoy smearing glue on paper ornaments or clay creations and then sprinkling with glitter. Of course, you’ll want to try to minimize the mess by putting down newspaper or letting them do their glitter on the deck or porch if it’s not too cold out.
- Snowflakes. Cut a circle out of white paper, and fold into quarters or, for a more realistic shape, sixths. Show your child how to make small cuts into the folded edges, leaving some paper so that the whole thing doesn’t fall apart. Tape to the windows or mirrors, or hang from thread from the light over your dining table.
- Cinnamon apple ornaments. Mix a cup of ground cinnamon with about 1/4 cup applesauce. You might need to vary the amounts; you want it to be a stiff dough. Roll out the mixture with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Use seasonal cookie cutters to form shapes with the dough, and don’t forget to make a hole at the top of each shape for a ribbon to be tied through. Allow to dry for a few days. One great thing about these ornaments is that they will make your house smell great!
- Paper chains. You remember these from when you were in elementary school, right? Have them make chains alternating red-white-green or blue-white or whatever color scheme you like for your chosen holiday. Hang these over doorframes or in the windows.
- Suncatchers. Use a cheese grater or vegetable peeler to make crayon shavings with old crayons. Spread out a piece of wax paper and let the kids sprinkle it with the wax in whatever colors they want. Top with another sheet of wax paper, then with a dishtowel. Iron the towel until the wax is melted, then cut out seasonal shapes. Hang them in the window and let the sun shine through!
Spending some time on these activities with your children will fill them with fun memories of the holiday season, and of being included in the preparations.
What are some of your favorite holiday decorations to make with the kids?