By Alexandra Whiting
I am a self-confessed craft nut, so having a kid that's old enough to get involved is a really good time for me. When he's not very interested, or doesn't do things how they are meant to, the Virgo in me is less pleased, but for the most part, it's an activity we both enjoy. Christmas is my favourite toddler craft time, because it's craft with a purpose. Occupied kid + ticking off Christmas cards = happy (Virgo) parent. This is why even the less craft-inclined, get bitten by the DIY-bug come December. Ahead, activities to get your kiddo involved in this Christmas.
Drawing wrapping paper
Each January when the stats come out about how we've used enough wrapping paper to wrap around the world several times, I feel a bit sick. Kids are going to draw, or paint, or stick stickers, and it can’t all go one the fridge, so with a bit of strategic planning, drawing time can also be when your kid creates unique and super special wrapping paper. If you already have a big A2 art pad or a roll of butchers or craft paper, that’s perfect, and as much as you can, you want to use what you have. One friend told me they wrap presents in the kid’s pictures from daycare that year. Most child care centres hand over all your kid’s creations at the end of term, just in time for holidays. Genius.
Keepsake Christmas cards
DIY cards are easy and lovely. Older kids might want to paint their own pictures, but for younger kids, hand prints are fun, sentimental and an instant keepsake for the grandparents. You might not be able to control the end result if you’re dealing with rambunctious toddlers, but you can control the materials. If you’re wanting traditional colours, just get out the green and red paint.
Bespoke tree decor
As a kid, I was always making things to put on the Christmas tree, much to the lament of my mother. My toilet-roll santas had to sit at the back of the tree, but again, it’s all about the materials. For DIY ornaments, sparkly pipe cleaners are an easy win. They already look like Christmas decorations, and your little one can practice their fine motor skills twisting them into stars or gingerbread men (with your help ofcourse). If you’re feeling more adventurous, AirDry Clay is great for making ornaments, it’s a lot like playdough and comes out ready to mould. You can cut shapes with cookie-cutters, make a disc and get the kids to emboss their handprint or make creatures of your own design. Once made, leave them to dry, and then they can be painted.
For some, Christmas cooking is a tradition that really makes things feel festive. When my home smells like cloves and orange peel, I know it’s time to put on Mariah Carey. Baking is one of the first home activities kids can get involved in (it’s not cleaning the toilet, but it’s something), get them to help you plan what you’re going to make, and then take them to the shops to buy the ingredients. Making cookies or gingerbread men is always fun, and relatively fool-proof, particularly when it comes to the decorating. If you want to skip the baking and straight to the decorating, pick up a gingerbread house!