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Easy Holiday Crafts Kids (and Grown-ups) Will Love

by E'Louise Ondash

(FeatureSource) “When it comes to arts and crafts projects for kids, keep it simple!” says Trish Kuffner, author of “The Arts and Crafts Busy Book: 365 Art and Craft Activities to Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy” (Meadowbrook Press, $9.95; www.meadowbrookpress.com).

During the holidays, families with kids don’t have a lot of time to do elaborate projects. “I favor simple activities like painting or modeling with play dough over those requiring several supplies to make elaborate objects,” explains the mother of five. “To me, if an arts and crafts book has glossy photos or diagrams and detailed instructions, the projects are way too complicated to do with kids.”

The holidays, of course, provide a perfect excuse and opportunity to have some fun with your preschoolers at the craft table. Here are a few simple ideas that your kids can try this holiday season:

Spice Turkey

White glue
Shallow container
Construction paper, small paper plate or small aluminum pie pan
Pumpkin pie spice, allspice, ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
Black and red markers

Pour the glue into the container. Dip your child’s hand into the glue and press it, fingers spread, onto the paper, plate or pie pan to make a handprint turkey. Have the child sprinkle the spiced onto the turkey. When the glue is dry, use the black marker to draw an eye and beak on the thumb, and turkey feet at the bottom of the print. Use the red marker to draw a wattle around the beak.

Gingerbread Critters

1 cup shortening
¾ cup honey
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
5 cups flour
Animal-shaped cookie cutters
Raisins, nuts, licorice and small candies for decorating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix shortening, honey, egg and molasses in a small bowl. Sift the flour together into a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate the dough until it is chilled. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is ¼ inch thick. Cut out shapes using animal-shaped cookie cutters and place shapes on an ungreased baking sheet.

Let the children decorate each shape with the raisins, nuts and candies. Bake the gingerbread critters for 10 minutes and let them cool before eating. (You also can bake the gingerbread critters ahead of time and let the children decorate with frosting and candies.)

Ice Crystal Picture

¼ cup water
½ cup Epsom salts, table salt or rock salt
Small bowl
Black, purple or blue construction paper
Paint brush
Clear contact paper (optional)
White chalk or tempera paint (optional)

Mix water and salt in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve as much of the salt as possible. Have you child use the crayons to draw a nighttime forest scene on the paper. Brush the drawing with the salt solution. Stir the solution each time you dip the brush in to keep the brush saturated and to keep the solution well mixed. Let the painting dry completely. The salt will give a snowy, crystalline effect. To prevent the salt from brushing off, cover with clear contact paper when dry. For winter scenes, draw with white chalk or paint on the dark blue or black construction paper.

Both kids and parents will love these easy-to-do projects and the cute holiday decorations that they produce. 

See Also:

Give The Gift Of Good Health
Instead of giving the same old gifts this holiday season, give the ones you love something that will truly benefit them. Help them get more healthy through gifts of fitness.

A Thanksgiving Idea for Singles
Thanksgiving can be a lonely time for single adults. Here is a great way to create a sense of family with other singles, when you can’t go home to be with your own family.

A Magical Holiday Season
Has the anxiety over your holiday plans started yet? Have you got a knot in your stomach at the thought of your mother-in-law’s cooking? Do you feel the pain in your pocket at the thought of all of the money you’ll be spending?

How to Really Enjoy Christmas
I thought I'd share ten ways to make the most of this wonderful season, not because I'm any sort of expert, but because I love it. 

More Inspirational Articles

Check out “The Arts and Crafts Busy Book” (Meadowbrook Press, $9.95; www.meadowbrookpress.com) for the 362 more activities like these. 

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