Making the Most out of Holiday Crafts 

Two children making holiday crafts with an adult smiling

Why are winter and holiday crafts important? 

There is nothing more special than the holidays. It’s cold outside, children are jumping with joy and excitement, and it’s the perfect time to create special memories with friends and family. The countdown of how many sleeps until Christmas, making snow forts and snow angels, and of course, all the presents. The holidays are the perfect time for gift giving – and gift making too. It’s a perfect time for kids to get crafty, and since they aren’t usually big holiday shoppers, crafting with homemade gifts is a fun way to get them involved in the gift-giving spirit.  

It’s a perfect time for kids to get crafty, and since they aren’t usually big holiday shoppers, crafting with homemade gifts is a fun way to get them involved in the gift-giving spirit.  

Play and creativity go hand in hand, and it’s important for children to spend some time playing creatively both inside and outdoors as part of their daily routine. However, as we all know sometimes playing outside in Canada’s harsh winters isn’t always the best option, which makes staying inside to create crafts a much more appealing activity during the frigid dark months. Crafting is a super enjoyable way for children (and adults) of all ages to be creative and have fun and celebrate the upcoming holidays!  

A child hands cutting stars for winter crafts

How is making crafts beneficial to learning?  

Crafting goes beyond being a playful activity and has many fundamental aspects of early development. Crafting requires hand eye coordination, practice, and patience, all of which are important parts of gaining more control over their abilities and strengths. Crafting helps build resilience, since their work may not come out perfectly the first time, teaching them they must continue to try, try and try again! For little ones, crafting can even help children identify shapes and colours. Crafting also benefits literacy, as children are learning to identify words with the shapes, materials, colours and objects they are using. Asking questions like, “Why did you choose that colour?” and “Tell me about what you made.” helps them learn new vocabulary and have a deeper understanding for verbal instructions and listening skills. 

Crafting helps build resilience, since their work may not come out perfectly the first time, teaching them they must continue to try, try and try again! 

Crafts are an enjoyable way to use learning through play, as it helps improve fine motor skills and encourages children to continue to improve in daily tasks and helps them learn to follow instructions. Fine motor skills are great for development as they use those small muscles in their hands for everything. Their bilateral coordination skills improve as they learn to use both hands at the same time in a repetitive way. It doesn’t really feel like hard work, and it allows imaginative and creative thoughts to be showcased and explored. Additionally, it boosts pattern and counting recognition! 

Child cutting a DIY Christmas tree craft

What are some must have crafting materials?  

  • Construction paper. Multicoloured construction paper is stellar for crafting, as it has so many versatile uses. It can be used simply for the background behind a painting or drawing or used to make cut out shapes to glue onto another piece of paper. There is nothing construction paper can’t be used for! 
  • Glitter. While you do have to be mindful of the mess, it can be lots of incredible fun. Glitter can be used in any drawing or painting and used as the finishing touch to any crafty art project!  
  • Glue sticks. These can be used for almost anything when it comes to crafting! Just be mindful that younger kids may need to be monitored while using them.  
  • Pipe cleaners. These can be used to bend and twist to create any shape, animal, or creature imaginable! 
  • White craft fluffs. Perfect for snow themed crafts!  
  • Bead treasure box. It’s no secret kids love beading with crafts, and this is perfect as it comes with a variety of colours and beading thread! 
  • Rainbow paper bags. Perfect for children taking home their favourite crafts and creations!  
  • Felt paper. Felt sheets are easy to cut, glue and sew. Perfect for your felt art projects, this quality and versatile felt is a great craft item to have on hand!   
  • Classic Craft Activities Box. An assortment of wiggle eyes, chenille stems, pom poms, craft hair, fluffs, glitter glue pens, craft sticks, sequins and spangle. What else could you need? 
A wide variety of colourful craft supplies

What are some fun DIY Crafts to do?  

  • Paper snowflakes. Paper snowflakes are a classic when it comes to winter crafts, and they can be used to decorate and brighten up any room! Help the children learn to hold the paper and assist them with carefully making incisions in the folded paper to form the perfect snowflake. Remember, each snowflake is unique which makes this craft even better! Working with toddlers or children who are too young to be using scissors? Don’t stress! Pre-cutting the paper snowflakes and allowing them to colour and draw on them is just as effective. 
  • Gift tags. Cutting out shapes of coloured construction paper using a cookie cutter and gluing a matching piece of felt on it creates a simple, easy and adorable gift tag that can be given to children’s relatives or friends. This is also a great way for children to practice writing their names on paper and using markers! 
  • Melt free Snowmen. Using white felt, cut out snowman shapes for children to decorate. Small paper cut outs in the shape of mittens, top hats, or any other cute snowman accessory can be glued on! String them all together on some twine to make all the little snowmen come together! 
  • Painting a holiday scene. Using paper and paint, help children paint winter scenes with objects like snowmen or snowfall. This can be done with all types of objects as well such as sponges and different styles of paint brushes to help create texture. Simple, quick, easy and allows kids to help create something creative, completely unique and outside of the box! 
  • Use a free printable colouring page. Colouring pages are timeless, and super quick and easy! For a fool proof and go-to craft that you just can’t go wrong with, printable colouring pages are your answer. Colouring is a wonderful crafty way to take it easy and relax. Bonus: there are so many to choose from online, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect holiday page for your kids to colour!  
  • Decorate the room. Hanging the homemade decorations around your space can help it feel more cheerful and including children in the process can amplify the fun! Allow children to help you design the space with holiday cheer by assisting them with placing fun holiday objects all around the room. 
Three children playing with colourful construction paper for crafting

What are some other fun holiday activities I can do with kids?  

  • Writing a letter to Santa. Christmas time and the holidays are an extremely exciting time for children, and the anticipation is just as important as the actual event itself. Print off a free Santa letter template and allow children to fill them out and mail them! For younger children, help them draw or cut our pictures from magazines of what they want for Christmas. This helps children improve on their literacy skills and it’s a fun way to get them even more excited about the upcoming holiday! 
  • Make hot chocolate. Use packages of hot chocolate or premade and reheat and give cups of this to the kids. Allow them to pick out things they want to add to their drink, such as mini marshmallows, sprinkles, or little candy canes to allow children to customize their drink!  
  • Holiday themed sensory play. Using a sensory table, allow children to play with many different winter textures – things such as bubbles and ice. Allowing toddlers to play with these mediums is a great addition to regular sensory play and will be sure to put a smile on their face! 
  • Singing a holiday song. Children love singing and dancing – and what better way to help get them in the spirit than a memorable tune? Play some of your favourite holiday classics and encourage children to sing and dance along. Music is a great device for memory and comprehension, and it adds lots of holiday spirit!  
  • Reading a holiday story or watching a holiday movie. There are lots of fun books that children will enjoy about the holidays, and it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and watch or read something joyful to help get into the holiday spirit! Grab some holiday drinks or snacks to go with it. Perfect for right before the holidays arrive!  
Little girl colouring with a pencil crayon

What are some tips for making quick and fun holiday crafts? 

  • Don’t make the crafts too long and complicated. If the crafts are difficult to follow or take a long period of time, children tend to lose interest and stop participating. Choose crafts that are appropriate for the age group you are working with. 
  • Don’t create limits. Colouring outside the lines and making crafts on the more abstract side is a wonderful for kids to show their creativity and experiment with new shapes, colours and textures! Don’t try to control the craft, just watch their little minds creative imagination take flight! When children are finished or have had enough with crafting, let them be done.  
  • Make sure appropriate attire is worn. Advise children and parents to wear comfortable clothes that are okay to get messy in, especially if painting is happening! 
  • Create a safe space for crafting. Ensure the space you are using to craft in is safe and can accommodate everyone. This designated space also provides less stress when it comes to clean up time, since you know that is the purpose of your space and it doesn’t interfere with other areas like play or eating spaces! It also helps children recognize that this is their safe crafting space, and it is okay to get a little messy! 
  • Participate with the group! Creating a craft along with the group shows you want to be just as involved and excited about it as they are. It helps encourage students to enjoy themselves!  
  • Compliment their work. Nothing feels better than hearing “Wow, what a great job!” after completing an art craft. This motivates children to continue to push themselves and want to continue participating in craft activities in the future and helps boost their self-esteem! 
  • Just have fun! Holiday crafting is about getting in the holiday spirit and creating fun art projects that all can enjoy. Don’t make it too serious and don’t allow children to get down on themselves if they are having a hard time! Remember, crafting is all about enjoying the moment so don’t take it too seriously and remember to have a good time! 
Two small children playing with Christmas Bells

How can I use holiday crafts to educate children about the world and help them learn? 

Holiday crafts are a wonderful way to help celebrate the end of the year and get children feeling happy, excited and help make sure everyone feels included. It’s important to remember that not every child celebrates the same holiday, and we should remember to acknowledge all backgrounds and celebrations.  Encourage kids to share the way their family celebrates the holidays and help teach them about all the different celebrations – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and more. This can help your space feel more inclusive, and it is great way to help children learn more about diversity and learn more about their friends.  

Another special way to help celebrate all different holiday celebrations is using a sharing circle to share memories and various customs and traditions they celebrate at home. Ask children what their favourite part of the holiday season is and share what makes them unique! Is there a special food they indulge in during the season? What about family members they get to see? What are their favourite outdoor holiday games or sports? Use this opportunity to learn more about the lives and cultures of the kids in your centre! 

Will quick and fun holiday crafts benefit your centre? 

Crafting helps children learn independence while working on projects, but crafting skills go much further and yield far beyond that. It is a special time of development for young children that help them build small skills that will be beneficial for a lifetime. Crafting is about patience, fun, thinking outside the box and creating fun art to share with family and friends! Holiday crafting is a special way to bring your group together, and help watch them grow, learn, relax, express themselves and enjoy a fun activity all at the same time. Crafting is a perfect example of how sometimes the simplest things create the best experiences and memories. It helps children learn skills and practice hand eye coordination without even feeling like work – just by painting, drawing, and having fun!  

Five young children holding Christmas presents

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