December crafts for kids

A Quick and Easy December Story Time Activity: Reindeer Manipulatives
  • reindeer lunch bag puppet, reindeer handprint lunch bag puppet, lunch bag puppets, handprint art projects, Using cardstock, make a template from my master.
  • Children trace it onto a lunch bag and cut out a head and ears for their reindeer.
  • These can be pre-cut for younger students.
  •  Flip the lunch bag so that the bottom of the bag is showing.
  • Glue the head so that it is in the middle of the bottom of the bag.
  • Glue the ears at right angles in the top corner of each bag.
  • If the children would like to add inner ear accents with a brown crayon, have them do it before they glue them down, so the creases of the bag don’t show through.
  •  Fold a sheet of dark brown construction paper in ½.
  • Trace children’s hand on top.
  • A room helper can cut these out for younger children.
  •  I find that any student 5 or less has a difficult time with this and usually chops off a finger or two.
  • By folding the paper in half you only have to cut one time and you’ll have two “antler” handprints.
  • The antlers look best with the thumbs on the inside.
  • Point this “gluing fact” out to your students.
  • Children glue their hand-antlers to the center top of their reindeer.
  • Call students up to the glue-dot center and have them choose a color pom pom nose and a pair of eyes. (Red, brown, and black nickel-size pom poms all look great.)
  • Give them glue dots and have them stick them to their reindeer.
  • If they press their wiggle eye and the pom pom directly on the glue dot and then remove them, I find that this works well.
  • Students carefully insert their hand and arm into their puppet and manipulate the head.
  • Have students use their puppet when you read them a December story that has reindeer as characters.

Click on the link to view/print a copy of the reindeer lunch bag puppet

 How to use the reindeer puppets:

  • The Reindeer Pokey, reindeer lunch bag puppet, reindeer handprint lunch bag puppet, lunch bag puppets, keepsake projects, keepsake gifts, handprint projects, handprint art, Line up 10 students and sing 10 Little Reindeer to the tune of 10 Little Indians.
  • Sing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.
  •  10 In The Bed is also fun. Have ten children with puppets held above their heads, lie on the floor and roll off the “sleigh bed” one by one, til everyone has had a chance.
  •  Have students count backwards and blast off to the North Pole with their reindeer.
  • The Reindeer Pokey is another way to use this manipulative.
  • Click on the link for a copy. Reindeer Pokey
  • Have your students identify their various body parts by placing their puppet on their chest, hip, thigh etc.
  • They can also show you various spatial directions with their reindeer by putting their puppet above, behind, to the left, to the right etc.
  •  Naming their reindeer and then gathering in a circle where everyone gets a chance to introduce their puppet friend is also enjoyable and a great way to get quiet and shy children involved!

Be sure and pop in tomorrow to see how to make an adorable bag of reindeer noses!  The perfect little gift for your students to make, or a quick and easy gift for you to whip up and give to them!

1-2-3 Come Make Some Shaving Cream Stuff With Me!

If you haven't heard of using shaving cream in the classroom yet, you and your students are missing out on a lot of fun.  Yes, it's a little bit messy, but oh the joy of hands-on learning. 

Clear the work tables, or student desks and have children don a paint shirt.  Shake up a can of shaving cream (they sell a variety at The Dollar store) and squirt a few big dollops in front of each child. 

Tell them to smooth it out to make their very own "whiteboard!"  Using their index finger as a "pencil" have students write letters, numbers, or draw shapes.  This is a super-fun way to whole group assess. 

As you call out each letter, number,  shape or whatever, students draw that on their board.  When you've checked everyone's work by simply a glance, have them "erase" their board by smoothing it over, so you can call out something else for them to write/draw.  After you review, give your students one last dollop for them to write their name or draw whatever they like.

An extra bonus is that the shaving cream takes off sticky glue residue, as well as crayon and ink marks.  Depending on the fragrance you chose, your room should smell simply wonderful.  The cream also makes your kiddo's hands feel smooth and soft.  Take a teachable moment to talk about friction, as students rub the table top or their desk. The shaving cream will disappear, and their hands will feel warm. 

Shaving cream is also an excellent "frosting" or "snow" for winter craftivities.  The results pack a huge "Wow!" affect and were some of my students' favorite artwork.  They make an outstanding decoration for your hallway, but hang them above any one's reach, so little fingers aren't tempted to poke the fluffy "snow." To make the "snow frosting," mix equal parts of Elmer's glue to non-menthol shaving cream; mix quickly to whip up a frothy-goopy consistancy. 

Students take spoonfuls, plop them on their project and then smooth with a Popsicle stick.  Shaving cream craftivities need at least 24-48 hours to dry, depending on how thick the artwork is.  Here are 2 of my all-time favorite shaving cream creations.

 frosted cookie Christmas ornament, Christmas crafts with kidsShaving Cream Frosted Cookies Ornament: I have my students cut their cookie out of light brown paper, frost it, and then add their photo to the middle.  

If you have an Ellison Die Cutter at your disposal these cookies are adorable cut into your student's initials. Add a few real candy sprinkles and these honestly look so real, and good enough to eat!    Frosted Cookie Ornament pattern

By far, my favorite craft that I ever made with my Y5's was the shaving cream snowman.  I hung my students snowmen as a border, just under the ceiling in the hallway.  We always got zillions of compliments and everyone wanted to know the secret of the awesome looking snow!

Before hand my students drew their snowman on a pre-cut piece of tag board.  Little ones have a tendency to either draw way too small or way too large, so demonstrate drawing 2 simple circles “just the right size.”  For really little ones, I suggest having these pre-drawn and have included a template for you.  Make sure students have written their name in the corner of their creation.

I collected a large tub of  pieces and parts to decorate the snowmen via a note home making a request,  searching my house, taking apart jewelry and going junking.

Put several scoops of “stuff” in paper bowls and set 2 on each table. Give students 5-10 minutes to pick out 2 eyes, 1 nose, something for a mouth and 3-5 items for their snowman's buttons.

It’s very important to have children design their snowman BEFORE you give them a dollop of shaving cream, because they need to work rather quickly spreading their “snow” with a popsicle stick.  It’s helpful if they arrange their parts on the side, so that they don’t forget what they chose for each feature.  They get so excited when they get the “goop” that they sometimes forgot and this really helped in the past.

I also did the shaving cream board, discussed above a day or two before.  This really helped to avoid children's curiosity of how shaving cream felt and they got down to the business of creating a snowman, instead of getting off task and simply playing with the shaving cream. 

Mix up a huge bowl of “fluff” and use a wooden spoon to give each student enough dollops so they can “frost” their snowman.  I also demonstrate how this is done.  When they are satisfied with the results they gently plop their pieces in the appropriate places. 

Remember to remove the bowls of decorations before you give them the frosting to avoid children taking more and putting it all over their snowman, instead of making it look like a snowman.  After they have completed decorating, set aside in a designated "keep out!" drying area. 

You will need at least 24-48 hours of dry time.  When you return to school they should have dried and really “puffed” up!  They look simply amazing!   Click on the link to view/download the Shaving Cream Snowman “craftivity.”  I hope you have a delightful time with these ideas.  If you take pictures, I'd LOVE to hear from you and see your "mess-terpieces!"

Thanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away.  To check out all of the creative-educational things I spend way too much time pinning, click on the big heart to the right of the blog.  I have lots of winter boards.  I blog and design daily, so I hope you can pop in tomorrow for even more FREEBIES.

"If you don't mind smelling like peanut butter for several days, peanut butter makes good shaving cream!" -Barry Goldwater
shaving cream snowman

I LOVE December. I do all sorts of themes this month. Just about everyday is a theme day, and many of the centers are geared around making a gift.  I try to instill in the children that Christmas is about giving and not just getting.  I have fond memories of making presents with my grama Lydia and I'm carrying on that tradition with my little grandsons now with a craft day at Nana's house.

I have 3 quick projects here  a wreath, holly, and  reindeer.  You can print each one individually, or wait 'til the end of the article and for your convenience print one pdf with all of the directions and patterns.  I have lots more creative crafts in the following books: December Art and Activities,    Gingerbread Art & Activities,  +  Christmas Tree Art & Activities that will give you 100's of pages of awesome  ideas to do with your children that will help you make adorable keepsake gifts for everyone on your list.

wreath ornament, Christmas crafts for kids, art projects for preschool, kindergarten and first gradeWreath: The wreath ornament is sure to become a keepsake because their child's picture is glued to the bow. When we started to decorate several trees in our home I always made sure we had a tall skinny tree that displayed all the homemade ornaments my children had made throughout their school years. They were some of my favorites.  They followed them out of the house when they moved on. Instead of using heart stickers for the berries, you can dip your student's finger in red paint and use their finger print.  This will make it even more of a keepsake, but the project will be a little more time consuming.  Clean up with a didey wipe. Click on the link to view/print the directions and pattern. I've also written a poem   that would make a cute card to go with it. WREATH

Holly Card: If you're making a gift in your class, it's always nice to have a card to tuck in with it.  This one is quick and easy and also has a keepsake quality.  If you opt to do red-paint finger print-berries for the wreath above, you can do this card on the same day and print the holly berries at the same time as you do the wreath berries. Click on the link to view/print the directions and pattern. HOLLY Card

trinagle shape reindeer, Christmas crafts for kids, keepsake Christmas crafts, December art projects for kids, art projects for preschool, kindergarten and first grade

Rudolph the Shape Reindeer: I always try to incorporate my report card standards whenever I'm doing art or center work in my classroom.  This reindeer reviews an oval, triangle and circle shape as well as the rectangle that the children glue him to.  You can either opt to paint Rudolph on an easel or cut him out of construction paper.  His antlers also have several options.  You can paint your student's hand prints brown and press them to the top of Rudolph's head, or you can have them draw two straight - parallel vertical lines on his head and then make two shorter, horizontal lines on each one; using this as an opportunity to review/teach those vocabulary words. Click on the link to view/print the directions.  Reindeer

Click here for the directions and patterns for all of the projects.  All Christmas Crafts 

Bingo Santa Song: I use "Bingo" songs as a fun way to teach a new word - wall seasonal word and how to spell it.  It's also another creative way to review subtraction. Each month I make up a new "Bingo" song and this month it's about Santa.  I make 5 letter cards that spell S-A-N-T-A.  As we sing the familiar Bingo tune we take a letter away (subtract) and substitute a clap until we are clapping 5 times with no letters! My students LOVE these songs! It's such a wonderful way to review reading, spelling and math!  Click on the link to make a set of cards so you can sing SANTA with your children. Bingo Santa SongToilet paper tube Santa, December Crafts for kids, Art for preschool, kindergarten and first grade. Winter activities for kids

Toilet Paper Tube Santa to go with the song: I've also provided a sheet of Santa stationery to use as a writing extension. Dash off a letter to Santa, or write an "I love you" note to mom and dad, roll it up, tuck it inside the tube and place it on their pillow, car seat, at the table, or any other fun place you can think of. Enjoy!  Santa Craft

Christmas Ornaments: If you're looking for ornament ideas click on the link to view/print all sorts of FREE Christmas Ornament ideas.

Christmas Gifts: If you need ideas for something to make with your little ones, then you need to click on the link to view/print Christmas Gift Ideas.

Christmas Games: Looking for something different and fun to do at your Christmas party this year?  Check out all of the ideas in this fun FREEBIE: Christmas Game Ideas

Christmas Around the World: Whether you're in charge of studying one country or want to take a world wide adventure, I have everything from a cereal-box suitcase to a sticker filled-passport in Christmas Around the World.  Click on the link for this 115-page awesome freebie and enjoy the geography journey! Christmas Around The World

Whatever you're doing this month in the way of crafts and themes I hope you have a jolly-holly time doing them!  As always, if you have a creative craft you're doing with your little ones, we'd enjoy hearing from you!