on the first day of christmas my true loves made with me:
Fimo Christmas tree and star decorations
Nice and easy this one, my 3 year old and 6 year old both loved doing it. Get yellow as star base [or sparkly yellow/gold/silver – whatever your preference! roll and cut out a star shape. then decorate with other fimo colour blobs as jewels – the older the child the more intricate the decoration/shape!! And the same with the tree shape. Gets through a lot of base colour – in our case green for the tree and sparkly yellow for the star. SO each square block makes 4 bases.
Stained Glass windows
We did this with a 2 year old and 5 year old – very messy so we adapted things! You need some clingfilm, black a4 card and coloured tissue paper, any safe childrens pva glue or similar. Parent [or older child!] cut out a black arched window with as many struts/fiddley bits as you want [we kept ours simple] , put on a clingfilm base. children can now put glue all over one side and then have strips of different coloured tissue paper to glue over the top. when it is all done, have a whole layer of glue over the top to give it some strength. The advantage of clingfilm underneath is that messy gluers creations wont stick to the newspaper or whatever table protector you are using! it can then be folded or trimmed to size.
chocolate oat banana muffins, marmalade muffins and mincemeat muffins [last 2 to freeze for Xmas day brekkie!]
recipe to follow
On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me:
Godseye star decorations for the Christmas tree
can be simply done with sticks and wool, [or pipecleaners I guess] but we used used mini lolly sticks. Hopefully the picture I add will make things clear! Ooh, this link is good, and a lantern to make as well!! We made 6 points rather than 4 though, as looked more ‘starry’ to us. could also use a similar theme to make snowflakes. Although my 3 year old had a go, it was too dificult for her, though v easy for 6 year old.
so an alternative
Yoghurt pot bells
I don’t think a christmas tree is quite right without a few yoghurt pots!!, the round petits filou type best. trim the lid area so round to, give a clean, and children can paint and then roll in glitter – fab even for a 2 year old. I then threaded the ribbon through and added a tiny bell – I think all bells should at least make some effort to tinkle!
sweeties – coconut ice and peppermint creams
recipe to follow!
On the third day of Christmas my true loves made with me:
Hama bead Xmas decs
fairly straightforward – my 6 year old getting inventive, my 3 year old just fills all the spaces. However, both can do – use the little star template for quickness, and the big star for more ‘decorative’
St Lucia crowns
OK so these should be made dec 13th – a story in ‘while the bear sleeps’. But lovely whenever! We had some crown strips we cut out of gold and silver card in the summer, added green paper leaves, white strips for candles, and orange flames on top. I did all the cutting for the 3 year old. Very simple to do, and they get to wear it! As a variant, make a crown on Christmas eve ready for christmas day – better than a cracker crown, and may keep children occupied at a crucial time!
Ginger bread cottage kit or gingerbread man kit
you can make from scratch easily enough, but the girls made a gingerbread cottage from a kit nana bought – cake already made, stick it together and attach sweets [and as soon as photo taken, sweets disappear! the gingerbread man kit BB got for her birthday from M and S – very easy and tasted yummy. Next year, with no kits we would make from scratch – I often use cinnamon instead as ginger can be overpowering for children.
on the fourth day of christmas my true loves made with me:
Festive Door wreaths
This was something that the 6 year old was fantastic at, but the 3 year old played a bit with – I did hers! Ingredients: I used some thin wicker cane, but some garden wire would do to make the circle base. Ivy [ long whippy bits] bits of the discarded christmas tree bottom branches, bay branches [the bay needed a prune!] and holly [each about 20-30 cm long]. ANy other garden greenery would be fine! Also a jolly red ribbon for SB and a tartan one for me. the wire things for closing freezer bags – or wool to tie the branches on with. We wound the ivy round first, then added the fir at the back – tieing in 2 places to keep it firm – we used 5-6 bits of each kind of evergreen going round. The bay we next tied in at the front, and finally the holly – again 5 pieces going round. We then loosely wound the ribbon round the lot finishing with a bow. We went for enjoyment rather than style, but were pleased with our first efforts.
just wanted to add that we repeated this craft 3 years later with a group of friends, and used straw twisted and tied to make the circle bases, it worked really well
I think most people know how to make these! An orange, red ribbon, 4 cloves and a candle [I find a couple of pins makes the ribbon easier! We read the relevant bit from barefoot while the bear sleeps book. [fab book!] . This is good for all ages!
Star cheese scones
A nice simple recipe! 25g of butter [or dairy free alternative] 6 oz self raising flour [oh, my eldest weighs it out, so these measurements are easy for her!] 1/2 tsp mustard powder, generous grinding of black pepper, 1 beaten egg, 80g grated cheddar [or cheesely]. dollop of milk [or alternative] .
Rub flour, butter, mustard and black pepper together, add in 60g cheese, then the beaten egg and squish into dough. Usually need to add a bit of milk to get right consistency. Then roll and cut out with star cutters. Brush with milk and add rest of grated cheese to tops. Top shelf in oven on gasmark 6 for 12-15 mins. yummy!!
On the fifth day of christmas my true loves made with me:
An incredibly easy one for both 3 and 6 year old! Ingredients: washed margarine tubs; PVA glue; tissue paper. [jewels as optional extras!]. Its as easy as it sounds. glue on the box, tissue paper on the glue, more glue on the box, more tissue paper. then finish with a coat of tissue paper and wait to dry. Then – if still willing! decorate with jewels/glitter etc.
Mine love painting and designing, and livening up some cheap and cheerful baubles with glitter, paint etc. This time we bought some plastic ones from yellow moon, and used glass paints, both the outliner in black, and the paints to make our own. A simple craft it might be, but loads of enjoyment from it. Either buy clear plastic to decorate yourself, or look around for partic cheap and cheerful bulk baubles to ‘improve’! this year, we are 9 and 6
Chocolate dipped sweeties
This is OK for 3 and 6 year old, and very easy. I melted the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave – so much easier than the bain marie thing! half a big bar of dairy milk takes 1 min and stir and then a further 40 secs in our microwave on max. Then girls just dunked and rolled brazil and pecan nuts and crystalized ginger in it and onto greaseproof paper to dry. Although the choc starts off hot, it cools to non worrying pretty quickly, and although we used spoons, choc fingers was for the girls an added bonus – no lickig until finished! We also used white chocolate this year, but can also use plain. Other options are dried fruits – i particularly like apricot. Can be popped in the gift boxes above.
on the sixth day of chistmas my trueloves made with me
paper angels – technique 1
some glittery paper angels to hang off the tree. there are 2 ways we make these. the first with paper plates, and i freehand draw an angel shape onto the plate and cut it out. the girls colour/decorate, and then i stick it with cellotape
paper angels – technique 2
we tried a second way today. i had a stencil from lakeland and we used that to make smaller angels. these have separate wings to stick on afterwards. we all had great glittery fun. i think the paper plate way is better though!!
After Dinner Mints
there are several ways to make these, and a friend used extra strong mints. being vegetarian, we substituted foxes glacier mints! bash 6 or so of them with an end of a rolling pin in a plastic bag first, and then pestle and mortar them to the fineness you decide [we did quite fine] melt 230g [the big bars!] of choc – we used milk, though i think plain would be nicer, stir the glacier mints in and pour into moulds. we used old choc advent calender moulds. tada! a nice sweetie gift!
on the seventh day of christmas my true loves made with me:
home made, coloured and scented soaps
we got melt and pour soap from the internet, with some extra essential oils [we had quite a few already], some colours and some cosmetic glitters etc [maybe i should warn people that that site is very dangerous on the purse!! the melt and pour is easy to melt in the microwave, then add whatever you plan to add and pour into a mould, and voila!! Obviously, you can then get complicated, and we have made layered soaps, added christmas spices/dried petals etc. then made a thin layer of soap in one colour, cut out shapes and added it to a soap in another colour- great fun! My 4 year old mostly directed what colours and flavours she wanted, and helped cut out shapes in the cooled soaps and stirred as hot soap is very hot, my 8 year old was in charge of the whole process [very carefully - with me taking out of microwave and doing the pouring still though]. great for presents and fun to do.
coloured festive chocolates
I think that this might be a present craft to give to other siblings/ children friends! or to make enough in advance to put in an advent calendar. We saved last years advent calendar moulds, and this year made chocolates in them. Both girls [ 8 and 5] fancied colouring the chocolate. I was a bit dubious about this, as water is disastrous for melted chocolate, but we had some oil based food colourings and used white chocolate mixed with a small amount and it worked brilliantly.
on the eighth day of christmas my true loves made with me:
we love candle making and first tried with sheets of beeswax, either plain [my preference] or coloured, which we bought from a local craft shop. My husband did this craft with the girls [7 and 4], as they were my christmas present. smell divine!!
home made coloured and scented dip candles
so we did some different candle making this year. my cousin had a candle set he no longer wanted, it included paraffin flakes, stearin and colours! so i made a pot of red and of yellow with jam jars in a bain marie [i am not a fan of ban marie's, but a microwave is out of the question here!] and myself and SB  had a candle wick and dipped repeatedly until we had made our candles. they are a little bit mishapen, and more birthday candle size, but we are definitely proud of them! fragranced with lavender essential oil.
dipped bought white candles - easier for littlies and those with less patience!
BB felt the above was more effort than she wished to expend – she is 5! so we dipped a plain white candle and made yellow, orange and white. things we learned: you should use short candles unless you have a v tall jar and loads of candle wax to use! if you want to, you can then count down days until christmas by marking off the 24 segments of advent with pen.
orange and ginger sweetie window biscuits/tree decorations
v easy to make and fun for all! we used this recipe.
# 175g plain flour , plus extra
# 1 tsp ground ginger
# zest 1 orange
# 100g butter , cold, cut into chunks
# 50g golden caster sugar
# 1 tbsp milk
# 12 fruit-flavoured boiled sweets
# icing sugar , to dust
by hand or food processor, mix butter and caster sugar and cream together, then add all the rest of the ingredients. and milk as necess to get a good dough. wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 30mins or until children run out of patience!! then knead a bit before rolling out, approx thickness £1 coin and cut. a big outer shape and then a little inner one. put on a tray with a ‘magic mat’ / silicon or baking sheet. in the little cut outs, place a boiled sweet. bake for 15-20 mins at gasmark 4 – simple!!
On the ninth day of christmas my true loves made with me
As you can imagine, this craft is better done near the beginning, but as I am adding a few crafts each year, we are now older with a 9 and a 6 year old, having started this with a 2 and 5 year old – how the time flies. remember to hug your children and enjoy them as they are as often as possible. Anyway, we did this craft in 2 different ways. SB made a card divider to place the sweets in using strips of card with cuts have through and then interlaced. she had a card backing and a card at the front, with the doors marked but not cut, and a design. BB used the toffifees box, as that handily has the sweets in their own little square. She then did a rabbit design and asked me to cut out the doors, we then stuck that on the box. Both girls were very happy.
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These are remarkably easy with all ages. currently I have an 11 year old and an 8 year old, but did this craft with younger children also, and if parent made the wired shape, could go down to toddler age. We used ‘any old wire’ that we could bend with pliers into curls, shapes, musical notes. We rested these on tinfoil and filled inside the wire with pony beads. they were in the oven on 220 for about 10 mins to melt the pony beads. ALternatively, you can thread the beads on wire and then watch like a hawk and take out when start to melt, so they stick rather than flow. Looked good
spiced roasted nuts
we got this recipe on the web from waitrose
1 tbsp vegetable oil; 1 tsp Black & Red Pepper; 1 tsp garam masala; 1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed chillies; 500g approx nuts of choice or mixed nuts
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Mix the spices together, add to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes Remove from the heat, add the nuts and stir until well coated with the spice mixture. Tip the nuts onto a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
On the tenth day of christmas my true loves made with me
tin can tea lights
I love crafting with the girls, and it definately changes as they age, and this next craft was certainly fine for my 8 and 11 year old, but perhaps not a lot younger as it requires hammer and nails! it is very simple yet beautiful, and v v cheap!take your old tin cans, wash well and take off the wrappers. fill with a sand/water mixture and freeze. measure paper exactly to the tin and draw a simple design. when tin comes out of freezer, sellotape this on and then hammer a hole along your pattern template. job done . you can then spray paint the cans for extra appeal.
as the girls get older we do a lot more hand sewing. both girls are quite competent, and certainly for the last 2 years even my youngest with scaffolding can do a jolly good job at designing. Now she pretty much organises it all, but for my less experienced niece, i often cut out and glue the design and just blanket stitch around the edge. you can also buy simple kits… felt is probably the easiest materials to use, tho patterned fabric lovely, and gluing round the edges will stop fraying. here are some of our designs.