The snowflakes are filtering down and the temperatures tell me that December is here! The excitement and anticipation for upcoming events are filling the eyes of many children as they look forward to all the holiday celebrations. When school is out, here are some quick tips to keep the kids busy during the holiday season, you may find they can even be used as some homemade gifts too!
*Strips of red and green paper make great chains of garland to decorate trees, mantles, or even windows. It’s a wonderful way to enhance small motor and basic math skills (making a pattern).
*Blunt needles and yarn (or yarn tips that you dip in candle wax to make a tip) can be used to string cereal, popcorn and cranberries. These look great on the tree or as a necklace for your first snowman that the birds will love too!
*Make your own playdough: 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, ½ c. salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 Tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon food coloring. Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in a non stick pan. Mix liquids and gradually stir them into the dry ingredients. When mixture is smooth, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until dough leaves sides of pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat and knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and use with holiday cookie cutters. This works great when you are baking and they have lost interest in the cookie process.
*Gather your store ads, old greeting cards or gift wrapping items and let them make a collage on a cereal box, oatmeal container, paper bag or plain colored gift bag. Then use it to wrap a family members gift or as a centerpiece for the table.
*Take your greeting cards and wax tipped yarn and create a “sewing card”. Use a hole punch along the outer edges to provide practice for hand eye coordination.
*Pipe cleaners can provide hours of fun to be ornaments or package toppers. Twist them together or use cookie cutters to provide shapes if desired.
*Want a tangible calendar? Try a shoebox with an item for each day (for example 21 till Christmas Eve) let the child reach in and select one item with their eyes closed and describe it to you.
*Don’t forget to get their handprints each year. You can make an ornament or a paper wreath or even get a tablecloth and add their handprints to them each year as a memory that keeps growing.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the great memories. It doesn’t have to be expensive to involve children in skills they will use for life. From Ohio State University Extension, we wish everyone a wonderful holiday season filled with your favorite memories!
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