The Christmas rush is on and the pressure of last-minute holiday errands becomes even more complicated as children are let out of school for the holiday break. We know how hard it can be to keep kids busy while you bake, wrap, write, mail, decorate, clean, and cook. So to help distract your child while you get some work done, we’ve put together our favorite list of Christmas-themed activities and crafts.
New Latina has a fantastic tutorial for creating your own felt ornaments. Creative genius Lisa Renata of SaboraCajeta.com takes you through the process of making beautiful ornaments that just involves a few materials including felt, scissors, needle and thread. We think Christmas cookie cutters would make excellent patterns and are just the right size for hanging on your tree. This project is best suited for children ages 10 and older.
Who knew you could make dulce de leche in a crockpot? Apparently, Marta Darby over on the Tiki Tiki blog knows how, and she has generously shared her little secret in this fun video. The instructions couldn’t be easier and these little gems make for mouth-watering gifts. Best suited for little chefs ages 10 and older. Parental guidance required.
First Palette has a simple poinsettia ornament craft that looks fabulous when completed. Easy enough for a preschooler to make with some guidance, these ornaments will add a bit of color to any Christmas tree.
Your kids will have the best time making these farolitos! Basic materials include paper bags and decorative punches. Embellishments are optional, though fun for little fingers. We used battery-powered tea lights inside, and they worked great. The perfect craft for children ages 5 and up, though younger children may also enjoy it with adult guidance.
If you have younger children who are in preschool, then this simple but lovely craft may be just right for you. Mami Talks shows how to decorate pinecones with small, colorful pom-poms to resemble a Christmas tree. They are perfect little centerpieces for the table on Christmas day.
Nothing says fun like creating your own nativity scene from the stable to the manger. Your child can print up, cut out, and set up his own little diorama with moveable figures. MakingFriends.com has a free set that is just adorable and perfect for little fingers. Your kids will spend hours playing with it once they put it together. Great for children ages 4 and older.
There are several great printable villages available for free online. We recommend you use cardstock to provide some strength to the structures, or even heavy-weight photo paper if you aren’t planning to color it in. LearningEnglish-ESL has a cute village that your child can print, color, cut and fold. It only has 2 houses, but there is a lot of detail in each one, so this could take your child some time to color.
For a larger set, check out The Pleasant Times’ Printable Christmas Village, which includes shops, a farm, houses, and a meeting-house in the woods. All of them can be colored in.
Or if you prefer one in full color, try this rare, out-of-print Santa’s Village that has been rearranged to fit on a normal 8.5 x 11 inch printer paper.
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.