How many times do you come home from a walk with your child and end up with a pile of nature? It can’t just be me, right?!? It’s pretty common for me to find a treasured leaf resting on the center console of my van or to stick my hand into my coat pocket and find it full of acorns that my son just had to take home. Typically, I return the items to the outdoors, discreetly of course so I don’t ruffle a certain preschooler’s feathers.
Since the holidays are coming up, though, I thought it would be fun to turn these treasures into something new. Tuck these ideas in your back pocket for those downtimes leading up to Christmas when you want something inexpensive to do with your kids that also gets you in the mood for the holiday.
Try these 3 kid-friendly holiday crafts incorporating nature.
Twig Star Ornaments
If you have family or teachers to give presents to this Christmas, twig star ornaments are an inexpensive way for your child to make something personal and sweet.
- A pile of sticks about 4 – 5 inches long
- Low-temp hot glue gun
- Twine or colored yarn
- Optional: acrylic paint
Start by overlapping the ends of two sticks to form one of the points of the star. Add a dot of hot glue to hold the sticks together. Add more sticks until a star shape starts to form. Make sure to glue areas where the sticks connect for extra reinforcement. Note: I do allow my kindergartener access to the glue gun. We’ve talked about respecting it as a tool and she understands that it does get hot. Of course, use your own judgment on this but know that even young kids can be more responsible than we, sometimes, give them credit for!
Once the star is assembled, decide with your child if you want to add color to it with paint. Personally, I like the natural look of the star but my kiddos love any opportunity to use paint. If your child wants to paint, do it now!
Next, take a length of twine/yarn and wrap it around any intersection that creates a point in the star. I like to add a dot of hot glue at the ends of the string/twine once we’re done to keep the corners neat. Repeat until all five points are wrapped.
Finish off the ornament by looping another piece of twine/yarn through the star. This will act as the hook.
Hang the ornament on your tree or use it as a unique package topper for a gift to a loved one. My kiddos gifted theirs to their (ever appreciative) grandparents and were excited to see it hanging on the tree! These twig stars are truly one of my favorite holiday crafts.
Pinecone Birdfeeder Ornaments
These birdfeeder ornaments are super simple! They can get a little messy though, so it’s best to either make them outside or to contain the mess in a large tub or a cookie sheet (we used our sensory table).
- Peanut Butter (Sunbutter or vegetable fat works also)
- Butter knife
The first thing you’ll want to do is tie the string to the top of the pinecones so they can be hung. There’s no exact art to pinecone tying; basically, you just want to create a loop to use when it’s time to hang it up. If you have an older child or one who is ready to practice tying, it would be great to get them involved in this part, too!
Next, invite your child to use a butter knife to spread peanut butter all over the pinecone. (Remember when I said this holiday craft is messy?!)
Once the pinecone is covered, roll it in a tray of birdseed.
Tip: Know how you want to store your finished pinecones before you hang them. I line a basket with newspaper so my kids have a place to go with their finished feeders. This can help cut down a little on the clean-up!
Just like that, done! Hang those feeders outside in a spot where your kiddo can watch the birds as they feast!
These can add a lovely pop of color to a cold, gray winter day. They’re even more beautiful when the sun makes them sparkle!
- Bits of nature (leftover cranberries, pieces of evergreen trees, winter berries, bird seed, sticks, etc)
- Shallow containers
Fill the containers with water.
Invite your child to add the natural elements to the containers. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a science element to this holiday craft and some new vocabulary by asking your child to predict which items will sink and which will float.
Add a looped piece of twine to the container, making sure part of the loop sticks out because this will be the hanger.
Freeze your container. If it’s going to be below 32 degrees for at least 24 hours you can pop them outside. If not, clear some room in your freezer.
After they’re frozen, pop the creation out of the container. If you’re having trouble, dip the bottom of the container into warm water.
Hang the lovely icy suncatchers outside! I like to put ours close to a window so the kids can admire them and monitor them for changes.
Note: Once the suncatcher has melted, make sure to pick up the twine loop and discard or reuse it again.
I hope you find some inspiration from these holiday crafts that add a little bit of nature to the holidays! What are your favorite natural holiday crafts for kids?
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Guest Writer: Jessica Wagner
Jessica is a wife and mother of two. She and her family live on a few acres in rural Ohio. They can be found playing in the backyard, hiking at local parks, or taking care of their assorted pack of animals. Jessica taught preschoolers before her oldest child was born and now is dipping her toes back into the workforce at her local park district by working as a seasonal naturalist. Her favorite things are hearing sleepy morning greetings from her kids, drinking a hot cup of coffee on a foggy morning, livening up boring chores with a good podcast, and date nights with her husband at Mexican restaurants.
Follow along with her on Instagram!