It’s that time of the year when monsters get their chance to shine.
We’re all for friendly and funny monsters around here. This monster craft involves lots of fine motor fun, descriptive language and mixing and matching.
A batch of salt dough Play dough cutters of different shapes and sizes Paint (we used acrylic)
There are approximately a bazillion recipes on the Internet for salt dough.
I just use this salt dough recipe.
Once you’ve rolled out your dough, use your cutters to create pieces of different shapes and sizes.
We used different round containers to create indents into the “faces.”
Pop them in the oven.
The key is to do a slow, long bake on a low temperature. You’re drying them out- not cooking them.
(I tell you this because I couldn’t figure out why mine were turning brown at the start of my salt dough career.)
Once your pieces have cooled down, bring out the paints!
Paint your pieces in different colours. Use markers to add details.
Once dried, it’s time to get your monster mash (up) on.
This activity is great for encouraging descriptive language use. Encourage your child to describe the shapes they are using. They can describe the monster they have created. They can develop a persona for their monster.
When the monster mash has finished, store all the pieces in an airtight container ready for another session of mixing and matching.
(Spoiler: If you’re her mate, you’re getting one for Christmas. She has a necklace-making factory in operation.) As we’ve been making batch after batch, we thought they’d be fun Christmas ornaments for kids to make.)
Presenting kid-made Christmas ornaments from glue and paper straws!
This post contains affiliate links Thanks for your support!
You will need:
Non-toxic craft glue/ PVA glue
Paper straws, cut into smaller lengths
Plastic paint palette
Sequins and sparkly things
These Christmas ornaments are awesome for learning about patience and trial and error. The ornaments take about a week to dry- so unfortunately this isn’t any good as a last-minute project.
Squeeze about .5cm of craft glue into a circular mould. Each circle of our paint palette measures about 7cm in diameter.
You could also experiment with a muffin tin that you are happy to sacrifice for crafty purposes. I’ve never tried this project with a muffin tin, but I suspect it could work.
Let the decorating begin!
Add your paper straws. We created abstract designs. We arranged stars in ascending length to create Christmas trees. You might like to sprinkle sequins and stars into the glue- be sure that they are embedded in well. With some of the ornaments, we squeezed some gold paint on top of our designs. (IKEA Mala paint is our top choice here.)
I am a glitter grinch. My 5-year-old of course thinks it is the best substance known to Humankind. I relented and bought some glitter glue. (Surely if the glitter is in the glue, it can’t spread everywhere?!)
We experimented with using the white craft glue as a base and decorating over the top with the red glitter glue. This wasn’t so succesful. We also experimented with using the red glitter glue solely as a base. It did work, but the discs were more flimsy than the white craft glue.
Trial and error and patience
This is where the trial and error part of the project comes into play.
We generally subscribe to the philosophy of “more is more” here for craft projects.
Miss 5 learnt that this philosophy didn’t really lead to success for this project.
Too many decorations mean that the glue can’t dry underneath. So decorate sparingly.
Set your palettes aside to dry on a flat surface. This is the hard part. Now you must wait.
How will you know when the Christmas ornaments are dry enough?
Lightly touch the centre of the circle and then the edge. Obviously no glue will come away if it’s dry. Another sign is that your ornaments should pull ever-so-slightly away from the edge of the circular mould.
This next step is one for adults to do
Run a sharp knife around the edge of your pendant to loosen it.
Gently peel the pendant away from the mould. Depending on how many decorations you’ve embedded into the glue, you may need to use a knife to loosen the centre of the ornament from the mould.
Ready to hang!
Use a skewer to poke a hole through the ornament. String some yarn through the hole . You might like to add beads. Tie a knot and your kid-made Christmas ornament is ready to hang on the tree!
This time last year, The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas was launched.
You may have heard me talk about it.
I had such fun creating this eBook with my kids. But the actual selling of it and telling people why they should buy it?
Ick. Nobody likes talking about themselves.
So this year, I’m handing it over to people who bought the book (THANK YOU!) and I’m letting them do the talking.
“Yarn wrapped stars from @ohcreativeday‘s fab new Christmas e-book! 12 awesome scaleable ideas perfect for little ones and loads of tips, tricks and templates. Can’t wait to hand these fuzzy lovelies on our tree.”
“Have you had the chance to check out the new eBook by @ohcreativeday yet? It’s aahhh-mazzzing! She is one creative lady! My kids have been drooling over all the fab Christmas projects in it all week trying to decide which to do first.”
“There are two things that I particularly loved about the crafts in this book. First, that they’re technically very manageable, and can be adapted to your child’s skill level. And, second, I found them so easy to make our own. If you have a look at Shannon’s versions of these projects, you’ll see that ours look pretty different, and that’s based on using mostly what we had around the house and finding our own inspiration. You don’t have to follow her example to the letter to make these projects come out well.”
“When my sister-from-another-mister, Shannon @ohcreativeday, told me she was writing a Christmas crafts ebook, I preordered a copy immediately. I had extremely high hopes because that gal knocks my socks off daily with her creativity and this book of hers does NOT disappoint in the slightest! It’s literally everything you need to get your Christmas craft on for the entire month of December without spending even a single minute on Pinterest.”
“We interrupt this programme to announce a great big THANK YOU to Shannon @ohcreativeday for your Santa-stic #ohcreativechristmas ebook! We have been going a little stir crazy over here the last month, cooped up either packing to leave a country or cooped up sick in a new country. So when I saw this crafty ebook in my inbox I did a little Hallelujah jig and a Christmas skip! We found a store that sold playdoh, printed out a BUNCH of pages and we were go-ho ho!”
And what a comment from @sofiti. If you do purchase the book, please tag me on social media @ohcreativeday and #ohcreativechristmas so I can see your creations. It makes me do a happy dance to the Michael Buble carols on non-stop rotation at my place.
Looking for some gift ideas for creative kids?
I’ve got you covered.
But, hold up.
I believe that all kids are creative.
So really this article should carry the title of “Gift Ideas for Kids.” A mere trifle.
When I’m on the hunt for good gift ideas for kids, I’m always looking for products that promote open-ended creating and playing and offer good quality for a good price. But not in a “you-will-need-to-mortgage-your-house-in-order-to-buy-this” kinda way.
Here are some of the products that we love using here. As well as some of the actual gifts that I have bought for my kids for Christmas this year.
This post contains affiliate links- at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Gifts for Making
A question I get asked A LOT, is “Shannon, what is your must-have art supply for kids?”
I reply with the same answer every. single. time.
A Micador Watercolour Palette.
It’s such an awesome, low-mess painting option. It’s also portable, so you can take your painting into the Great Outdoors.
We bought our original 36 disc set. Micador sent us the jumbo palettes to try and we adore them.
My kids burn through markers at an epic rate. I had yet to come across a set of markers that really impressed me until we were sent some Micador Early StART Besties Marker Mates to try. My husband and I have been blown away by how engaging our children find these and we attribute this to the fact that a) they are super cute and b) the chunky barrels are perfect for little hands to grip. Our kids have the Jungle and Underwater versions.
If you’re looking for a complete, all-inclusive creativity kit, the Micador Sensory Packs are great. We were given the Sensory Creating Pack to try and it was filled with a great variety of cardstock, craft sticks, tape and decorative embellishment. They also have a painting and drawing pack. These would be great to pack for holiday travels and road trips!
Creating should happen everywhere at anytime andthese bath crayons from Honeysticksmake that happen. We were gifted these along with Honeysticks Original beeswax crayons and a Toddlers First Colouring Book.
My Mr 3 immediately remarked that he loved the smell of these natural, non-toxic crayons. They are the perfect size for little hands.
The colouring book comes in three country-based themes: New Zealand, Australia and North America.
The pictures are large and without too much detail, making them absolutely perfect for the under-5 set.
Kwik Stix are ah-mazing for vibrant artworks with minimal mess. They are tempera paint sticks that glide on so smoothly and dry almost instantly.
Gifts for Playing
I have bought Camelot for my Miss 5 and Day & Night for my Mr 3 for Christmas.
Both are games of logic. Children choose a challenge and try and arrange the game pieces to fulfill the challenge. I can’t wait for my kiddies to unwrap these. I’m anticipating loads of fun, playing together.
My kids have requested a letter box for Christmas. This makes my teacher heart squeal because think of all the authentic writing experiences it will encourage!
Why do I love KidArtLit? They are basically everything I stand for, but in product form.
Their boxes are delivered straight to your door and contain a top-quality picture book with carefully curated arts and crafts projects, paired to the book. Each kit contains a detailed guide book and all the materials you will need.
The kit’s contents change on a monthly basis. You can choose to subscribe to a year’s worth of boxes, or simply one-off deliveries.
This is a perfect gift choice if you have a loved little one in a faraway place. Bookish, arty magic delivered straight to their door!
You can read my KidArtLit reviews here. and here..
My eldest starts school next year and I’ve been eyeing off these letter blocks from Page and Pine. How beautiful are they?!
Imagine all the fun word play you could do with them!
Favourite animals in unicorn form? Yes please!
This super cute alphabet poster hangs in my kids’ playroom.
On the Send a Unicorn website, you can also send sweet, unicorn-themed stationery boxes. Another great gift option for a little somebody who might not live nearby.
So there you have it. 19 gift ideas for creative kids. Plus a whole lotta book recommendations. And most of them can be ordered online. So you can do all your shopping in your pyjamas. See? I said I had you covered. #shoppinginpyjamasismyjam
Are you ready to turn your home into a spin art Christmas card factory?
Let’s do this.
You will need:
Christmas shape templates (We used the ones from my Christmas eBook.)
How to make your own spin art Christmas cards:
Prepare a palette with your liquid watercolours.
Place a piece of photo paper into your salad spinner.
Use different painting implements to splatter and drip and drop the watercolours onto the photo paper.
Secure the lid tightly onto your salad spinner and spin, spin, spin.
The best part- remove the lid and ogle your artwork.
Trace around your templates onto the back of the photo paper and cut them out.
(We used the templates that come with my Christmas eBook, The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas. You can read more about it here.)
Fold card stock in half to create a card and glue your spin art shapes to the front.
The spin art also makes for lovely gift tags. Simply punch a hole at the top of the shape and thread ribbon or a pipe cleaner through. Use a permanent marker to write names on the tags.
Every festive season we count down to December 25th with a Christmas Book Advent.
Once upon a time, I used to wrap each book in colourful paper and embellish with pom poms and all kinds of decorative paraphenalia.
These days, I ain’t got time for that. Nor do I wish to give myself RSI or a bazillion paper cuts doing so.
So here’s how I intend on rocking the Christmas Book Advent in a more environmentally-friendly fashion this year with 3 kids.
I’ve handsewn some sweet little bags and each day I will simply place a new book in each child’s bag.
I originally saw this idea done by Hana, and I love that it also creates a keepsake that can be used year after year.
(Hana and I are both suckers for creating traditions and love-soaked memories with our littles.)
Oh, and did I mention that sewing is not my strong point?
So if you are not the most confident seamstress, take heart. It’s a project simple enough for even those who flunked Home Economics in high school.
What you will need:
A length of fabric (Ours measured 40cm x 50cm)
Cord for the drawstring
I chose to cut my fabric to 40cm wide by 50cm tall. This was to accommodate the largest Christmas book in our collection.
You might like to make your bag smaller or bigger. So step 1 is simply cut to size, leaving about 2cm seam allowance.
Turn your fabric over and fold over a seam of about 2cm. Iron this down to get a nice sharp fold.
I chose to do a back stitch along this seam. Mainly because I’ve just learnt how to do such a stitch from my friend Trixi and I wanted to practice it. Apparently back stitching is an embroidery technique. I’m obviously not embroidering, but whatevs!
“Do what works for you” is totally one of my creative mantras. You could obviously just do a simple running stitch.
You will be threading your drawstring cord through this section, so don’t stitch too close to the edge.
Once that step is complete, fold your bag in half so the front halves are facing towards each other.
Stitch down the long side and then across the short side to meet the fold.
Again I had a seam allowance of about 2cm.
Let the record show, that at this point my husband declared “It’d be so much quicker if you just used a sewing machine.”
To which I responded with an eye roll and “Yeah but we don’t have a sewing machine.”
What a cheerleader!
You can now turn your bag out- and you have something that resembles a bag!
Before threading the drawstring cord through, I just turned in the edges of the drawstring openings and sewed that seam in to give you a nice, clean edge.
Time to thread the drawstring through and this may be the stage where you mutter a few sweary words.
Attach a safety pin to the end of the drawstring cord so that you can feed it through the seam.
Eventually it will come out the other end. But I warn you, it may take a few frustrating attempts.
Knot the ends of your cord to prevent them slipping back through the seam, and voila! A book bag!
We don’t have enough Christmas-related books to fill 24 days.
So I fill in the gaps with our favourite books from the year that was.
Any opportunity to celebrate reading and books!