I’m not gonna lie.
I adore advent calendars for all their numeracy opportunities. Because #teachernerd.
I mean, who doesn’t love a side serve of Maths in their festive season?
These homemade advent calendars are not only sugar-free, but will have kids identifying numbers and practising forward and backward number sequences all Silly Season.
For the third year running, I’m a part of the Craftmas Crew. We are a stellar, international team of crafty ladies who will each share a Christmas crafty project on Instagram during the festive season.
This year, however, there is a plot twist! Craftmas will run across 5 days. Each day has 3 crafty ladies sharing a project and each day is assigned a certain set of simple materials. Again with the Maths, but that will be 15 inspired projects for you to try by the end of the week!
I’ve outlined all of my tissue paper painting tips in this post.
My number one tip is to not be too heavy-handed with the paint.
Too much paint will make your tissue paper too wet and your paper will disintegrate.
Once your paper is dried and oh-so-crinkly, cut it into triangular strips.
Starting at the wider end, wrap this part around a chopstick or dowel rod. Apply a very thin layer of glue and roll, roll, roll until the end.
Slide your bead off the chopstick and repeat x 24.
Tissue paper is obviously quite delicate to work with so this step involves a bit of experimenting.
Too much glue results in your paper bead getting stuck to the chopstick.
I poke a skewer through an egg carton and let the beads dry upright.
Once your beads have dried, apply a layer of craft glue or Mod Podge to the outer of the bead. This hardens them up nicely.
Once your beads are dried on the inside and the outside, I trimmed the edges off for a more uniform size.
Thread the beads onto a piece of yarn.
I cut a Christmas-tree shape out of cardboard and wrapped the garland around the tree.
I secured the yarn in place with tape.
Each day, kids can remove a bead from your homemade Advent calendar.
Collect the removed beads and transform them into necklaces or bracelets for DIY Christmas gifts.
Or re-string them to create a garland or Christmas tree decoration.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SHANNON? AS IF MY SILLY SEASON ISN’T SILLY ENOUGH WITHOUT YOU SUGGESTING I BRING OUT THE PAINT! NO WAY, JOSE!
Okay- I totally hear you! Homemade Advent calendar number 2 is a simpler, paint-free idea that is excellent for the toddler and preschooler crowd.
Cut open a cereal box and lay flat.
We’re going to create a tissue paper collage by liberally applying craft glue and laying down sheets of tissue paper.
The key to this project is lots of tearing and layering.
Once the surface of the cereal box is covered, apply a coat of craft glue over the top of your tissue paper collage.
This helps to seal it.
Once your collage is dried, create a diamond template and trace this onto your box 25 times.
Fold your diamond in half to create triangular flags.
I had to place a heavy book on top of my flags, lest they kept flipping open.
Thread yarn between your flags to create an Advent garland.
You could write little messages or activity ideas inside the flags.
I chose to number the flags.
If your child is learning skip counting, you could number every 5th flag. You could number every even flag or every odd flag.
See all the learning opportunities in a simple Advent? Maths for days. Literally.
I found these sweet little envelopes in the local Dollar Store.
We popped them in the salad spinner with some acrylic paint.
Spin, spin, spin and once the paint has dried, fill them with notes, activity suggestions or stickers.
If you do try one of the homemade advent calendars, I’d LOVE to see. Just tag me – @ohcreativeday – on social media.
People frequently ask me about my must-have materials when it comes to crafting with kids. I always recommend washi or decorative tape as a craft cupboard staple.
We go through a fair bit of washi tape here and whenever we get to the end of the roll, I keep the cardboard core.
For a loooooong while, I wasn’t sure why I was keeping all those cores. My inner-creative lady knew that one day the project would reveal itself.
And reveal itself it did.
Pilot Pintor Paint Markers contain water-based paint. We’ve enjoyed exploring the different colours and different tip sizes.
So far we’ve used them on paper, terracotta, canvas, cotton, rocks, cellophane and now tape cores!
They are a total game-changer.
Because they are water-based, if my children use them too *enthusiastically*, then a simple wipe down removes any trace of them from household surfaces like the dining table or floorboards *ahem*
What you will need for this necklace craft for kids:
Colour the tape cores with Pilot Pintor Paint Markers as you please. The pens with fine to bold tips are great for this purpose.
Use the pens with extra fine tips to add detail. We did this as a family Saturday morning creative session.
Literally fun for all the family.
If you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll know that I love arts and crafts as a mode for children to explore problem-solving and tackling frustrations. This necklace project encourages kids to experiment with how they will construct and structure their necklaces.
We used yarn and decorative strings to hold the cores together. My 6-year-old opted to simply thread the cores onto the yarn.
We dug out the bead box and embellished our necklaces with beads and tassels.
The Pilot Pintor Paint Markers also worked beautifully on the beads so we added more details onto the beads this way.
We do love the “more is more” approach at my place.
Bling up your necklace and then wear it proudly.
This necklace craft for kids would be perfect for handmade gifts for family and friends.
You could also Christmasify them and turn them into Christmas tree decorations.
Make your own Halloween board game by downloading the free printable for this haunted house craft.
When I asked the little legends in my READ + CREATE class what they would like to make for Halloween, the response from one poppet was “bats and ghosts and bones.”
And so I spent the rest of the week reciting “bats and ghosts and bones. Bats and ghosts and bones.”
And this Halloween board game was born.
It’s inspired by Snakes and Ladders.
Bats mean that you can fly up squares, bones mean you slide down squares.
I intended the ghosts to be game pieces to move around the board. My 6-year-old declared that they should instead be Miss A Turn pieces. Kids. Always having better ideas than moi.
What you will need:
The Haunted House Craft template
Black water colour (optional)
How to turn your Haunted House craft into a board game:
I photocopied the Haunted House template at A3.
I cut it out and glued it to black cardboard.
Download your Haunted House Board Game
The children were given the option to number their squares.
This was a great way to inject some number identification into the creating.
Board games are an excellent way for young learners to practice 1-1 correspondence when counting.
The children were given 3 bats, 3 bones and 3 ghosts to begin.
I encouraged them to use the oil pastels to make marks on these pieces. I specifically asked that they leave some white space on these pieces.
We then placed all of these pieces into a shallow tub, dipped paintbrushes in black watercolour and tapped our paintbrushes against the side of the tub. This created a cool splatter effect and we discussed how water resists oil.
You obviously do not have to follow these steps. You could simply provide the children with colouring materials and let them go their own way. (What song are you now singing?!)
Once the pieces had dried, children were encouraged to lay their pieces on their haunted house and to think about how the game would flow. We discussed how all players need to know the rules in order for the game to be played.
We used white paint pens to add details into the night sky. We explored different lines and shapes.
My daughter simply added gold star stickers (stickers = excellent fine motor workout!)
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Do you prefer spooky or cute Halloween decorations? Today we bring you a selection of little bit spooky Halloween paper crafts for kids and we hope you will find just the right one to make with your kids before Halloween! We have bats and spiders, black cats and monsters! Which one you will choose to make? Remember to have fun with spooky Halloween decorations!
To start your Halloween crafting, you will need to collect some of the basic materials like:
Take a look at Halloween paper crafts we prepared for you and make your pick!
Spider are spooky for sure! Get directions how to make these simple 3D spider decorations. They are really easy to make and you can make them with your preschoolers! Older kids will love making them too!
If there are spiders, we have to make a large paper spider web as well! Spider webs are quick to make and your child will be working on their scissor skills as a bonus!
Did you watch Nightmare Before Christmas movie? We have a perfect craft to make after watching this movie with kids! This easy to make Halloween wreath will surely leave visitors spooked!
Another have to include theme when it comes to Halloween are bats! We have an easy origami bat craft that even children who never did origami before can make!
When we look at the dates around Halloween, we can’t skip the Day of the Dead! We have prepared a tutorial for sugar skull corner bookmarks kids get to make and color in their preferred color combo!
Black cats are something you can’t avoid around Halloween! Invite kids to make and then play with these cute black cat finger puppets! Lots of pretend play incoming!
Paper skeleton puppets can be made super fast with provided template. It will be fun for your children to decorate them and play with them when they complete their puppets.
We can’t forget ghosts! Of course, ghosts always make their appearance around Halloween. Make a quick ghosts garland to decorate your home or classroom! Spooky and fun!
Never enough bats? We have another simple bat craft you can create with kids! Use them as a decoration, link them into garland or glue them in Halloween invitations!
Halloween, monsters…. Yes, we can’t forget Frankenstein! You can make a Frankenstein suncatcher to decorate your windows and spook kids as they come to trick and treat!
Bonus craft idea: Make Frankenstein paper toy! Kids can play with this toy while you prepare everything for your guests!
Be sure to check out Maggy’s new book, Easy Paper Projects. In this book you can find many simple paper craft ideas for every day and every holiday. Have fun crafting with your kids all year round!
I have done the first day of Kindy a fair few times as a teacher. When my eldest started school earlier this year I learned that starting school is a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME from a parenting perspective. Here are some of my starting school tips to help you navigate the Brave New World of Big School with your little scholar.
Let’s begin by talking lunch boxes.
If I had a dollar for every time a Kindy student told me, during those first few weeks of Big School, that they had eaten ALL their food at first break and now had nothing to eat at second break, well, I’d be semi-retired from teaching.
Starting School Tips: Lunch boxes
• What designated eating times are scheduled at your child’s Big School? In the weeks before school starts, try and have your children eat at the same times as the school bells. My kids seem to think that I run a smorgasbord restaurant open 24/7 so this was an interesting transition for them. Also a good/ sneaky chance to do some learning about telling the time.
• Familiarise your little with the language used by the school. Is it little lunch? Or recess? Or Break 1?
• Make sure your kids practise eating from their lunch boxes. Explicitly explain what is in each compartment and when it is to be eaten. “The food in the big section is for Big Lunch, the food in the little section is for Recess.”
• The above step is also super important for checking to see which containers or packaging they have difficulty opening. Sometimes kids just need to be shown how to open something. Sometimes we might just have to modify how we give the food.
• I KEEP FORGETTING TO PACK A SPOON FOR THE YOGHURT! Hello teachable moment! A good chance to discuss with your child what they would do if this happened at school. Who would they approach? How would they ask for help? Model and practise some sentence starters with your child.
• This is also the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child the types of food they would like to see in their lunch box. I’ve been told that if an orange slice appears for Crunch and Sip then it WILL NOT be eaten. Okay, noted.
• Don’t stress! PLAYING at lunch time is just as important as eating. I’m pretty sure most of us didn’t eat everything in our lunch boxes as kids, and we all lived to tell the tale.
I’ve got a little challenge for you. The next time you’re reading with children, observe how fast you read aloud and experiment with slowing your reading speed down.
Now as us teachers say to students, we don’t want you sounding like robots. It’s super important for kids to hear a fluent reader reading aloud. So maintain fluency but slow it down.
Why is it important to slow it down when reading with children?
There’s A LOT at play when a little reader is listening to us read. All that awesome vocab is hitting their ears, they’re observing details in illustrations and making connections between print and illustrations. Slowing it down gives everyone a chance to luxuriate in the language whilst giving a bit of extra time for little readers to process it all.
PLUS who has ever read something loudly in speech marks only to get to “he whispered” at the end of the sentence? *face palm* Slowing it down gives you a chance to scan ahead for read aloud prompts like this.
It’s so important to build wait time into read alouds. Not rushing to turn the page but giving that all important processing time. I know that sometimes we want to rush to the end of the book when reading with children because IT’S BEDTIME AND MUM NEEDS A SPECIAL DRINK, but slowing it down and waiting really enriches a read aloud.
If you try this tip, I’d love to hear how it went for you!
I share more teacher-approved reading with children tips over on my Instagram.