Easy Snowflake Craft

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Here’s a quick snowflake craft for toddlers to put together. Depending how many your child wants to make, you can hang just one in a window or create a whole snowstorm of them!

Ideally I would have had two shades of blue paper for this project, but since I only had dark blue, we scribbled all over a piece of white paper with blue crayon. Of course Veronika was a very happy scribbler! Now we had two shades of blue, which I then cut into strips about 1-inch wide.

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Use a glue stick to arrange 5 or 6 strips of paper into a snowflake shape.

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Next, I poured a little white paint into a paper plate and showed Veronika how to dip in a q-tip and dot onto the snowflake. She loved this painting method!

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Let dry, then hang in the window like a giant snowflake drifting down. This is the perfect craft to look at while we wait for winter to give us the real thing!

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Cotton Ball Snowman, Two Ways

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A snowman made of cotton balls is a toddler classic for a reason; after all every toddler seems to love soft, puffy cotton balls, and they really do make adorable snowmen!

The first version Veronika and I made today involved more parental work than the second. I traced 3 sizes of circle cookie cutters on contact paper, then cut out. Tape down to a piece of construction paper with double-sided tape so that the sticky part of the contact paper faces up. Now have your toddler cover with cotton balls!

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The three circles will immediately resemble the head, torso, and bottom of a snowman. This was a great opportunity to point out the relative sizes of the circles.

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I then cut a few additional details from construction paper which Veronika could help glue on, including an orange carrot nose, a red scarf, and black circles for buttons and eyes. Make sure to have your toddler help squeeze out the glue, which is great for those little finger muscles!

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The second version we made allowed Veronika to be more in charge. This time, we simply smeared a glue stick onto construction paper in circular motions, a big circle on the bottom and smaller on top.

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After sticking on cotton balls for the body, I then gave Veronika pom poms to add for decorations. This was a great way to give her agency over how the snowman turned out.

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If your child wants to add a background, use a white crayon for a snowy scene. For all that, Veronika’s favorite part of the whole activity was dumping cotton balls from one container to another, which was just fine.

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As I said, toddlers love those fluffy little cotton balls!

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Reindeer Handprint Ornament

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This sweet keepsake captures the size of your child’s handprint around the holidays, and results in an adorable reindeer ornament that you’ll be sure to hang on the tree for many years to come.

For this particular handprint, you can paint your child’s hand with brown paint and then press firmly onto brown felt or brown craft foam. However, I decided last minute to use a deep orange paint instead, which I thought would pop a little more against the brown. It ended up looking great!

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I painted Veronika’s palm with the orange paint, and then she eagerly (and very helpfully!) spread her fingers for a perfect print on the felt.

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In fact, she loved it so much that she asked me to paint her hand again, and then both hands, and loved making a few extra prints on scrap paper. Needless to say, we needed a quick emergency bath.

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Meanwhile, glue the felt to a piece of thin cardboard (such as an old cereal box) and let the paint and glue dry completely. Once dry, cut out around the handprint. Use a hole punch to make an eye near the top of the thumb. Draw a red nose on the tip of the thumb, then cut a small slit near where antlers would be. Slip in a V-shaped length of sparkly red pipe cleaner for the antlers.

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Punch one final hole in the top center and add red yarn or ribbon. Now Rudolph is on our Christmas tree!

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Ice Cream Cup Stick Snowflakes

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This is the first year Veronika is truly aware of our Christmas tree, and she absolutely loves it. If your toddler wants to put his or her own personal stamp on the tree, this is a great toddler-friendly craft that results in pretty ornaments.

Note: You don’t need to hoard ice cream cup sticks for the project, either; mini craft sticks are available for purchase at craft supply stores.

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I placed lots of these sticks down on a tray and showed Veronika how to squirt glitter glue on them. Glitter glue is a fantastic toddler art supply because not only is it sparkly and fun, but the squeezing is great for fine motor skills.

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As she drizzled the glitter over a stick, I then would press another across it, piling up 4 each time until they looked like the branches of a snowflake.

Sometimes she needed a little help and we would squeeze the tubes together. She loved watching the sparkly color appear on the next branch of the “snowflake”.

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Once we had four finished snowflakes, she wanted to continue the play with extra glitter glue, scooping it up with additional mini craft sticks for quite a while.

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Meanwhile, let the glitter glue dry completely (which can take a while), then use hot glue to attach a loop of yarn or gift ribbon to each snowflake.

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Threaded Orange Garland

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Kids will love helping thread dried slices of orange onto pretty ribbon, making this an easy Christmas decoration for the whole family to put together. Plus the oranges will make your house smell amazing while they dry out in the oven.

To start, cut thin slices from navel oranges, and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 225 degrees F until completely dried. Depending on the thickness of your slices, you’ll need anywhere from 1 hour to 90 minutes per side.

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Cut a small slit in each slice once cool, then string along plaid ribbon.

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We wound the ribbon alongside a pine garland on our banister for a fantastic holiday look!

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Snowman and Santa Wobblers

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These cute holiday items from Kiwi Co. come together quickly, but make adorable stuffies that wobble back and forth thanks to a weight inside. You can opt for just a snowman, just a Santa, or both!

Either way, start the craft by adhering a metal weight into the bottom of a plastic base with a sticky foam dot. Take care in this step that the weight doesn’t fall on any toes; it’s heavy! Insert the base and weight into the provided sock.

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Stuff the socks with the provided cotton fluff. Travis loved how soft this material was!

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We secured the top of each sock with a thin elastic band, then pushed a second, thicker elastic about 1/3 of the way down each. This divides the wobbly toys into a head and body.

Now decorate! There were stickers for the snowman’s face, as well as stick-on buttons and arms, and a strip of red fabric to tie on for a scarf.

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Meanwhile, Santa gets a beard that slips over the head and a little red shirt that slides on from the bottom. Stickers for facial features, belt, and hands complete the look.

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Travis loved that these toys were meant to be played with, unlike some of our Christmas decor that is just display.

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The wobblers even curled up to watch a Christmas movie with him, and Santa pretty much comes everywhere with us now. That’s what I’d call Christmas magic!

Popcorn Pictures

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I love toddler crafts that turn everyday items into art supplies. To wit, we had a bag of plain popcorn in our pantry which I knew could double as snack and craft time all at once!

I set out pieces of paper and a shallow plate filled with white glue, then showed Veronika how to brush the glue all over the paper. With a little guidance from mommy, we began covering the glue with popcorn pieces so it looked like a blanket of snow with a little snowman on top.

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It was fun to dip individual pieces of popcorn into the glue and add these like snowflakes in the sky.

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For variation, Veronika then helped me fill a zip-top bag with some of the popcorn and we added pink paint; seal and shake to distribute over the popcorn.

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We let the paint dry, then smeared a glue stick all over a piece of construction paper and taped down the pink pieces. In circles, they looked like little spring flowers, so we drew on stems for a final touch.

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Truth be told, Veronika needed a lot of adult guidance for this one because she was way more into snacking on the popcorn than crafting with it. Either way, she had fun! Which of the two does your toddler prefer? Please share in the comments!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Play Dough

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After having fun with a construction paper turkey craft, I wanted a version Veronika could more readily create all by herself. The solution? Play dough turkeys!

To start, I needed a batch of brown play dough and turned to an old favorite recipe for pumpkin pie-scented play dough that fit both color and season. It does require cooking, but is remarkably easy. In saucepan, combine:

2 and 3/4 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups water

Cook over low heat, stirring with a spatula, until the mixture pulls from the sides of the pan. Let cool on wax paper, then knead a few times and it’s ready to go!

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I set out balls of the play dough on a tray along with: wiggle eyes, pipe cleaners (cut in half, which is an easier length for my toddler), bright feathers, and triangles cut from orange craft foam for beaks.

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Veronika loved it when I showed her how to make balls for heads and bodies, then decorate like a little turkey.  She very soon started her own version. “It’s Mr.Turkey!” she said, proudly.

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From there, she was off and running with her own creations. She loved poking pipe cleaners and feathers into the soft dough.

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The biggest hit, though, was adding wiggle eyes, which were “cheeks” and more, according to her narration.

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It turned out the craft foam “beaks: could be used more like little turkey feathers, too!

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Every once in a while she would lift the dough to her nose to inhale deeply. “It smells really good!” she said of the pumpkin pie spice.

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For fun, I also made a flatter turkey body and head for her to decorate, and we added looped pipe cleaners and smaller feathers to this one.

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After that, she kept playing with all the materials for a while… So long in fact that it kept her up past her normal nap time!

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Create-a-Turkey Tray

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This art project works well as a solo activity to keep preschoolers or elementary school kids busy while you prep a Thanksgiving day feast. And with a toddler, it becomes a fun craft to do side-by-side!

To set up the tray, I cut large circles from brown construction paper for turkey bodies and smaller brown circles for heads. I then added “feathers” cut from construction paper in multiple hues, and orange triangles for beaks. Finally, add piles of wiggle eyes, glue sticks, and additional sheets of paper to be the background.

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From here, big kids can assemble their own turkey!

I showed Veronika first how to choose a large brown circle (“What shape is it?” I asked her), and to rub the glue stick on the back so we could press it to one of our large squares of paper.

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Next we added a small circle for the head. As she glued this one down, I pointed out the size difference between the small and large!

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We then named the colors as we glued down each feather. She also proudly pointed out that the orange beak was a triangle shape!

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She loved the wiggle eyes on the tray, so I gave her a small cup that she could dump out and refill a few times. Don’t forget to glue two onto the turkey!

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You can let your toddler make a more free-form “turkey”, too, which is a great part of the art process. I love crafts like this where we end up with one that looks like its “supposed” to and another that is authentically Veronika’s.

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Thanksgiving Turkey

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If a painted handprint turkey is too messy or squirmy an ordeal with your toddler, consider a traced outline of a hand instead this Thanksgiving! This turkey was particularly fun for Veronika to decorate because it doubles as sensory play.

First, I placed her hand flat against a paper plate and traced with pencil. Don’t worry if your outline is wobbly or missing in places; you can always fill in the gaps with an approximation.

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After the outline was traced, we colored in the turkey with brown crayon, and then decorated with materials from our craft bin. Veronika loved gluing down dried beans…

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…plus pouring extra beans from cup to cup for a while!

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Meanwhile, I added a few brightly colored beads on each “feather” and drew a beak and wattle as the finishing touch.

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For fun, I traced my own hand for us to decorate as well. Now we had a mommy turkey and a baby turkey!

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