It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Seeking inspiration…

As you know, Mary is tired this week. Tired, tired, tired. I have all sorts of terrific post ideas in my head. Well, I’m sure they’re in there, because lord only knows they’re not appearing on this screen. And stuff has been happening. Lots of stuff. Stuff is always happening around here. I recall laughing at least six times this morning, but can I remember why?

No, I can not. Because I am tired, tired, tired.

Which has me wondering if I’m scaring the children by bursting into sudden, unexplained fits of laughter at irregular intervals. Maybe that’s why they’ve been so exceedingly well-behaved today…

Poor little buggers.

I cannot tell you what happened this morning, so I will tell you about my plans. Or my plans to make plans. Because really, I’m too tired to plan this week. But I am planning to!!

I have gotten so far as to gather some Christmas craft supplies. See?


I know just what I’m going to do with some of that stuff. The egg cartons? Cut them into cups, smoosh squares of tin foil around each one, poke a thread through the top, and Christmas bells! Easy. I have four egg cartons so far. That’s one dozen bells for each of the three-year-olds, and a cup or two for the one-year-olds to gnaw on and leave in sodden lumps on the dining table.

At the left, you can see two variation of the pipecleaner candycane, which they can do. The older kids can push beads onto pipecleaners. The younger two can moosh pipecleaners in their pudgy hands prior to stuffing them in their mouths.

On the blue plate are my faves, the foamy stickers. No idea what I’ll do with those. Nor the glitter (in the white box), or the metallic, 10-cm twist ties. The Christmas balls are entirely shatterproof. When you press them, they bend.

The silver doilies are going to be angels, of course.

What else?

Brainstorm with me, oh parents-of-teenies. What would you do with these things? More to the point, what would you like to see coming home from daycare with your kid?

Take as a given that I have all the accessories: scissors, hole punch, tape (masking, scotch, and duct), glue (sticks, white, and hot melt), string… I also have the standard craft supplies: construction paper in a rainbow of colours, white paper, crayons, markers, foam sheets, stickers, toilet paper tubes, envelopes, card stock… If it’s basic and I don’t have it, it’s likely only because we’ve run out, and I’m totally prepared to buy more.

Help my weary brain. What can I do with this stuff?

December 3, 2008 - Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I love that you do so many crafts with your kids. I’ll just toss out the suggestion to also think about non-religious winter crafts. Snowflakes, snowmen, mittens, sleds, hot cocoa… But then, we’re Jewish. I’m guessing you don’t have any non-Christian kids.

    If “Christian” means “those who celebrate Christmas”, you’d be right. Thus I tend to do Christmas crafts through December, and save the winter crafts for after. It’s a looooong winter in this city: there’s plenty of time!

    Comment by lynn | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  2. One of my good friends is blogging about crafts she’s doing with her children as a kind of Advent/countdown to Christmas. They do some great crafts and she links to the pages with the instructions, maybe you’ll find some ideas there.

    That’s great! Thank you! I loved the handprint Christmas tree. I’m planning on making handprint wreaths with them (need to buy more wrapping paper), as I’ve done in previous years, but I hadn’t thought of a tree. V cool.

    Comment by Lizzy | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. I had them stick tissue paper onto glass babyfood jars with glue. It gets wrinkled which looks pretty. When dry, put a bit of sand and a votive candle inside. Stained glass!

    Plastic Easter eggs also work with glue and tissue. Open them first and put a string through the middle so they can be used as an ornament later. Rolling them in glitter before completely dry works for both projects.

    Baby food jars filled with water and glitter are cute if you hot glue a small toy inside on the lid. When (permanently) closed you have a snow globe.

    The toilet paper tubes can be cute angels with a half circle of doilie behind them. Saw a cute one once that used Silent Night sheet music in a cone shape with a doilie behind it. Maybe they had some type of bead/pipecleaner head too.

    Have you done paper plate wreaths? Foamies would work on those well. A quick photo of the kid in the middle and you’ve got it done.

    Have fun! We’re painting wooden room signs for cousins: Charlie’s Room etc. Both can paint, one will letter.

    I’d thought of toilet paper creches, but honestly hadn’t thought to use the shiny doilies with the toilet paper tubes to make angels. (See? Tired!) In fact, I don’t know if I’ll do the creche. A lotta work… Unless, that is, we do one figure a day, a couple of days a week. Then it could be a quasi Advent activity. Hmmmm….

    Can’t do the baby food jar crafts: No baby food, hence, no jars! But will bear in mind the picture frame idea. Thank you!

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. I have an ornament I make in pre-school (about age 4) that was a ball ornament. The teacher wrote the year in glue and then I sprinkled glitter all over it. I’m not sure if it’s too advanced/messy for your little ones, but Mom still has it after years.

    Another one involves butter tub lids. Cut a good sized hole (3-4″ depending on the size of the lid) in it. Wrap yarn all the way around it (I don’t see yarn in your picture but maybe you have some elsewhere). Paste a photo or drawing the kid does onto the “back” of the yarn wrapped ornament. Presto! A frame and cute picture.

    PS: There are some really cute crafts on this page:
    I’m a big fan of the paper plate reindeer.

    If all they have to do is sprinkle glitter, I’m sure they can manage it! I try to keep the glitter crafts to one/week, since it takes at least a week for the last traces of the stuff to vanish from EVERYWHERE in the house, but I like them!

    Thanks for the link. The reindeer is cute, but I was particularly drawn to those sparkly stars. I have a ton of coloured popsicle sticks!

    Comment by V. | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  5. Here’s what I would like to see my kid bring home…
    Give each tot a container with a tight sealing lid.
    Fill each container 3/4 full with epsom salt. Let each tot pick scent a or b ( or c if you’re patient that day)- count 10 drops of scent into the salt. Let tots pick what color food coloring 2-3 drops Put on the lids and shake-a shake-a shake-a!
    Yea! Nice smelling bath salts for Mommy!
    You’ll need containers, salt, essential oil and food coloring, all fairly cheap and widely available… I know my son would have a blast doing the shaking part…
    And the mommies will love you!

    Oooo, brilliant! I will totally do this craft. Thank you!

    Comment by Jennifer | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  6. OH, and you can decorate the containers before or after as you see fit…

    I’d already thought of it! 🙂

    Comment by Jennifer | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  7. Print and cut out a few small pictures (one of each shild. I’d have them take the backing off the foamie stickers (small motor skills) place their sticker in the center and then lay them (picture side down) in the glitter to make a “border.” Use the twist ties as the loop to hang them on the tree. Instant, glittery, foamie ornaments. As a nanny, I’ve learned that parents like pictures of their kids on the tree, and kids like ANYTHING with glitter and their own face. Let me know what you coem up with! LOVE the egg carton bell idea!

    Use pictures of the kids in their crafts! Ha! Terrific idea, and so obvious — and I’ve never done it. What was I thinking??

    Comment by Coley Moley!! | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  8. Sorry, apparently I’m too tired for typing. Hope you were able to understand what I meant! If not, let me know!

    Comment by Coley Moley!! | December 3, 2008 | Reply

  9. Use the silver baubles to make Santa Heads, use cotton wool for the hair and beard, foam stickers for face and hat.

    I’d thought of a few possibilities for the baubles, but that wasn’t one of them. So much choice I have now! This is great. Thank you.

    Comment by sarah | December 4, 2008 | Reply

  10. 1. If they’re too young for paper chain garland, they can make garland from yarn and cut-up drinking straws. We still have (35 years later!!) a garland my brother made in preschool, alternating 1.5 or 2″ pieces of drinking straw with big fat beads, all strung on a length of yarn.

    2. Do something similar to your tissue paper translucent pumpkins — stick torn squares of colored tissue paper on a piece of waxed paper with a little glue or paste or glue sticks. Cover with a second sheet. Iron the waxed paper/tissue paper sandwich to make it stick together (you could use transparent contact paper, but the stickiness might be too sticky). Cut out gothic window shapes to create stained glass church window ornaments, the light will shine right through them.

    3. I second the notion of photos on the foamies to make tree ornament…we have several 35+ year old tree ornaments with photos of us as children (granted, made with felt rather than foam!)

    4. We all three, at 42, 41 and 39 still have our ornaments with our name in glitter, from our daycare days (write name on ornament with glue, cover with glitter, shake off excess).

    5. Stab whole cloves into an orange to create a pomander ball (this may involve too much dexterity for little kids?)

    6. If the kids all have the Santa tradition, you could make “magical reindeer food” — glitter mixed with oatmeal in a decorated tin or baggie to scatter outside for Santa’s reindeer.

    7. Buy several sheets of cork, the kind used for bulletin boards. Cut into circles. Let the kids paint them or attach Christmassy images (stickers or images cut from old Christmas cards). You can shellac them if you wish, but they make better coasters if some of the cork is uncoated. Tie in bundes of four or six with a ribbon, to make sets of coasters to give as gifts. Every year, my godmother STILL pulls out her “Christmas coasters” that I made for her when I was four…though they’re pretty ratty now!

    8. Make “cocoa kits”, allowing the kids to spoon hot cocoa mix into baggies or small jars or small plastic containers, along with possibly some powdered milk or powdered creamer (makes it richer), allowing the kids to count out marshmallows or peppermint candies or chocolate chips to go in each container (“one, two, THREE marshmallows!”) Let the kids decorate small cards with stickers or drawings or glitter on one side, you write the directions to make the cocoa on the other side.

    LOVE the bath salts idea…and may do that myself!

    Wow! There’s enough here to keep us busy all month! Thanks! Love that coaster idea. I’ll have to see where I can buy the cork. The garland idea is great, too. They LOOOOOVE stringing things.

    Comment by Carolie | December 4, 2008 | Reply

  11. we made the hand christmas tree from one of the comment links, great and easy and dumpling loved it! We’re also making bells from eggs boxs and foil and we’re just off to the shop for pipe cleaners, paper plates, tealight candles and popsicle sticks, you’ve inspired us!

    Comment by jenny | December 5, 2008 | Reply

  12. Here’s a blog you’ll probably like-she’s always doing creative stuff w/ her kids!

    Comment by Yaya | December 8, 2008 | Reply

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