Cold weather has kept us indoors for too many days! I'm beginning to think that a few moments of peaceful craft time might be worth the months of glitter cleanup afterward. Maybe I'll pass on the glitter this time around, but I definitely want to plan out some winter crafts for the kids this week! Crafts might not be physically active, but they encourage fine motor development, attention to detail, and concentration. When winter winds make a walk to the park unbearable (even with your puffy coat), try one of these 7 winter crafts with your kids!
Santa Handprint Salt Dough Ornament
The classic Christmas ornament never fails. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends you call aunts and uncles will LOVE a Christmas gift of the personalized handprint of their favorite toddler. Easy and inexpensive, salt dough ornaments are also a great way to track your kids' growth by making a new one every year! Simply make your salt dough (salt, flour, and water) and roll to moderate thickness. Outline your little one's handprint on the dough, then cute to remove it. After it hardens overnight, paint the handprint as Santa with his beard and his has - so fun!
Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments
You could try another form of Christmas ornament - the popsicle stick version! These range from basic structures to elaborate 3D sculptures - obviously, younger folks will make the simpler versions. Felt scraps, poms, and paint are all great decorating options to have on hand. Your toddler can either freehand and let their creative juices flow, or you can provide a bit more guidance and get a more camera-ready version - your choice! No one will know if you throw away their ugly version and keep the prettier one you made for the next twenty years.
Snow Dyeing Tee Shirts
A great way to make use of the wintery weather outside! Note: adults will need to do most of the actual dyeing part of this craft. Kids can help gather snow, choose colors, and twist and fold the fabric or clothes you've chosen to dye. Most tie-dye kits come with powder pigment that is mixed with water to become a colorful dye. But snow-dyeing skips the water altogether! Simply put your fabric on a cooling rack. Add snow to the top of the fabric, then sprinkle pigment powder on top of the snow as desired. As the snow melts, it pulls the dye through the fibers of the fabric and leaves behind a gorgeous marble-y quality to the dye job itself.
Sensory Play: Painting Pinecones
This is one of my favorite winter crafts; it's free and it's a great sensory activity! If you live in the Midwest, a pinecone isn't difficult to find any time of year - but wintery pine cones are always the prettiest! When we go on walks, we collect pinecones to bring home. On a day it's too cold to go for a walk, I bring out the bin of pinecones and some finger paints. This is sensory heaven - feeling the prickly irregular pinecone covered in the slick, cool gel paint! It's a craft that leans into the "imperfection" of a toddler-made work of art.
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Salty Sparkly Snowman Craft
Another fun sensory craft the salty snowman is probably going to be a huge hit in our house! My toddler loves dumping things - scooping them up and dumping them out, over and over. If I tell him he has free reign of a bin of salt...whoa! That would rock his world. Using a paper plate or cardstock, draw a snowman outline. Inside the outline, cover everything with school glue. Place the snowman, glue facing up, in a bin. Toss or pour sand over the glue to leave behind a sparkly snowman body. Add scraps of felt or beads to decorate the salty snowman! This is a great addition to your refrigerator during the holiday season.
Polar Bear Paper Mask
Another easy paper plater craft! Using a thicker paper - like a paper plate, actually - trace the outline of a polar bear face. Include ears in your outline, and punch holes to fit your toddler's eyes. You might want to color on a polar bear nose and mouth here, too. Once the mask is cut out, cover it with school glue. Give your toddler a bin of torn/shredded white tissue paper, and let them add the "fur" to their own polar bear paper mask!
Snow Painting With Food Coloring
This craft is a great way to bring the snowy outdoors right inside your home! I love it because it's a great way to introduce kids to snow without forcing them to trudge through it or faceplant into it several times. Before you bring snow into your house, you're going to want to be set up for this craft. Put a few towels down on your floor, and mix food coloring with water to create your "paint". Add a few brushes to your craft area. Then, fill a bin with snow and bring it indoors. Tell your kids they have to beat the clock - will the snow melt before they finish painting?
Even if they're only "decorating" the family holiday cards, toddlers can make some pretty cool art! My favorite Christmas ornaments are the ones I made when I was a kid during the same kind of winter indoor craft time I'm encouraging you to do with your kids. Trust me, there's enough cold winter ahead; you need these craft ideas to survive it!
What other winter-themed crafts do you do with your children? Share pictures with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #WinterCraftIdeas.