Celebrate The Holidays With Paint

By Tuesday, November 25, 2014 , , Permalink 0

My boys love hands-on and messy. Me? Not so much, but if it’s the name of creating fabulous learning experiences, let’s roll!

Painting is a wonderful creative outlet for my busy boys.

This holiday season, I’ve pledged to keep the little ones involved in family celebrations through crafts. I plan to simply set out a craft table with an old table cloth, sample craft and let the fun unfold. Just be sure to forewarn parents so they can prepare with a garbage bag smock or change of clothes. 


Here’s one holiday craft idea involving paint that I mashed up for Thanksgiving and a few others I plan to explore for the rest of the season:

Photo Box Holiday Ornament

Ornament2Ornament1You can use this as a tree ornament or a holiday gift box. We used a mini Polaroid camera, but you can use a regular camera and print on photo paper or regular paper at your host’s house. Take Thanksgiving-themed photos with free downloadable props from Kristen Duke Photography.

What You Need:

  • Photo Props (optional)
  • Camera and access to printer
  • Paint, Pens, Markers, Crayons
  • Paper Gift Box
  • Ribbon
  • Glue

Babies Can Paint Too

I’m thinking it might be fun for my older toddler to help whip up this paint made with REAL fruit for his little bro from blogger Jamie Reimer (HANDS ON as we grow).

Artist and blogger Arlee (Small Potatoes) also gives step-by-step instructions on making a sensory paint bin so babies can join in on the fun too.

More Paint Project Ideas



Turkey handprint/ footprint by Will Work For Eskimo Kisses

One Foot Christmas Tree by Kideas

Hand Painted Fridge Magnets by Happy Hooligans

Custom Art Frame by My Creative Side

Sponge Paint Stamps by It Happens In A Blink

Do you have a family holiday craft idea? Feel free to share it in the comment section below! 

5 Minutes, 5 Items, 3 Easy Projects

We asked our program staff if they could create something fun that parents with young children can duplicate.

The challenge? Do it in five minutes using five recyclable items and basic household craft supplies.

Here are the results:

All projects are suitable for parent and child to create together and discuss or play later.



  • Plastic strawberry box
  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Large snack box
  • Small snack box
  • Empty toilet paper roll

CRAFT IDEA 1: Create an activity center


Work on fine motor skills while feeding into a child’s will to stuff things in small holes by cutting up pieces of string or paper or pulling out small sticks for kids to put in bottle.hands

Make a ball toss out of the plastic box.

Use a small box to store crayons.

Use large box to hold blank cards for drawing or cards with magazine photos to play a matching or identifying game. Take this one on a shopping trip, inserting cards with items on the shopping list for child to pull out, identify and hunt for.

Use and decorate another box as an award bin, storing small special award tokens received or created.

CRAFT IDEA 2: Create an ecology board


Children have lots of imagination. Encourage creativity and discovery by making a land or sea life scene with animals, potential dangers and needs. First 5 staff decided on the ocean, using cutouts from a snack box. Talk about what kinds of things can be found in the ocean. Create a chute with the toilet paper roll to encourage kids to feed the animals. DSC_1187Ask questions like “what do you think fish like to eat?” The rest of the recyclables were used to demonstrate how there is trash in the ocean. “How did it get there?” “Can fishy play or eat it?” “What can we do to keep their home clean?”

CRAFT IDEA 3: Create a game


Here, staff created a maze race with obstacles for children to follow with a small ball or toy car. Stack boxes for kids to go over or slide down with game piece. Or, open them up, so their game piece can roll through. Make a pit stops to talk about shapes, colors or compare sizes. Everyone is a winner. Decide on an award or silly jig for the end of the race.maze car

“There is a lot of inspiration around us that we can see every day and turn into projects.”

-Martha Stewart

What would you do for this challenge? Share your ideas with us in a comment below.


Mama Go-Go Puppets in Less than 5

Try as you might keep sock pairs together, somehow they manage to separate.

In the laundry basket, in the wash, from the wash to the fold, from the fold to the sock drawer, from the sock drawer, we’re always losing a sock. We lose socks so much, I’ve created a sock box to reuse as dusters or temporarily store should their mates return.

Meet Tropicano

Meet Tropicano

But kid socks make lousy dusters and pairs rarely reunite. So what to do with all those bits of cotton? Turn them into finger puppets of course!

It’s so much fun to make with toddlers, takes less than 5 minutes and can provide endless fun.