craftingWe've heard over and over that it's not the gift but the thought that counts, and it's time to help your kids cash in on that noble notion. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends will love pretty much anything your adorable little tyke gives them this gift-giving season, and what better way to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" than a homemade craft made from the heart? I mean, seriously. Only a Grinch doesn't love something made from construction paper, glue, and glitter. 

So! Here are 5 fun holiday craft ideas that your kids can make and give to loved ones with a big, proud smile on their hardworking faces. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

The classic Clothespin Reindeer. KISS -- Keep it simple, stupid. This craft is as timeless as it is heartwarming.

Supplies:

Clothespins (please note that you you do not need the ones with a spring)
Small red pom poms, red marker, or red round beads
Glue
Wiggly eyes
Glitter

Instructions:

Take two clothespins and glue them together, in the same direction, to make the body of the reindeer.
Take one clothespin and add a dab of glue to the round part of the pin for the nose. Apply a red pom pom, red bead, or draw it on with a red marker.
Take a small amount of glue and add the eyes, or use black, blue or brown marker to draw on the eyes.
Glue head to the body to complete the reindeer.
Add glitter to the antlers.
Add eyelashes to the eyes to make a girl.
Add a small bow above her eyes if you want.
Tie a piece of ribbon around its neck for a scarf.

Toilet Paper Tube Snowmen -- these little guys are super cute and super easy. Make a whole village of them, why doncha?

Supplies:

Toilet paper rolls (empty)
White paint (tempera)
Black or brown pipe cleaners
Hole punch
3 different colors of construction paper
Black marker
Orange marker
Wiggly eyes

Instructions:

Cut a toilet paper tube into three sections.
Place the sections on top of one another sideways (so you can see through the tubes when you look sideways at them).
Glue the sections together.
Kids can then decorate with paint, markers and wiggly eyes.

Santa-Head Lightbulb Ornament. This one is for the older kids, but younger ones can do it with some supervision.

Supplies:

Old, burnt-out light bulb
Acrylic paint and brushes
Wire or strong string
Glue gun and glue sticks
Cotton balls

Instructions:

Paint the light bulb white, leaving an oval unpainted. This will be Santa's face.
Paint the oval a flesh color.
Let the paint dry.
Draw two eyes and a smile on Santa's face. You can use paint, markers, googly eyes, etc.
Paint the socket part of the bulb like Santa's hat: mostly red with white on the very top.
Let the paint dry.
Glue on pieces of cotton balls to make Santa's hair and beard fluffy.
Attach wire or cord to end of light bulb and hang.

Q-Tip Snowflakes. Easy, fun, and so cute.

Supplies:

Blue construction paper or cardstock (or whatever color of background you'd like)
Q-Tips
Glue
Scissors (optional)

Instructions:

Cut your Q-Tips in various sizes or just use them whole for younger children. Use them to create beautiful snowflakes on your blue paper. Glue all of your Q-Tips in place and you're finished! Remember, no two snowflakes look alike!

Homemade Candles. Definitely need to be involved as a parent in this craft, but when you're done, arrange your homemade candles in a wreath, stones, or something else.

Supplies:

Embroidery floss or any other thick 100% cotton thread (though it’s better to use an actual wick, you can get those in craft stores)
Beeswax/wax

Baby bottle

Instructions:

Fill a saucepan with boiling water and place your bottle of hard wax inside. Wait for the wax to melt.
When all the wax has melted, dip your embroidery floss into the bottle.
Remove it, count to five, and dip it into the wax again.
Do this about a hundred times.
When you are happy with your candle, just hang it up to harden. After a few hours, your candle is ready to use.

Happy crafting!

What's your favorite kid-friendly holiday craft?


Photo via Carissa GoodNCrazy/Flickr