Dubai: School winter break is here! This means it’s that time of the year, again, when parents, who haven’t made holiday travel plans, start to wonder how to keep children engaged at home for three weeks.
One of the ways to get children to ditch screens is to keep them busy with some arts and crafts.
Multiple scientific studies have shown that arts and crafts during childhood contribute significantly to child development.
An article on the Australian occupational therapy website childdevelopment.com.au states that craft projects help children develop fine motor skills by requiring them to use small muscles in their hands and fingers.
These skills are necessary for tasks such as writing, eating, and taking care of themselves.
They also boost cognitive skills. According to a study by the International Child Art Foundation, a US-based non-profit international art organisation for children: “Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property — key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the 21st century.”
Do-it-yourself (DIY) crafts are a healthy form of self-expression that boost children’s creativity, imagination, problem-solving skills, and planning.
With the festive season around the corner, here are some DIY Christmas ornaments that children can make at home.
1. Tissue roll Christmas characters
Don’t toss those tissue roll cardboard tubes in the garbage; they are perfect for making small Christmas characters. All you need is some acrylic paint, an outlining marker, some felt craft sheets in different colours, small craft pompoms, and some self-adhesive black-and-white googly eyes, which are available at most craft stores and even online. Choose a character you want to make, paint the tubes, and add the eyes, nose, and other decorations from your craft supplies. From Santa to Rudolph the reindeer, there are many characters to choose from.
2. Cardboard Christmas trees
Here’s the perfect way to use all those cardboard boxes you saved up from your online shopping this year. Using a pair of scissors or a paper cutter, carefully cut out triangle shapes in different sizes. For the base, cut up some tissue roll tubes at the desired length. Now, on the top rim of the tube, make two cuts on opposite sides so the triangular pieces can be placed vertically. Your easy cardboard Christmas tree is ready.
3. Wooden clothespin snowflakes
Have wooden clothespins lying around the house? Here’s a unique way to make snowflake-shaped ornaments. Remove the tension springs from the pins, paint the wooden pieces white, and let them dry. Now using super glue or a glue gun, stick the ends of the pin together. Assemble five or six painted pins and glue them together to look like snowflakes, as shown in the picture.
4. Paper Christmas tree garlands
This is probably the easiest DIY project on this list. You will need sheets of green and white plain craft papers, a pair of scissors, twine, glue, or double-sided tape. Cut the craft sheets into five-inch squares. Fold the pieces in half. Using a pencil, outline the shape of a Christmas tree and cut them out. Using glue or double side tape, glue two trees together with the twine sandwiched lengthwise in the middle. Make multiple garlands to hang them parallel like a curtain or as a Christmas wall hanging.
5. A mini forest of yarn Christmas trees
For making these, you will need light-coloured yarn balls, some craft cones, glue, and scissors to cut the yarn. Craft cones are available at most craft stores and stationery sections in some discount stores in the UAE.
You can also order them online from e-commerce websites. Coil and stick the yarn around the cones. You can also decorate these trees with sparkles or tiny pompoms.
6. 3D paper trees
For this project, you will need sheets of plain green craft paper and a pair of scissors. Cut the craft sheets into five- or seven-inch squares. Now outline a Christmas tree on one side.
Draw horizontal lines at 1cm distance along the length of the Christmas tree from the middle of the paper, as shown in the picture. Now, cut along the lines. Open the folded piece of paper and push alternate paper strips outwards to balance out the tree (please refer to the picture).
7. Popsicle stick snowman
Get a set of craft popsicle sticks and make these snowman hangings for your Christmas tree. You will need white paint and small white and green cotton balls. A pair of scissors, a sheet of red craft paper for the cap and scarf, an orange craft sheet for the nose, glue, self-adhesive black-and-white googly eyes, tape, and twine for hanging. Paint the popsicle stick with white paint, stick the eyes, scarf, and cap, and use the small cotton balls for buttons. Cut a seven-inch long piece of twine and fold it in half. Secure it behind the popsicle stick using some tape.
8. Christmas candle holders
Reuse small glass jars in your kitchen to hold tea lights. Dress them up for Christmas by using some red, green, and white ribbons.