The elves' workshop

9 holiday crafts to keep kids busy between rounds of dashing though the snow.

Learning Stages

By Shelby Moore


Shelby Moore is a kindergarten teacher at an inner-city school in Houston and was recently awarded as one of the East Region's Campus Teachers of the Year.

When art and music programs are cut due to funding constraints, classroom teachers are often required to incorporate art into their daily lessons. With so much that is already required of us as educators, art can get pushed aside. I love when the holidays roll around because it gives my students and me the opportunity to be creative while getting into the holiday spirit.

Here are some easy crafting ideas to keep kids busy on cold weekends indoors or over the winter breakso you can sneak away to wrap presents!

Hand-traced tree or wreath

Materials: Green construction paper, writing utensil, scissors

Trace around your child's hand (or have them try to trace around the hand they do not hold the pencil with). Do this many times until you have enough hands to make an evergreen tree or wreath. Cut them all out and place them in a large triangle pattern for a tree or a circle for a wreath.

Pattern a candy cane

Materials: Pipe cleaners, beads, string

Bend the pipe cleaner in the shape of a candy cane. String beads onto the pipe cleaner—it's that easy!

CD ornaments

Materials: Old CDs, construction paper, liquid glue, glitter

Cover the label-side of the CDs with small pieces of construction paper. Do not cover the center hole because that is how the CD will hang on the tree. On the shiny side write your name and the year using the liquid glue. Then sprinkle it with glitter. The ornament really makes the tree shine.

Wish list

Materials: Plain white paper, markers or bingo daubers, a writing utensil

Write a wish list to Santa and create a pretty border around the edge of the paper.

Pin-poke a winter scene

Materials: Black construction paper, tack or pin, carpeted floor or rug

Make winter scenes by placing the paper on a soft surface like carpet so the pin can easily poke through. Then, simply poke holes through the paper in a design. This activity helps your child practice fine motor skills and challenges them to create shapes and pictures using only tiny dots. Place in front of a window to let the light come through the dots–how fun!

Reindeer antlers

Materials: Brown construction paper, writing utensil, scissors, liquid glue, glitter, stapler

Draw reindeer antlers on the brown paper. Cut them out and decorate them as you please (we added glitter!). Staple it to a strip of paper that will fit around your child's head. Presto! Your very own little reindeer.


Materials: Brown construction paper, writing utensil, glue, scissors (we used googly eyes and a red pom-pom for the nose, but you can use markers if you don't have those things)

Have your child trace around one of his feet on the brown paper. Then trace each of his two hands. Next, cut out the foot and hands. Glue the hands at the top of the foot to look like antlers. Add decorations to the face to make it look like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Santa hand

Materials: White paint (preferably tempera paint), red and black construction paper, scissors, cotton balls

Paint one hand with the white paint. Make a hand print by pressing the hand down onto the black paper (turn it upside down and it will be Santa’s beard). Wash the hand with soap and water. While the paint is drying, draw a Santa hat on the red paper and cut it out. Using cotton balls, decorate the hat. Add eyes right above the handprint with markers or googly eyes if you have them. Lastly, glue the Santa hat on top.

Christmas tree decorating

Materials: Green construction paper, bingo daubers or markers/crayons, liquid glue, glitter

Draw an evergreen tree on the green paper. Decorate the tree by being as creative as possible.