I will be the first to announce I’m not the normal crafty mom. I wish I was some days, but I just am not. I am not a crafty person in general nor do I have a lot of extra time to make these super cool time extensive crafts. I do however know how important family time is and even a small craft can give  lasting memories. So, on that note, this is going to be super simple crafts you can make without having to waste an entire day. They are cute and fun and simple. And in no way shape or form am I trying to bash crafty moms. I love and admire the other crafts, it’s just not me and I know there are other moms like me out there. 

Traditional construction paper links

On that note, let’s start with a time old tradition craft, or at least it was in my home. The construction paper rings. It’s probably the most cheesiest of all crafts but also the most simple and cost efficient  as well. You take construction paper in whatever colors your heart desires and you cut them instrips (the long ways) about half an inch to an inch wide. We always did the green and red colors, but you can pick any array of colors you want. You will either need glue, tape or a stapler to connect them. If you want to go a step beyond, you can decorate each strip of paper before you roll it. In that case, you will want to have crayons, markers, colored pencils, glitter and such on hand as well. 

Now, you roll the first strip into a circle and either glue, tape or staple it together. Then you choose your next strip of paper and you roll it through the inside of the first one and glue, tape or staple it and so on and so forth. You can make this chain as long or short as you want too. That is the joys of this craft. We always did this for the days left until Xmas. Each day we got to cut off a ring and count the days until it was Christmas. You can also use this chain link of paper for decorating the Christmas tree. As I mentioned, these are simple, but one of my fondest memories during the holidays.

Looking for educational toy gift ideas for children? Check these out.

Countdown DIY Craft

Do your kids like holidays and chocolate? I know I do! I mean our kids do. This craft takes a little more cutting and placement, but it just as fun. I like to use a holiday colored piece of tag board to start. Normally I start with red or green, I know weird huh. I also prefer the larger size tag board as you will be cutting and drawing. For this craft you need the tag board, mini size candy bars or any type of small candy, tape or glue, with whatever you like to decorate such as markers, crayons, cotton balls, etc. The final thing is to makeshift a  cardboard box to fit behind your tag board and then making little compartments. Side note, instead of making the compartments, you can just mark the spot you need to tape or glue your candy to.

Next you will need to draw 25 squares on the tag board and cut them out like doors so you can open and close them. The first square will either say 25 or 1 depending on how you want to do it. The goal is on December 1st, you open the first door and you get your small candy or chocolate treat behind the door. The easiest way to do it is find a cardboard box and make it shallow enough to fit the candy. Then you trace the placement of the candy or chocolate on the cardboard to match with the doors on the tag board. The final step is pretty easy. You tape or glue the candy in the cardboard. 

Ok, I lied, one more step. Lastly, you have to place the tag board over the cardboard box and use some type of adhesive to keep them together.  

I attached an image of a fancy one that you could buy or even make this one, but what’s the fun in that? Make memories trying this craft out!

Maybe your baby isn’t quite ready for crafts? No problem! Here are some toys for newborns that will help with development.

All aboard the Christmas train

Next may just be one of my favorite and creative crafts I just had to duplicate! You need the following items; pringles chips can or similar item, 4 suckers, a tootsie roll, small individual wrapped Reeses, 2 mini 3 musketeers candy bar, life savers roll of candy a small bell and short amount of ribbon with a dot or gum drop candy, wrapping paper and two of those craft eyes. The easiest way to make all this stick is hot glue too. 

You wrap the can in your wrapping paper and tape it on. Then you hot glue the suckers on each side like wheels. The life saver’s with the bell on top gets glued towards the front on top next to the lid. Then of course you need to glue your Reese’s in behind the life savers an inch or so and then the chocolate at the back side behind that. While you are working on this, you can take the lid off and glue on the eyes, candy gum drop nose and the tootsie roll mouth and there you go. A candy train!!

If this isn’t the cutest train, I don’t know what is!

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DIY salty chocolate pleasures

So what about making some easy tasty holiday treats with your kids, nieces, nephews or even grandchildren? This is super simple and fun, but be wary of the “slow cooker” and children as it will get hot and fast. I am talking about the cooker itself and the bark both! You need to get almond bark in whatever flavor you prefer. My personal preference is the white chocolate myself. And buy some pretzels. Around this time of the year they have holiday pretzels with trees and snowmen and what not. Or you can go for any type of pretzel shape you like. Finally you need a small slow cooker or crock pot and tongs. If you are feeling extra creative, grab some sprinkles!

Step 1: turn on the crock pot and let it get hot

Step 2: add some almond bars.

Step 3: open the pretzel bag

Step 4: sneak a pretzel or two while you wait for the almond bar to melt

step 5: tell your little one (for the hundreth time) not to touch the crock pot or it will give you an owie.

Step 6: use the tongs to dip your pretzel into the almond bark and pull it out. 

DISCLAIMER: If you want to add sprinkles, you need to be like “The Flash” fast or it will dry almost instantly.

That’s all though. You’re done. It’s that easy and you can say you baked holiday treats with your kids.

Looking for gift ideas for babies? Here are the best baby toys for 6-12 month olds.

Office supply bedazzled holder

Another simple craft that we have done and given away as gifts are the pencil holders. You need an empty and clean can of veggies or something similar and construction paper with whatever you want to decorate with. You wrap the can with the construction paper and you decorate it however you want. In the past, we have given these as Christmas gifts so they would have the recipient’s name with whatever your child decides to draw on it. Then you can use it to put pencils, pens, miscellaneous items or whatever you choose. I did them as a child for my parents and my kids have done with for us and their grandparents as well. 

Stuck in the house for the holidays? Here are some fun activity ideas for when you can’t get outside.

There are much more different crafts to do around the holidays or anytime in general, but here are just some of my favorites that are cost efficient and not too terribly time consuming. If your children are anything like mine, they will get “bored” quickly and you’re stuck doing it all by yourself. So, come one and give it a try. If it doesn’t turn out how you want, you will still be making memories! Crafts are super fun, but don’t forget about the power of pretend play. You can get involved, too! And there are always a lot of food scraps left over from prepaing Christmas dinner. Teach your kids the power of composting so they can learn about the circle of life.  Planning to travel for the holidays? Keep your baby secure with a handy car seat. View product here.

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Jillian Robinson - one of the Stuff4Tots editorial team
Jillian Robinson (RN)

Jillian is a registered nurse and mom of two.  Her eldest being a teenager and her youngest a toddler.  The wide spread of ages, coupled with her medical background, give Jillian a unique insight into the challenges and joys families and parents face at each stage of life's journey.