holiday crafting and baking with kids December 15, 2011

I recently got a review copy of Jessica Strand’s new book, Holiday Crafting & Baking with Kids, and I love it. It arrived last Tuesday, and we immediately planned a couple of very fun crafty playdates for Wednesday and Friday with two of Pearl’s best friends!

Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids

The first project I saw that was right up her alley was the O Christmas Tree soft felt ornaments. Our Christmas tree desperately needs more cute, unbreakable ornaments – Everett has just started walking and he’s very good at it! This project is not only very 3.5-year-old friendly, it didn’t require a single extra thing from the store (I have a crazy stash of felt colors). Perfect.

Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids

We started with the kids (Pearl and her buddy Kirin) choosing the felt color they wanted for backgrounds. I traced a large jar lid and cut the rounds out with pinking shears, then asked what kind of decorations and shapes they wanted to add to their first ornament. The rule that worked well was that they could pick all their preferred colors, shapes, and sizes of felt pieces, but that I did the cutting and pinking. Then, once they’d placed everything just so, I glued the bits down and we cut out new rounds to decorate. It worked super well, and in just an hour or so, they had made six ornaments together! Here are Pearl’s. Two are similar to the ones in the book, but I really love that free-form circle one – she had a great time digging deep into my button jar for favorites to arrange…

Pearl's first 3 ornaments

Kirin made these three. That giraffe is spectacular (a collaboration between him and his mom!).

Kirin's felt ornaments

Then, a couple days later, Pearl’s friend Rowan came over for ornament-making part two. In the meantime, I’d made it to the craft store for googly eyes – Pearl announced that she wanted to make a Christmas present ornament that was looking at you. So she did.

Pearl's googly-eyed gift ornament

Rowan made some great ones too – I liked the pipe cleaner hangers!

Rowan's felt ornaments

Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids is an adorable book. Jessica mentioned in her introduction that she worked on it with her ten-year-old son Lucian, which I thought was so cool. They came up with 26 projects total, covering Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s – everything from table decorations, gift wrap and cards to garlands, cookies, and gifts. It’s so nice to see a book that’s meant for younger kids and bigger ones – so many of the kids’ craft books I have are still a ways out from my 3.5-year-old. This one is recommended for 4 and up, but many of the projects are very do-able for the preschooler. We want to try this one next:

Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids

Who knows how much Pearl’s snowflakes will look like the ones on the page, but I think they will be awesome – she was really excited to find special sparkly pipe cleaners at the store to bend and twist! The other projects she wants to make are the paper snowflakes, the brownie gift jar, and the happy New Year paper poppers.

Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids

Thank you to Chronicle for sending me this book! It has gotten a lot of love around here already. It looks like Powell’s downtown has a couple of copies if you are local!

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