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kids doing holiday craftsHoliday Art Projects Kids Will Love

From Christmas to Kwanzaa, Hanukkah to New Year's -- welcome the many holiday celebrations of the season into your classroom with these wonderful craft activities! Included: Ideas for multicultural learning, gift-giving, peace celebrations -- and just plain fun!

DECK THE HALLS

If you are searching for new ways to decorate your classroom with seasonal flair, look no further than the art resources of the Internet! The adorable Christmas Reindeer from Kaboose Crafts will have your students stepping out, cutting out, and having an out-and-out good time! This simple craft involves tracing a foot for the head of the reindeer and drawing around two hands for the antlers. Add some accents with the help of a little glue, and this quick craft is done in a jiffy. A well-placed red pom-pom will make this project even more special. Instead of just a "reindeer," you'll have a "Rudolph"!

Some of the most festive and easy crafts for students to make are Paper Chains. Whether they are hung from the ceiling or stapled to a bulletin board, these colorful decorations catch the eye and lift the spirit. This Web page presents directions for making paper chains and suggests that they can be made with many different types of paper, including recycled materials like old greeting cards. A simple craft that is easy to make and attractive to display, paper chains are a perfect activity for students with learning disabilities. These instructions were provided by a resource for teachers of special students called Art and Craft for Special People.

If you have never made a candy cane mouse, you're in for a real treat -- in more ways than one! This little mouse made of felt makes use of a candy cane as its tail. Wiggly eyes and a tiny pom-pom nose create a face that not only a mother, but your students, will love! Go to the Crafty Visions Newsletter and scroll down the page until you arrive at "Crafty Kids." Click on this hyperlink to that section of the page and look for "Candy Cane Mouse." Enjoy experimenting with various holiday colors of felt and patterns of candy canes!

TRADITION!

The holiday season has rich and varied traditions, and studying them can be a rewarding experience.

It can also be fun!

The 8-day Hannukah celebration begins on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev. The dates of the celebration vary from year to year. (Click here for this year's dates.) One of Hanukkah's most well known customs is the child's dreidel, a spinning top and game. Your students may create their own dreidels and play the game with information on the Hanukkah Crafts page.

From December 16-24, People in Mexico observe Las Posadas. The joyous opening of a pinata of goodies caps each day's festivities during the week's celebration. Your students may construct their own pinatas, without the messy paper-mache, if they follow the directions on the Cone Cup Pinata page from KinderArt. Students glue together cone-shaped paper cups with candy inside and paint or glue tissue paper on the outside of their cups. These pinatas will make fabulous hanging decorations in your classroom!

After Christmas comes the week-long celebration of Kwanzaa. Your students will be prepared for the holiday if you take time for the class to make Kwanzaa mats. Weave a Kwanzaa Mat explains how you may use black, red, and green paper to weave a special mat that will serve as a decoration at home. The site recommends that the mat be placed on a table and decorated with harvest foods. A great fine-motor activity for young students!

Another Kwanzaa craft, Rain Sticks aren't easily ignored! These musical instruments are very unique because they can play soothing or tempestuous sounds. With wrapping paper rolls or other cardboard tubes, rice, and foil, your students will generate some remarkably realistic downpours. Need to bone-up on your knowledge of Kwanzaa traditions and history? Visit The Meaning of Kwanzaa.

GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING

This is the season of giving, and some of your most treasured gifts are probably handmade items from former students or children of your own. Keep this in mind when you select special crafts for students to create and give to their parent or loved ones. Handprint Paperweight is a simple craft that saves for posterity an imprint of a child's hand. If you try this activity, be sure to allow your students to paint the imprints to make them more attractive and complete the historical record -- not only will they show the students' palm sizes, but they'll illustrate their artistic skill as well!

 

Now that you've taken time for your students to make the perfect gifts, make them doubly special with personalized wrapping paper! Just remember the 3P's -- potatoes, paper, and paint! Potato Crafts explains the process to follow to create wrapping paper with potato printing, but you may add your special touch to make it seasonal. Will you form tree, star, or candy cane shapes? Combine your carving skill with your students' creativity, and see what happens! Sugar Bush Kids is the source of this fun activity and lots more.

SEASON OF PEACE

"This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world."

Those words are printed on the statue that stands in memorial of a young girl who taught people about peace through her own death. Sadako Sasaki was one of the many victims of the dropping of an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, but she didn't die as a result of the initial blast. She died from leukemia ten years later, a tragic consequence of her exposure to the bomb. While she was in the hospital, a friend reminded her of a Japanese legend that suggests that a person who folds one thousand paper cranes is granted a wish, and she attempted to do this in an effort to earn a reprieve from her illness. Unfortunately, she died before she completed this task, but her classmates finished it for her. Since that time, many people have folded cranes and sent them to her statue in a message of peace for the world to see. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes tells her story.

What better tribute to Sadako Sasaki and the season of peace could there be than teaching your students to fold paper cranes? You don't have to be an origami professional to make these cranes, just follow the Origami Crane Instructions. Perhaps students in your school can work together to fold one thousand cranes and send them to the statue in Hiroshima.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Billy Bear's Playground is a great place for fun things for kids and teachers or parents to do together. Give the new year a twist with Billy's cool calendars on his Billy Bear's Happy New Year page. The calendars are blank so you can add the numbers for each month, and they'll always be up-to-date. You could print and copy the monthly pages for your students and have them create family calendars with them. They could mark family birthdays and holidays. To make them extra-special and long lasting, laminate them!

ADDITIONAL HOLIDAY SITES OF INTERNET INTEREST

Christmas Crafts for Kids
Here you'll find many directions for crafts including snow globes, luminaries, and ornaments.

Diversity Calendar
This is your one-stop source for information on multicultural holidays celebrated during every month of the year.

Santaland Christmas Crafts
This page contains an extensive list of craft activities found on the Internet.

Make a Paper Snowflake or a Snowflake Card
Did you know that there is a method to that snowflake-making madness? There is! Learn more about it here.

Article by Cara Bafile
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