As the holiday season nears, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to decorate. If you have kids, they’re some of your best helpers and can not only put up decorations, but also make them. As the weather cools and December approaches, turn to craft projects to fill those cold evenings or days off school when the kids need something useful to do. Spruce up your existing outdoor Christmas decorations with some of these craft projects to make your home one of the most festive ones on your block.
Tin can lights: Start washing and saving all of your cans for your kids to create gorgeous luminaries for your front porch or walk. When you’re almost ready to start the project, fill the cans most of the way with water and freeze them so the cans won’t dent as you create the luminaries. Then give the kids hammers and nails, and, with careful supervision, let them use these to punch small holes in the sides of the cans. They can put the holes in random locations to make cans that look like a starry sky, or they can use holes to create outlines of familiar Christmas shapes. When you’re done, dump out the ice, pop a tea light in the bottom of the can, and set it out.
Christmas ornament wreath: Decorate your front door with a homemade wreath assembled by your kids. Start with a foam wreath shape and let kids pin a spruce garland to it. Then have them decorate with glass ornaments to finish off the project. They can either securely hang them onto the wreath with the ornament hooks or use hot glue if they can do so safely and if you don’t mind having the ornaments permanently attached.
Tomato cage tree: If your kids want to decorate a Christmas tree (or three) outdoors in addition to having one inside, you can easily re-purpose your big tomato cages from the summer to make it happen. Turn a cage upside down, bend the loose feet together and secure them with a zip tie to make a miniature Christmas tree shape. Wrap an artificial garland around it to give it the appearance of a tree, then decorate with outdoor lights and ornaments. Zip ties are incredibly helpful for getting everything to stay in place, and you can use tent stakes or bent metal garden stakes to hold the tree to the ground.
Pine cone ornaments: This is a great project if you have a pine tree in your yard or nearby, because it’s probably been dropping pine cones all over the place. Gather these from your yard, or look for them at a park or craft store if you don’t have any in your yard. Bring them inside and let the kids create ornaments out of the pine cones. A screw eye and piece of ribbon makes a perfect hanger on the bottom. Potential decorating tools include glue and glitter, spray paint and glittery ribbon. When the ornaments are done, hang them on a tree outdoors to decorate.
Many of the projects use recycled or re-purposed items, which make them inexpensive and resourceful additions to your holiday decor. When you’re done with all of these crafty projects, not only will you have a yard that looks great, but your kids will have been busy for months. Of course, younger children will need supervision for many of these projects, but they will enjoy the challenge, and you’ll probably prefer working on crafts instead of hearing about how bored your kids are.