Looking for seasonal fun to keep the kids busy at home? We rounded up three craft and STEAM ideas from Macaroni KID publishers that are sure to keep kids happy and engaged ... at least for the next 20 minutes! Plus, if your kitchen and craft shelf looks like ours, you probably already have everything you need right at home for these winter-themed crafts:
Growing your own ice crystals at home is super easy — and is sure to wow your kids, no matter how old they are. Plus, you're sneaking in a science lesson! This STEAM project originally appeared on our Macaroni KID Athens, Ga. site!
You need just a few common household ingredients and an adult to help in order to go all Elsa and grow your own ice crystals:
- 6 Tbsp borax powder
- 2 cups water
- A pot (to boil water)
- Glass jar
- Pipe cleaners
- Put the water on to boil. While you're waiting, make a snowflake by cutting two pieces of pipe cleaners approximately 2 inches long and then twisting them together. Then twist a couple more pipe cleaners on in any kind of shape you'd like. Make sure to leave one piece of the pipe cleaner long enough to reach from the top edge of the jar down into the solution.
- Attach the clothespin to the longest piece of pipe cleaner and trim the ends of the remaining pipe cleaners, if needed, to make them even.
- Add the borax powder to the jar. Pour the boiling water into the jar (This is a job for the adult!).
- Lower the snowflake into the solution, using the clothespin across the top of the jar to keep it from falling in. (You don't want the water to cool down before the pipe cleaner is added to the solution.) The water should cover the snowflake.
- Have your kids observe the crystal every few hours to see how it is changing, or even consider making a time-lapse video!
- Your crystal will be "done" in about six hours. (The longer you let the snowflake sit in the solution, the more crystals will form.)
Kids excited and want to do it again? Try taking your experiment a step further by using objects other than a pipe cleaner to compare how the crystals grow on different kinds of surfaces!
This fun recipe originally appeared on our Hickory, N.C. Macaroni KID site! We love that it only takes two ingredients. Added bonus: instead of leaving your hands frozen and dry, it makes them silky and soft. Kids of all ages will have fun with this one, molding the home-made snow into fun shapes or just squishing the clay with their fingers. Add fun props to build snowmen!
- 2 cups corn starch
- 1/2 cup baby oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2-4 tablespoons white or silver glitter (optional)
To make the snow dough, simply mix the corn starch with the oil until all the powder is mixed in well. Add the glitter (if using). It should feel soft and damp, and stick together when molded.
Now you're ready to crunch the snow between your fingers for great sensory play and begin making shapes and other creations. Use props like small twigs, pipe cleaners, beads, bottle caps, ribbon, etc to decorate a snowman family!
Note: if making this with kids young enough that a risk of ingestion exists, use vegetable oil instead of the baby oil, just in case!
Wooden block snowmen
These little snowmen are so easy to make, and little kids will love painting them and making their faces! Older kids can create them on their own. The end product is adorable and a keepsake for your home, or makes a great gift for someone your kids love. A publisher from Illinois introduced us to this fun craft.
- Wooden tower blocks. (We used generic tumbling tower/jumbling tower blocks from the local big box store. These typically come 48 to a box for about $5.)
- White acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- 1 large nail and a hammer
- 3/4 inch screw eyes - one per snowman
- Permanent markers - black and orange
- 6-inch-by-1/2-inch piece of scrap fabric or ribbon for each snowman's scarf
- 6-inch piece of twine or sisal string - one per snowman
- Glue gun, glue dots, or tacky glue to secure scarf
- Wax paper to cover your work surface (wet blocks will stick to newspaper)
- Small piece of sandpaper to finish edges
- Paint the wooden block on all sides with white acrylic paint.
- If there are any messy edges, use a small piece of fine sandpaper to fix the edges. You can also use the sandpaper to make the snowmen look a bit distressed if you like that look!
- Insert a screw into the top of each block. We first made a starter hole with a hammer and large nail, and then screwed in the screw eye.
- Using the permanent markers, draw the snowman's face and buttons down the front.
- Tie a scarf around the block just below the face. We used thin strips of fabric that were easier to work with than stiff ribbon. It's a great way to use up extra crafting supplies if you have leftovers lying around.
- Add a dot of hot glue under the fabric so the scarf stays in place. (A glue dot or tacky glue would work as well.)
- Tie a piece of string through the screw eye on top, and your snowman is ready for display!