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Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments

2015-12-11 by Julie Kieras

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This handmade Christmas ornaments craft is shared by our guest blogger Julie Kieras of HappyStrongHome!

My boys love the tactile experience of play dough, and since this was our get-the-tree weekend, I asked if they’d like to create some handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay to decorate our tree! My oldest son especially was enthused about this craft idea.

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Now usually when they use play dough or clay, it’s more about the process than product. They’ll roll and mix and chop and shape happily, tell stories and make fantastical creations. While the end result isn’t going to hang on a tree, the memories are glorious!

However, for a product-based craft time, I knew they’d need a little direction to focus their creative efforts. You can use these same easy steps to help your kids create some handmade Christmas ornaments too!

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Get started by asking what might make a good shape to hang on the tree. The boys came up with candy canes, snowmen, stars, and gingerbread men. Oh and, a tree! Of course! We talked about what colors they’ll use, especially if they need to blend two colors to create a third color choice!

Set out colorful clay and let the creating begin! Working on one ornament at a time helps keep the clay fresh and sticking together well while kids create their ornaments. You can always add a little glue later if needed.

You’ll also want to have some basic clay tools handy like a small roller, clay knife (plastic knife will do) and cutters. We used our Cut, Sculpt & Mold Clay Play Set, along with Christmas cookie cutters and toothpicks.

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

We decided to create flat rolled-out ornaments using cookie cutters. I found I had to help them get the modeling compound evenly rolled out, which was a good process learning experience for them. There’s many chances to tuck in a little learning while you craft!

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Once you have basic shapes cut out with the cookie cutters, you can add details. Roll small balls or beads, and “snakes” out of the clay. The kids created small beads for eyes, buttons, ornaments, lights, and tiny snakes for smiles. Creating the gingerbread man with my three-year-old provided us an excellent opportunity to discuss facial features, as he wanted to put all the face parts right on the forehead! I love these kinds of impromptu learning moments that come up when we craft!

Poke a toothpick through near the top to add a hook or string for hanging. I also scratched the boys’ names and the year into the back with a toothpick for memories!

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

Younger kids may not stay interested in creating a lot of details for their ornament. Have a non-messy activity handy for when their interest wanes. My little guy was delighted to shift to “baking cookies” with the Slice & Bake Christmas Cookie set. He launched right into slicing and serving up brightly frosted cookies for us as we continued to work on my older son’s ornament. Even my five-year-old joined in eating pretend cookies once he was done making a few ornaments!

Whether a slicing cookies or clay, whenever kids can get their hands busy with crafts while celebrating the holidays, that is a gift in my book!

Check out my post 15 Process Based Clay Activities for additional clay play experiences!

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Crafting in Clay: Handmade Christmas Ornaments *Learn how kids can create simple handmade Christmas ornaments out of clay, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

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Julie Kieras

Julie Kieras mothers two inquisitive boys with the support of her husband in the lovely four seasons of New England. She is often found at home interpreting toddler-speak, elbow deep in Play Dough, or behind the pages of a book. She blogs about her family life at HappyStrongHome.com.

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