Are you looking for easy christmas craft ideas for kids? Check out our at-home activities to keep your kids busy during the cold winter months. Here are some ideas to keep your littles entertained while staying warm! Crafts are a great way to incorporate tangible opportunities to practice language skills that are engaging and easy to do for both you and your child. Make some beautiful crafts and work on some speech and language strategies at the same time!
Easy Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids
1. DIY Christmas Cards for Kids
This activity is an inexpensive way of using materials in your own home to involve your kids in making gifts for loved ones meanwhile checking off your busy checklist this holiday season.
Be creative, you may choose to create your own cards from scratch or purchase premade cards and your child may help decorate! Hopefully, by motivating your child that these will be gifts given to loved ones they will want to participate. Here are some examples of easy Christmas cards made from small paper scraps!
Blank cards or paper (a variety of colours)
Markers, crayons, or coloured pencils
Stamps and ink pads
Stickers and glitter (optional)
More simple ideas for younger kids.
2. Stain Glass Window Craft for Kids
Another inexpensive way of using materials in your home meanwhile putting up decorations that your children made! They can look at this every day and contribute to the Christmas decorating. Check out this website for step by step instructions
Black construction paper (outline of shapes need to be provided beforehand depending on child’s abilities)
Various coloured tissue paper
Wax or contact paper
Additional stickers, glitter, pom poms (optional)
Adding Language Strategies to Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids
Using language strategies while doing an exciting activity is a great opportunity for children to naturally learn language while being engaged. As well, providing opportunities to practice using words in different contexts and activities will help children learn how to use their words in a variety of ways. Knowing how to use words in different situations helps children increase and deepen their language concepts. Children who have deep language concepts are better able to communicate complex thoughts, have detailed discussions, and understand the nuances around them.
Language Strategies for Children Aged 3-6 years old:
The goal of commenting is for your child to be exposed to phrases or key words in the activities you are completing. As the adult, try to focus on commenting instead of asking questions. Commenting allows your child to listen and learn from your language model. When we ask too many questions, it places a lot of pressure and expectations on our children to respond. By commenting, your child does not have to be worried about preparing a response but can take the pressure-free opportunity to learn how the words are used in this activity.
For older children, try modeling comments with more advanced vocabulary. Modeling more complex words will help expand your child’s vocabulary and help them communicate with more precision. Larger vocabularies are helpful for children as they start to learn how to read and write. Helping your child develop their verbal language skills will help them read and write better, which sets them up for academic success.
Using action words (i.e. verbs) such as cutting, colouring.
You could also comment on the size (e.g. this marker is thin, this stamp is big).
You can also comment on feeling (e.g. this glue is sticky, this paper is soft).
Describe what the paper looks like (e.g. this paper is translucent/semi-see-through).
By offering choices, your child can practice using words that expand on just simply responding with a yes or no response. For older children, instead of using the item names as a choice (e.g., Do you want the tree or Santa?”), try offering a choice using the item’s category or a describing characteristic (e.g., Do you want the plant or human?”). This helps deepen your child’s concept of these words and is a precursor for higher-level skills such as comparing, and contrasting.
If you are introducing a concept that your child is unfamiliar with, try to provide a visual representation. This can help give your child a tangible representation of what the word means. For example, if you are introducing a choice between a new concept of “translucent” and “opaque”, you can say “Do you want the… translucent paper?” while holding up the wax paper, and then saying “or do you want the opaque paper?” while holding up the construction paper.
Choices are great for supporting communication because you can model the words first before giving your child the chance to respond. Your child is more likely to try using the new words when they pick a choice, because they have heard it first. Keep in mind, your child can respond in various ways other than just verbally. If they respond by pointing, looking or making gestures you can acknowledge the choice they made by naming the choice they made.
Here are some other choices you might be able to give:
“Do you want the plant or human (referring to a tree vs santa claus)?”
“Do you want the round or pointy stamp?” “Do you want squares or star shapes”.
Check out our free printable for some holiday and Christmas themed vocabulary.
3. Reducing Questions
Instead of asking, make comments about the child's artwork. Talking about what your child or you are doing or playing with helps to increase the amount of language they hear. As well, you are providing positive reinforcement through showing interest and engagement in their work! Making comments is a way to provide positive reinforcement without requiring a response. It also doesn’t put pressure on them to think of a response but instead provides a model for how language can be used.
"You're adding glitter to the snowflakes. It's going to sparkle!"
"I like how you used blue for the sky. It looks bright."
4. Take turns being the Boss!
For older children, you can turn this craft activity into a game. Have your child give YOU step by step instructions for what to do. When your child gives you instructions, they will practice being descriptive and specific with their words so that you can recreate the craft that they are envisioning! Then take turns giving them instructions for what to do what they have to do. Give them some wild instructions to make silly cards!
Language Strategies for Children Aged 2-3 years old:
After providing choices, give your child a moment to select the choice as this will give them time to listen, understand, and then respond appropriately. It can be hard to do… But try to wait for at least 5-10 seconds before you jump in with more words. Show your child that you are waiting by making eye contact or stopping movement. If they do not respond, continue with the words they want to say.
For younger children…
“Which colour do you want? Pause
If there’s no response, you can make your best guess based on your understanding of your child and model the words e.g., “red paper”.
2. Use Gestures/Signing
Gestures/signs can be another way to begin communicating before children have learned to say real words. Teaching gestures helps children to express themselves and can reduce frustration over being misunderstood. As well, gestures can help improve understanding and increase your child’s ability to attend to your message. Gestures are concrete and do not disappear as fast as spoken words, which helps with learning new words.
Try to introduce gestures that are functional words. Functional words are words that can be used everyday in a variety of situations and help children meet their wants and needs. For example, after learning the gesture “open” during this craft activity, they may start using the gesture “open” if they need help opening a bag of chips! When you teach new words, make sure to say the word at the same time as the gesture/sign.
Use these simple signs for these common words. For example,
Here are some examples of the signs you can make during craft activities. Click the links to see how to make each sign!
3. Say It Again and Again
Repetition is a great way to help children learn new words. Children need multiple exposures to hear, understand, remember, and try to use new words. Even as adults, we sometimes need to be told multiple things to learn. It is important to repeat the word within the situation it occurs in. If we are repeating Christmas related words or crafting related words, it is most effective if we say these words during the Christmas craft activity. This way your child will be able to associate the words we are saying to what the words actually represent.
Repeat holiday-themed words throughout the activity. "A Christmas card. Let’s make a Christmas card. You drew a tree. You drew a tree on your Christmas card! Let’s open the Christmas card. Who gets the Christmas card? Daddy gets the Christmas card!".
If possible, try not to use pronouns or general words while you are modeling. For example, instead of saying “I like it!” you can say “I like your Christmas card!”. Or instead of saying “We made a thing today” you can say “We made a Christmas card today!”. Using the actual name of the object or person increases the number of repetitions and helps your child learn specific vocabulary.
4. Use of communicative temptations
Our last strategy is creating natural opportunities for your child to verbalize and communicate with you. This may be intentionally modifying the environment so that your child has to ask for help, verbalize a choice, or express their idea. Instead of asking your child to copy you (e.g., “Say ‘open’!” or “Say ‘Santa”!”) try creating a natural reason why they would need to say “open”. This gives your child an opportunity to practice using words on their own. Providing a specific reason for children to communicate with you can be helpful!
For example, you may need to keep scissors or glue out of the way that is not easily accessible to them for safety reasons or cleanliness reasons. But by keeping it out of the way, the child has to communicate to ask for help
Or you may keep the different components of the crafts, like the tissue paper in a hard-to-reach box or ziplock bag, which requires them to ask for help.
You can also try to offer different options throughout the craft idea (e.g., different types of sparkles, different sizes of pom poms, different textures of craft paper) so that your child has to specify which option they want.
Incorporate Language Into Your Christmas Activities!
These activities are some examples of how you can incorporate unique uses of language that help to expand on everyday language but can be used in other situations. Adding in “special” holiday or Christmas-relevant words also helps to expand on the already everyday words to a different context.
Let us know if you have any winter or Christmas activities that are part of your family's tradition! Find us on instagram @chattytherapy to get more speech and language resources.
Chatty Therapy is based in Edmonton, AB. We have wonderful speech-language pathologists who can give you more specific ideas on how to work with your child to develop their language skills and tailor it to your daily routine. Speech-language pathologists specialize in helping children understand others and express themselves better. Click here to learn more about our services or book a free 15-minute consultation.