Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas craft to do with kids - egg carton bells for the tree

I always like making Christmas decorations with my children. Fist it is fun, second it gives us positive memories, and third it is usually less expensive then buying a bunch of decorations.

This year we had a lot of fun decorating plastic Christmas balls and other ornaments. However last year we made paper egg carton bells, and they look a lot better then expected on the tree. Trust me, I was worried when we were making them, but we had fun and that is what counted, and the kids remembered that they made them last year.

You will need:

Egg cartons. We used the paper ones but the Styrofoam ones might work just as well.
Scissors. We used plan ones but there are some cool shaped ones out there that could make interesting edges to your bells.
Paint and brushes. We used poster paint but almost any paint will do. Just find what is easy to clean up and does not take forever to dry.
Glue and glitter. We used glue and loose glitter last year. This year I invested in Glue glitter – glue that already has glitter in it. I found it easer to work with and clean up, but not as much fun for the kids as loose glitter.
Plastic string, ribbon or even pipe cleaners. This is to tie onto the bell and hang it off the tree.

You cut the egg carton into “bells”. You can clean the edges up for smooth looking bells or just cut the egg carton and leave the shape as is. It is all up to you and how quickly you want to give them to the kids to paint. If your kids are older and you have the funky edged scissors you may want to let them shape the bells.

I used the tips of the scissors to make two little holes or slices into the top of the bell that I will eventually put the string, ribbon or piping into. Then the kids get to paint their harts out. Once the painting is done we put them aside to dry. We actually spent several days painting, a little bit each day.

Once the bells are dry then you have fun with the glue and glitter. I put glue into little bowls and the kids used paintbrushes to put it on and then we held it over a bin and added glitter. We had several different colors of glitter, but eventually we had a bin of multi colored glitter. Some of the bells only have on color others multi colors.

Again we did this for a couple of days. We only did a few bells a day, it made it fun, but because we only did a few each day the kid’s attention was easy to keep. Once they became distracted or frustrated it was easy to stop and put things away until “tomorrow”. It also took all the pressure to finish what we started, or to get them all done by some deadline away. When the time was right we worked on them, and when other things were of more interest we left them alone.

The end result was worth the time and effort, and I am not just talking about how nice the bells look on the tree. The kids enjoyed it; it gave them an inexpensive way to create something special for Christmas. I put the plastic string into the bells, it was a task a little to difficult for a then 2 and 4 year old, but they got to put them up on the tree as I was quickly tying the string.

This is a fun project.

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