I can’t quite believe Christmas is less than 5 weeks away! Time to get cracking on some homemade Christmas ornaments with my kids.
Some will be for our Christmas tree and some are going to become gifts for grandparents, uncles and aunts (hopefully for their Christmas trees). I’ve already forewarned my parents to prepare for lots of kid-made gifts this year…
My two little-ees are still both in the toddler/preschooler bracket (2.5 and so-nearly 4-year-old) and it’s only in the last few months that I’ve kind of got the hang of crafting with toddlers. Kind of. Most days.
So with many a toddler craft fail under my belt, I’m always very wary of which ones to even try. Key for me is the time it’s going to take to prep and finish (since I never seem to have much) which is normally closely linked to the complexity and mess potential of said craft.
For this reason, I’ve divided this list of homemade Christmas ornaments for kids to make into the level of difficulty, combined with suitability for little kids versus slightly older ones. (Bearing in mind this is my assessment as we’re yet to try them all).
So easy ornaments, more suitable for and toddlers and preschoolers, then trickier Christmas ornaments for older kids to make.
Sadly, very few are no-prep and some will mean a bit of work and (even worse?!) a bit of mess. But since the idea is that these Christmas ornaments will make it out year after year, hopefully, the effort will be worth it!
Then there a few ‘keepsake’ ornaments which are a particular memory for this Christmas. So handprints, fingerprints, kids scribbles, sorry, drawings, and so on.
Of course, all these Christmas ornaments should make lovely keepsakes as long as they live up to the job. Just remember to put the date on!
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Tips for making Christmas decorations with little kids
To be honest, a year ago, when my kids were 18 months and nearly 3, even the thought of trying to do a “craft” with them brought me out in a cold sweat…
12 months on, they’re that much older plus I’ve learned a thing or two about how to maintain my sanity when it comes to getting out paint, glitter and glue (aka get it out as little possible).
So this Christmas, making ornaments feels a lot more doable…And we’ve even managed some with considerable success if I do say so myself! (As hopefully, you’ll see as you scroll through this list).
Onto those tips, most of which can apply to any craft you’re thinking of doing with your toddler or preschooler.
1 – Choose your craft wisely – simple ones win every time!
If you’re short of time and a little bit frazzled, I’d actually say don’t craft at all. Rather kick a ball or get out the playdough. But I get it, Christmas is looming and you want to make some ornaments for the tree. So go for stupidly simple, easy as pie and mess-free ones. Mess-free always reduces stress for me!
Choice of craft is also important to get right when it comes to your kids’ ability. Not to say it’s easy to know what that is until you’re halfway through. But believe me, you nearly always need to go simpler than you think.
2 – Remember – the PROCESS of creation is more important than the end result
At this age, crafting should mostly be about exploration and experimentation with different materials and colors etc. Understanding this definitely helped my mindset when it came to starting out a craft. And a heck of a lot of frustration about the end result, I must say.
This can be hard when you want a cute looking Christmas ornament at the end of it all! Only made worse by a tutorial you find on Pinterest where only the mom-made craft makes the photoshoot.
Christmas ornaments for kids to make should look like kids have actually made them, right?
3 – If you have a little one in tow, do the prep or the tricky parts out of sight
Little kids, toddlers, preschoolers and even a bit older, are often completely unable to keep those little hands to themselves. This is normal and one of the joys of this age. (Said with just a touch of sarcasm…) They just want to explore and experiment and figure out the way the world works.
As soon as I start to prep a craft, one, if not both, of my toddlers wants to get involved.
Getting the bits and bobs done that they’re not going to manage and everything prepped before little hands start poking and touching and squeezing or simply running off with, makes the whole thing much easier.
SIMPLE Christmas ornaments for kids to make (best for the little ones)
So these are the ones which require less prep and are more suitable for younger toddlers to get involved with, or for older kids to do independently.
There are a few salt dough crafts – which are a bit more prep and do require some cleanup, but I’ve yet to meet a small kid who doesn’t love smooshing, squeezing and rolling play dough or salt dough. So they make the easy list. Plus these crafts normally always come out well and really stand the test of time, just what you want for a DIY Christmas ornament.
1. This pom pom Christmas ornament from Elle Marie Home (previously the Inspiration Vault) is a good exercise in fine motor for the little ones and, this is the best, completely mess-free! Grab these clear plastic baubles and festive pompoms and you’re ready to go.
2. I love these sea glass Christmas ornaments from Red Ted Art – really, really stunning and would look just as good hanging in the window as on the tree. If you don’t have any sea glass you could try white buttons on green-colored salt dough as in the ornament on the right-hand side.
3. These melted pony bead ornaments can be done with any metal Christmas cookie cutter you have to hand along with some pony beads. Simply bake in the oven and the beads melt into the shape of the cutter. You’ll find the instructions at @simpleplay.withsteph.
4. Kids can paint and decorate these popsicle-stick snowflake ornaments from The Best Ideas For Kids – aren’t they just too cute?! Once the craft sticks are glued together, you can hand this one straight over to the littlest toddler to get busy with. (Stock up on colorful rhinestone stickers, sequins, sparkly pompoms and bells here.)
5. This is one of ours – super easy salt dough Christmas ornaments with star stickers and glitter. My two loved making these and I must say, having come up with the decorating part of this on the spur of the moment, I’m a bit chuffed at how well they came out!
6. Got a toddler that loves glitter? These glitter ornaments from Aileen Cooks are just the ticket for any kid, big or small, or adult for that matter, that loves sparkle. So that’s pretty much everyone then?! Simply open a clear plastic ornament, coat the inside with modge podge and get sprinkling. Here are some snowflakes to stick on after.
7. These pipe cleaner Christmas tree ornaments from Red Ted Art are simple yet very effective. I think my two will need a bit of help from me with this one, but my daughter especially is going to love threading the beads on (at the grand age of 2.5 she’s loves anything involving beads!)
8. These candy cane tree ornaments from Simple Fun For Kids are probably the easiest salt dough Christmas crafts of the lot. The beauty of them is in the mixing of the red and white salt dough, so no decoration needed.
9. Another easy peasy idea, are these Santa’s belly ornaments from Making Of A Mom. Red pompoms, felt, glue and clear plastic ornaments are all you need for this cute Christmas ornament for kids to make.
10. I absolutely love these clothespin snowflake ornaments from Dream A Little Bigger – aren’t they just stunning! Glitter and glue is a winning combination for Christmas. For toddlers? Mmm, I’m not so sure… But if we can get ours to look anything as good as these ones it’ll be worth the chaos! I think. I’ll get back to you on that one…
11. This paper straw Christmas ornament and craft from The Keeper of the Cheerios will be a little bit of a challenge to preschoolers and first-graders (to measure and cut the straws of decreasing length). For younger ones you can easily simplify by marking the straws or simply getting them to do the sticking.
12. These homemade Rudolf wood slice ornaments from Conservamome are another simple yet toooo cute Christmas craft that I’m going to have to try with my kids. I can see poor old rudolf ending up with more than 2 ears though and a few too many eyes since that’s the way a lot of our crafts go at the moment, but we shall see.
13. Another super easy DIY Christmas ornament are these wrapping paper baubles from Simple Fun For Kids. Toddlers can practice their scissor skills cutting up some pretty wrapping paper and then have fun stuffing it into the plastic bauble. No-mess = no-stress!
15. A cute little snowman ornament from Janine Huldie, made from a wine cork no less! I particularly love the ear muffs. My kids have a thing about snowmen for some reason (we’ve never yet managed to build one!) and will definitely manage to slap on some white paint. Then they are going to love drawing on the eyes, mouth and buttons and finding a warm cozy scarf and a set of earmuffs.
16. You’re going to have to make the basic tree shape of this popsicle stick Christmas ornament from Simple Mom Project but leave the decoration part to the kids – and there’s no need to limit the decoration just to buttons. I can definitely picture a bit of glitter coming out of the cupboard for this one!
17. Styrofoam balls, snowman stickers and a clear plastic bauble is all you need for this fill & stick snowman Christmas tree ornament from DIY Crafty Mama. Another simple and fun Christmas activity come craft for kids. (Just be careful of little ones still keen on stuffing small things into their mouth.)
18. This looks like more salt dough but it’s not. These homemade cinnamon ornaments are actually made from applesauce and cinnamon – which will be a lovely sensory experience for the kids, or anyone in the vicinity I should think.
I can just imagine the gentle wafting of cinnamon spice and apple as my two toddlers quietly smoosh the ingredients into a dough, Christmas music playing gently in the background while I drink a cup of coffee… Ha ha! In my wildest dreams, but seriously, as long as I can manage to contain the mess and the sticky fingers, I’m excited to try this.
19. These decoupaged Christmas star ornaments are rather fun aren’t they? Festive but a little more subtle than others; not too “bling” as we say in the UK! I guess that could change depending on who’s in charge of sprinkling the glitter, though, right?
20. These toilet roll snowmen from Red Ted Art aren’t strictly Christmas tree ornaments, but are so cute and could so easily be turned into them that I just had to include them. This is sure to satisfy their love of snowmen and my kids are going to love dressing them – check out those hats! Click the link for the tutorial.
21. These spaghetti Christmas tree ornaments were a hit with my two toddlers – the only difficulty was getting them to not eat the dried pasta! Like most toddlers – pasta, particularly spaghetti (or worms as they call it), is their absolute favorite food (savory that is…) If you haven’t already stocked up on silver spray for Christmas, now is the time to.
22. These craft stick Christmas tree crafts & ornaments from Little Bins For Little Hands are very simple in concept, but toddlers and preschoolers will probably need a little bit of help with the yarn wrapping. I just love the sparkly pompom tree decorations!
TRICKIER Christmas ornaments for kids to make (best for older ones)
These ones either require a bit more prep or finishing off (=more time), or are less suitable for the little ones.
23. These homemade Rudolf ornaments from Ottowa Mommy club use a battery-operated tealight as Rudolfs head so the candlelight is his nose. Switch him on and he’s got a red, glowing nose – clever, hey? Kids can help with sticking on the eyes and antlers but Mom will probably need to lend a hand with the bow at the front.
24. There’s nothing subtle about this glitter star ornament from Crafts By Amanda is there?! It’s made using the “Sparkle Station” from Crayola and sure to be a hit with little girls that love glitter (seems to be most of them!) My daughter is going to love it. As will her older cousins… Adding 3 to my Amazon shopping basket right now.
Follow the tutorial here to see how you can use the sparkle station to make the Christmas ornament pictured.
25. These homemade Christmas ice skate ornaments from the Soccer Mom Blog are very clever. Just one problem for toddlers, in my opinion; the want to eat the candy cane skate blade! So definitely more suitable for older kids who have some sense of will power, plus cutting the felt is a bit advanced for little ones.
26. Some more homemade snowmen ornaments, this time from The Inspiration Edit. These ones require the use of a glue gun which is definitely one for mom but kids can get stuck in with the rest.
27. These Nutcracker peg doll Christmas ornaments are such a classic and will add a bit of sophistication to your Christmas tree. My daughter will love helping with these, particularly making that frilly skirt as she’s all about princesses and fairies at the moment.
28. Like a bit of sparkle at Christmas? Got a little girl? These DIY Disney Christmas ornaments from Mommy Of A Princess are another one my daughter is going to adore.
29. Definitely, one where you’re going to have lead the way is this DIY Christmas wreath ornament from Janine Huldie (the body of the wreath uses a mason jar lid). Mom would need to do the wrapping of the string, yarn or other decorative threads to get a nice tight seal, but the kids could choose which threads to use and help add the final touches – buttons, sequins, glitter etc.
31. These snowflake ornaments (made from pipe cleaners) from Cendu Param are virtually no prep but look a bit tricky for the little kids. Mine love playing with pipe cleaners but I’m just not sure we’re going to end up with anything that remotely resembles a snowflake just yet!
So…. as much as I’d love to follow my advice from the tips section (the process is more important than the end result, right?!) I’m not sure we really want to hang a screwed up ball of pipe cleaners on the tree! I think this one is definitely for the older preschooler so I’m going to leave it for a couple of years.
32. These pompom pinecone trees are very simple, but do require a lot of glue! Possibly not for tiny tots but very easy for older kids who have developed some sense of self-control when it comes to glue. (It does happen at some point, doesn’t it?!)
33. These melted crayon Christmas tree ornaments from Two Kids And A Coupon look very easy and no-mess! Sounds good to me. Kids can choose the crayons to use to make colors (good color mixing exercise for little ones) and then there will need to be some careful supervision of the melting process. Burnt fingers definitely won’t add to the Christmas spirit!
34. Old-school clothes pins are the basis for this sweet Clothespin reindeer ornament. Younger kids may need help sticking the clothes pins together at the beginning (strong wood glue will do) but can then be left to decorate with mini googly eyes and wreath.
35. Another mini clay pot here, this time a Christmas tree ornament from Darcy and Brian. Looks very simple to make in concept, as long as your little one is safe with paint and paintbrush. So that would be a no, right? Only me? But if you do the painting out of sight and leave to dry, all that’s left is sticking and gluing which can be the job of your toddler in tow.
36. Whoa…. they look complicated I hear you say! But, having read the tutorial I actually reckon these 3D Christmas card ornaments from Whats Up Fagans won’t be all that difficult to master.
Instead of using old Christmas cards (as in the picture) why not have your toddler color and decorate some white or colored cardstock. Mom will then need to cut the circles and put it all together, but then I’m sure it could have a little extra decoration after (a bit of glitter perhaps?!) – another task for your kiddo.
Extra special KEEPSAKE Christmas ornaments to make with kids
Whether it’s hand prints, finger prints or your kids ‘artwork’, these DIY ornaments are all about the keepsake element.
37. Perfect for the littlest hands are these salt dough handprint ornaments from the Best Ideas For Kids.
These would be lovely to do with a baby – if only I’d come across these when my two were a bit smaller. My eldest’s hands are a little big now (the Christmas ornament would knock our tiny tree down for sure!)
38. You could get the whole family involved in this thumbprint Christmas lights ornament from The Moody Blonde. Each member of the family adding a print or two. Very pretty and a lovely memory for many years to come.
39. I love this idea from The Gifted Gabber for these Christmas list ornaments. Write up your child’s wishlist onto some paper and then pop it into a clear plastic bauble along with some festive streamers or tinsel. Done!
This is going to be so lovely to do year after year and give you a lovely keepsake of your kids’ changing interests. That’s if my son does ever find anything other than diggers and dump trucks interesting! We shall see.
40. These fingerprint clay ornaments from Thimble & Twig are just gorgeous, aren’t they? These are a must-try this year. I may even add the year to mark the occasion. Time to invest in some number and letter stamps!
41. This shrink film Christmas ornament from Creative Green Living transforms toddler squiggles into something colorful and perfect for the tree. If you don’t have a Cricut you can just cut a circle of shrink film and use a shaped hole punch to add a decorative touch (this set of hole punch shapes includes a Christmas tree and snowflake). Easy peasy and, even better, another mess-free ornament.
42. What about turning your kids’ handprints into cute little snowmen in this Christmas tree ornament from Simple Fun For Kids? So simple and so effective – not entirely mess-free but looks worth a little bit of clean up! (Just be sure to use plastic baubles like these, not glass for obvious reasons.)
43. Another DIY salt dough Christmas ornament, this time from Mess Little monster using your kids’ fingerprints to make dimples for Christmas lights. Very sweet!
44. This chalkboard ornament from Fireflies & Mudpies is more for the older preschooler or first grader who is able to draw some sort of picture, stickman, house, car or anything more than a squiggle. Way beyond my two at the moment but I’m definitely going to be trying this in a few years! (Grab some wood slices, chalkboard paint and chalk pens here.)
45. Last, but definitely not least, is this thumbprint Rudolf ornament from @cristynsharkey. Just a steady hand from mom or dad or an older kid to finish this one off. Click the link above for the full tutorial.
Well, hopefully, that’s given you a few ideas of Christmas decorations for kids to make. Let me know which you try – I’d love to hear from you.
Well, hopefully, that’s given you a little inspiration! Let me which you try – I’d love to hear from you.
For more Christmas crafts to do with little ones, check out:
Or what about some homemade Christmas cards? We’ve tried the two below and they were simple enough for my two to get properly stuck in, particularly the Christmas tree one: