DIY Crackers for Christmas or New Year

DIY Crackers for New Year's Eve

Remember how fun it was pulling Christmas crackers at dinner? Well, we had loads of fun making these homemade crackers last year to pull during our New Year's Eve celebrations with the kids! They are easy to make with just recycled materials and a few odds and ends to pop inside. 

homemade DIY christmas crackers for new years eve with kids

If you want to try these (and you definitely should!) all you need are some paper rolls, leftover tissue paper, glue, and bits of string or ribbon. You might also want some stickers or whatever you have on hand to decorate with.

First, we got some empty paper roll tubes and cut them to about 5 inches long (one paper towel roll cut in half).

Using a pair of scissors, we cut along the diagonal line where the tube has a seam. Cut about two thirds of the way along the roll, following the seam, leaving just the last third intact. 

Cut some leftover tissue paper from gifts to about double the length of the tube and wide enough to wrap the tube in. Then reform the tube back into its original shape and roll the tube up in the paper. Seal the edge lightly with some glue. 

Using some string or ribbon, tie the tissue at one end. Then fill the tube with a few small surprises*! Once it's filled, tie the other end, too. 

Finally, decorate the paper with more stickers or whatever you like.

When the time comes to pull the cracker, one person pulling each end will tear the tissue paper and the roll will fall open, spilling treats!

*When I asked the kids what they thought we should put in our crackers, they raced around the house gathering up small things that we already owned: hair clips, tiny figures, candy, dress-up jewelry, etc. They each picked some 'surprises' for the other one's cracker. It was so sweet to see how absolutely delighted they were to find out what the other one had surprised them with, even though it was something that was already theirs! However, some other suggestions to put inside might be:

* a joke printed on a tiny scroll of paper
* a Lego or Playmobil person
* a sprinkling of glitter, if you don't mind a bit of mess
* a wrapped chocolate
* enough loom bands, loose, to make a bracelet and/or a loom band charm
* a mini pack of cards
* glow sticks (you'll need to make sure you cut your roll long enough for these)
* lip balm
* a couple of crayons and a few sheets of small note paper rolled into a scroll
* temporary tattoos
* stickers
* a finger puppet
* some kind of nature treasure: a feather, a tiny pine cone, a walnut, a pretty stone, etc.



{Rubbed Leaf Hedgehogs}

These cute little hedgehogs brightened up our dreary fall afternoon last weekend!

Rubbed Leaf Hedgehogs

Creativity for Preschoolers

rubbed leaf hedgehogs art for preschoolers collage

Sweet Pea loves collecting leaves, sticks, rocks, anything from nature that she finds on our walks. As a result, we had a large pile of leaves that she had collected and pressed and was looking for something to use them for.

child making leaf rubbings with crayons

After seeing these leaf turkeys and these leaf hedgehogs, we decided to make our own versions of hedgehogs with them. Sweet Pea is in the Hedgehog class at preschool, and our dog's name is Hedgehog (in Hungarian), so hedgehogs were the perfect subject for our crafty Sunday together!

child making hedgehog art from leaf rubbings

We got out some paper and drew some snouts - just a rounded, slightly curved triangle with a circular nose on the end. 

child using boya ergonomic crayons

Then we put leaves under the papers and rubbed them gently with the side of a crayon (we love these ergonomic crayons from Boya). 

hedgehog picture made from leaf rubbings

Aren't they sweet? I think our little Hedgehog approves!

red and yellow hedgehog made from leaf rubbings

Looking for more leaf-y activities? How about these?

Nature leaf garland

fall leaf wreath for kids to make

Simple fall nature art


{Recycled Sharpie Sun-Catchers}

Recycled Sharpie Sun-catchers

*This post was originally shared as a guest post on Skip to My Lou on July 31st, 2014.

We loved making these simple and colourful DIY sun-catchers out of materials from the recycling bin! They look just gorgeous hanging in a sunny window indoors or outdoors on the porch. I plan to move them to hang from our dining room light fixture in the winter months so we can still enjoy them without much sunlight.

We used plastic from an empty package of frozen mini quiches, but any plastic container with individual 'cup' sections would work just as well. In fact, even flat plastic would work, but the 'cups' make it easier to cut out circles.

First, cut out the circular bottoms from the 'cups' of the plastic packaging.

Next, draw colourful designs on them with permanent markers (we used these '80s Glam Sharpies' [affiliate link] and love the fun, summery colour combination!) 

Then poke a hole in each circle with a needle or hole punch (we like this ribbon hole punch [affiliate link]) and string onto some fishing line [affiliate link]. Tie a knot onto each one to keep them from sliding together when you hang them.

Then hang up where the light can shine through them! The pictures really don't do them justice - they are BEAUTIFUL!

Some suggestions for hanging:
  • *hang down in front of a window
  • *hang horizontally in front of a window as garland
  • *make several strings and hang them together as a mobile
  • *hang outdoors on your porch or deck
  • *hang indoors from a light fixture
  • *attach to the bottom of a lampshade and let them dangle
  • *hang around the frame of a mirror

If you're looking for more crafts ideas, check out our ARTS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS and our TIME FOR MAMA sections!


{Easiest Sewing Project Ever: No Cut No Measure Table Runner Tutorial for Complete Beginners}



Pin it! Easiest sewing project ever - a no cut, no sew table runner!
Oh my, I cannot believe how much I love this table runner and how incredibly easy it was to make! Seriously, there is absolutely nothing to it whatsoever! No cutting! No measuring! That's my kind of sewing project! 

I found these beautiful 'fat quarters' at our local hobby shop. All I did was select 3 coordinating fabrics and sew them together! (You can buy pre-matched coordinating fat quarter sets here [affiliate link].)

I am truly a complete beginner when it comes to sewing (or most anything domestic, really), so I get it - you still want a tutorial. So, here is exactly what I did:

Iron your fabrics nice and flat. Lay out your 3 fat quarters in a line, arranged in the order you like and be sure the patterns are all right-way up.

Lay out your table runner fabrics as you want them to look when finished

Take the left hand piece and fold it over the middle piece, so that the two pieces are facing right-side-in together. Sew along one edge (the edge where you want them to join, obviously, so select the edge that suits how you want them laid out in the end - if you folded over like I just said, that should be the left side), about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in from the edge of the fabric. Open out flat. Lay it back down with the third piece again. Take the third piece and fold it over the middle piece, so that the right sides are facing in together. Sew along the edge where you want them to join (this time it will be the right side if you folded as I said). Open out flat. Iron again so that the seams lie flat.

Sew your table runner fabrics together - so easy!

Fold the edges in as straight as you can (I just eyeballed it) and pin all the way around the entire runner. Sew a hem all the way around, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch in. Iron again so the seams lie flat.

That's it! Yay, you! You sewed something!