Peace in the neighborhood: Crafts for the party!

When planning birthday parties for my kids, I usually included a craft activity. It’s fun for kids to return home a tangible reminder of the party (and this is also a good springboard for conversation with their parents!)

For our neighborhood Birthday Party for Jesus, we chose picture frame ornaments and angel “candy cans.” Both projects were relatively simple, and could be modified easily to accommodate different ability levels and ages.

Picture Frame Ornaments:
Materials: craft foam in sheets, tape, beads, or other embellishments, glue, glitter pens, pipe cleaners

Prepare for the craft by cutting the craft foam into small rectangles. Cut a hole in each piece. Punch two holes at the top of each rectangle and attach a pipe cleaner.

Take and print a picture of each child (or ask that children bring a picture of themselves to the party.)
Tape the picture into the frame.
Have kids decorate their frames with beads, stickers and glitter.

Angel Candy Cans
soup or canned fruit cans, (emptied and washed, labels removed) coffee filters (2 for each project: one for the “dress” with the center cut out and one for wings), circles cut from manilla folders, glue, crayons, spanish moss

Be sure that the inside rim of the can is safe for little fingers by covering it with duct tape!
Place one coffee filter over the top of the can and help kids tape or glue it in place to make a “dress.”

Help kids to create “wings” out of the second coffee filter by taping the filter in half.

Glue the “wings” onto the “dress.” Then, have the kids draw a face on their manilla circle and add spanish moss “hair.”

Glue the face onto the rim of the can and fill the can with candy. You can also add a paper halo if you would like!

(Note: I added an additional coffee filter around the bottom of the can to make the skirt longer.)

Note: It’s always good to have two helpers at the craft table so that everyone feels successful! Also, be sure to have extra sets of crafts for kids who might need to revise their crafts (or for kids who work quickly!)

Tomorrow: Stories and Service


Peace in the neighborhood: Activities for the party!

What’s a birthday party without a game of pin-the-tail on the donkey?

As we planned for our neighborhood Birthday Party for Jesus, we wanted to be sure that we had plenty of fun activities for our little guests. We also wanted to tie the theme of our party to the games. Here’s what we did…

Pin the Crown on Jesus.
Each child was given a construction paper clown to try to pin on a posterboard picture of baby Baby Jesus. Some of our little friends didn’t care for the blindfold, so they took their turns with open eyes!

Herd the Sheep
For this game, children were given a cup with a shepherd’s picture on it. Attached to the cup with a string was a cotton-ball sheep. The kids had a great time trying to scoop up their sheep, and seeing how many “catches” they could make in a row.
(Note: It’s important to add some weight to the sheep…we threaded a couple of small bolts through our string and then glued the cotton on top.)

Pack the Gifts
This game is basically the same as a ring-toss or corn hole…just “Christmassed up” a bit! We created a camel out of a carpet remnant that we found in the rafters of our garage when we moved in. We used dowel rods to help our camel stand up straight and then dressed him up with some fancy scarves. Kids had fun seeing how many beanbag “gifts” they could toss into the camel’s pack.

(Check out the Wise Men we drew and posted on the wall behind the camel.)

Each station had a Bible verse on the wall…we didn’t paraphrase the scripture, so that kids could see/hear it as written. As we played the games, we talked a bit about the Christmas story. However, we kept things light; this was a party, and not a lesson!

We were very flexible about games…some kids didn’t want to play all of the games while others worked through the stations quickly and wanted more turns. We had some “sponge activities” ready to “soak up” the extra time for kids who were less-interested in the games or who only wanted one turn. (coloring pages, dot-to-dots, and a story corner worked well.) As with any activity with small children, we had lots of energy and a variety of ability and attention levels…we found it was best to be flexible and keep things fun. It’s a party, after all!

Coming up next: Crafts



How a Middle Child Keeps Peace

Ohio State vs. Michigan…the football game of the year in our family.

My mom went to Ohio State.
My sister went to the University of Michigan
My husband and son root for the Buckeyes.
My dad and brother love the Maize and Blue.
My nephew and brother-in-law are die-hard Michigan fans.
My daughter is loyal to the Buckeye state.

And…all of these people convened at my house to watch the big game.

What’s a middle child to do??

Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin in my family room. 😉

We’re going to be talking a lot about peace in the coming weeks here at Diving for Pearls. It’s Advent, which means we’re preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ! Any parent knows that December usually doesn’t conjure feelings of peace, but rather overscheduled mayhem. We’ll be talking about ways to keep the peace and also spread peace and goodwill at home, in the neighborhood, at church and in the world. Stay tuned!

For a few Advent ideas to get you started, please check out last year’s series: An Accommodating Advent:

Preparing our Hearts
Creating a Hands-on Holiday
Prep for the Pageant
It’s All Relative