Children and Families

Christmas in July … and August

Posted July 28, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.
Last modified July 28, 2011, at 4:39 p.m.

The lazy summer days seem never-ending. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all this time for crafts and activities during the winter holidays? Here are a few activities that are normally thought of as winter projects, modified for summer.

Monday: Gingerbread-type houses

Skip the idea of baking in the hot weather; instead take the idea of making mini-houses outside by using graham crackers or square cookies for the walls of the houses. Use canned frosting and candy to decorate the houses, or give them a summer time twist by using cream cheese and fresh fruit to decorate: sliced strawberries, bananas and kiwis, along with whole blueberries and grapes. Take pictures of the completed “village” and give awards for best decorated, most original, and most colorful!

Tuesday: Make a garbage bag “snow man”

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You will need three plain white garbage bags, plenty of leftover newspaper, black magic marker, a scarf and an old hat. Have the children take individual pieces of newspaper and crumple them into balls. Make a game of it by having them lay the newspaper flat on the table and use just their fingers to draw the paper toward them and crumple. Stuff the first garbage bag full of paper, the second half full, the third bag one quarter full. Tie bags and stack, fastening the bags together with tape, then decorate the face with markers, the hat and scarf. Cut out cardboard buttons and color, then glue to the front. Put out in the front yard when done and watch the neighbors stare!

Wednesday: Sugar and glitter ornaments

For this project you will need sugar, glitter, and cookie cutters. Pour ½ cup of sugar into a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of glitter and mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of water and have the kids take turns mixing until all the sugar is moistened. Press the sugar mix into cookie cutters – fingers are fine – and you should have enough for about four ornaments. Once the sugar is solidly pressed into place, tap the sides of the cookie cutter to loosen and remove, leave ornament to dry overnight. When completely dried, you can decorate further with more glue and glitter or magic marker, then glue a loop of ribbon to the back and hang.

Thursday: sleigh rides

Here’s a way to build up muscles that’s fun too! Take a cardboard box or a plastic carton with a smooth bottom that is at least two feet by two feet large. Decorate the box to look like a sleigh with markers, crayons, or cut and glue winter shapes such as bells and ornament balls. Have the kids fill the carton with heavy books, one at a time, and do a “sleigh ride” across the living room rug or around the yard. Have them try pushing, then pulling, to see which is easiest, and keep track of who can pull the heaviest load! For younger children, have them collect their favorite toys and give them rides, both pulling and pushing. Play holiday music and video tape the finale!

Friday: “Gingerbread” garland

Another no-bake way to decorate! Take brown grocery bags and cut a 5 by 3 ¾ -inch strip from each. Fold the strip accordion style, four times. On the top rectangle, draw the outline of a gingerbread person, making sure the hands and feet extend out to the folded edges. Cut through all the layers of the paper, except where the hands and feet touch the folded edges. Unfold and decorate with crayons, markers, glitter, or by cutting out hats and boots from colored paper. Make garlands that represent family members or favorite cartoon/movie characters. Make fancier garlands to by using scraps of fabric, wrapping paper, or yarn and ribbon for decorations. Save the finished garlands for December for homemade holiday decorations!

Cathy Strasser is an occupational therapist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience working in the school system. She lives in Sugar Hill, N.H., with her husband. Visit her website at .

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