I love December because it gives me so much fuel to mesh my two favorite things: quality time with family and crafts! As you know, I’m the queen of quick, 15 minute craft projects! So of course Christmas would be no different. In the post I want to show you 5 crafty dollar store activities that you can do with your kids that are thrifty, quick and fun. Not only is my attention span short, but so is my son’s so these activities are just right for us both! Hope these 5 dollar store Christmas crafts your kids can do in 15 minutes inspires you!
Remember to put a time and date on your digital calendar (and set a reminder) to do a few of these fun, festive projects with your kids! If you don’t plan for it, you won’t do it!
Activity #1- Decorate Your Kid’s Table
Create a fun, decorative “kids” table for Christmas. All these items cam from our local dollar store. In fact, the green table cloth is actually a green shower curtain and we’ve used it for about 3 other holiday tablescapes this year. This will be the last time we use it because we are going to be making gingerbread houses which means sticky icing and candy all over the place. And this mama right here literally hates to clean up stuff like that so I’ll be rollin’ it up and putting in the trash when we are done.
How to Make a Dollar Store Table-scape:
If you place this décor item on the diagonal it will not get in anyone’s way while they are seated at the table-this is especially important for young children. Simply braid garland together with red ribbon poly mesh and just place glittery gingerbread foam cut outs along the length of the table runner. No need to sew or glue anything together, it’s that easy!
With children you don’t want to impede their view by having a large centerpiece since they will want to interact with their friends at the table, so a simple runner is the perfect solution. However, you may still want to utilize the space above their eye level such as just beneath the dining room lighting. I found this beautiful word art tree at the dollar store and couldn’t resist buying it because it simply embodies the season’s spirit: joy, peace, love, family, merry, Christmas!
Creative Utensil Holders:
Also, you can use those adorable mini stockings as utensil holders! Just slide your napkin and plastic gingerbread knife right into the stocking and your kids are ready to decorate!
Activity #2- Make a Mini Gingerbread House!
I really love decorating Gingerbread houses but I’m not going to lie, those giant store bought houses are awesome in theory but take way too long to decorate for me or my kid’s attention span. After I get the thing put together, I’m almost too tired to decorate it! That’s why I love, love, love these mini, individual houses!
Your dollar store probably has some sort of cute ramekins (also known as small bowls: see image arrow below)! I snagged some green ones at Halloween and just reused them for Christmas! Here, we used them to store the different candies & frosting needed for the children to decorate their gingerbread houses.
Make sure you add plenty candy for them to eat too or very little will actually end up on their houses. The dollar store has tons of fun candy options so look around in the holiday section and the candy aisle. Oh and when you’re done, be prepared to put the kids out in the backyard to burn off all the sugar while you roll up your table cloth, toss it in the trash and sip some eggnog (Or make yourself one of my yummy peppermint mochas!).
Another tip, let your kids decorate the houses in their jammies so once they are covered in sticky icing you can just throw them in the washer without worrying if the kids messed up their clothes!
Activity #3: Annual Christmas Ornaments
As an adult, one of my favorite parts of decorating my own tree is pulling out the ornament box because it’s filled with ornaments that I made each year as a kid. Some are ones I made as a little kid and some are themed around what I was into that year like basketball or cross country.
The fastest way to do this craft in 15 minutes or less is to get some sort of base like the one in the picture below. I just got a pack of wooden tree ornaments and laid them all out on an empty black trash bag and I spray painted all those trees green in like 5 minutes!
After the spray paint dried I gave them to the kids to decorate. I bought 3D stickers from the craft or dollar store because they don’t require glue (honestly doesn’t that white glue suck anyway? I mean it gets EVERYWHERE, it takes FOREVER to dry and then half the crap falls right off once it is dry: rant over….)
These ornaments are super easy to make and are super quick so your kid stays engaged just long enough to finish. Write their name on the back and add the date. BOOM! Memory made! Sip more egg nog.
Activity #4- Annual Santa & Me Frame
Every year I have some sort of opportunity to get my kid’s pictures with Santa even if I don’t go to the mall. Since it’s become a tradition, I like for my son to decorate a frame for his picture with Santa each year and then I use them as my holiday decorations! I love the idea of decorating with things my kids made because it seems so much more personal than a crystal figurine from Pier One. And in the this case it’s way cheaper!
All you need is a pretty frame from the dollar store and a bunch of stickers! I find stickers at both the dollar store and craft store. In fact, I went ahead and bought 6 of these gold frames at the same time since I knew I’d have a least 6 pictures of my son with Santa and they will all look matchy matchy. It cost me $6.
Then I let my son decorate the front of the frame with the stickers and he’s done in just a few minutes!! It’s super fast and easy and now you’ve got some ADORABLE holiday decor that means something!
Activity # 5- Color Your Own Christmas Gift Baggies
- Bag of Cookie Mix
- Green & Red M&M’s
- Zip Top Baggies
- Markers for Coloring
Next time your at the dollar store, you can get your kids in on making gifts for neighbors, teachers or friends by making these cute little gift baggies.
In less than 30 minutes you can bake up cookies from a pre-made mix, add festive M&M’s, bake, cool and then load them in the baggies.
While you wait for the cookies to bake print out these free cute Color Your Own Printable Baggie toppers I made. Your kids can color them, cute them out and attach them to the baggies!
So there you go! 5 fun holiday activities that you can do with your kids with minimal mess, that keeps their attention and can be done in right around 15 minutes! Cherish everyone of those moments! They go by quickly!
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!