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Welcome to Day 1 of the 2021 12 Days of Christmas series at Thrive at Home. I’m focusing this series on simple activities that don’t take a ton of time, so today we’re making construction paper placemats for Christmas.
It’s an easy craft that even non-artsy parents can handle. Here’s what you need to know.
Simple Construction Paper Christmas Placemats
This activity works best with kids who can use safety scissors and cut in a pretty straight line. I have done it with kids as young as three, but I did the cutting.
And by the way, if you’re looking for a stress-free Christmas, a three-year-old with scissors might not be a good idea. My littles did the weaving and gluing and decorating. And it took closer to thirty minutes to finish.
It goes faster with older kids – without feeling rushed. From start to finish, this project took 17 minutes with my seven-year-old without feeling rushed. Now, we’ve made construction paper placemats several times before, so she was feeling confident.
Little fingers might need even more time, especially when it comes to weaving the strips of paper in and out (see picture collage of the steps.) But it still shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, which is my basic criteria when I’m looking for simple Christmas activities for busy moms.
Materials for Christmas Construction Paper Placemats
You’ll need the following for this project:
- safety scissors
- a pencil (or crayon or something)
- construction paper
- a ruler
- a glue stick
- a sense of humor
How to Weave a Paper Placemat
Note: although this is a craft best suited for five-to-seven-year-olds, younger kids can do it if you help them with the cutting. Or just cut the strips ahead of time.
My 10-year-old quite enjoyed herself as well and decorated her mat with holiday freehand drawings.
- Choose two colors of construction paper. One will be the base. The other will get cut into strips.
- Take the base paper, and fold it lightly in half vertically. You don’t want a sharp crease.
- Use a ruler to mark off uniform strips that are the same height as the ruler, leaving a one-inch border around all four sides of the paper.
- Cut along the lines, taking care to avoid cutting right to the edges.
- Set that piece aside, and grab your second piece.
- Use a ruler to mark off uniform strips on the second paper. (NOTE TO READER: Now I’m not very artsy. And it’s possible I’m not as patient as I was when I did this with my eldest child over 20 years ago. So instead of drawing lines to cut, I just wrap that construction paper around the ruler and use the creases as my cutting lines.)
- Cut along the lines (or creases) to create strips.
- Take these strips and start to weave them into your base paper. Weave each strip under and over. A checkerboard pattern will appear. Use up all of your strips.
- Use the glue stick to glue down the ends of each strip.
- Decorate with drawings or stickers. Laminate your mats to keep them for next Christmas.
And that’s it! Join me tomorrow for the next simple activity in my 12 Days of Christmas series.