Frugal Holiday Fun with Kids!

With the holidays just around the corner, why not try out some new crafts with the children? You might just start a new tradition at the same time!

Place these anywhere, they are like potpourri.

10 tbsp. hot applesauce
5 oz. cinnamon
You can use other spices too (ginger, allspice, etc.), or combine them. Mix together, if dry add more sauce. If wet, add more spice. Makes a great non-sticky dough. Very workable. Sprinkle work area with spice and rolling pin. Roll dough 1/4″ thick.

Cut into desired shapes. Holiday shapes, houses, ginger people, apples, bears, hearts, etc.

For Ornaments:
Use a straw to poke a little hole on top. Place cut outs on a screen. Let dry 6 to 7 days.
Or dry in warm oven for 3 or 4 hours. Almost feels like driftwood. Paint if you wish.

Be creative.
Example: Ginger people.
Use white dimentional paint, looks like icing. Glue ribbon to them, hang them up in a favorite spot.
Glue magnets on back. Personalize ornaments. Use mini cutters, make gift tags.


1 egg, beaten slightly
1/2 c. sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. milk
Mix well. Stir in enough clean fresh snow to make it about the consistency of homemade ice cream.
Makes about 4 quarts.


Cut strip of fruit leather for scarf. Gently push a pretzel stick through 2 marshmallows.
Wrap scarf around end of pretzel. Add another marshmallow for head. Use another pretzel to attach gumdrop hat. Make face with cloves and rolled fruit leather.
Make arms with pretzels and mini-marshmallows.

You can also just stack the marshmallows and use edible pens to draw the snowman’s features and decorations.


1 plain brown bag
Acrylic paint(s)
Hole puncher
Twine or curling ribbon
Take a plain brown bag and a sponge cut into any shape. Using acrylic paints, decorate bag. Get creative!

Allow to dry and then turn down a couple of inches at the top and use a hole puncher and punch two holes about 2″ apart. Use either packing twine or curling ribbon through the holes and tie a bow.  Makes a really cute country bag that is fun and inexpensive and easy to do.

You can also use a stencil and stencil a design on the bag. This is fun for children since they can
design it themselves! Can be used to give cookies or candies or gifts other than food items.


Large (32 oz.) plastic drink bottles, empty
2 or 3 sm. plants
Artificial flowers or bugs
Small stones
Potting soil
Soak the bottle in very warm water for a few minutes. Then empty it, pull off the colored bottom part and peel off the label. Clean the glue out of the bottom part.
Put a layer of small rocks in the bottom part. Put potting soil over the rocks and then put in your plants. Be sure to press the roots of the plants down. Add more soil around your plants to fill the planter.

Arrange pretty stones, tiny sticks, or tiny toy animals around the plants. Use a sharp knife to cut the top off the clear part of the bottle (about 4″ from the cap). Turn the clear part upside down. Slip the cut edges into the planter to make a dome top.
You can glue an artificial flower or bug to the dome for decoration.
Note: If you can’t find a drink bottle that has the colored reinforced bottom, just use a regular one and use your sharp knife to cut off the bottom. Spray paint it and follow the rest of the directions above.


White paper
Dry sponge
Ballpoint pen
Water colors (red & green)
Draw a yuletide motif on white paper. Then cut out and place on a dry sponge (one with tiny holes in the sponge are the best). Then trace the pattern with your ballpoint pen and cut out the shape. (Parents will need to help with these steps).

Then, dip in paint, squeeze excess paint out and blot onto either plain white or solid colored wrapping paper. You can stamp each sponge several times before re-dipping in the paint. This even dresses up plain newspaper wrapping! Great for any time of the year!


2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. water
Mix all thoroughly. Add 1 tablespoon of water if dough is dry. Knead 5 minutes. Shape. Poke a small paper clip in back of ornaments. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Smooth rough edges with wet knife before baking. Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours.
Paint with acrylic paints or Testor’s paints (model paint). Coat with clear shellac.

IDEAS: Braid dough and make into wreath. Decorate with ribbon and dried flowers.
Make into holiday ornaments; snowman, santa, etc. Use utensils, garlic press, fork, knives, toothpicks to make designs.
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the “1 Frugal Friend 2 Another” bi-weekly newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course “Taming the Monster Grocery Bill”.

What do you think?