Create this easy Christmas wreath craft that’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. This fail-proof art project is simple and makes a great final product to display. Everyone will feel successful with this Christmas activity.
The basic run-down on the Christmas wreath craft
I look forward to making this easy Christmas wreath with my kids every year.
It’s a simple activity that I used to do with kindergarteners and first graders when I was a teacher but I’ve adapted it to be a toddler friendly activity. I love it and the final product is oh-so-cute.
I put a little painting twist on this activity using a homemade brush. It’s one of my favorite ways to paint with little hands.
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- Construction paper
- Red and green paint (this is our favorite brand of paint)
- Clothes pins
- Cotton Face Swabs or cotton balls
- Q-tips or fingers
There are definitely a few extra supplies here that you don’t often see on my website. BUT… these are still great supplies to have on hand. Clothes pins come in handy with little kids (and Q-tips and face swabs are pretty standard bathroom finds).
Here’s how I quickly set up this activity:
I grabbed a piece of white construction paper for our wreath.
To make the wreath outline, I first traced a large dinner plate as the outside edge and a smaller salad plate as the inside edge.
Then I made a special paint brush for the activity.
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How to make a “holly” paint brush
To give the wreath a “holly look,” I didn’t use a traditional paint brush. I knew the wreaths would end up painted completely in green. Instead, I wanted a brush that would give texture.
Basically: something that would mimic holly. I came up with this: I used a cotton face swab hooked to a clothes pin.
Other options: Don’t have a cotton swab? Try a cotton ball or (ready for this?) half a bitten marshmallow. Bite a marshmallow in half and dab the paint with the bitten side down.
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Tip – Make sure to model how to dab
This may be a completely new art technique for your kids and a really fun vocabulary word to learn: dab.
Instead of brushing the paint onto the wreath, model how to dab the green paint onto the paper to create the holly-like texture.
If your kids have never seen a holly wreak, make sure to Google a photo. Give them the experience and background knowledge of a “holly wreath” even if they can’t see one in person.
Here’s how my kids did:
My toddlers loved this and I loved watching them create their wreaths. It was such a great model of where each is at developmentally.
My 3 year old followed the shape of the wreath so much better than I expected. My 23 month old was all over the place and I loved it. It’s all about the process.
RELATED: We love making a new handmade Christmas ornament each year. We’ve found some great ideas and listed them in this post.
The second step: adding the holly berries
After the green paint dried, we added “holly berries” using q-tips dipped in red paint. So much fun to add the berries to the wreaths. And it’s always fun to have a 2-part activity!
Don’t have Q-tips: Fingers work too!
Finally, after the wreaths had fully dried, I carefully cut them out and added a construction paper red bow (just for fun).
The kids couldn’t be prouder of their wreaths and neither could I! I love how different the two wreaths look even though they are the same design and the kids followed the same directions. It shows their ages and personalities perfectly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Painting with toddlers doesn’t have to equal a mess. But it does take some thought and planning. I always limit the amount of paint they start with, have them in a space I feel safe with paint, and give each a wash cloth. Even though they’re toddlers, they understand how to clean up messes, wipe hands, and fix drips. They learned this by having a wash cloth close by for independence.
I save only the important pieces that I know I’ll want forever (like the first time my daughter drew our family). I keep them in a kids art portfolio.
Nope – BUT you also have to know how to get it out. Don’t start with a stain stick. Instead, start by running the painted clothing under warm water and scrubbing with hand soap. Let it sit covered in hand soap for about 15 minutes, Scrub and rinse. The paint should be mostly gone before it even hits the washing machine,