A Book of Joy, Day 13: Advent Crafts and Activities, by Jen N.

Coffee-Filter Snowflake


waxed paper
nine coffee filters
food coloring
hole punch


1.Place some waxed paper on a waterproof work surface. On the waxed paper make three stacks of three coffee filters each.

2.Fill three cups with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to each cup.

3.With a spoon, add drops of colored water to each stack of filters. One, two, or all three colors can be used on each stack. Let the filters dry, then separate the stacks.

4.To make a snowflake, fold a filter in half. Fold it in half again, then fold it in half once more.

5.Using scissors, cut off the pointed top from the folded filter. Then cut out small, unconnected triangles and half-circles from along the edges of the folded filter.

6. Unfold the filter. Punch a hole at the edge of the snowflake, and hang it by a thread.

Potato-Stamp Wrapping Paper


craft paper
acrylic paint
paint brushes
kitchen knife
exacto knife


1. Cut the potatoes in half.

2. Place each half face down on a towel or paper towel to reduce the moisture.

3. Draw a design on the face of your potato.

4. Trace the design using your Exacto knife, cutting approximately a 1/4 inch deep.

5. Using the chef’s knife, cut a 1/4 inch around the rim of the potato making sure not to cut through the designed area.

6. Remove the cut section.

7. Apply paint to the design.

8. Push firmly to stamp your craft paper.

Bird’s Holiday Tree

This is great for getting rid of stale dry goods and fruit that is turning.


Any of these-
popped popcorn
cold cereal with holes (cheerios)
sunflower seeds
small pieces of bread, crackers, doughnuts etc

All of these-
needle and thread
mixing bowl


1. Choose a tree that you can see from your window.

2. Make garlands from the string, popcorn, cereals, cranberries. Hang them on the tree.

3. Scoop out the pulp from the oranges and grapefruit. Mix it with the raisins, sunflower seeds, bread, crackers, doughnuts.

4. Spoon the mixture back into each orange or grapefruit shell. Attach the strings to each shell and hang the shells from the tree.

Pinecone Pom Pom Ornaments

These are super easy! And they look amazing!


Tiny pom poms
String or ribbon
Hot glue gun

  1. Start by dabbing a tiny bit of hot glue on a pointed tip of the pinecone. Then press a pom pom into it.

2. Repeat for all the tips. It goes pretty fast, and they look like ornaments hanging from the tree.

3. Then cut about an 11 inch piece of ribbon. Hot glue it to the top in a loop as the hanger. You’ll have some stringy pieces of hot glue to pick off, but once they are cool it only takes a minute.

Faux Mirror Tile Ornaments


Stiff cardboard cut into shapes
Roll of foil
Sharpies (how ever many colors you have on hand)
Glue Stick
Glue Gun
All purpose glue or fast tack glue if you have it.

1. Tear off a 6″ long sheet of tin foil from a roll.

2. Fold foil sheet down into a long skinny strip about 3/4″ wide. With glue stick, glue down the very last fold so the strip won’t unravel. Make multiple strips. 3-4 covered one ornament.

3. Color strips with permanent markers and let dry. After a few minutes, cut strips down into square tiles.

4. Now decorate ornaments with your faux mirrored tiles. One row at a time, lay down a line of fast-tack or all-purpose glue and apply tiles. Along the top and sides, apply the tiles so they hang past the edge of the ornament. This way, the entire surface gets covered. Cut off excess tile along the edges once glue dries.

5. Lastly, attach a ribbon for hanging on the tree. With a sharp pencil, poke a hole into the foam at the top of ornament. Stick in the ends of a piece of looped ribbon or string, and hot glue into place. Once hot glue is hardened, your ornament is ready to hang!

M&M Pretzel Treats


Pretzels (twists, squares or circles)
Hershey Kisses (12 oz)
M&M’s (12 oz)


1. Spread your pretzels out on a cookie sheet, and place one Hershey’s Kiss on top of each pretzel.

2. Place sheet in the oven at 275 degrees for 3 minutes–just long enough for the Kisses to get soft.

3. Remove from oven, and immediately press a single M&M on each.

4. Refrigerate until eating to make sure they are deliciously solid!

Play Snow

3 cups of baking soda mixed with a half a cup of hair conditioner. Use a white conditioner so your snow is white.

Snow Volcano


A cup or plastic bottle from recycling
Baking soda
Food coloring or liquid watercolors

To make a snow volcano you will first need snow. We have had an abundance here lately, so we were good to go. To form our volcano I took a plastic cup and set it on the ground in the snow. Then I piled snow up and around the cup to form the volcano.

Put the baking soda in the cup.
Then add a few drops of food coloring
Finally, have the kids add the vinegar.

The best part of this craft is that there is zero amount of clean up involved- you are already outside!

Wax Paper Ice Skating
Tear off pieces of wax paper. Put them on the floor. Step on them and glide around the room like you are ice skating.

Reindeer Cinnamon Ornament


3 cinnamon sticks (usually on sale this time of year)
2 google eyes
1 small red pom pom
Red ribbon
Hot glue gun

To form the reindeer, place two of the cinnamon sticks in the shape of a “v”. Place the third cinnamon stick horizontally on top of the “v”, towards the top. Hot glue all of the cinnamon stick together.

Glue on the google eyes and pom pom for the nose. Cut a piece of ribbon for the hanger and glue it on the back of the reindeer.

Easy Dot Crafts

garage sale dot stickers (multi colored)
Green construction paper

Cut Tree and or Wreath shapes from the paper

Let the kids decorate them with the colored dot sticker ornaments.

Borax Crystal Ornaments


Borax laundry detergent booster (I found it in the laundry aisle at Target for $5)
pipe cleaners
pencil or chopstick

Form your pipe cleaners into snowflake shapes. One long pipe cleaner can be cut into six pieces to make a simple star, or you can get fancier if you want. (Just remember that your snowflakes can’t be taller or wider than the container you’re going to pour your Borax solution into.)

Use string to tie your snowflakes onto a pencil or chopstick–anything long enough to span the container you’re using.

Mix up a batch of Borax solution: 1/3 cup of Borax to 2 cups of boiling water. Stir the mixture until the Borax is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Submerge your pipe cleaner snowflakes in the Borax solution, making sure they don’t touch the sides or bottom of your container, or each other if you’re doing multiple snowflakes in one pot.

Leave them all night and in the morning you’ll have snowflakes.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com





Jen N. – Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she calls her children her horcruxes — each one has a talent for something she might have pursued herself. Jen and her husband have created a family of quirky, creative people that they are thrilled to launch out into the world. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and has started a blog: www.recreationalscholar.wordpress.com

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