7 Reasons to Make KiwiCo Your Go-To Holiday Gift Solution
Are you scrambling to find a holiday gift for the kids in your life — a gift that inspires fun and learning? That will please the kid (most importantly!) but also their parent too?
We may be a little biased, but we think we have a solution for even your toughest customers. Our crates are packed full of age-appropriate awesome projects and activities that encourage engaging exploration and hands-on play. We offer a wide range of crates for all ages and interests, from infants and toddlers to teenagers (and beyond!) You can also choose projects aimed at specific interests, such as art or engineering, chemistry or crafting, geography or robots. Most importantly, the crates offer old school fun.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle or family friend, here are some reasons you can’t go wrong with a gift from KiwiCo this season:
When you give a crate from KiwiCo, you are giving the gift of self-confidence, curiosity and innovation to your kids. KiwiCo inspires kids to see themselves as makers and to develop the creative confidence to change the world (for real!)
You are giving the gift of quality time to yourself and your kids. With our hectic weeks and very long days, it can be difficult for us as parents to find time to sit down with the kids and do a fun activity (trust us, we know!) Our crates are thoughtfully designed to make learning playful and fun for both you and your child.
You are giving the gift of ease and convenience to yourself (or the lucky recipient’s parents!) All of our projects come with everything you need in the box! No last-minute trips to the store, no frantically checking the obligatory kitchen junk drawer for batteries, paper, or scissors. Everything needed is in the box! Plus you can order the box TODAY and select the first date when the crate gets delivered. So you can cross gift-giving off of your list.
You can still have a gift to put under the tree or to give in person. With our service First Crate Ship to Me, you can have the first crate shipped to you so you can deliver a physical gift for the holidays.
You are giving a gift that keeps giving. Long after the craziness of the holidays is over (and some gifts have, sadly, been forgotten/broken/lost), your kid will continue to enjoy a monthly delivery of their crate!
We have a gift for ALL price points… You can find 3-, 6- and 12-month subscription terms, as well as plenty of single projects (including stocking stuffers) for sale in the KiwiCo store.
…and for EVERY age, from infants to teens (and even kids at heart!) No more visiting multiple stores and websites or getting lost in the Google rabbit hole of searches for “best gifts for 5 year olds, 9 year olds, 13 year olds, 15 year olds, etc….” We can help you check off literally every kid on your list.
But don’t just take our word for it.
“This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever found for my grandson. The crates come monthly and he loves to do the projects. They are age appropriate and he can do them by himself. Science, art and more.” -Lorna B.
“So in ♥ with KiwiCo! This is THE gift I recommend to everyone I know with kids in their lives.” – Tracy T.
“I LOVE these crates. My kids have a great time and we spend family time together doing them. Great memories made” – Stacey W.
KiwiCo has the perfect solution for young scientists, creatives and innovators! We’ll help you find a gift that inspires curiosity and learning all year long.
Get your holiday shopping done today at KiwiCo.com!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Maker Crate — our newest line for teens and beyond. Maker Crate will provide you with all the tools and instruction to tap into your creativity, learn new techniques, and make something beautiful… and useful.
Our mission in launching Maker Crate is to deliver an experience that will help you build creative confidence to turn artistic visions into design realities. From creating a macrame plant hanger and clay bowls to crafting a punch-needle pillow to spruce up a room, or a terrazzo-style tray to store essentials — every crate includes projects that are both imaginative and functional.
Not only will makers learn new techniques and tools, they will learn real-world applications and the history behind each art form. Whether you are 14 or 104 years old, a first-time crafter or an experienced maker, each crate is a chance to experiment, draw inspiration and make something to treasure or give to someone special.
If you’re familiar with our other lines, you will find some unique aspects to Maker Crate:
Maker Crate’s step-by-step instructions are presented exclusively through online video tutorials, to make learning new techniques more visual, more accessible (and maybe even more fun!)
With an emphasis on more sophisticated techniques, Maker projects are more in-depth and will likely take longer to complete. We’ve also included materials for future projects so that long after the first project is finished, you can continue to experiment with other designs. Like Eureka Crate, Maker Crate starts at $24.95/month (with free shipping.)
We know first hand the joy that comes with experimenting with new artforms and learning a new craft. We’re here to help makers feel more confident in trying new things in a way that is encouraging, convenient, and seriously fun! We can’t wait to see what you make!
Is the young crafter in your family fascinated by snow and the holiday season? If so, then your child may enjoy delving into the snowy side of Christmas crafts. Learn how to make a paper snowflake by following these 10 easy steps. By the end, you’ll have an intricate snowflake that will bring creativity and holiday spirit into your home!
Step 1: Gather Your Paper Snowflake Materials
Paper Snowflake Craft Materials
White paper (letter-size)
Scissors (safety scissors are optional)
Protractor or ruler (optional)
(The materials listed above are enough for one large snowflake. If you want to turn your ceiling into a fantastical snowflake skyline, repeat this project with more paper sheets!)
Step 2: Create a Snow Crystal Square
Every paper snowflake starts off in a basic square shape. Take a sheet of letter-size paper and fold a corner down to align the shorter end with the longer end. The folded part will form what’s known as an isosceles triangle. Now use scissors to trim the excess paper below the triangle shape.
(Side note: The excess paper should measure 2” x 8.5”, in case you want to make sure you’re following along correctly! It isn’t needed for this project, so you can add it to the scrap bin or recycle it.)
Step 3: Fold and Refold
Keep your paper folded in a triangle shape. Now fold the large triangle again in half. This will make a smaller triangle. Try your best to make clean and straight creases!
Step 4: Divide and Conquer Your Triangle!
Because real life snowflakes are symmetrical, we’ll need to do some careful measuring to create a symmetrical paper snowflake of our own. Symmetry is when two or more parts of a thing are identical. Think of butterfly wings, matching socks, and spiderwebs — they all have parts that match.
Now, the smaller triangle needs to be divided. The longest side of the triangle should measure 8.5″ long. Use a ruler and pencil to mark the middle of that side (at 4.5″ from each end). Use the ruler to draw a line from the apex of the triangle (the corner opposite the longest side) to the mark you made.
Step 5: To the Left
Now it’s time to get back to folding. As mentioned, snowflakes have symmetry. Folding your triangle correctly creates a kind of symmetry, a uniformity, a balance to the shape. Take the left side and fold it so the left edge is aligned with the middle drawn line.
Step 6: Now to the Right
Repeat this with the right side and fold it over the middle section as well. The paper should look like an arrow pointing downward.
Step 7: Flip it Forward
Once the folding is done, flip the arrow shape over to see a horizontal edge at the top. No two snowflakes are alike and you’re able to put your own unique creative spin to yours!
Step 8: Taking a Cut Above the Rest
Take scissors and cut along the horizontal edge. After you’re done cutting, fold the triangle in half one last time. Now, the triangle is a right triangle, which means one corner of the triangle is a 90 degree angle.
Step 9: Shape it ‘Til You Make It
Make sure to keep the paper folded and begin to cut out different shapes from the edges. Beginners can start with triangles, but you can also explore squares, rectangles, or rounded shapes — get creative!
(Tip: Never cut all the way across the triangle from end to end as it will cut your snowflake in half.)
Step 10: Unveil the Paper Snowflake Masterpiece!
Now it’s time to unfold the paper. What kind of snowflake will appear? If you folded along with the steps, it’ll be a 6-pointed snowflake, but then again, half the fun is in the mystery of the reveal! Remember that every snowflake is different. Your snowflake should feature a symmetrical design, just like real life snowflakes. See how many different patterns you can create. Try adjusting the project to create bigger or smaller snowflakes to decorate and create a true winter wonderland.
Looking for the perfect present for a creative kid? Stop by our Holiday Gift Guide for a full list of STEM and art gifts for all ages!
DIY snow globes are a fun way to use arts & crafts to learn about density, displacement, and viscosity.A typical snow globe contains some sort of liquid, plus a material to act as the “snow”. When shaken and flipped, the “snow” makes its way to the bottom – just like a snowfall! The snowfall inside a globe looks more realistic when it falls gently down from the top. The inventors of the snow globe swear by their secret snow recipe for creating realistic scenes inside their globes. Brainstorm some ideas for what materials to use for your snow recipe. Choosing the right material for snow is important, as is the liquid it falls through. Glitter is common. What about confetti? Styrofoam? Soap shavings? Sawdust?
Setting up your Workspace
For both experiments and projects, keep an organized and tidy work space to be able to observe results and record observations.
Read through the instructions for the entire project.
Gather materials for each step as needed.
Find a secure place to allow the globe to cool or cure without disturbance.
DIY Snow Globe Materials
Start by asking kids what materials might be needed to create a snow globe.. Brainstorm ideas for what kinds of objects can be used to create a wintery scene inside the globe. Old toys and recycled materials are good options, as well as polymer clay which can be used to construct a unique scene.
Glass jar with a lid
Polymer clay glue
Toys, dollhouse miniatures, or other recycled material for creating the scene inside the globe
Hot glue gun
Clear nail polish
Glycerin (available at drug stores)
Glitter of different sizes and other potential materials for snow
Waterproof silicone sealant (from a hardware store)
In order to let all the parts of this project properly dry and cure, this DIY snow globe project may take several days to complete. Throughout the project, there are two quick experiments that can be done at any point to boost the science fun and learning behind the snow globes.
Learn about viscosity (how easily liquid flows) and density (how compact a material is) in this kitchen experiment.
Materials for “snow” (glitter, confetti, styrofoam, etc.)
Place two jars side by side. Put a tablespoon of the same snow material in each jar.
Fill both jars with distilled water so that they’re nearly full.
Add a ½ teaspoon of glycerin to only one jar.
Tightly close the jars with lids and have kids shake up both jars to see which combination does a better job of recreating falling, drifting snow.
Note any interesting observations. Is the “snow” falling at the same rate in the two jars? If you used material in varying sizes (like cut up styrofoam), do some pieces seem to be falling faster or slower than others? Why do you think this is?
What happens when you add more glycerin to the jar containing the water and glycerin mixture? Add more glycerin into the jar in ½ teaspoon increments, recording the best amount for realistic snowfall.
The Science Involved
What’s going on? Adding glycerin to the water increases the viscosity of the mixture, meaning it flows more slowly. This ultimately gets in the way and slows down the falling snow pieces, which is why the same snow material might fall slower in the glycerin-water mixture than plain water. Smaller pieces still move faster than larger pieces, which get more encumbered.
Density plays a part as well. Density means how much something weighs for a given volume of it. Glycerin is denser than plain water, so a glycerin-water mixture will also be denser. Materials with a much greater density than the surrounding mixture fall faster, while materials with less density or the same density fall slower or not at all.
Creating good snowfall requires adding viscosity and density to water with glycerin and picking a snow material with a similar density to the liquid. Record observations and save the recipe for the best snow material (maybe it’s a combination of materials?) combined with the right mixture of glycerin and water.
The DIY Snow Globe Scene
Create a fun, wintery scene to affix to the inside of the jar lid. Remember, the scene should be narrow enough to fit through the mouth of the jar and short enough to comfortably fit inside the jar when closed.
Bake & bond polymer glue
Clear nail polish
Hot glue gun
Create a Base
Tightly ball up a sheet of aluminum foil.
Roll out a sheet of polymer clay to wrap around the aluminum foil.
This creates a raised base inside of the globe where you can glue on found and recycled items or mini polymer sculptures.
Use polymer clay to sculpt winter and holiday objects within your DIY snow globe. Brainstorm objects to sculpt: candy canes, snow men, present boxes, Christmas trees, etc.
Test the scene to make sure it will fit in the globe by gently placing the jar over the items.
Baking & Sealing
Polymer clay needs to be baked before going inside the DIY snow globe. Gather up the clay items for baking.
Clay items can be glued together with polymer glue before going into the oven.
Bake the clay wrapped aluminum foil base and any polymer pieces at 275 degrees for 20 minutes.
Let the clay cool completely.
Once cooled, plastic toys and other items can be hot glued to the base. Parents should be in charge of the hot glue gun.
Coat the entire scene with clear nail polish to protect it.
Leave the coated scene for 48 hours to cure completely.
Learn about water displacement in preparation for the final snow globe assembly. Water displacement is a fun way to gauge how much volume, or space, an object takes up. It’s usually measured by dropping a solid object into a container of water and tracking how far the water level rises.
Any collection of objects that will fill the jar in increments: marbles, rocks, small toys, wooden beads
Towel & baking sheet or other tray to keep water contained
Make a guess about what will happen to the water when objects are dropped into the jar. How many marbles will it take to get the water to the top of the jar?
Fill the jar halfway with water. Place a towel on the baking sheet or tray and place the jar on top.
On a piece of paper, guess how many marbles are needed to get the water to the top of the jar.
Begin dropping marbles into the jar.
Keep a tally for each of the marbles placed into the jar.
Once the water reaches the top, count the tally marks. How close was the guess? Is it more or less or equal to the original guess?
With this experiment, you’re measuring the volume of the marbles. When the marbles sink in water, they displace – or push – the water upward. The amount of water they push is always equal to the marbles’ volume, so if you tracked the rise in water, you just successfully measured their volume! This same principles are used to weigh things like giant ships that would otherwise be super difficult to put on a scale.
Bring all the pieces together to create a realistic and lasting DIY snow globe.
Jar with lid
Sealed scene (on polymer clay base)
Water & glycerin mixture
Hot glue gun
Silicone waterproof sealant
Baking sheet or tray (to catch overflow of water)
Using the hot glue gun, adhere the snow mound to the inside of the lid. Dry test the fit to make sure the jar will still fit over the scene.
Place the jar right side up on a towel on a baking sheet. Don’t forget about water displacement! Water will flow out of the jar as the globe is assembled, thanks to the space the snow mound takes up.
Scoop snow material into bottom of the jar, following your favorite combination of materials from the Quick Experiment.
Pour in the water and glycerin mixture to the top of the jar.
Around the lip of the jar, put a line of waterproof silicone sealant so the jar will seal shut and won’t leak.
Tightly screw the lid onto the jar.
Using the towel, wipe off excess water and silicone from the outside of the jar.
Over the years we’ve asked our community about their family Thanksgiving traditions — and got hundreds of responses! We loved them all; these were our favorites. These Thanksgiving traditions for kids are perfect for involving them in the festivities, keeping them engaged…and teaching them the real meaning of thankfulness.
We make one “Thankful Slip” (alternating red and green construction paper slips) for each person on each night of November. We do it as a family at the dinner table each night, we discuss what it is that we are thankful for and why (even the toddler participates, we’ve been very surprised at the sweet things she has “written” on her slips so far). Then we put our slips into our Thankful turkey (a milk jug turkey my teenager made when she was in preschool). On Thanksgiving day we pull out the slips and turn them into a Christmas chain for our tree. It brings the thankfulness into the next holiday season. —Desirae
On Thanksgiving Day, we host the Turkey Games. Everyone is split into teams with color sashes like the Cranberries, Green Beans, and Blue Potatoes. Then, we compete in fun games like wind-up toy races, pin the gobbler on the turkey, etc. It’s basically a bunch of games and friendly competition amongst our family and friends of all ages. As the table is being set and Thanksgiving dinner is cooking, it’s a really fun way to spend time together. Our family loves Turkey Bowling. My kids have a blast creating and playing this DIY Thanksgiving game. Plus, the scoring brings a little math and learning to the fun. Strike!–Marianne
Before dinner we all go on a walk in the woods and collect branches, leaves, pods and other natural materials. Then we bring all the materials back to the house and make Thanksgiving nature mandalas. We begin by placing all of the materials in piles and then sorting by color and texture. Then we make circles in color gradients. We love how this ritual connects us to the season and to each other–Peter
We put out paper supplies and encourage everyone to make a special art turkeys. Teams are encouraged! Then we parade through the house with our turkeys and vote for the ones we love the most. We been doing this for years and now we have beautiful collection. Each turkey reminds of the people who made them. –Celia
A week before the holiday we research a topic we are passionate about–it could be as simple as a type of animal or more complex like a historical subject. Then at dinner we take turns presenting our stories. We call these “Turkey Talks.” It’s lots of fun and we all learn something new.–Leslie
For one of our Thanksgiving traditions for kids: we taught our kids a few magic tricks, which they perform at the beginning of the meal and again before dessert. They love it, and it gives them an incentive to sit at the table. —Angel
Family Placemat Project
Each family member makes a placemat by coloring their name and a few simple things they enjoy. After 15 min, it’s passed to the left and that family member draws a picture and says what they are most thankful for about you. Every 15 minutes, pass again until you have your own back and you have pictures from the whole family about why you are special to them. We use them at dinner to remember that family is our greatest gift. —Beverly
Paper Bag Costumes
The kids work on a play and make costumes out of paper bags and markers. We have feathers to decorate headdresses. It takes them a while to get ready. Then we have dinner. Then we get to have a show with our dessert. A win for everybody. The kids really enjoy it. Each year the production gets bigger! —Teresa
The Candy Corn Game
Everyone in the family has five candy corns placed at their spot at the Thanksgiving table. At the end of the meal we go around and everyone shares five things they are most thankful for, one for each candy corn. I am a teacher and I have started doing this with my students (preschoolers and kindergarteners) on the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. They take it very seriously. It is sweet to hear them and often, in listening to others, they/we are reminded if more we are thankful for. —Meredith
Tree of Gratitude
Every Thanksgiving holiday, we have a family tradition where each of us writes down what we are thankful for. Typically, we just jot them down on some post-it notes and read them out loud, but this year, we wanted to create a centerpiece of gratitude. This tree is a simple but elegant way to display what we are are thankful for. Going forward, the tree will be a part of our holiday tradition.
We travel to Portland and visit family. With seven children under 12 in one house for three days, we keep it really simple and eat lots of leftovers after the big day! We have been writing what we are thankful for on little wooden hearts and leaves (from the craft store) since the beginning ten years ago and now we have quite the bowlful. It’s so adorable to read what the little ones said years ago 🙂 —Katja
A Thanksgiving Toast
We buy bottles of sparkling cider and each kid gets to use grown-up wine glasses because it’s special. They each toast reasons for being thankful and then take sips after each toast. Pinkies out! —Angie
Coloring Table Project
We have a toddler so we get to intro some new Thanksgiving traditions for kids. I’m working on some little felt leaves so that every year we can each add a message to one and then over the years I will have a thankfulness tree to frame. Also, we covered our table with Kraft paper for coloring last year to help keep the kids busy, and let them help cook! Having them involved with the food means they will actually eat it, too! —Joanna
Donating Dog Food
Around Thanksgiving we’ve begun a new tradition of finding a way to give back to our community (in other ways than just donating cash). This year, we decided to give back by donating dog food to our local shelter. We talk about what we’re thankful for and try to help those who are less fortunate (even our four-legged friends!). —Janice
More Thanksgiving Traditions for Kids
We hope you have the opportunity to try some of these traditions and have some fun! For more Thanksgiving traditions for kids, along with crafts, activities, and recipes, visit our Thanksgiving Crafts For Kids list!
It’s impossible to pinpoint the source of the magic of the holidays, because it’s never just a single thing that makes the season feel special. The culmination of family, tradition, and yes, presents, come together to make it the most wonderful time of the year. With kids on winter break, coming up with traditions, like a reindeer food recipe, that keep them engaged while inspiring that holiday magic is a win-win. Especially for parents who are working overtime as members of Santa’s home-brigade of elves.
Reindeer Food is a cute tradition that will engage kids and inspire the magic of the season. These are two separate recipes, one is meant for reindeer to eat, not kids. The other is a snack for kids and Santa’s elves who might need a sugar fix.
What Do You Feed Reindeer?
First, gather together ingredients & supplies for the reindeer food. During the holidays, many of the ingredients will already be in the pantry, and there’s always the option of grabbing more specialized ingredients from the store.
Reindeer Food Recipe
6 cups rolled oats
Red & green sugar crystals or sugar with food coloring
Optional: edible glitter
A jar, sandwich bag or other container
Is This Really What Reindeer Eat?
Santa’s reindeer need different food than the reindeer of the arctic. Non-magical reindeer in the arctic eat a lot of lichen, when available they eat the leaves from trees like willow and birches. They’ll also eat grass when they can find it.
Reindeer migrate to summer and winter habitats, covering up to 3,000 miles in a year. This is more than any other land mammal. They’re the perfect animal to make it around the world in a single night.
They have wide hooves for walking through snow, Santa’s reindeer need their hooves for landing on rooftops without falling off.
Their knees make clicking noises so during blizzards they can hear other members of the herd. Santa’s reindeer also wear bells to hear each other.
Mixing Up Reindeer Food
Once you’ve selected your magical ingredients for Reindeer Food, get a large mixing bowl and pour all the ingredients in. You can use as much or as little of each of the magic ingredients as you’d like, depending on what you think the reindeer need.
Oats: the reindeer need oats for strength and energy to fly all the way around the world on Christmas Eve.
Marshmallows: keep the reindeer light & fluffy so they can prance through the air.
Brown Sugar: keeps their fur thick and soft to keep them warm in the winter sky.
Red & Green Sugar, or Edible Glitter: magic fairy dust so they can fly through the night sky.
Add your festive mix to a sandwich bag or clear jar, hand decorated with ribbons, glitter or drawings, and you’re all set for a visit from Santa’s furry friends!
What to do with Reindeer Food
If you’re establishing a new family tradition, there are a lot of ways to use reindeer food.
Sprinkle on the ground in the backyard or front yard. The ingredients are safe for birds and squirrels. Edible glitter and sugar will dissolve. Don’t use real glitter for food going outside.
Leave next to Santa’s cookies for him to feed to the reindeer.
Share with family members and friends.
Reindeer Food Kids Can Eat
While magic reindeer food isn’t for kids to consume, you can also make this “Reindeer Kibble” for people to eat around the holidays.
Reindeer Kibble Ingredients
9 cups crispy cereal squares
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 cup red & green sugar crystals
(optional) 2 tbsp edible glitter
Large Ziplock bag.
Directions for Making Reindeer Kibble
This recipe requires using heat & melted chocolate, so parents should help out with the cooking parts. Kids can help with mixing & stirring the kibble together. This is food for people, and shouldn’t be put out on the lawn with the magic food!
Pour cereal into a large mixing bowl.
Pour confectioners sugar, edible glitter and red & green sugar crystals into the Ziplock back and set aside.
In saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate chips and peanut butter together. Stir continuously.
When melted & well mixed, pour the melted mixture into the large bowl over the cereal. Using a spatula, kids can help stir until the cereal is well coated.
Scoop the coated cereal into the ziplock bag and seal shut. Shake the bag until the cereal is well coated.
Whatever isn’t eaten immediately, store in an air-tight container.
On Christmas Eve, kids can leave a bowl of Reindeer Kibble next to Santa’s cookies for him to eat as well! Santa’s home-brigade elves can snack on Reindeer Kibble to power through last minute present wrapping binges. Kids will enjoy projects like the reindeer food recipe year after year, and will hopefully do someday with their own kids, to make the holidays feel extra magical.
Reindeer DIY Guide
For more holiday fun, check out a few of our other awesome reindeer DIYs:
Ready for some holiday cheer? You can celebrate Christmas in all its festive glory with Christmas crafts for kids that activate the imagination and create memorable moments. Make this holiday special with activities that bring all that’s wonderful about the winter season into your home!
How do you encourage creativity in your gifted crafters this Christmas season? There’s no better way to do that than to help them discover fun, hands-on projects that they can complete with little assistance! They’ll find their own spark of imagination and merry-making while producing fun crafts to keep their season brighter than ever! Below are some fantastically festive craft ideas that can help your kids express themselves and their talents in fascinating ways!
Sweet Treat Crafts
Your child can make the holidays extra delicious for themselves and their loved ones. Handmade themed treats are great pass-it-on crafts that any sweet tooth will enjoy. Below are two delicious Christmas crafts for kids that make gift-giving during the season special and unique!
Pipe cleaner antlers, a red pom-pom nose, playful ribbon bow ties, and a pair of eyes can transform a generic candy cane into one of Santa’s famous flying helpers! Your Christmas elf’s gift-making talents will glow brighter than Rudolph’s legendary nose when they try their hand at crafting Rudolph the Red Nose Candy Cane for some high-flying Christmas adventure!
The holidays are the best time to feel stuffed! Besides the decadent treats that find their way to your home, a stuffed ornament filled with mouthwatering marshmallows and a painted-on snowman face can really stir up some holiday appetite. Your young artist can share their finesse in face-painting while embracing the sweetness of a heartwarming craft.
Paper Christmas Crafts for Kids
How can your handy helper add their own touch of holiday decor and cheer around the house? This season, make them feel like the best elf in town by showing them a few simple papercraft projects that will transform walls into festive galleries – displaying their own handmade Christmas creations.
The clothespin and Christmas tree project is a truly quick and easy Christmas craft! Some glitter glue, beads, stickers, buttons, lace, or string (garland) can turn triangle trimmed cardstock into vibrantly decorated trees to celebrate the season. Clothespins or wooden pegs hold the tree (or multiple trees) upright. And tada! Your crafty kiddo just designed a holiday centerpiece for any dining table set!
Small square cutouts of tissue paper, a wreath shape cereal box cutout, pencil heads, and some glue are all it takes to create a green tissue paper wreath! Use the eraser of a pencil to push the tissue paper onto the glue dotted cut out until it’s full of festive paper art!
Got spare puzzle pieces? If you do, your child has an ornament opportunity in progress! They can paint the puzzle pieces with any design they choose, form candy canes, wreaths or other holiday shapes and attach them to a piece of cardstock or cardboard to embrace their puzzling persona! A quick ornament that just fits!
It’s all hands on deck, or in this instance tons of handprint cutouts in alternating Christmas colors! Your child’s helpful hands will be the focal point of a Christmas wreath as they glue their hand tracing cutouts in a circle of green and red. After they’ve finished the circle, they can add a bow to finish the piece!
Simple Holiday Crafts for Kids
Need some quick prep Christmas projects to do on the fly? These fast & easy Christmas crafts, which make kids go holly-jolly, are the way to go.
Can button collecting be a craft project waiting to happen? Of course, it can! Have your crafter form a circle with floral wire or string and slide on different shades of green or red buttons to display an ombre look. Then attach a burlap ribbon or velvet ribbon to the top to add some rustic elegance to the ornament.
Kids can collect small sturdy twigs that will have a future as tiny tree trunks. Once they’ve done their outdoor scavenger hunt, it’s time to cut the ribbon on this experiment–literally! After they choose from some colorful ribbons, they can tie each ribbon onto the twig in a stacked fashion. Now the twig is an instant Christmas tree!
Send your number one scavenger out to collect pinecones or do your own reconnaissance mission by visiting your local supermarket. Your painter brushes on enchanting splashes of green. (If they like they can add various ornaments to the pine cone (like beads, pom-poms or glitter glue). Then, they can add cotton around the pine cone points or hints of white to add the illusion of snow. Place the pine cone in some plaster of Paris to keep it standing tall. It looks like a snowy tree!
Have your child trace their hand onto a piece of brown cardstock. After they cut it out, they can attach an oval patch of paper, then googly eyes and a red nose (buttons or pom-poms) to the thumb. (Tip: Make sure the fingertips are pointing downward.) To add some extra jolliness they can attach bell strands below the wrist and across the hand. Jingle all the way!
Your festive little one can create an ornament that will leave any Grinch feeling green with envy this holiday season! You’ll need a transparent ornament to fill, plastic or glass (depending on the age of the designer) and green feathers, fabric strips, beads or gumdrops. They can paint on a Grinch face or leave it be.
Young artists love opportunities to show their sense of style. You can share the joy this holiday season by helping your child discover their love for all things Christmas. It’ll be the best present ever!
For families living in a warm climate, winter outdoor activities don’t look so different from summer, fall, or spring activities. Skiing, sledding, and building snowmen may just be the stuff of picture books and holiday movies for kids outside of the Northeast and Midwest. Ideally, families would get to play in the snow, without the brutal winds, ice and winter storms. Fake snow presents a chance to break away from winter boredom, no actual weather required!
Fake Snow is fun, whether there’s never been snowfall where you live or there’s three feet of permanent hardpack as early as October. It’s great for younger kids’ sensory play. Plus, it’s easy to make and easy to clean up, so we put together this guide on how to make fake snow!
Getting Set Up
First gather equipment and set up a play area. Even though it’s not as messy as bringing real snow into the house, spilled fake snow still requires some clean up. Lay down wax paper or newsprint to keep your play space tidy. A shower curtain liner works well as a catch-all for messy hands-on activities. Here’s everything you’ll need:
A tray, tub or wide flat container to hold the snow
1½ cups Baking soda
¼ cups Shampoo
(optional) Food coloring
(optional) White or silver glitter
(optional) Toys to play in the snow
(optional) Buttons, pipe cleaners, beads and pom poms for building snowmen.
This activity is also great for groups of kids, as every kid can make their own tray of snow. Just increase the suggested recommendation on the recipe. The measurements above are great for two kids sharing a tray.
Making Fake Snow
Prepare the play area with wax paper or plastic for easy clean up.
Set down the tray and pour in the baking soda.
Pour in the pre-measured shampoo. If you’re interested in making colored snow using food coloring, first mix the food coloring with shampoo.
Kids can help to mix the baking soda and shampoo together in their tray. Using hands, keep stirring and kneading the snow together until it becomes more crumbly and less sticky.
Add in glitter if you want, or drop in a few extra “bursts” of color with food coloring.
Once the snow is crumbling, it’s ready for all kinds of snow adventures. Kids can experiment with adding more food coloring to pre-mixed snow and sprinkling in more glitter. If you’re in a really warm climate, the mixture can be refrigerated for a while to give the sensation of playing with cold snow.
Use blue or purple food coloring to mimic the colors of frigid Arctic ice. For more color fun, try making batches of red and white snow to create candy cane inspired snow.
Clump the snow together into balls for building snowmen. Start with two stacked snowballs to create a basic snowman shape and then try building a taller snowman out of three snowballs.
Add buttons to the front of the snowmen.
Place pipe cleaners in both sides of the snowman for arms.
Beads or peppercorns make great eyes or mouths for the top snowball.
Add pompoms to the top snowball of the snowman for a tophat or earmuffs.
Younger kids love tactile play, because it’s messy, hands-on, and always fun!
Hide toys in the snow for kids to uncover in a treasure hunt.
Use seasonal cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the snow, or use cookie cutters as a mold and fill them with fake snow.
Scoop a cup into a plastic bag for transportable sensory play. It’s mess free and kids will love squishing & playing with the glittery snow in the bag.
Anytime baking soda comes out of the pantry, most kids want to see it fizz. When it’s time to clean up the fake snow activity, parents can pour vinegar onto the snow to make it erupt into bubbles or snowdrifts. Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, when combined, two chemical reactions take place, the latter of which is a decomposition producing water and carbon dioxide gas.
If your kids have seen the reaction before, ask them to make a guess about what will happen now that there’s shampoo present in the baking soda. Do they think the reaction will be more foamy? Less foamy?
Other Fake Snow Recipes
There are many variations of fake snow recipes, they all create a different kind of snow. For people living in colder climates terms like wet snow, dry snow, or heavy snow all mean different things (and cold weather kids know which ones make the best snow balls). Try out these alternative recipes for generating different kinds of snow!
Shaving Cream & Baking Soda: Combine 1 ½ cups Baking Soda & add shaving cream to create white fluffy snow. Continue adding in shaving cream until you find a consistency that you like!
Conditioner: Substitute conditioner for the shampoo in the original recipe for a smoother type of consistency.
Corn Starch & Lotion: not as powdery as the other recipes, but great for making snowmen.
Snow Clay: This snow with more substance for sculpting. Kids can form it into blocks for constructing igloos and snow structures. Mix all the ingredients together & knead until smooth.
1 Part Cornstarch
2 Parts Baking Soda
1.5 Parts Water
Food coloring and/or glitter
This winter break, you might find yourself at home with kids brimming with pent-up energy on the verge of cabin fever. Break into the pantry and bathroom to grab a few basic ingredients to make your very own snow – a guaranteed boredom buster! Older kids might enjoy making fake snow as well, as a variation on traditional “slime” recipes. Try adding in a few drops of essential oil to the recipe to make the snow smell like the season.
All of the fake snow recipes will keep for a few days as long as they aren’t left exposed to the air for too long, so you can enjoy one batch for a whole weekend!
Rachel Ignotofsky is a New York Times–bestselling author and illustrator. Her book, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World, is a KiwiCo favorite. A gloriously illustrated celebration of female trailblazers, Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with examples from both the ancient and modern worlds. The result is a fun and accessible book that appeals to kids and adults alike!
We sat down with Rachel to ask her about how she came to write this book. In the interview below, she shares more about her process and her strong belief that illustration can be a powerful tool for making learning exciting.
KiwiCo: Have you always been interested in science? Did you have a teacher or mentor who helped nurture your interest in science when you were little? What else inspired your love of science?
Rachel: Science has always been an exciting topic for me. Human anatomy was one of my favorite classes in high school. That passion for learning about biology and the mechanics of how the world works stayed with me when I decided to go to art school.
KiwiCo: What inspired you to write this book?
Rachel: For me, art and illustration are tools that need to be functional in some way. Before I wrote this book, I had a lot of friends who were teachers in public schools and would lament the lack of books about science for kids. As I was doing my research, I found that, with the exception of Marie Curie, there were very few stories about women in science. The more I read, the more amazing stories I uncovered about these remarkable women whose work was so impactful. I started drawing posters and putting them on social media and in my Etsy shop. I always knew it would be a book, but I wanted to test the idea first.
Now the book is being used as a part of science lesson plans as at the high-school level and has been translated into 25 languages. It shows you how much we needed to tell these women’s stories.
KiwiCo: How did you research the book and choose which scientists to include?
It was a winding path. I believe you have to read books to make books. I read a ton of heavy books on science starting with a book calledNobel Prize Women in Science.This book profiles six women who won the Nobel Prize and is very long but was an amazing starting point. Then I created a list of women to research with a focus on diversity. I tried to include a breadth of fields—from particle physics to biology and astronomy—as well as a diversity of economic backgrounds, races, religions and beyond.I wanted there to be a story in there that everyone could relate to—no matter who they were or where they came from. When you are inclusive, you get to tell a much more accurate history.
One of the first women I included was Edith Clarke, who was the first female electrical engineer and became the first female professor of engineering at the University of Texas at Austin despite the fact that she struggled with dyslexia. Her work was the foundation for many advances in her field.
KiwiCo: How do you hope the book will inspire kids?
Rachel: My hope is that both young girls and boys will read this so we can reframe history with a new sense of normal. The only way to do that is to show real role models who affected history. My biggest hope is that it will give them a new set of role models to aspire to so that anyone can be a leader and solve the world’s biggest problems.
That said, not everyone is going to go into STEM fields, but the book invites people to enjoy science in their everyday lives. A lot of kids (and adults) label themselves as “not smart enough,” but science is for everyone.
KiwiCo: You organized the book chronologically starting with Alexandria (one of the oldest civilizations in the world) and ending with today’s scientists. Why did you decide to structure the book this way?
Rachel: I try to put history into everything that I do. Women have been working in science since the dawn of time. I wanted to include the earliest impactful examples for kids to understand how there have always been women scientists and to show how their work not only survived them but changed the world.
KiwiCo: We love your book because our mission at KiwiCo is to inspire kids to see themselves as innovators and creative problem solvers—which feels very much in line with the stories in Women in Science! Which women in your book were some of the most creative problem-solvers?
Rachel: Journalist Marjorie Stoneman Douglas spent five years researching the Everglades in Florida at a time when very little was known about it. She realized that the swamp was actually a connected series of rivers that protected the Floridian shore. The swamp was also a moving river of grass that acted as a nursery for fish. She was able to prove the importance of this ecosystem, and her work allowed the Everglades to become a National Park. Many years later, when the potential construction of a jet port threatened to harm the swamp resurfaced, she organized petitions and protests (at the age of 80!)—and won the case again. At the age of 100, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. The kind of conservation she practiced isn’t just important for Florida; it is essential to the world.
Another example is Mae Jemison, the first Black American woman astronaut,
She served on the space shuttle Endeavor. She grew up watching the space race (and was also a big fan of the fictionalized show Star Trek). After returning from finishing her work at NASA, Mae started a number of programs to inspire people to get into the space field and became an inspiration to many. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.
Each and every story has moments like that. In general, when I was researching the book, I felt indebted to the people in it. Each woman worked to create a better life for everyone. I want this book to be part of a living timeline that celebrates the achievements of all women. I want each story to include lessons that can be continued by the reader. The next great scientist could be you!
Halloween is one of the most creative times of the year, especially when it comes to pumpkins! To celebrate this spooky season, we had our very own pumpkin palooza here at KiwiCo’s Mountain View office, complete with a pumpkin-decorating contest. To fully inspire the team, we provided a big array of pumpkins — from perfectly-shaped Cinderellas to nubby knuckleheads to white Casper and Baby Boo pumpkins! Then we provided a cache of art supplies and came up with prizes! The result: a stunning array of imaginative, funny pumpkins — and lots of fun! Here are some tips along with decorating ideas from our team.
Pumpkin Decorating Tips
Let your pumpkin speak to you: Does it have bumps that suggest ears? Or a stem that suggests a beak? Does the pumpkin sit low like a car, or does its triangular shape and height remind you of the Eiffel Tower? Find the pumpkin’s quirks and feature them!
Provide exciting art supplies: Our team found more inspiration in our baskets of art supplies. Some favorites: googly eyes, acrylic paint, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, twine, pom-poms, permanent felt-tipped markers, construction paper, felt, pencils (for sketching), sticky foam, skewers, sticky notes, and whatever else was on hand.
Carving tools: We used simple carving kits that included mini saws and scoopers. You can also use wood-carving gouges, but as these are sharper, they should only be used with adult supervision.
Sketch first: Use a pencil to sketch features before you cut.
Keep your work area clean: Cover your work area with craft paper and provide bowls and pans for pumpkin guts. For our big pumpkin palooza, we provided high-sided aluminum catering pans.
A word about safety: For young children, no-carve pumpkins are a great solution. For kids who choose to carve, grownup assistants are helpful. Make sure your pumpkin sits securely on your work surface before you start your masterpiece and while carving, carve away from yourself. If you’re etching the skin of the pumpkin, be sure to go extra slowly since the curved surface can be slippery.
Halloween Steve by Carlianne, Illustration
Inspiration: I draw the Kiwi Co characters here, so when I saw the shape of this gourd, I immediately thought it looked just like Steve! I wanted to shave off the little warts, but it turned out to be really hard to get off, so instead I decided to lean into the imperfections and leave the bumps as “warts” and make Steve dress up for Halloween.
Method: I found felt to make the hat, and a cat companion. I used a straw wrapped in yarn for a broom and some extra “fluff” for clouds (which also helped him stay standing up). Then I used pieces from a second pumpkin to make his nose, and wings, with tangerine peels cut to look like feet. I applied just a little paint to his body and beak as finishing touches. It was really fun to see the Steve I draw everyday come alive in my hands!
Autum Owl by Iris, Editorial
Inspiration: After looking at some examples, I realized that if you hold a pumpkin sideways, the stem looks like a bird’s beak. I found a smooth, white one with an especially beak-like stem. The color made me think of Hedwig from Harry Potter, so I decided that my pumpkin would become an owl (though I ended up making my owl’s wings brown, so he’s not really a snowy owl like Hedwig is).
Technique: I decided on a combination of painting and etching with wood-carving gouges.). I first lightly sketched the outline of my owl onto the pumpkin with a soft artist’s pencil. Next, I painted the features and the leaf crown with acrylics and followed up by etching in the outlines of the face, feathers, eyes, and leaves. I used metallic paint pens to add some additional details, then made feet from paper-covered floral stems (you could easily make your own by wrapping paper around pipe cleaners or wire) and painted a cardboard cylinder from a roll of packing tape to make a stand so the sideways pumpkin wouldn’t roll away. I used hot glue to secure everything, painted over any glue drips, and erased any remaining pencil lines. Lastly, the placement of the eyes is important. I wanted a cute, curious owl, so I put my eyes directly on either side of the beak. (If you wanted a more piercing stare, you could put them above the beak.) It took me a few tries to get it right, so I was really glad I sketched the eyes in pencil before painting anything!
Spooky Spider by Andy, Product Design
Inspiration: I was inspired in a number of ways. We did a motion-sensing spider crate a couple of years back, and I wanted to recreate it. Also, the googly eyes and giant pipe cleaners are amazing and fun to work with. (Spiders have eight eyes!). Spiders also fit nicely with Halloween.
Method: Since I knew we were in the middle of an event, I wanted to make something quick and easy. The small pumpkin I chose was very cute and was the perfect size. I painted it black and then added different-sized googly eyes to make it both cute and creepy!
Panda Pumpkin by Suki, Product Design and Maria, Graphic Design
Inspiration: Suki and Maria, who both work on our Panda Crate line, were inspired by its mascot, Poppy the panda.
Method: We scaled and printed out the panda face onto paper. Then Suki cut out the eyes to use as a stencil. We cut ears out of sticky foam and stuck them in with toothpicks
Little Hula Pumpkin by Christine, Marketing
Inspiration: With how cold it’s been getting, I wanted to hold on to summer just a little longer and thought a little tropical hula pumpkin would be cute. (You only ever see pumpkins associated with fall and winter!) I wanted to bring a bit of summer vacation vibes into the office.
Method: I cut slits in bright green sticky notes to create the hula skirt and used bright pink tissue paper for a little flower. I added a little cocktail umbrella for style. If I had more time, I would have made sunglasses out of a pipe cleaner!
Cinderella’s Carriage by Lindsey, Editorial
Inspiration: Growing up, Halloween was such a special, festive holiday for our family, and it was something I truly looked forward to every year. We established a tradition where I would choose the perfect white pumpkin at a local pumpkin patch, and my dad would then use puff paint to turn it into Cinderella’s carriage. I have such fond memories of this experience, and I wanted to recreate it – or at least attempt to!
Method: I sketched the windows and carriage door directly onto the pumpkin with a pencil. Then I selected a few puff paints (iridescent white, baby pink, gold glitter), and free-handed the rest. I used my pencil outlines as a rough guide but adjusted as I went along. The final step was painting the stem gold to make the carriage truly sparkle.
Gnome Sweet Gnome Pumpkin by Nathalie, People Operations
Inspiration: I liked the idea of creating a little world inside the pumpkin. With it’s flat shape, light color, and bumpy texture, this pumpkin looked like something you might find in a forest–It inspired me to create this dwelling for a gnome.
Method: I am a plant lover so I planned on using real succulents from my garden, but decided instead to make flowers out of felt. I hollowed out the front of the pumpkin and used quick dry clay to create doors, windows and little mushrooms. Then I paved a path in the interior using rocks and moss and added a light to make it feel welcoming.
Hungry Anglerfish by Rebekah, Product Design
Inspiration: I had no idea what I was doing when I started. Instead, I went on an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie–style journey until arriving at something that looked like an anglerfish.
Method: At first I noticed a bag of googly eyes and thought I wanted to cover something with them, but then I saw two smaller pumpkins and thought I could make them into two eyes like a fly! I attached them to a bigger pumpkin after carving out eye sockets. But then the pumpkin didn’t look like a fly. (Flies don’t have compound eyes!) I tried to carve vampire teeth, but they looked bad, so I tried pumpkin seeds, but those were too hard. Then my colleague Yuli left a few spare parts from her pumpkin on my table, and they looked like fins, so I made a fish. Then someone said it looked like an angler fish, so I added a dangler and craft stick teeth!
SETI by Sam, Finance
Inspiration: A large stash of googly eyes and a package of tiny toy parts inspired this SETI pumpkin (SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
Method: First I painted the pumpkin black and let it dry. Then I glued the toy parts all over the pumpkin , let them dry and glued on the eyes. This pumpkin was fast and fun to put together!
Show us your pumpkin creations! Tag us at #kiwicopumpkins!