Saint Nicholas Day Craft

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Happy Second Week of Advent! For this week’s craft my students made their own miniature Saint Nicholas!

St. Nick’s Day is December 6 and there are plenty of ways to celebrate with your little ones. The most popular way you may have heard of is setting your shoes out for St. Nicholas to leave candy in. I’ve been doing this the last two years with my students, and of course they love it. I think having class with no shoes on is the most entertaining part for them, but when they find that St. Nicholas (or a fellow teacher) has left candy canes or chocolate coins in their shoes, it’s an added bonus.

A new activity we tried this year was making this St. Nicholas figure. You can get the printout here -much thanks to stnicholascenter.org  and Catholic Icing for this one. It’s absolutely adorable!

I noticed when I printed it out that it was not recommended for young elementary students, but I do love a challenge.

This was not very challenging, though. I had the kids color their St. Nicholas and his various accessories (a staff and bag of gold) first. Then I cut out the smaller parts for them, while they cut out St. Nick.

Next, you have to roll St. Nick into his charming cone shape. Adults should do this part, as it’s the most challenging part for little hands. You can use either tape or a glue stick to keep him together. 

After that, I just helped the students glue the accessories to St. Nick’s hands and showed them how to glue his arms on. Some students needed more assistance with this than others, but all in all the craft went quite smoothly!

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A couple examples of my students’ St. Nicks. I printed theirs bigger than my example to make it easier to work with.

Once they’d finished putting their St. Nicholas together, I let them decorate him with glitter glue. This was definitely their favorite part.  

I thought this craft turned out so well and was a great way to celebrate St. Nicholas Day! My kindergarten students seemed to enjoy it as well- especially the boys who discovered when they threw their St. Nicks in the air they became the equivalent of paper airplanes… 

Advent Wreath Craft

First things first, happy first week of Advent! To celebrate, it’s time for our first official craft post! This week in Sunday school my students and I made Advent wreaths! The idea for this came completely from Catholic Icing (which I am a big fan of!) They had great instructions for how to make this  (far better than I could ever explain, trust me…) 

This was my first year making these with students and I must admit, they turned out far better than expected! Keep in mind, I have a small class this year so I was able to help each child individually for specific parts that can be pretty tricky for 5-6 year olds. But if you’re doing this craft with just a handful of students or your own kids at home this craft is a lot of fun!

Making these can be a little time consuming (depending on how fast and focused your kids are- about half my students focused really well, while the other half.. did not- so it took a little under an hour to completely finish them. (Trust me, I know you can make these a lot faster than that…)

Since the directions for making these are on Catholic Icing, I’m going to focus on what I did differently.

First, instead of using yellow pipecleaners for the candles, we used green (we had a lot of green pipecleaners to spare). This meant I had to attach the little candle flames (we used sparkly yellow pipecleaners, which looked so cute!) Attaching them can be a little tricky, even for me, so make sure to do this part for the kids.

To attach the flame, I just left some space at the top of the green pipecleaner after putting on the beads, then looped the green around the yellow flame, tucking it back into the bead.

Once we finished making the candles, we looped pieces of tulle around the wreath to make it look fuller. In class, I just tied the piece to the base pipecleaner and the kids were able to wrap the tulle around it. Sometimes the tulle would get tangled with the candles but untangling it is pretty easy, and for the most part the kids handled this themselves. We wrapped two long pieces of tulle around our wreaths, wrapping the second one a little bit looser to make it look fuller.

Also, if you’re having trouble keeping your candles standing up straight (I know we sure did) focusing on wrapping the tulle tighter around the candles helps them stay up.

Another helpful hint: if there’s any parts of the tulle that are sticking out too much or parts that look a little bare, just cut a small piece (maybe three inches wide) and tie it anywhere on the wreath you see fit. We did this on a couple places on our wreaths and it helps add texture as well!

Once you’ve tied the ends of your tulle to the wreath, you can call it good! Or, if you want to make it look even more “wreath-like” you can glue some small red and green pom-poms to the wreath, like berries. My students enjoyed this part immensely!

And that’s about it! Like I said, this craft went better than I could have hoped for our first try, and it looked so cute when we were done!

*I will admit, the downside to this craft is that all four candles are lit, even though we’re only in the first week of Advent… But I don’t think my kindergartners were too concerned with this, since we discussed the order of lighting the candles, and had our own class Advent wreath to light.

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions or comments on our Advent wreath this week!

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Here’s a couple examples of the advent wreaths my students made!

Welcome to The Crafty Catechist!

Alright, time to kick off this blog with our first post!

I’ll start with some introductory stuff… My name’s Larysa and I’m in the midst of my third year of teaching a kindergarten catechism class. I was raised Catholic and graduated from a Catholic high school. I started volunteering in the Religious Education program as a project for school, but quickly fell in love with it!

Teaching kindergarten has been so fun for me, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I could have ever expected. I’m an only child, so getting to be around little kids is something I definitely don’t take for granted. These kids are a ton of fun and always keep me on my toes, but I must say I am truly blessed to be able to work with them every week!

My hope for this blog is to be able to share some of my crafts and ideas with other like-minded Christians. I plan to post ideas ranging from handmade advent wreaths, to “stained glass” crosses made with tissue paper, to Holy Spirit windsocks- not to mention all the various things you can do with glitter glue!- all made with kindergarten students in mind (and tested by them as well!)

So please stay tuned for crafts to come! (My hope is to blog weekly with different ideas for upcoming classes, but we’ll see where the year takes us!)