It occurred to me, that if you have recently stumbled across this blog, you may be wondering about my predilection for things Smug and Lazy. Here’s a quick recap, as well as a couple of Christmas-themed smug and lazy toddler craft options (some more tasteful than others).
Look the main goal here – the main premise, in any case, is not that I am particularly smug and lazy, or at least I hope not. Rather, that quite often I (and, I would assume, at least some other parents out there) would love to do more toddler crafts and healthy home baking – but sometimes, oftentimes, lack the necessary time / energy / skill.
Exhibit (a): Smug and lazy scones
And some of the blogs I really enjoy reading are either very much in the smug camp (look at these elaborate and highly educational crafts I have provided for my children today!) or the lazy camp (leave your children alone to become imaginative independent creatures, have a glass of wine and share how exhausted and grumpy we all are). Both admirable and fun to read.
But, as in many domains, I am a bit more middle-of-the-road (what an attribute!). I would love to have fun craft options for my children – but also not kill myself doing it (and ideally have time and energy for a glass of wine with my husband at the end of the day).
Exhibit (b): smug and lazy homemade playgdough
I felt like there might be a place for a Smug and Lazy option. Yes to more activities/art/crafts for my children (Smug)! And also, yes to spending less time/money/energy/resource on the preparation and clean up (Lazy). Essentially, what craft/recipe can I execute right now without any real forethought or planning?
Exhibit (c): smug and lazy soft baked cookies
Enough preamble! You’re here for the Christmas crafts.
Homemade clay ornaments
First up, these baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) clay ornaments.
There are lots of diy clay recipes out there, but this is the one I’ve used a few times successfully.
1 1/4 cups of baking soda
3/4 cup of cornstarch
3/4 cup of water
Slowly heat on a medium temperature, constantly stirring. It will resemble a sort of frothy oobleck at the start. Keep mixing, keep heating.
Eventually it will start to look like a fondant icing, or an alarmingly wet mashed potato:
When it looks like this (above), remove from heat and continue to mix. Turn it out onto a board and knead into a ball:
Wrap in a damp cloth and leave to cool for ten minutes -ish. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper.
I had all four children (8, 6, 4, 2) cutting out the shapes with a varying degree of success. The older two could do this independently, the younger two needed some supervision (Wilf, 2, needed some pretty intense supervision in order to cut any out that weren’t immediately squashed by his little fingers as he tried to lift them – this is a fairly delicate clay). Luckily he was pretty happy to press the cutter down and let me lift the shape gently onto the tray.
I just used a skewer to pop some holes into the top.
They took a few days to dry on a baking tray lined with parchment paper – I think you probably could put them in the oven at a very low temp to speed this up.
But we were keeping this simple, so I left them alone to dry – admittedly in a couple of different locations after curious hands got hold of a few stars in the early drying stages when they are remarkably fragile.
After that – I picked up some dollar store wooden beads and white twine and threaded them through:
Obviously we had to have a few that were a little jazzier:
Painted with regular children’s washable paints (we love this set) and then given a quick coat of Mod Podge to set.
Not entirely sure how I will display the simple ones yet, although these are nice ideas:
They are a little too minimal to adorn our tree, a little less minimal after nine years of toddler design:
An improvement on last year, when any branches below 3ft were bare (blame a 16month old)
This was a really simple activity that Wilf (2) and Mim (4) enjoyed this afternoon.
We collected some small festive things (holly leaves from the garden, Christmas branch offcuts, small baubles, glittery pompoms) and… well… piled them into a mason jar.
Particularly heavy on the lazy component of a smug and lazy craft, this one:
But they look pretty lovely on the windowsill and both children are exceptionally proud, so I think we can call that a success.
More soon! Just a casual week of frantic Christmas prep ahead before the holidays start. And I can’t think of any link, however tenuous, to this photo, but, nonetheless: