heads up – there is a giveaway at the end of this post. Carry on 🙂
When my nephew Cole was little, he could pop Christmas ornaments so fast it was like fourth of July. He would waddle over to the tree, pinch an ornament between his thumb and tiny toddler fingers and POP! just enough pressure to make to shatter into a gazillion foot-slicing pieces. And then came the giggles! Oh the giggles! And with four little ones, I completely understand the need for child-friendly christmas ornaments. The tree is like catnip to these little fingers….we put glowing lights and miniature items all over this interesting new living room feature right at their level….of course they are gonna wanna touch. I mean…I want to touch and I’m a few years ahead of them 🙂
So I thought it would be fun to do a little round up of some of my favorite child-friendly ornaments I’ve done in years past and a couple new ones for the current tree! These ornaments of course could be destroyed by kids….my little ones could probably open a can of mandarin oranges without tools if inclined…so they won’t be child-proof. BUT the good news is – they aren’t glass and you won’t need to worry about them shattering 🙂 Break out the hot glue guns ladies! This is gonna be fun!
I loved my green and blue tree where I used yarn to make oversized string orbs. These balls of yarn were the perfect addition to my tree to make it interesting and fun! You can read this old post to see the complete DIY. I also used the yarn to make the candy cane inspired topper which turned out to look more like a crown settled on the tip top.
In the past, I always try to give the boys a handmade ornament….this one was created for Will and it was very easy to cut out and sew together. All I needed was a couple sheets of felt, some colored threads and needle, a little fiberfill and scissors. First you sew the initial (cut it out free hand for a homemade look or you can use a crafting cutting machine if you really want perfection!) onto your first circle. I then sewed that circle to the other circle using a tight whip stitch and left just enough unsewed to stuff it full. Once it was a nice little pillow of sorts, I finished my sewing and attached the loop on top with a couple stitches. It was time intensive for such a small guy but these are the ornaments that I always remember the best.
PLASTIC SHATTERPROOF ORNAMENTS
This goes without saying, but put the glass babies away. They have great options for shatterproof plastic ornaments and not all of them look cheap. I always say to have at least three different types of ball ornaments on the tree to keep things feeling fresh. Try to avoid ones that have a noticeable seam….and change the wire hooks to ribbon to make them even more child friendly.
My mom (a music teacher) ornamented her tree with musical instruments on year and it not only worked her life’s theme but it was virtually indestructible. Other metal ornaments could work as well….try DIYing something or
A super simple garland is pompom ribbon. It is soft and simple and can be used for future craft projects! The best part is that it reminds me of popcorn which gives it a vintage feel while still being super simple and perfect for toddlers this Christmas…without the choking hazard 🙂
A highly impactful element in a lot of my trees is the use of embroidery hoops to imitate ornaments. I love reusing them year after year. I wrapped the outer rings in red and white fabric strips before inserting various fabrics that go with that years tree. The effect is oversized ornaments that are completely kid friendly!
TISSUE PAPER BALLS
One of the cheapest large ornaments you can make are these tissue paper balls! The options are endless! You can score simple tissue paper at any dollar store or party supply store and make them to the perfect size and in the perfect color! Mine are four sheets cut to 8 inches wide and gathered with craft wire. Then I poofed them into my desired shape and stuffed them into the tree 🙂
For the longest time, the boys decided the tree’s theme for Christmas….that meant we had some pretty interesting themes. The year that we got “orange and blue and alphabet”, I am pretty sure I should have backed down from the challenge. But I carried on with the alphabet tree by cutting out letters from cardboard and painting them baby blue. The effect was not only cute but it was completely kid friendly. You could avoid the color scheme by making it red or green or gold for a holiday feel.
FABRIC SWATCH GARLAND
Fabric garland is so easy to make and I’m fairly certain that anyone can do it with a little practice. I used five different fabrics – I had about a yard of each and used a little bit of each to cut out small squares that were roughly the same size. Then I ran them through my sewing machine, overlapping the edges just a little so that my machine wouldn’t stop. It became this festive and personalized garland perfect for any event….including Christmas.
Poof balls are super easy to make with yarn and the kids won’t hurt themselves with it! They are simple to make….simply wrap a bunch of yarn loosely around your hand and then slowly slip the entire group of yarn loops off your hand, tie off the middle of the tightly with a 10 inch length of yarn and cut the ends of the loop to make the poof. You can trim it into a ball shape with some sharp scissors and make your tree super fun!
Picks are very easy to attach to a tree….literally just buy them at a store and stuff them directly into the tree. Usually the pick stick is long enough to hold it in! The best part is that they are cheap ($1 each at the dollar store!) and they are a little larger than a normal ornament so it can give the tree dimension and interest. Plus…most of these are non-breakable! Parent win!
This should be a non-mention because DUH….but post-pregnancy-brain is real y’all. My kid is 1.5 and I wrote 2012 on a check the other day. A CHECK. Who am I? But if you are still living under a rock with me with a scrunchie in your hair and tight rolled mom jeans, you should remember that ribbon is your tree’s BFF.
One of my mom’s signature moves when it comes to her Christmas trees is using pipe cleaners to make simple and swirly ornaments. She simply wraps it around a finger, pulls it off, and then slips one end over a branch. To make it feel organic, she pinches the end that is on the needles and pulls the end pointing out and it elongates it and gives it the perfect twist!
PING PONG BALLS
One of the best investments I ever made (and admittedly one of the most annoying!) is the ping pong balls. I ordered a huge bag of cheap ones on Amazon three Christmas’s ago and used an X-acto knife to cut a small X on each one. Then I slip it over the bulbs on regular string lights to give the tree a really fun look. They are magnets to small hands but I’m not afraid of anyone getting hurt….just a ton of ping-pong balls to put back later 🙂
Branches, sticks, grapevine wreaths, cattails, pussywillow branches, pine cones, even vines are all great alternatives to glass ornaments and are very kid friendly. Just don’t pick a natural element like poison ivy. Trust me…it could ruin everyone’s holidays 🙂
TOYS AS ORNAMENTS
Small toys make great ornaments and with a coat of spray paint, they are appealing to adults too! I modified these dollar store elk figurines (are they elk? I am a little rusty with deer related animals.) and they hang proudly on my tree and were much more affordable than similarly sold versions in stores. (I’m posting this DIY craft over the weekend so check back to see how you can make them!). Consider using other toys or children’s items into ornaments…love the idea of turning the 2.7 million legos in our house into ornaments one day!
Hope you guys can use some of these suggestions to make your own toddler-friendly trees a little more fun this christmas season!
UPDATE! Making your home a little more kid-safe doesn’t stop there! I just got word that TORCH (that wireless wi-fi router that can make all your devices kid-friendly and blocks the unwanted adult material and limits their access online) is offering up a christmas present for one family to win! And if you already have it in your own home, make sure to enter so that you can gift it to a friend. Now let’s get to that giveaway…
- PRIZE: (1) One Torch wireless router (a $249 value)
- NUMBER OF WINNERS : (1) ONE
- TO ENTER : Enter by going to TORCH (CLICK HERE) and enter email and comment on how you keep your kid safe during the holidays!
- PRIZE SHIPS : Continental U.S.
- NITTY GRITTY : This giveaway closes on Friday, December 16th at 11:59pm EDT. By entering your email on the TORCH site, you are entering the giveaway. Only one contest entry per email address. The winner will be chosen by TORCH and will be announced in an update to this post the following Friday morning. We will email the winner directly, so please make sure you use your regularly checked email address.