Little Surprised Girl Playing With Duplo BlocksIn my quest for the perfect kid-safe Christmas tree ornaments this year, I purchased cardboard balls, hang tags, plush sheep, and even a felted matrioshka doll for our potted pine. Here are our top picks for bringing a little geek chic to your tree, ready in even less time than it takes to set out a bowl of candy canes for the man in red suit.

Duplo

I wish I could take credit for this, but alas I cannot. My 17 month old, creative as he is, hit on the perfect fun, child-friendly ornament most of us have on hand–duplo blocks! The blocks are brightly colored (and easy to coordinate if you’re more design chic than I am), and nestle easily between branches. They’re also easy for kids–even young kids–to push into the branches themselves.

Tree not so bushy, or a fake? No problem. Duplo studs, unlike their lego counterparts, are big enough to tie a piece of wool or string to.

  1. Select blocks of any color or size; try looking for fun duplo animals or people, too.
  2. Tuck into tree.

Gift Tags & Cards

I’m a bit of a recycling nut when it comes to Christmas: I keep paper, cards, gift tags, and ribbon then reuse the pieces the following year. But if you’re not as eco-crazy I am, store bought cards and tags will work just as well. If you want to take it a step further, try writing messages (Merry Christmas is a good place to start) on the tags and string into a garland.

  1. Pick cards and tags with bright colors for best effect.
  2. Cut out the ornamental sections–such as a snowman, or a Christmas globe–and string with wool, kitchen twine, or similar.
  3. For something a little extra special, decorate sections with glitter glue or pens. This is especially fun to do with the munchkins.

Pom Poms

Not just the stuff of cheerleaders, pom poms are a simple, cheap, kid friendly alternative to glass Christmas balls. And if your kids are old enough to handle a pair of scissors, they’re even more fun to make as a family.

  1. Gather supplies: wool, cardboard, and scissors.
  2. Cut a length of wool 2 – 3 inches long (or longer if you want to use it as a hanging loop), then set aside.
  3. Cut the cardboard into a strip about 2 inches across, or larger for bigger pom poms.
  4. Holding a piece of wool against the bottom of the card, wrap wool around the 2 inches (height, rather than breadth) 40-50 times, then cut.
  5. Carefully, slide the wool off the card, pinching it to keep the shape.
  6. Taking up the wool you cut earlier, tie it around the center and knot, then loop around again and knot twice to secure. You can knot the wool up the top to make an ornament loop, or cut it and simply nestle the pom pom in the tree.
  7. Trim the pom pom for evenness, and voila!

What are your favorite kid-friendly Christmas decorations?

 

image credit: Rotorhead, via sxc.hu