Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nothing Says Christmas than Something Made From the Heart

Christmas Handprint Calendars

     Christmas is right around the corner and you don't have to spend a lot to create the perfect present and one that they will cherish for years and years to come.   The only thing you will need for this easy, easy project is paint and construction paper (both available at any Dollar Store), a paint brush, felt pens and glitter to decorate with and a willing child.  My calendars have evolved and changed over the years, and at one point we actually painted feet as well as hands to make some of the pages,  but the sentiment is always the same-to create a "handprint" memory of your child that year. There are literally thousands of ideas online right now and Pinterest is once again my new best friend. I've included directions to a more detailed version that includes poems for each month below but the ones I made with the girls yesterday as well as with my class are without the monthly poems. The only thing you are limited by is your imagination! 

A few tips from our experience:
  • Have your children wear smocks or old clothes. Clip hair back away from face.
  • There’s beauty in imperfection, so don’t worry about smudges or other “mistakes”.
  • When using multiple colors, it’s always easier if you let the bottom layer dry first, but it’s not necessary for most of these
         I always try to group the pages I do so we can get through all the pages using that color. For example, white paint is used for January for the snowman, April for the rabbit and October for the ghosts. It was also used in July for the flag. 

         When painting your child’s hand, make sure they have their fingers together and tight to start with, and then open the fingers up as needed when you place their hand on the paper.  After 10 years of doing these, I discovered that it’s much easier to turn the paper as opposed to the child’s hand and that you can “reuse” a painted hand several times. Depending on the quality of the paper, you could get a snowman, rabbit and ghosts from one painting.
       When the pages are dry, add in the details-suddenly a white hand print becomes a snowman with some felt pen magic.

     I used 8 1/2″ X 11″ index paper for each calendar page and the cover.   A punch and bind machine finished the top edge but they can also be tied together with ribbons, yarn or whatever you have handy. I have included two different versions of calendars. One handprint calendar idea comes from Little Giraffes which is one of the great kindergarten sites I frequently use in which they took and adapted  ideas from ABC 123 Kindergarten There is an addition to this calendar, a touching poem written by Amy Ethridge of Meridian, MS. She suggests using this as a second page or you could attach it to the envelope you use to send the poem home.  I also included pictures of the calendar the Lyssie and Hailey and I created together yesterday.  Happy painting!

Our "Turner Kindergarten Classroom Version":

Front Cover Poem:

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
I always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But every day I'm growing up
And soon I'll be so tall
That all those little handprints
Will be too hard to recall
So here are some of those handprints
Just so you'll always remember
Exactly how my handprints looked
At this time one December!

Contents & Instructions For Second Version:

The Hands of A Child
by Amy Ethridge
When you look at the hand what do you see?
There are  just some lines most would agree.
But take a closer look this very minute
And notice the treasures that are found within it.
The hand can be so many things,
From tulips to beautiful butterfly wings.
A Santa, an apple, even a heart,
A pumpkin, an umbrella, that’s only a start.
The hand can be snowflakes that fall from the sky.
The hand can be a leprechaun trying to hide.
It can be the sunshine to brighten the day.
It can be a fish swimming away.
It can be a turkey strutting along,
Whatever you make it, you can’t go wrong.
Just take a little time to look and see,
Where these hands came from,
And you’ll surely agree
Your child, the artist, reaching his goal,
Created this for you with body and soul.
Keep it and use it till the time has past.
Then put it away so the memories will last.
Snowflakes white
Are dancing down.
Dancing, dancing
All around.
Each one is different,
It’s surely true.
Here’s one I made
From me for you!
To make handprint:
Use blue index paper for the background. Paint four fingers of one hand with white paint. Stamp in a circular shape to form the basic snowflake, repainting fingers after each stamp. Then go back and stamp fingers across the first stamps in an X shape as shown on the calendar snowflake.


One Red Valentine
One red valentine,
Two red valentines,
Three red valentines,
I’ll snip and cut
And color and paste,
And then make
                                                                        Twenty more.

To make handprint:
Paint both hands red. Slant each hand and overlap the fingers as they are stamped, forming the heart shape as shown to the right.

The Little Leprechaun
I’m a little leprechaun.
Can’t you see?
I’m as tiny as I can be
     I only come around
Just once a year.
That’s when
St. Patrick’s Day is here.

To make handprint:
Paint fingers orange. Paint base of palm pink with a thin strip of orange above that. Paint thumb and rest of palm green as shown. Use marker to make eyes and mouth.

The rain spills down
Upon the town
Like water
From a cup.
The thing I just
Can’t understand
Is how the rain
Gets UP!

To make handprint:
Paint fingers and area just below fingers purple. Stamp upside down to form umbrella shape. Use marker to outline umbrella and to make a handle.

In the garden
Tulips grow
Straight and golden
In a row.
Each one holds
Its empty cup
Drinking rain
And sunshine up.

To make handprint:
Paint fingers and area below fingers yellow, as shown in drawing. Paint one finger green and stamp tulip stem and leaves. Use this method to make two or three tulips.
(Painting the entire hand, as shown on the calendar to the right, made the tulips too large.)

 Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar
Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar
Into a corner will creep.
He’ll spin himself a blanket
And then go fast asleep.
Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar
Will wake up by and by.
To find his wings of beauty,
                                                              Changed to a butterfly!

To make handprint:
Paint both hands using these directions. Paint the palm of the hand one color and the fingers a different bright color. (Do not paint thumbs!) Stamp left hand on left side of paper. Stamp right hand on the right side of the paper. When dry, use a black marker to draw in the center of the butterfly.

 The Fish
I hold my fingers
Like a fish,
And wave them
As I go.
See them swimming
With a swish,
So swiftly
                                                                          To and fro.

To make handprint:
Use blue index paper for the background. Paint hand, including thumb, orange. Keep fingers and thumb close together. Stamp horizontally on paper. The thumb will be the lower fish fin. Use marker to make a face on the palm area of the hand.

  The Sun
Over there
The sun gets up,
And marches
All the day.
At noon it stands
Right overhead.
At night
                                                                        It goes away.

To make handprint:
Paint entire hand yellow. Have student spread fingers and thumb apart as they stamp in one direction. Paint again and turn hand in opposite direction with fingers spread. Continue until rays are formed around the entire sun.
 The Apple Tree
Away up high
In the apple tree,
Two red apples
Smiled at me.
I shook the tree
As hard as I could
And down came the apples,
Mmmmm were they good!

To make handprint:
Paint palm of hand red. Stamp twice to make apples. Use a fingertip dipped in brown paint to make the stems.

I’m a Little Pumpkin
I’m a little pumpkin
Round and stout,
Packed full of seeds
That you can scoop out!
When I get all carved up,
Then I’ll be
The cutest jack-o-lantern
You ever did see!

To make handprint:
Paint palm of hand orange. Stamp to make pumpkin. Use a fingertip dipped in brown paint to make the stem. Make a jack-o-lantern face with a black marker.

 The Turkey
 This isn’t just a turkey,
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is a part of me.
It comes with lots of love
Especially to say,
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

To make handprint:
Paint palm and thumb brown. Paint each finger a different color. When dry, dip index finger in red paint to form wattle. Use marker for legs, beak, and eye.

                                                                   Where is Santa?
Where is Santa?
Where is Santa?
Here I am!
Here I am!
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Ho! Ho! Ho!

To make handprint:
Paint fingers white. Paint base of palm pink with a thin strip of white above that. Paint thumb and rest of palm red as shown. Use marker to make eyes and mouth. Draw in facial features with a marker.
(I should have used blue index paper for the background. Since I didn’t, the white paint on the calendar on the right was tinted slightly gray to make it visible on the white background.)

Missed any of the previous Summer Camp activities or want to do an activity again? These are the perfect activities to help get you through the Winter Break or when a sudden Snow Day hits and you need something quick and easy to do Here’s the list of previous activities that you can do with little or no prep that use items readily available around your house. The best part, all are free or practically free to do!

        Summer Camp Homemade Soap

Gayle is a Disney Gal that loves churros for breakfast, still gets giddy with delight at the first sight of the “Disneyland next exit sign”, loves the overwhelming emotions and memories that come with each and every return to the Happiest Place on Earth and dreams of one day being the Captain of the Jungle Boat. To learn more about Gayle, click here


  1. Oh my!! This is just the cutest thing EVER! I'll have to quick make one of these before my little one is too big and won't want to make these crafts anymore. :-( Great Christmas gift for the Grandparents too!!

  2. Tricia these are so fast and so easy!!!!! We gave them to the grandparents every year for years and in fact when we were doing this with the girls, Zack made a new one, even though his hand barely fit on the paper-it was so adorable!

  3. It's Christmas In July and what better way to kick off the holidays then to give the gift of love. Disney Gal Tricia is Going Dopey and is raising money to help a cause near and dear to each of us-Give Kids the World. Even a donation of $1 will help get Tricia one step closer to her goal. Show your holiday spirit and help to Give Kids the World! Just click on the link located in the top right hand corner of the page!

  4. I love it Gayle, our niece it watching the kids next week, I think this would be a great project and a great gift for mom!

  5. These are just beautiful Gayle, amazing! I am getting all vaklemp looking at each one. You are the bestest mama, teacher ever <3