Maybe you're the "party mom" for your child's preschool class, or maybe you're just trying to keep your little ones occupied during the holidays. Children who are 4 years old love the idea of doing art projects or crafts, but don't forget -- you're dealing with the epitome of the short attention span crowd at this age. Pick something quick, fun and uncomplicated; if it's messy, that's even better. Let them be creative within some general guidelines and you'll end up with some memorable, one-of-a-kind pieces of Christmas artwork to decorate your home or give to Grandma as a gift.
Make homemade Christmas cards with your preschooler and kill two birds with one stone -- you get colorful, inexpensive greeting cards to send to relatives and your child gets to express herself and "help" mommy at the same time. Use colored construction paper or card stock, along with washable markers or watercolors. Show your 4-year-old a few Christmas cards to spur her creativity. Explain that she can paint or draw a Christmas picture on the front of the card, then you will write the message inside. For more options, help her use decorative stamps, glitter or torn paper to create special trees, pretend packages or her own snowman picture.
Give your child modeling clay in holiday colors. Kids this age can easily roll balls of clay to create a snowman or mold clay to make a cone-shaped tree. Help your child use smaller bits of clay to make the snowman's features or decorations for the tree. Preschoolers can also use cookie cutters to make Christmas-themed shapes from clay. When these have dried completely, let him paint them or decorate them with glitter. Poke a small hole with a toothpick near the top of the cutout before it dries so he can use a piece of gold cord to hang his handiwork on the Christmas tree.
Take your 4-year-old on a nature walk to collect pine cones, small pine boughs and twigs. Help her decorate some pine cones with paint or white glitter to make snow-covered trees. Give her pipe cleaners and a foam wreath form and let her attach her pine cones and other goodies to make a decorative wreath for the door of her room. She can also hang some of her decorated pine cones from a wire hanger with gold cord or yarn to create a Christmas mobile.
Your 4-year-old can create his own framed masterpiece. Help him glue flat craft sticks together to make a frame and then paint it in holiday colors or decorate it with glitter. Draw an outline for him on paper that will fit into the frame, then tell him to color a Christmas scene. Maybe he's heard the Christmas story in Sunday School and wants to make his own nativity scene. If he's enthralled with seasonal snowfall, let him design his own snowflakes. When his picture is finished, help him cut it out and tape or glue it to the back of the frame, then hang it up in your home.