During the busy winter holidays, multitasking becomes a virtual requirement for parents of little ones, so how about a craft that kills a couple birds with one stone? Making cute snowmen fits the bill: it keeps the kids occupied with something fun to do, provides you with memorable, homemade holiday keepsakes and, as the saying goes, is easy to do "with things you already have around the house." An added bonus? Making sock snowpeople also provides a clever way to use the orphan socks that show up in your dryer.
You've got a fair amount of flexibility in terms of what you give your little crafters to use for their rice snowman creations. About the only hard-and-fast requirement is a clean, white tube sock and uncooked rice. Add a handful of rubber bands or pipe cleaners, permanent markers, fabric glue and scraps of felt or craft foam, and you're ready to go.
Build Your Snowman
Give each of your little snowman builders a tube sock. If they want a textured snowman, help them turn the sock inside out. Give the kids plastic scoops and show them how to put a scoopful or two of rice into their socks. Hold each sock by the open end and make sure the rice goes all the way into the toe. Tie off the part of the sock with the rice in it using a rubber band or a pipe cleaner: this is the base of the snowman's body. Repeat with slightly less rice for the mid-section, then tie it off. Create one more, smaller ball for the head.
Top Off Your Snowman
Cut all but an inch or two of the tube sock off above the last tied section. If your kids want to make hats on their snowmen, you can help them fold down this remaining section of sock to cover the tie, then show them how to glue a craft pompom to the top. Or dig a little deeper into your orphan sock collection and find brightly-colored baby socks to pull over the folded portion of the tube sock, then glue or stitch the pompom to the top of the baby sock.
Decorate Your Snowman
The age of your crafters will determine what items they should use to add features to their snowmen. Older preschoolers can glue googly eyes and buttons to their snowmen, while little ones can just draw on faces with permanent markers. To give the snowmen a festive look, help the kids tie ribbon or felt scraps around each snowman's neck like scarves. And if you glue pieces of yarn under the rim of a snowman's hat to create hair, your youngster now has a "snow woman."