Nutcracker Project for Preschoolers

By Debra Pachucki
The nutcracker is an iconic holiday figure.
The nutcracker is an iconic holiday figure.

The holidays are a time of good tidings, cheer and joy. Although in a household with one or more preschoolers, the holidays seem to bring more hustle and bustle than anything else. Get kids involved--and out of your hair--this holiday season with decorative holiday crafts. This simple nutcracker project will give little ones a constructive way to participate in the holiday festivities without making more work for you in the long run.

Gathering Materials

Creating this nutcracker decoration project is as versatile as the ways you can use it to add a little homemade holiday cheer to your home. Preschoolers will not only enjoy making their own nutcracker decoration but will also have fun looking for and gathering possible materials to create it. This project entails gluing a colored nutcracker head, torso, arms and legs to a “body.” The first things you will need are a nutcracker printout, crayons, safety scissors and nontoxic craft glue. Encourage little ones to use their imagination to identify, find and retrieve a good nutcracker body to which all his parts can be attached. A cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tube is ideal for this project. Other suitable and creative materials for the body include short pillar candles, long and slender pinecones, or any other item that is long and rounded and easy to glue. If you choose to use a candle for this project, never attempt to light it afterward, as it will now contain highly flammable parts.

Project Construction

Sit young crafters down at a clean, large workspace, such as the kitchen table. Provide crayons and printouts and have the kids color the pictures as neatly as they can. If you don’t mind more “artistic” cuts, encourage children to cut out all of the nutcracker parts with a pair of safety scissors, or assist them in this step. Glue all of the nutcracker parts onto your base material and set out to dry for at least two hours.

Decorative Uses

Once the glue is completely dry, these adorable little nutcrackers are ready for decorating. Thread or loop an ornament hook or piece of ribbon or yarn through the back of the base. Your child’s nutcracker is now a perfect tree ornament. Alternatively, you can hang his nutcracker on a wall or from a piece of garland. Attach it to your child’s Christmas stocking with hot glue, or simply set it atop a bookcase shelf or fireplace mantle to display your youngster’s fine work while adding holiday cheer to your home.


There are lots of ways to modify this craft according to your decorative ideas or your child’s artistic talents and crafting interests. Glue the nutcracker body pieces onto a piece of cardboard and then cut them out again to make the pieces more sturdy and durable. Trace a little glue onto the nutcracker’s pieces and sprinkle glitter over them before attaching them to the base to add sparkle to this project. Or, let your child do this part himself with a glitter glue pen. Help your child add texture to her nutcracker decoration by gluing faux berries, small white feathers, popcorn or other items to the nutcracker and let dry before hanging. Just remember to always supervise this step, as small parts are a choking hazard to children.

About the Author

Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.