December Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
Volume 7, Issue 4
What Do You Do at Holiday Time (Webelos Craftsman & Scientist)
The holidays are a time of laughter and good cheer, for gathering together and making memories that will last forever. These holiday traditions will live from year to year. Some outdoor activities that you and your den can do are:
1. Decorate an outside tree with homemade animal-friendly decorations, such as strings of popcorn, birdseed balls, and pinecone/peanut butter feeders.
2. Take a car or bus ride through neighborhoods gaily decorated with bright shining lights and lawn ornaments.
3. Stroll through the neighborhood singing holiday carols.
4. Take a walk in the woods gathering pinecones and other nature items to use to make holiday decorations and presents. End each activity with a holiday party!
The whole idea is to spread good cheer and holiday spirit to each of your Scouts' families by having the boys sing carols at each boy's house. At each house have the parent provide a different refreshment. For instance, the first house could provide hot cocoa. The next house could provide cookies. The next house could provide some finger sandwiches, and so on, until all of the boys' homes have been visited.
Materials: Firm, fresh oranges or lemons, whole dried cloves, toothpick, nylon net, ribbons or pretty yarn
Directions: Use the toothpick to poke holes in the orange skin inserting a whole clove into each hole. You can randomly place the cloves in the orange, as close together as you can or you can make a neat vertical or horizontal pattern. If you want to add a richer, spicier scent, roll the finished pomander in a mixture of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Now, set the pomander aside to dry for several weeks. It will shrink and get hard (as the orange gets dehydrated). Wrap it in a square of nylon net and tie the ends with the ribbon. It's ready to hang in a closet or kitchen, or give as a gift.
Materials: Cardboard base (a pizza box is perfect or a cake round), lots of popped corn, glue, yarn, ribbon, scissors
Directions: Cut the center of the cardboard out to create the wreath base. Punch a hole near the edge and tie a loop of yarn through it to be used for hanging later. Pour glue out on a recycled meat tray. Put the popped corn into a bowl, and one at a time dip in the glue and stick onto the wreath base. Cover the base completely with the popcorn. Decorate with tiny yarn or ribbon bows, glued on here and there.
Materials: Styrofoam cone, toothpicks, candy gumdrops
Directions: Place gumdrops on table. Stick a toothpick into each gumdrop. Press toothpicks into Styrofoam cone. Cover the cone completely. Tie ornaments are edible.
Stamped Christmas Wrapping Paper
Materials: Pre-cut shaped sponges, or sponges you cut into shapes, tempera paint paper towels, construction paper or white butcher paper, paint tray
Directions: Pour tempera paint over several layers of paper towels on tray to form an inkpad. Dip sponges into paint. Tamp onto paper. When dry, use as gift-wrap.
Potted Christmas Tree
Materials: Tree branch, potting dish, Styrofoam, fabric, scissors
Directions: Find a nicely shaped tree branch on the ground. (Do not cut a live branch). Place it in a pot. Secure it in a piece of Styrofoam or bed of small rocks. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the top of the pot. Cut a hole in the center and slash to the outer edge. Use it as a tree skirt. As the Christmas season progresses, decorate with ornaments you have made.
Materials: Paper cups, tin foil, ribbon, jingle bells
Directions: Cover cups with foil. Punch a hole in the bottom of each and string a ribbon through the hole, securing with a knot. Tie a jingle bell (or two) at the other end of the ribbon. Hang from Christmas tree.
Holiday Smells From Far Away
Materials: Stamps, construction paper, medium grade sandpaper, holiday cookie cutter, pencil, scissors, ground cinnamon, glue, markers, envelope
Directions: Fold a. piece of construction paper in half to form a card. Trace cookie cutter onto sandpaper and cut out shape. Sprinkle cinnamon on the sandpaper, and rub in with your finger. Shake off the excess spice. Glue the cookie shapes on the front of the card. Write your holiday message inside the card. Mail to someone special.
Caps On! Caps Off! Clipper!
Material: Wood measuring stick, 5 wooden spring clothes pins, wood glue (greater strength), Glue gun (impatient boys), paints and brushes
1. Glue one clothespin at each of the 6", 12", 18", 24", and 30" marks. Use either wood glue or hot glue depending on your needs. Body of pins should line up on the centerline of the stick. Jaws should line up with numbers.
2. Paint a funny face on each pin.
3. Clip a baseball cap at each pin and hang on wall.
Less than $1.00 apiece. Frequently local merchants will donate the measuring sticks, so cost drops to 15 cents each.
Very popular with boys because it is both practical (holds five baseball caps) and fanciful (chomping monster faces). These can be very quick to make if no decorating is done. Some boys will really get into painting and decorating the faces so allow time for it. Be sure the pins are glued down so that jaws are at opposite end of stick from the hanging hole or the chomping monsters will be hidden by the caps when the stick is hung on a wall. These make great craft sale items.
Materials: Pinecones, red, green, or white spray paint gold or silver paint, string or thread, paint brush
Directions: Put the pinecones on a sheet of newspaper. Spray the cones on one side. Allow them to dry, then spray the other side. When dry, paint the tips in gold or silver and let dry. If cones are "soft', sew a foot-long heavy thread through the bottom of each cone. If they are wooden-like, tie a ribbon through the bottom spurs of each cone. Now, you have ornaments for packages, a wreath, a Christmas tree, or to hang on a door with a big bow.
Christmas Tree Ornaments
Ingredients: 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 1/2 cups water, paper clips, tempera paints, thread, clear plastic spray
Directions: Mix the flour, salt and water to make flour clay. Rub your hands with flour and knead the mixture for at least five minutes, until thickened. Mold and shape the clay into Christmas wreaths, trees, stars, or whatever you like. For adding details, try using a toothpick to "etch" the clay. Finished pieces should be no thicker than 1/2 inch and no bigger than 3 inches. For a hanging hook, stick one end of a paper clip into the shape. Cover a cookie sheet with foil, and place your clay shapes on it. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 12 to 20 minutes. When done, your clay will be light brown in color. When tapped with a fork, it will make a solid ringing sound. Decorate your clay ornaments with paints. When paint is dry, spray the ornaments with clear plastic coating. Tie a thread through each paper clip and hang them on your tree.
Materials: Used greeting cards, scissors, thread or thin string, and a hole punch
Directions: Select pictures, designs or greetings that would make attractive gift tags (make sure there is no writing on the back). Cut the tags into different shapes and sizes or make small folders. Punch a hole in the corner of each tag. Cut a 5" piece of string, loop it through the hole and knot.
Read a story or poem about snow
There is something magical about snow, the way it blankets fields, and rests on tree branches; the way it softens a landscape, and quiets a city.
The Big Snow
It Fell in the City
The Snowy Day
Stopping by Woods on m Snowy Evening
When All the World Is Full of Snow
Make a Snow Gauge
You can measure the amount of snowfall with a homemade gauge made from any container that you can mark off in inches or centimeters. A simple but effective gauge can be made from the bottom half of a clear plastic soda bottle, marked with an indelible laundry marker on the outside. Though less reliable because of the way snow drifts, you can also measure snowfall with a yardstick. Compare your findings with the forecasted amount
Put several gauges outdoors--near a tree, out in the open, on your front steps--and see if they all measure the same. Are you surprised?
Materials: Styrofoam pieces for base, 9 peppermint sticks, 9 candy kisses
Cut a 1" square of foam and glue to center of foam base. Push four peppermint sticks into the foam to one side of the center. Push four peppermint sticks into the other side. Push the central peppermint stick into the center.
On the first day of Hanukkah, "light" the Shamash and the first "candle" on the right. To light the candles, dab some frosting onto the top of the candy stick and attach a candy kiss. Candles are lit from right to left. On the eighth day, the edible parts of the menorah may be eaten in celebration of the holiday.
Milk Jug Luminary
Sand, empty plastic gallon milk containers, tea lights, scissors, fireplace matches
1. Clean milk gallons and remove all labels.
2. On the side nearest the handle, cut a slit one inch tall and three inches long about one inch up from the bottom.
3. Pour about one inch of sand into the container. Shake to distribute sand evenly.
4. Push tea light into the middle of the sand. Use fireplace matches to light.
Cost for 8= $1.00 or less.
These are very unusual luminary. They don't blow over or get snuffed out if it's wet and windy. They give a lovely white light. At a cost of 10 cents each, they are a very inexpensive way to decorate the outdoors at Christmas and other times of the year. Care must be taken to place the tea light near the center of the container but not directly under the spout.
Magic Reindeer Food
Santa's reindeer will be hungry when they get to your house. While Santa's inside eating the cookie and milk you left him, the reindeer will be waiting outside. How about leaving them some reindeer food?
Uncooked oatmeal, glitter, ziplock bags, ribbon
In a Ziplock bag, put a little bit of uncooked oats and glitter. Shake to mix.
Place this poem inside the bag and hand out.
On Christmas Eve Night
If you live in an area where you have lots of animals like pets or wild animals they might get to the reindeer food, before the reindeer and they might eat it. Glitter might hurt real animal stomachs and Santa's reindeer will still enjoy the feast without glitter.
The holiday dates back 2200 years. Jews lived in Palestine, then occupied by the Syrians. Antiochus was the king of Syria. He wanted the Jews to accept the religion of the Greeks. Some did and some did not. Those that did not formed a band of loyal Jews. They were named the Maccabees. Mattahhis was their father, and Judah Maccabbee was their leader. After three years, the band captured Jerusalem, cleaned and repaired the Holy Temple.
They found a small cruse of oil to light the eternal light. However, there was only enough for one day and they sent for more oil. The small amount of oil lasted for eight days instead of one, until more oil was secured. This was considered the miracle, although the victory of the small ban over the Syrian Army was also considered a miracle.
Hanukkah is celebrated the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar. It falls somewhere between Thanksgiving and New Years each year.
In homes, people decorate with paper products. They light candles each day. They start with one candle and the "shammus" which lights the other candles, and add one candle each night. They sing songs, eat potato pancakes and Hanukkah cookies. Also they exchange Hanukkah gifts and Hanukkah "gelt" (small amounts of money). They play games with the "dreidle" or top.
Menorah odd piece of wood (oblong); bottle caps, wooden spools, ets., paint, glue. Must have 9 holders, one either larger elevated as the "Shammas.
Stained Glass Windows waxed paper, shapes of tissue paper (can also be done with Christmas colors and symbols). Iron Hanukkah shapes between two pieces of wax paper.
Holiday cards (may also be done with Christmas symbols) dip holiday cookie cutters in paint and print on colored paper (can also use potato or vegetable print)
Crafts On Theme Table
Many Families have traditions surrounding ornaments and decorations for the holidays. Have the boys in your den or pack share their traditions with each other. Here are some ideas that you can share with them.
Decorate the tree with a chain made by pushing a needle and thread through pieces of popcorn. Easier still thread string or yarn through items with a hole already in it such as Cheerios, Fruit Loops. or Apple Jacks. Noodles of various types can be dyed with food coloring, painted or used as is to make an interesting chain.
Boys love counting down the days left to Christmas. A simple count down chain can be made by gluing or taping strips of paper though each other to make a chain. Use a strip of paper for each day needed for the count down. The chain can be attached to a paper that is decorated to represent the holiday.
Egg Cup Santa
Here is a fat, jolly Santa made from egg cartons, cotton, and paint. Cut out four of the eggcup sections below the portion of carton which joins one cup to another so that you have only the round bottom half. Color three of the cups red on the outside with poster paint or crayon and one white. Glue two of the red sections together where they have been cut. Glue the third red section on top of the white one, again joining at the cut part. Twist some cotton into a thick cord and glue this around the seams you have made on the cups for the trim on Santa's hat bottom jacket trim. Make a tassel for his hat, hair and whiskers out of cotton. With paint or crayon color his eyes, nose, mouth and buttons for his coat. Glue the two halves together.
Trapper Trails Council
Use your old Christmas tree or your backyard shrubs as a bird feeder. Decorate them by making Orange Slice Ornaments and Cookie Cutter Bird treats. This not only makes a festive feeder, but also provides shelter for small birds like sparrows and juncos.
This activity can be a 1 week or 2 week Den Meeting. This would depend on the size of the den.
Orange Slice Ornaments
Materials: Oranges, paring knife, cutting boards, yarn, raffia or ribbon, and pencils.
Give each Cub Scout his own orange and experiment slicing his orange, along with knife safety instructions. When it's time to deck the tree or shrub, tie each slice to a branch.
Cookie Cutter Bird Treats
Materials: Mixing bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixers-electric or manual, rolling pin, drinking straws, and ribbon.
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened 3 eggs, beaten, 3 l/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon salt, mixed birdseed
Cream the butter, then beat in the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. When well mixed, cover and chill. Flour surface of cabinet top and roll out the dough to about a 1/4 in thickness. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutters; at the top of each cookie, make a hole with a drinking straw. Press in a coating of the birdseed. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 12 minutes. When cookies are cool, insert a length of ribbon through each and tie.
Since the cookie dough will need to chill, make dough first and chill. Then try the Orange Slice Ornaments while waiting for the dough.
Easy Fun Dough
Mix 1 1/4 cup Bisquick Original baking mix - 1/4 cup salt, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Microwave uncovered 2 - 3 minutes longer, stirring every minute, until the mixture forms form of a ball. Let the dough stand uncovered about 3 minutes. Use the spoon to take the dough out of the measuring cup. Knead dough in your hands or on the counter about 1 minute or until smooth. If sticky add 1 - 2 tablespoons Bisquick. Cool about 15 minutes or until cook enough to handle. Store in refrigerator in plastic bag.
Easy Fun Dough - can also be baked like cookie dough.
Heat oven to 225 degrees. Roll dough about l/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shaped with cookie cutters, or shape the dough into whatever you want. Make a hole in the top of each ornament using the end of a plastic straw. Place on ungreased sheet. Bake 1 hour. Turn the ornaments over. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer or until ornaments sound brittle when tapped. Remove ornaments from cookie sheet with spatula to wire rack. Cool completely. Tie ribbon or yarn through holes.
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