Really Simple Christmas Crafts for Younger Toddlers: Part 4, Pretty Heart Charms

This week I’m sharing a new activity each day that younger toddlers can enjoy over the Christmas holidays.  Whilst I love lots of the creative activities out there designed for the under 5s, I do find quite a lot of them are still beyond the particular developmental stage of my daughter right now, so I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own, tried and tested by my very own little angel.



Now, if your little one is still at the stage of putting objects in their mouth, I’d give this one a miss (but you might like my Cinnamon Spice Tree Decorations instead).  Even if this isn’t the case, it goes without saying close supervision at all times is really important given the small bits and bobs being used.

You will need:

  • Salt dough recipe of your choice, but it needs to be one that air-drys (rather than needing baking in the oven).  If you don’t have a recipe at hand, try searching the many examples on Pinterest
  • Heart shaped biscuit/cookie cutter
  • A pastry sheet
  • A chopping board
  • A collection of collage items that can be used to press into the dough to decorate.  I used a handful of buttons, but you could equally try something a bit more sparkly like bits of tinsel and sequins, or objects from the great outdoors like sticks and shells
  • Cocktail stick or similar (for making the hole for the ribbon)
  • Varnish/PVA glue/glitter paint to finish (whatever you prefer)
  • Ribbon or twine

Preparation before you start (don’t involve the kids in this bit):

Make up the dough using your preferred recipe.

Put your pastry sheet over the chopping board, and roll out the dough to between 5mm-1cm think.

The activity

Put out the collection of collage items, and give your child the freedom to press them into the dough in any way they wish to.  It’s likely that these bits and bobs will be pressed in all manner of ways, sometimes very deep, sometimes piled on top of each other.  As with all these activities, its the exploration and discovery that the activity encourages that’s the most important bit – this one is wonderful for fine motor skills and strengthening those little fingers.


To finish (again, no kids involved in this bit)

Remove the dough and, at a convenient moment, use your biscuit/cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes in the dough.  You may need to jiggle the collage items about a bit to make space for the cutter to go all the way through, but by and large you’ll be left with patterns of your child’s making.

If you have the means, you could stamp the date into the back of each shape, a reminder of the exact year they were made, very cute to look back on in years to come.

Leave the shapes to air-dry.

Finish with a varnish of choice to help bring out the pattern, and protect the finished ornaments.  I found some gold glitter paint worked really well in giving a bit of festive sparkle.

Thread some ribbon or twine through the holes you made, and all done!  Some charming little keepsakes that your little one helped create.  As mention in my previous article, a nice idea is to take a quick photo of your child playing with the dough, and print a small copy cut out to the same shape as the ornament – you can attach it with the ribbon as part of the decoration, a reminder of the moment it was made.  I packaged mine up in a little gift box, and added the photo to this with a date a message, to make it an extra special Christmas gift.


I hope you have the chance to try this out.  If you give it a go, please do share using the social media buttons at the start of the article, and follow my Creative Activities for Toddlers Pinterest board, I’ll be adding more pins very soon.

Join me tomorrow for the final part of this series of blog posts!  And if you haven’t already, check out activities from earlier this week including Twinkle Star Wrapping Paper, Cinnamon Spice Tree Decorations, and Peek-a-Boo Christmas Cards.