A Seasonal Craft for Foster and Adoptive Families



I’ll be the first to admit that I hate doing crafts with kids. Our house is full of people and gets cluttered quickly. I find myself struggling to find places for all the crafts kids do. Last month, however, I was inspired to do a craft by something I saw at the store. There was this cute but pricey string of garland for Valentine’s Day made up of ribbon and fabric pieces. “I have everything needed to make that at home for free!” I told Darren, and inspiration struck.

We have a quarter of a Christmas tree that got put up in our home’s entryway this past holiday season. It’s a new tradition as we had a pretty, new themed tree for our living room, and the kids wanted a tree of their own to decorate, hence the little corner entryway tree made up of the nicest pieces of our old tree. Partially out of laziness, we decided that tree would stay up year round, and the kids could decorate it for all the holidays, including making garland for each holiday out of fabric and ribbon.

Watch The Video To See How Easy This Activity Is:

How to make Rag Garland:

  1. Cut a piece of thin twine (or yarn) to the desired length of garland you’re wishing to make.
  2. Prepare your cloth and ribbon strips – a variety of sizes and textures make for more interest
    • Rip strips of used cloth
      (We used strips approximately 0.5″-2.5″ wide by 4″-5″ long
    • Cut pieces of ribbon
  3. Tie a small knotted loop a couple of inches from both ends of the twine/string
    (This gives you a way to hang your garland on a hook, nail or tack later)
  4. Begin tying your cloth and ribbon strips to the string by tying one single knot
  5. Slide knots of cloth/ribbon down and together toward one of the looped ends of the string
  6. Continue tying cloth until you cannot see the twin/string

I decided this was a great craft for several reasons:

  1. It builds skills.
    The fabric and ribbon is measured and cut (or torn) into strips and then tied onto a long piece of twine, so young ones can practice motor skills (aka occupational therapy). They can also practice patterns. For example, on our Valentine’s garlands, we would use two different pinks, a red, and then a white.
  2. It’s fairly easy…
    And looks good even if pieces are cut unevenly or tied on haphazardly. AKA-you can’t mess it up. There’s a large margin of error. This also makes the kids feel accomplished and proud!
  3. It’s useful and decorative.
    So many kids’ crafts lack purpose, which is fine when you have one kid who does an occasional craft, but with multiple kids who love to craft, it gets hard to manage! We made several strands of garland for Valentine’s Day: one about 10 feet long for our corner tree, two 8-foot long strands—one for a big window and one for our mantle, and several 5-foot strands for draping over standard windows and doors. Now we have spring-y ones throughout the house.
  4. This garland has been a really INEXPENSIVE craft.
    For the most part, I’ve been able to use scraps of ribbon and fabric we had around the house. I spent just a little on clearance ribbon to have enough.
  5. Loads of quality time
    Since this craft is fairly easy but takes a while, it provides great time to sit around and bond and connect as a family, allowing for conversation, fun, and creativity.

We are excited about this new little tradition. The kids love showing off their tree to visitors, and we are hoping as we are now licensed to do respite for other foster families, our new young visitors can join in the fun and see what they’ve added on return visits.

What are your favorite crafts to do with your kids? Share your ideas!


Written by
Margie Fink: Development Director margie@transfiguringadoption.com Margie received her degree in psychology and has worked in various social work capacities. Margie has been chosen in the past to speak on Capitol Hill about the Refundable Adoption Tax Credit. She is a witty foster/adoptive mom who is able to give kids from hard places loving structure while providing unbelievable homemade cooking. Margie co-founded Community Kids, a resource and networking 501(c)3 created to assist foster, adoptive, and relative caregiver families. Check Out: Thoughts From A Foster-Adoptive Mom

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