Christmas is coming! Every year it seems. And when it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts, they say. Honestly we’d rather have a bottle of wine, sparkling, cause we need some joy in our life, and a good movie and a nanny to take care of the kids, preferably not in the same location with us and the wine. But yay, crafts!

Gifting grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, landlords, you name it, is hard. And expensive. So here’s a fun homemade craft you can do with the kids!

Traditional Finnish cone cow

An easy DIY project to make with kids is the cone cow. It has a lot of history too. Before Legos etc. were a thing, us Finns had our own innovation. Cone cows are a huge thing in Finland. Throughout the years, our parents, grandparents, and even their grandparents have played with cone cows, in their youth. Don’t quote us on that, we did not do a fact check. We heard that there is even a park in Finland, with giant pine cone cows big enough for children to ride on. Couldn’t confirm it, so it might be true.

The cone cows make perfect gifts, they’re hand made, with love, and cost virtually nothing! Unless you use high end design cones and sticks. If they don’t exist, maybe they should. You can decorate your cows any way you want, maybe with googly eyes, maybe throw some glitter on it. Anything you fancy. You could even put some antlers (twigs or shrubbery) on it and make a cone reindeer, bonus points for Christmas! And the best part is, your kids will have something to play with at their grandma’s house!

First you take a pine cone. If you don’t have one just laying around somewhere on the floor (is it just us?) you instruct the children to go to the forest and get some. And voilá, you also get some quiet time, god knows you need that. Of course, if you don’t live in Finland or a similar place where it is quite alright to send your children out in the forest all alone, you might have to go with them. Then you get no quiet time now, but you can try to make them spend more of their endless energy in the forest, running and climbing and whatnot, and they might leave you alone later. Might.

It’s important to pick the pine cones on the ground already, since those are opened by squirrels or whatever and we need the already opened ones. Closed pine cones are not the way to go here.

Also remember to get sticks from the forest. If you didn’t, you can use matches. This way the cow can be repurposed as a kindling when it has outlived its usefulness as a toy (remember to remove all googly eyes and other materials not suitable for burning).

So you take your pine cone, and four sticks. One at a time you attach a stick into the pine cone scales. That’s why the cones need to be open. Two in the front, two in the back. Decorate if wanted. And we are done. Wrap it, but a bow on it, or save the nature by not using wrappings and just present it bare.

You made things with your children. You did good!

P.S. Capturing a photo of your beautiful crafts can be difficult if you have an overly attached kitty cat.

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.

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