One of the great challenges of mothering is trying to get my son to do things that are good for his development but all he thinks of them are that they are fun. This Christmas tree craft was a perfect example of when I succeed in this mission, which is not always the case. There are versions of this craft for adults ( or very patient older kids) all over like this one from Better Homes and Gardens all I did was make it easier for kids and more importantly add a hammer. For a 5 year old boy this craft was all about the hammer. Here is how he made the button Christmas tree.
- Gather your materials. You will need a foam cone, I used a green floral one because I knew my son would not have the patience to fill the whole thing up with buttons. Also some white tack nails, glitter buttons ( it’s Christmas time let them have glitter! ) and a toy hammer.
- Put the nail through the button hole.
- Push it gently into the foam.
- He really loved this. He worked so calmly on this project and we took the time to talk about silver and gold. For whatever reason he’s always confused the two and while he worked away I sat across from him taking pictures and brainstorming ways for him to remember which was which.
- I didn’t intervene at all and loved that he wanted to put a gold button on top for the star.
- The hammering is great hand eye coordination practice and as you have already noted putting the nails through the buttons is a great fine motor exercise. All this skill development AND a new holiday decoration for our mantle.
Books About Christmas Trees
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The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by World War 1 as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother in this book is, she does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works. It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.
Mooseltoe by Margie Palantini is a funny holiday story with the characters from Moosestash , this time Moose is set on making Christmas perfectly perfect, only ooops he forgot the tree! I reviewed this a few years ago when my son was too little to really get the book or to sit ong enough for me to finish but we re read it last night. He thought it was hilarious and now at 5 he had fun repeating some of the great melodic text as we read it. The story is one kids and parents can relate to about trying so hard to make the holidays perfect that you forget something important like the tree! It’s a silly story with a big heart.
Little Tree by Chris Racshka is another awesome find. I love this book, it’s another visually amazing book and my son was much more into the pictures that are so packed full with fun details that they steal the show. The story inspired by the E.E. Cummings poem by the same name the story follows a little tree who has big dreams of becoming a Christmas tree . I think this book is great especially for children who want to know where the trees in the lots in a city come from. * This seems to be out of print but check your local library for it .