I bought these pumpkins at the dollar store with every intention of decoupaging them and adding sparkle but my son vetoed that. I still wanted to make an easy Halloween craft so I quickly looked around the playroom for an idea. That’s when I saw the hammers on the floor, the buttons on the counter and I was pretty sure I had nails too. I am so glad I didn’t press for them to do my original idea, both kids had a lot of fun pinning, hammering as well as pressing the nails in and my upstairs hallway have two very adorable pumpkins in it now.
- Gather your materials. You will need a foam pumpkin ( at Dollar Tree right now) , some nails, craft buttons and some hammers.
- Place your buttons ( I held them for my daughter for the first nail) my son did his own.
- Place a nail in the button hole and press it just far enough to hold and then hammer!
- The hammer was ok but both kids also pushed the nails in with their fingers.
- Keep going making faces, or simple designs. My son added nails without any buttons for hair and my daughter methodically placed nails in each hole.
Check out these great Halloween picture books for kids.The craft buttons were provided for us by craftprojectideas.com.
This simple fine motor and alphabet activity for kids is the 9th post in our Alphabet For Starters series, it’s our series of simple activities to play and introduce the alphabet to little learners. My son loved this when we did a even simpler version many years ago and still loved it this time. As you will see my daughter liked pushing in the tees a lot more than hammering them and that’s fine. She played with the letters, got lots of fine motor skill development and most importantly she had fun. Things rarely turn out as you imagined with kids. Roll with it.
- Gather your materials. You will need some Styrofoam, golf tees , a toy hammer , some markers and some painters tape if you are doing it outside to keep it from blowing away.
- Start by writing out the letters. Choose a few or a lot.
- Add the tees
- Time to hammer! She started off interested in the hammer but …
- Soon she was all about pushing them in with her fingers.
- And exploring the styrofoam . I think this is what she liked best!
- After her brother came home we dug the pushed in tees out , re set them and let him pound away.
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.
- 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 clamly 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 accross 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 .
- Gather your materials. You will need some Styrofoam, golf tees, a play hammer and your child. Seriously how simple is that?
- Put the golf tees in the Styrofoam – don’t push them all the way in though.
- Add your little one and let them pound it in.
- You will not want to leave them unattended, in case a tee breaks, or small bits of the Styrofoam breaks off. So watch carefully as they have a blast hammering! Oh and don’t tell them they are building fine motor skills too!
This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails,
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning.
This is the way we turn the screw,
Turn the screw, turn the screw
This is the way we turn the screw, so early in the morning.
This is the way we saw the wood
saw the wood, saw the wood,
This is the way we saw the wood, so early in the morning!
This is the way we build a house,
build a house, build a house.
This is the way we build a house so early in the morning!