Christmas Tree Craft

easy christmas tree craft

This is a fun way to make a shape lesson festive. This Christmas tree craft is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers but older kids will enjoy it too, just make sure to provide fun papers and have older children cut out their own shapes!  Also I have always found it tricky to work trapezoids into shape activities for young kids, this is a perfect time!

  1. Gather your materials.  You will need a red piece of construction paper, a green piece , some fun contrasting scrap pieces ( I used old card stock) , scissors, glue, some plain white paper , yellow marker and a paper punch if you have it.Christmas Kids Craft
  2. Start by drawing the tree with 1 triangle and 2 trapezoids on the green paper. Cut out.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  3. Next draw a star on the plain white paper – set aside.Christmas Craft 003
  4. Invite your child to the table and have them color the star- lately my son has been playing ” Am I done yet?” after making one dot of color my reply is always ” I don’t know are you?” to which is keeps coloring and the game continues.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  5. While they color cut out the circles and squares for the ornaments.Christmas Kids Craft
  6. Hand your child the red paper and glue. I showed my son how the shapes fit together to make a tree before handing him the glue. The sneak peak was all he needed to understand what we were making.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  7. Pop the largest trapezoid on ,  don’t forget to label the shape or ask your child what it is.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  8. Add glue for the middle.
  9. Add the shape.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  10. Add glue for the triangle on top and add it.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  11. Time to add the shape ornaments. My son was not happy that I pre-cut the shapes, so he had to make some too.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  12. Add as many or as few as your little Picasso decides. What’s nice about this craft is that kids are able to manipulate the shapes themselves, instead of simply identifying them on a page.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  13. While they do that cut out the star.
  14. Add glue for the starChristmas Tree Kids Craft
  15. Pop it on top. Let dry. Christmas Tree Kids Craft

Because this is a flat craft this is a great one to send to far away grandparents or other loved ones in the mail !

Books

christmas_in_the_barn

Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown will sound very familiar to you if you are a fan of her book The Big Red Barn, which both my son and I am. I like this book but my son kept saying ” That’s not right” thinking that this was the other book. They are that similar. In this book though there is something that the other doesn’t have, most notably Baby Jesus. It’s a calm and gentle book about the birth of Jesus in a way only Margaret Wise Brown could accomplish.  I would like to read it next year to my son when he can appreciate that it’s not supposed to be exactly the same as  the Big Red Barn. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers alike!

the_year_of_the_perfect_christmas_tree

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.

the star tree by Gisela Colle

The Star Treeby Gisela Colle  is a fable about the spirit of Christmas and how it gets lost in the hustle and bustle of modern life. An old man  decides to make gold stars just like he did as a child to decorate for Christmas, but when he looks out at the city and their gloom he decides he needs open space for his stars to shine. So he walks out to the country and soon he’s not alone, and before he knows it the stars have made their way back to the city and so has the spirit of Christmas.  Cute story with darker undertones for parents but my son really enjoyed the surface story about shiny stars and gloomy cities.

Shape Scarecrow Craft

Scarecrow Craft

I had a reader ask if we  had any scarecrow crafts, I didn’t but I came up with this. shape scarecrow!  There are a lot of steps but my almost 3 year old breezed through it, we talked about the shapes, and each body part as we added them . You will notice that my shapes are way less than perfect, but if they are clearly recognizable you are golden. Time is short for anyone caring for young kids, don’t fret over your shapes being perfect!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 5 different color pieces of construction paper ( you can use scrap if you want for all but one) we used orange, green, yellow, neutral and light blue , 2 large googly eyes, a marker, scissors and a glue stick.Scarecrow Craft
  2. Start by drawing a scarecrow head and mouth. Cut out. Scarecrow Craft
  3. Next cut out ( or have your child cut out) a triangle hat and rectangle shirt and arms from the green paper. Scarecrow Craft
  4. Cut out many smaller rectangles from the yellow paper for hair.Scarecrow Craft
  5. Cut out a orange triangle for the nose and 3 orange circles for the buttons. Scarecrow Craft
  6. Start gluing. Now you can just let them at it but to me this isn’t a creative project at all, it’s too structured for that, to me this is a shape lesson really.  Here is what I do.  Show your child the shapes and ask them what they look like. I help up the large rectangle and asked my son if he thought this was the scarecrow’s head, ” no it’s his belly!”  Glue it on. Don’t forget to ask what each shape is or label the shape for them.Scarecrow Craft
  7. Next add the head… I suggested this was an arm. My son set me straight! Don’t forget to have fun! frankenstien 019
  8. Keep labeling, and adding the shapes to build your scarecrow. Here he is adding the hair. Scarecrow Craft
  9. Add the arms.Scarecrow Craft
  10. If you are doing this with young toddlers don’t forget to label the colors as well!  Add your hat! Scarecrow Craft
  11. Add the eyes and nose. scarecrow craft
  12. Add your buttons. Scarecrow Craft
  13. Let dry!

Shape Books

Clay quest Mini Search for shapes

Clay Quest Minis: Search for Shapes!by Helen Bogosian is a big hit with my son and me! I was lucky enough to have this book sent to me by the publisher because it’s already come in handy on a ferry, and waiting to be seated at a restaurant keeping my son happy and busy searching for shapes.  This book is an activity book that has a simple rhyme and request for the reader to find 2 shapes on every page.  The shapes are hidden in the adorable clay “illustrations” , really they are photographs of clay sculptures that range in theme from a spider web to dinosaurs to princess crowns and more. My son loves playing ” Detective” and what I like is that the challenge is just right for his age group 2-3 year olds. Younger toddlers will still enjoy it and it’s vibrant colors but to do it independently this is the perfect age.  I try to find negatives with books that are sent to me from publishers for review,  but I am having a hard time this really is a good shape book!

So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations and older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!

Princess Wand

 

Princesses and the color pink are both welcome and well loved in our house. My son’s favorite sippy cup right now is one with Cinderella so we decided to make a princess wand . Using sticky back foam is crucial for keeping this craft in the realm of super easy! I couldn’t believe how well it held up to my son’s abuse this morning, the jewels stayed on, although please only do this craft with kids that will not place the jewels in their mouths, they are a choking hazard. You could use markers and simply skip the jewels and glue.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of sticky back foam ( sparkly if you can), a dowel, glue, plastic gems or sequins, scissors , ribbon and a marker.ASept9 008
  2. Start by drawing 2 identical stars on the back of the  same sheet of foam. I used a star cookie cutter as a stencil.ASept9 009
  3. Cut out. Do not take the back off yet.ASept9 010
  4. Invite your child to come and glue the gems on. We played with them for a while, pointing out shapes, and colors.ASept9 012
  5. Let dry. This took a long time. I pressed all the gems down a few hours after to make sure that the sparkly surface was stuck to the gem.
  6. When dry peel back the paper on the underside of the star to reveal the stickiness press the dowel into it.ASept9 035
  7. Peal back the paper on the 2nd and sandwich the dowel, press down carefully but with some force.ASept9 036
  8. Add a ribbon and you are ready to rule the kingdom!ASept9 037

Books

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“Princess Smartypants” by Brenda Cole is the antithesis of the classic beautiful frail princess stories, but it still ends with happily ever after.  Princess Smartypants does her own thing and doesn’t understand why her family is so obsessed with finding her a husband. She bends to their wishes but still does things her way. I think this is a great message about happiness and confidence for girls and balances out some of the other princess stories. She was happy just the way she is and didn’t  need a spouse to feel complete.

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“Good Night Princess Pruney Toes” by Lisa McCourt  is a fun carefree book about a happy loving father and daughter. Princess Pruney Toes emerges from her bath to rule over her kingdom before bed. I love that the dad in this story follows along with his daughter’s imagination. I think it’s so important for parents to play with their kids and what’s better than pretend play? This lovely book is another fresh look at what makes a princess and that even princesses wishes can be easy to grant.

“The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.

Shooting Star Craft

star craft

I love stars and the recent meteor showers had me thinking about shooting stars so we made this a few days ago. I like how it turned out and my son loves squishing the center of the star , one suggestion would be to make the star larger, the center bit was tricky to make because it had to be so small. A larger star would fix that. Also don’t skip the sequins if you want to give your little ones an opportunity to work out their fine motor skills and pincer grasp!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of yellow and a piece of black construction paper. Some contact paper, gold sequins, glitter glue, glue , markers and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing ( or tracing) a star on the yellow paper. Draw some tails too.
  3. Have your child color the star and tails with markers.
  4. Cut a small piece of contact paper, peel the backing off.
  5. Add sequins to the contact paper.
  6. Squeeze some glitter on.
  7. Fold in two and press. Cut to size. I made this large for my son to add the sequins to , but then had to cut it so small to fit inside the star. I’d make a larger star next time.
  8. Cut the star and tails out . Cut the center of the star out, make sure the hole is big enough to show off the glitter but not too big so there are any gaps.
  9. Glue the glitter packet on the paper.
  10. Glue the star over it and the tails on. Let dry.

Books!

“Draw Me A Star” by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a beautiful depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.

“Star Baby” by Margaret O’Hair is a sweet book about the daily happenings of a little baby , his mama . I like that this book shows off all the things little babies can do. We tend to focus on what babies can’t do and this book flips that around and shows off the perhaps mundane to us but new and wonderful things babies do. The super simple rhyming text is a great length for toddlers and young preschoolers and it’s calm enough to make a great goodnight book.
“Our Stars” by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful non fiction book from this author illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddlers head you can simply skip that page, until they are . The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.

DIY Jar Lid Stamps


I was inspired to make these after seeing a post on another blog using wax on jar lids, I have just spent over an hour trying to find that post again and can’t. I will keep trying, I feel so strongly to cite any place I get inspiration from and am beyond frustrated I can’t find it. It’s now a quest! ** Found it thanks to Laura : Here it is Bottle Cap Stamps These were so fun to make, easy and worked so well. We will be making these again for sure. There is something amazing when kids see something they helped make work so well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some recycled jar lids, foam, double stick tape, a marker, scissors, a stamp pad and some paper.
  2. Start by drawing shapes on a piece of foam. My son chose a star and a car , while my choice was a flower.
  3. Cut the pictures out.
  4. Layer a square of foam on the jar lid , using double stick tape to secure it.
  5. Add your shapes , using double stick tape. Make sure it’s as flat as possible.
  6. Press it into the stamp pad.
  7. Print onto your paper.
Song

Do you know what shape this is?
What shape this is?
What shape this is?

Do you know what shape this is I’m holding in my hand?

Books!


“Ship Shapes” by Stella Blackstone and Siobhan Bell is a bright, colorful and engaging book all about finding shapes. The text is simple and serves really only to support the reader’s efforts finding shapes throughout the book. What I like is that these illustrations are challenging, and not really illustrations at all. They are fabric collages that are so detailed and layered that some of the obvious shapes are easy to find but many are hidden. So if you are reading this with an older child there is still some challenge.


“So Many Circles, So many Squares” by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.