Button and Nail Christmas Tree Craft

fine motor activity for kids 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Put the nail through the button hole.
  3. Push it gently into the foam.
  4. Hammer!
  5. 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.
  6. I didn’t intervene at all and loved that he wanted to put a gold button on top for the star.
  7. 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 .

Shampoo Bottle 3 Wise Men Craft

This craft wasn’t planned at all, it was one of those ” Oh oh I have an idea!” moments, in the shower of course! I was thinking about Christmas dinner then 5 minutes later I was grabbing sequins with dripping wet hair. You could make so many variations of this craft with felt cloaks, pipe cleaner arms holding gifts… but we kept it simple today.  As I write this they are sparkling on my mantle , shampoo bottles never looked so good!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 empty clean travel size shampoo bottles, specifically Dove . Sequins, glue, sparkly sticky back foam, scissors and a paper towel.
  2. Start by peeling the labels off. Ours came off without leaving yuck behind.
  3. Add glue, spread it with your fingers.
  4. Add the sequins. I use a paper towel to keep the sequins on to keep them from sliding and frustrating my son. This is great fine motor practice.
  5. This is not – but it works too.
  6. While they do that cut crowns out of the foam.
  7. Pop them on the caps.
  8. Let the glue dry and screw the caps on.
  9. All done!

Books

Din Dan Don, It’s Christmas by Janina Domanska is one of a kind. The books follows the pilgrimage to the manger to see the infant Jesus . It starts with a single duck playing bagpipes, but it builds on it self until they spot the manger and the infant Jesus wakes. The story is simple because there is no need for lots of text , the illustrations are amazing. Every page looks like a cross between a stained glass window and a ornate mosaic in a Orthodox church somewhere in Eastern Europe. My son exclaimed “WOW” many times as we turned the pages of this book, and I know I let out a gasp or two as well, simply beautiful! * When I did a search for a photo I could not find this book in print , so you may not be able to find it in store, try your library though!
Only a Star by Margery Facklam is a calm beautiful book about the first Christmas. A little girl asks her dad about the decorations on that very first Christmas day and readers are reminded that the true origin of the holiday.  The illustrations by Nancy Carpenter are stunning, they vary in perspective and unlike so many manger scenes, this one looks like a mom and a baby. They gave me chills coupled with the simple but profound text. A great holiday read .


Cock-A-Doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand is a really unique Christmas story. A little rooster is at the center of this book, he is so little that his cock-a-doodle doesn’t wake anyone up.  He is very sad about his inability until that night he finds himself in the manger with Baby Jesus and finds his voice. It’s a simple book, with profound meanings. This is a great book for a Christan family or to read at Sunday school.

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Christmas Crafts

I was thinking about how my crafts go in spurts, I get inspired by different things and as my son’s interests and abilities change so do the activities. If it were only up to him you’d all be getting police helicopter and fire truck ( with ladders on top, not the side) crafts every single day. Luckily we have Christmas crafts  from years past to share while I try to come up with a way to make a police helicopter festive, I’ll get back to y’all when I do.

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees ( above)

Sponge Painted Lights

Spin Painted Ornaments

Scrap Paper Stocking

Holiday Hand Print Wreath

And our favorite and most popular Christmas craft :

Unbreakable Ornament

Do you have a favorite holiday craft?