Here is a Christmas craft, great for preschoolers and Kindergartners.
I like this craft because it strengthens manual dexterity, while children match correct sizes from smallest to largest and provides an opportunity for artistic self expression. I put this craft together for a Sunday School craft, so I added our verse for the month of December and tied it to the steps involved in the project.
As a Sunday School teacher, sometimes the curriculum could use slight modifications to match allotted class time. Other times these modifications match the level of learning to a larger age group, than the curriculum was intentionally designed to serve. In this case, I came up with this craft to swap out for another activity that I was unable to purchase all the supplies required in the curriculum. I procrastinated too long.
For this project I used:
- Bright Red 8.5×11″ multipurpose copy paper
- Bright green yarn (for younger kids, I also made some with green pipe cleaners because they were easier to use for matching)
- Elmer’s glue
- Text with Bible Verse (image below)
- Tree template -download a pre-drawn PDF to save time by clicking here: December-SS-Christmas tree12022017
I found this idea searching Pinterest. The original project uses straws rather than yarn or pipe cleaners. A variety of media could be used, supporting that this project is also great as an artistic outlet with a volume of opportunities for self expression. To view the straw-match, click here https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/preschool-math-straw-match/
Using the download here: December-SS-Christmas tree12022017, the first step is already done. To make the the tree template, I used a piece of white copy paper. I turned the paper to landscape orientation, or onto it’s long side, and used a ruler to find the middle of the page. About three inches down from the top of the page, I marked the first line. I did this to leave room for a star at the top of the tree. The first line is just 1 inch wide, followed by a 2 inch line, adding 1 more inch to each line. Consequently, the bottom line is 8 inches long.
The next step is to cut the yarn, pipe cleaners, or whatever media you wish to use into the length of each of the lines drawn on the paper. I placed the yarn next to a ruler and marked the lengths with a sharpie before cutting each length. It could just as have been accomplished by using the lines on the paper rather than using a ruler, to find the length for each piece of pipe cleaner.
Using Photoshop Elements 10, I created a jpeg file with the Bible text repeated 4 times to make the text tag for each child’s completed craft. I used scalloping shears to cut each verse out onto small strips of paper to glue at the bottom of the project.
I copied the white template onto the red copy paper, making enough copies for the number of students in the Sunday School class (plus a few extra for surprise visitors) and repeated the second step of cutting the yarn and pipe cleaners for each of the children.
I gave each child a copy of the tree template, the various lengths of year to match to each line on the template, a tube of Elmer’s glue, and one slip of paper with the Bible verse. Next, I address the full class and ask them not to touch the items until I have give all the instructions they will need.
Included in the instructions, I read the Bible verse to the group and explain the meaning of the verse. I think it is best to try to explain in your own words because your version may be more easily understood and/or reinforce the message. My explanation was that God gives us blessings and the blessings can come in many forms. Sometimes, that is in the form of riches or money. When God gives us blessings, we should feel very good about sharing them others. Giving should be done because we want to give and it feels so really good. God gives us blessing because He wants us to also be able to give.
I use the craft as “an opportunity to give a gift” or as “something share with our families at home by hanging it for all to see.” I say, “It is December and many of us are celebrating by decorating Christmas trees, a tradition that is so much fun to share, so as a class we will make a craft that we hang on a wall, or on the refrigerator, at home to share with our families.”
Next, I instruct the group to match the pieces of yarn or pipe cleaner to the various lines on the paper. This should be done before they glue them in place because it can be harder to move them if they are mismatched. Next, the kids can trace the lines on the paper with the glue and then stick the appropriately sized yarn to the line of glue.
When they have glued down all of their lines, I ask the children to bring their project to the teacher or teachers assistant to dress up their project with glitter. I know it doesn’t seem like the artistic freedom is truly free when the glitter is controlled by the instructor rather than the pupil, but glitter can be a teacher’s worst nightmare if not controlled. Use your discretion with this one.
First, I cover the project in green glitter to cover most of the wet glue around the yarn to prevent the other colors, used for decorations, from sticking to the yarn. Next, I have the kids make dots with the glue for ornaments or loops of glue for garland (seen in the image below.) I add colors to each dot or loop and empty the excess glitter from the page before moving to the next color. I allow the kids to add the star at the top as the final chance for glitter and time to decorate.
Note: Glitter is not the only way to decorate this tree. I considered using soft pom-poms for ornaments or stick on gems. I also thought about foam stickers and tiny jingle bells. Whatever is lying around and the kids want to use, I say let them.
As a final step, I have the kids glue on the Bible verse. The Bible verse at the bottom is from the Sunday School curriculum used by my church, for the month of December. This verse is important as we head into the Advent season because this is a season for giving. It is so easy to feel excited about the gifts we will receive at Christmas and there is nothing wrong with that feeling. However, we should remind ourselves and the little ones that Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice. In His giving to us, He created this magical season and the opportunities we now enjoy, Christmas after Christmas to give, receive, and share.
May God Bless You and Keep You!
The image of the Bible text is here, if you wish to copy: