Shape Christmas Tree

Here’s an easy Christmas craft…and a great way to practice shapes and colors, too!  This would work great at a preschool/kindergarten holiday party.  I did the first two steps myself because my girls aren’t great with scissors.

1. Cut out 5 green triangles.  Start with a small one and get gradually bigger.  My smallest is about 3 inches across the largest is about 8 inches.

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2.  Cut out shapes in different colors.  I stuck with circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but you could get all fancy with hexagons, ovals, and trapezoids for older kiddos.

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3.  Get your crafty kiddos and talk about how triangles could make a tree.  Have them arrange the triangles from largest to smallest.

4.  Glue the top couple inches of the biggest triangle and place the next biggest triangle on top of it.  Continue until all triangles are glued together.

5.  Glue on the shape ornaments.  I found it is easier for kids to make a dot with the glue stick directly on the tree, then stick the ornament on the dot.

6.  Have fun decorating the tree with shapes!  Identify the shape and color of the ornament when they pick it up or ask them to identify.  See if they want to make a pattern.

Here’s my four-year-old’s masterpiece glued on red paper.  She is so proud that it is now part of our Christmas decorations!

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Materials:

  • colored construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick

Time investment: 10 minutes for adult cutting prep and 10-15 minutes for kids to glue craft

Difficulty:  The only difficult part is cleaning up all those extra shapes that will scattered on the floor. 🙂

Learning with Scarves

Playing with scarves is a great tactile activity for kids of all ages!  If you don’t already have some on hand,  you can find them by searching for “movement scarves” or “juggling scarves.”  Here are some ideas:

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

Babies

  • Play peek-a-boo.  A baby favorite.  Put the scarf on your head.  Put it on her head.  Either way = pure enjoyment.
  • Let him touch it and compare the texture to other things in the room.  Use lots of adjectives to describe how it feels.
  • Wrap up an object in the scarf like a present and see if Baby can “unwrap” it.
  • Play music and move the scarf to the beat.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Teach colors by putting colored scarves on your head and seeing the world in that color!IMG_7724
  • Experiment with light and color by putting scarves over lamps or flashlights.
  • Dance with scarves.  This is a favorite activity in our house.  Try different music to make fast movements or slow ones.
  • Count the scarves.  (kindergarten- Count to tell the number of objects)
  • Make a letter with with scarf and see if your kiddo can name it.  (kindergarten- Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters of the alphabet)
  • Do the same with numbers.
  • Play a game of hide and seek by taking turns hiding the scarves around the room.
  • Practice throwing and catching with scarves.  WAY easier (and safer for your living room) than balls.
  • Throw the scarf into the air and see how many (jumping jacks, claps, etc.) they can do before it hits the ground.
  • Combine primary colors to show the secondary color.  This doesn’t work as well as paint, but it’s fun to try.

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Elementary

  • Get creative and make a picture with the scarves!

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  • Ask some math questions.  How many more blue scarves than red?  Will the scarves divide equally between two people?
  • Be a fashion designer.  Make dresses, skirts, shirts, and hats using the scarves.  Then have a fashion show.
  • Teach your kids to juggle!  Scarves are perfect for beginners.
  • Practice spelling and reading by making sight words out of scarves.  This is more difficult than it looks! IMG_7719

Color Scavenger Hunt

A color scavenger hunt is a great activity to do on a nature walk.  Just use markers or crayons to write the color words on a piece of paper.  This way kids will be able “read” if they know their colors.  Then grab the paper and a bag for your treasures, and you’re ready!  Try a color scavenger hunt on a walk around the block, at the park, or in your backyard.  Show toddlers how to compare the object with the color word to see if a leaf is more red or orange.  Elementary kids who already know their colors can still learn with this activity.  Have them write the color words on their own.  Then they can race each other (or a timer) to see who can complete the scavenger hunt first!  Try the scavenger hunt again in a different season to see how the colors and items change.

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If it is too cold for a nature walk, you can also have a color scavenger hunt inside.  Warning: this could make a mess.  I’d do it when toys are already scattered across the floor.  You might as well sort them by color before you put them away, right?  This time I used construction paper to match the colors.

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