- Green card stock or construction paper
- Gold Star
- Child safety scissors
- Hole punch
Step 1: Draw 3 varying sizes of triangles on the green paper.
You will need one big, one medium and one large triangle. Depending on your child’s age and ability, you can either have them trace, copy, or draw the triangles themselves or trace the triangles. A child is typically unable to independently copy a triangle until 5-6 years of age.
Step 2: Cut and glue the triangles to make the tree
Depending on your child’s age you can either cut the triangle out yourself, help them cut out the triangle by placing your hands over theirs to physically assist them in the task, or have them cut out the triangles on their own. Remember to always have a “thumbs up” position when using scissors, meaning the thumb points toward the ceiling and not towards the table. Typical progression of scissors skills by age is as follows:
- By 2 years old: can make one snip at a time
- By 3 years of age: can snip forward along a line with choppy cuts
- By 4 years old: can cut along a 6″ straight line, 6″ curved line remaining within 1/4″ deviation from the target line, and a 6″ diameter circle remaining within 1/2″ deviation from the target line.
- By 5 years old: cut a square 3″ wide and a triangle 3″ wide remaining within 1/2″ deviation from the target line.
- By 6 years old: cut complex pictures
Step 3: Glue the star atop the tree
Depending on your child’s age, I would encourage you to let them do the gluing on their own… I know… the mess… luckily glue cleans up fairly easily from table tops… trust me! If you are using a glue stick, try to encourage your child to use 3 fingers to hold the stick. Developmental progression of utensil grasps:
Step 4: Hole punch to sides of the triangle.
Start by making dots or small circles along the sides of the tree, this will be a “target” for your child line up with the hole punch. Depending on the punch that you have, your child may require assistance to squeeze and create the hole. The pair pictured are easy squeeze and most children over the age of 3 have the grip strength to manage the easy squeeze hole punches. Hole punches are a great tool to strengthen the muscles of the hand to increase grip strength and there are so many different things throughout life that require strong hands. It can also be a great activity to use as a heavy work activity to help your child if they seek excessive movement and pressure activities to regulate their systems.
Step 5: String the garland
Have your child lace a string through the holes in the tree as the garland. Depending on your child’s abilities you can use pipe cleaners, plastic string, twine, or yarn. The more stiff the material, the easier the lacing task will be. Lacing activities are great ways to develop a child’s small fingers and wrist muscles, develop their pinch patterns, and bilateral coordination (great pre-skill to managing a zipper and buttons).
Step 6: Making glue dots.
It is best to use liquid glue for this task. Have your child make glue dots randomly on the tree, these will be the spots of the “ornaments”. Again, I encourage you to allow your child to squeeze the bottle, it is a great way to strengthen the muscles of their hands.
Step 7: Put on the ornaments
I used sequins, but you can use buttons, beads, or any other small colorful objects. Have your child pinch the small objects and place them on the glue dots. This task had two developmental benefits; one is developing pinch patterns. The developmental progression of pinch patterns is as follows:
This should give you an understanding of how your child should be able to pinch the small objects and what age is appropriate for the activity. The other developmental benefit is to assist with visual-motor skills: can you child find the glue dot, pick up the small object and place it directly on the glue dot?
I hope you and your child enjoy your time together this holiday season and while making this colorful craft!