This Christmas Tree Craft Loose Parts Play art project is a fun way to extend the joy of decorating a Christmas tree during the holiday season.
Decorating a tree is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! I love the step by step process that also provides personal choice and artistic expression. Think of it as a large scale, collaborative, open-ended holiday art project with tons of benefits! The process of hanging each ornament promotes fine motor skill development, problem-solving skills, reasoning skills, and more!
Today as a fun Christmas activity we will scale down this process and decorate a small Model Magic tree using natural and/or manmade materials. Little fingers will get a workout as the loose parts are pushed down into the clay and the tree becomes adorned with ornaments. Let’s gather some clay and start decorating!
GET A FULL SET OF CHRISTMAS THEME PRESCHOOL IDEAS IN OUR PRINTABLE CHRISTMAS LESSON PLANS.
Creating with Crayola Model Magic
I love introducing my youngest learners to Crayola Model Magic as a precursor to real clay. Many of the same skills can be explored such as rolling coils and making balls. Model Magic or any air dry clay engages all learners through tactile learning and fine motor skill development. Many children learn through touch as they manipulate the clay and explore texture. Crayola Model Magic is always a hit with my students as they mold and roll the “clay” while participating in a highly engaging hands-on learning activity.
Art and Nature
I love incorporating natural elements into art projects. Going on a nature hunt to find sticks, berries, pinecones, and more adds a layer of discovery to a standard craft. Children will often make surprise discoveries and as a result, artwork ends up more unique and original. Also, over time the natural elements used as art supplies may wilt or die. Seeing the natural life cycle play out can lead to thought provoking conversations as well as sequencing and cause/effect discussions.
Materials for Christmas Tree Craft Loose Parts Play
- Crayola Model Magic
- Green markers
- Items from nature such as sticks, mini pinecones, evergreens, and berries (If natural items are not available, using artificial products is also an option)
- A variety of beads, buttons, and small plastic replacement bulbs are also optional
Step by Step Directions
- Color the Clay!
Begin by adding color to the Model Magic. Color the clay using a green marker. Knead the clay as you go. Your hands will end up green as well! When you are finished be sure to wash your hands. It’s okay to get a bit messy when you’re making art!
2. Make a Tree!
Examine real trees. What shape are they? Can you identify the different parts of the tree such as the trunk, branches, and leaves?
Begin to make a ball with the green clay. Use your hands to form the ball and roll it on the table as well. Flatten the ball to form a circle. Use your hands to transform the flat circle into a flat triangle. Make sure to create three points, one at the top and two at the bottom. Pinch the sides of the tree if you wish to form branches.
Another option is to use a cookie cutter to cut out the tree shape.
3. Decorate the Tree!
Begin to decorate the tree by adding the natural loose parts. Push the small pinecones, evergreens, and berries into the clay.
Add decorative ornaments such as beads, buttons and plastic bulbs.
Finally, push a small stick in the bottom for the tree trunk. Add a ribbon and hang the ornament on your tree.
Extend this Art Activity
- Count how many ornaments are on the Model Magic tree.
- Identify the parts of the tree. Can you find the trunk?
- Identify if the loose parts you used are natural or manmade.
- Identify different textures in your work. What felt soft, hard, bumpy, smooth, or rough?
- What loose parts did you most enjoy adding to the tree? Why?
Be sure to tag your artwork on Instagram with @fantasticfunandlearning and @youngschoolartwithmr.g! We can’t wait to see your colorful trees!
CONNECT WITH VIN GIANNETTO
MORE ART AND CRAFT PROJECT IDEAS FROM VIN
GET A FULL SET OF CHRISTMAS THEME PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES
The 169-page Christmas Lesson Plan Set includes hands-on activities and these additional printables:
1) Beginning Letters Gift Sorting Game (in color and b/w)
2) Reindeer Math Mats (2 versions in color and b/w)
3) My Christmas Senses Activity Book Making Pieces
4) 0-35 Christmas Number Cards (2 versions in color and b/w)
5) Christmas Counting Syllables Sorting Game (in color and b/w)
6) Christmas Picture-Word Cards (in color and b/w)
7) Ornament Play Dough Mats
8) Candy Cane Play Dough Writing Task Cards (shapes, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, number 0-20)
9) Christmas Light Patterns Activity Pieces (in color and b/w)
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.