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Recycled Christmas Art in the Preschool Classroom: 3 Activites

written by: Tania Cowling • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 12/2/2013

Take the month of December to make recycled art projects to be used as classroom decorations and/or gifts. Partaking in these crafts help young children develop their fine motor skills and creativity, along with bringing in the spirit of Christmas.

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    Christmas is a Fun Time for Crafting

    Christmas is a time of excitement for preschool age children. It’s also a time to stimulate the senses, as children are enthralled with holiday colors, lights, aromas, and sounds that the season brings.

    These Christmas crafts are conducive to teaching about recycling, as repurposing household materials teaches children to become eco-friendly and make use of things we already have. As the motto goes, “another person’s junk can make a treasure." Below are three art projects to try.

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    Jigsaw Puzzle Ornaments

    Jigsaw Puzzle Ornaments 

    Ask the parents of your students to donate boxes of puzzles that are no longer usable or have missing pieces. Use the puzzle pieces (large or small) to make beautiful Christmas ornaments. This craft helps children to develop finger dexterity as pieces are glued together to create holiday shapes.

    Materials:

    • Jigsaw puzzle pieces
    • Poster paints and brushes
    • Heavy duty craft glue
    • Glitter
    • Decorations such as pom-poms, ribbons, sequins, faux jewels, googly eyes, etc.


    Directions:

    1. Provide the students with a container of puzzle pieces placed in the center of the table.

    2. The teacher can instruct the children on how to build a Christmas ornament. A visual page of simple shapes will help.

    3. Teachers can help the students glue the pieces together, printed side down. The plain cardboard side should be facing up.

    4. Set these aside to dry.

    5. When the shapes are dry, invite the children to paint them in appropriate colors that match the Christmas shape.

    6. With the teacher’s help, students can embellish the ornament with glitter or small decors.

    7. The teacher can thread a ribbon or gold cording through the ornament or glue a loop to the back for a hanger.

    Now, you have cute ornaments to hang on the classroom tree or send them home as gifts for the family.

    Many home use jigsaw puzzles for entertainment. Ask the parents to donate boxes of puzzles that are no longer usable or have missing pieces. Use the puzzle pieces (large or small) to make beautiful Christmas ornaments. This craft helps children to develop finger dexterity as pieces are glued together to create holiday shapes.

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    Craft Stick Christmas Tree

    Craft Stick Christmas Tree 

    Craft sticks can be bought at craft stores or saved from frozen treats. Give each preschooler eight sticks to create a free-form holiday tree and then let them decorate it as they wish.

    Materials:

    • Craft (Popsicle) sticks, 8 per child
    • Heavy duty craft glue
    • Green and brown tempera paints
    • Paint brush
    • Decorations such as sticker stars, sequins, faux jewels, etc.

    Directions:

    1. The students can paint two sticks brown and the remaining green. Leave these to dry.

    2. Help the children to glue two brown sticks together to make the tree’s trunk.

    3. Then, glue the green sticks on top of the brown trunk in a varied design to replicate a tree shape. Again, let this tree dry thoroughly.

    4. Students can decorate the Christmas tree as they wish with an assortment of small holiday decors.

    5. The teacher can adhere a piece of magnetic tape along the back of the tree trunk. This decoration can magnetically stick to a refrigerator or anything metal.

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    A Wishful Christmas Stocking

    A Wishful Christmas Stocking 

    Toy catalogs and circulars are in abundance during the holiday season. Invite the children to cut out pictures of products to make a wish list Christmas stocking. Along with using their thinking skills, young children can also practice scissor skills, which is important during the preschool years.

    Materials:

    • Poster board
    • Cotton balls
    • Holiday decors
    • Toy pictures

    Directions:

    1. Provide each child with a stocking shape cut from poster board, the color of your choice.

    2. Show your students how to glue cotton balls to the top for a fuzzy stocking. Add beads or other small holiday decors if you wish.

    3. Invite the children to cut pictures from toy catalogs or old magazines. Let them glue these toys onto their wish list stocking overlapping pictures, collage style.

    4. Send this craft home early as a guide for parents to understand their child’s wants for holiday gifts.

    Use Christmas crafting to bring the holiday spirit to your classroom. It’s also a fun way to teach developmental skills with the shapes and themes of the season. Before school lets out for Christmas vacation, send home your students’ crafts to become memorable keepsakes for the families.

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