Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trees and more Trees

Nothing is more symbolic of the Christmas season then the fir tree. And there are hundreds of ways to create a tree, even when you are only four. Today we made trees from chenille stems cut at different lengths and wrapped around a wood dowel. Then the preschoolers used pony beads to decorate the branches.

The group today really enjoyed creating patterns with the beads and lining them up on the boughs. Some are pleased with minimal beading, and others were not done until the tree looked like a rainbow of color!
But whatever the style, the trees reflected their interest and excitement for the season.

I have found that preschoolers have attention spans that reflect their age. If they are four years old, you can engage them and hold their interests for about 4 minutes. You get one more minute for every year they are older. So a lot of the crafts and activities I do with the kids are broken up and placed between other activities, so I can hold their attention longer. So even though they had already made a "tree" earlier in the day, they were not opposed to creating a geometric tree because it utilized different materials and skills.

Each of the kids had to find the correct shape on the grid and find the matching shape in the green pattern pieces. The goal was to create a tree. I was really surprised at how clean and precise some of the trees turned out. [Boys are not always noted for being "detail"-oriented at this age].

And even for being the youngest in the group at just 3 years old, Cooper's tree looks marvelous and he knows it!

It was a simple project, but the kids were learning concepts like shapes, order, piecing, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. It resulted in another fine looking tree for the day.

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