Have you picked up some bauble ornaments for your preschoolers to make homemade Christmas ornaments with your preschoolers this year? Still deciding what to do with them? Try these feather stuffed ornaments for a new idea, and one that will work your preschoolers’ fine motor skills, and will bring loads of bright color to the Christmas tree, too!
Fine Motor Christmas Ornaments for Preschoolers to Make
If you’re like me, you pick up a set of clear bauble ornaments as soon as you see them in the stores.
Just about any dollar store carries them, but I prefer spending a little more and grabbing them from the craft store. The fillable ornaments from the craft stores are made of more durable plastic that is more resistant to cracking, and the tops stay in the bauble better, so they are less likely to fall from the tree. I buy a lot of preschool supplies from the dollar store, but I always purchase these ornaments from the craft store because I want them to be easy to use for my preschoolers, and they also have to endure the heavy-handedness of learning preschoolers, too.
But, the clear, bauble ornaments make the perfect ornament craft for preschoolers. These ornaments can be filled with so many things. I’ve seen them filled with ribbon the same length as the preschooler is high. You can pour liquid glue and glitter inside. One year I made these watercolor ornaments with my preschoolers where we dipped them in a tub of water and nail polish, and the outcome were these bea.u.tu.i.ful marble-like painted ornaments. They were stunning!
This year, I had the idea to use them to work on my preschoolers’ fine motor skills. Many students in my 4’s class are struggling with developing a mature pencil grasp. In fact, a few are still using what I call the “Death Grip” where they clutch the crayon with their entire fist. (This is also called a cylindrical grasp or palmar-supinate grasp, and it is typical of 1-2 year-olds).
Then when my boys and I ran across these brightly colored feathers at the dollar store, I knew they would be perfect for filling our bauble ornaments. The stiff end of the feather is easy enough to push through the top of the ornament but requires preschoolers to use their pincer grasp handle them with coordination.
How to Make Homemade Christmas Ornaments for Preschoolers Using Feathers and Fillable Baubles
I had envisioned these ornaments being bright and colorful, but I couldn’t have envisioned how awesome they really did turn out! Even though they require only two materials, the feathers and the ornaments, each ornament made by my preschoolers turned out uniquely different.
- fillable bauble Christmas ornaments
- feathers, 2-6 inches in length (dyes or natural)
To set up, spread the feathers on a tray so the preschoolers can see all the colors and patterns available. Remove the top from each ornament and set aside. (These are sure to get dropped or lost if given to the preschoolers, so just remove them before the activity).
Give each preschooler an ornament and invite them to join you in making some home make ornaments.
Tips for Making Ornaments with Preschoolers
I consider these homemade ornaments a mix of process art and craft. Clearly, there is an indented outcome and the children are somewhat limited in the use of their materials. That said, the gains for the preschooler come in the process. Here are a few things to consider to make activities like this one run a little more smoothly.
- Feathers that are “fluffy” will sit better in the bauble. They will curl with the shape of the sphere, rather than be stiff.
- Allow your preschoolers to choose any colors like like, even if they fill their entire ornament with a single color.
- Some preschoolers will want to stuff their ornament until the feathers look packed. This is ok.
- Other preschoolers might only want to add a small handful of feathers. This is ok, too.
- If your preschooler is struggling with adding the feathers, set aside some feathers with stiffer ends to help.
- Once the end of the feather is in the bauble, the rest of the feather can be pushed in with the fingers.
- The feathers are light and fluffy and you may find them about the house or classroom.
We chose to use brightly colored, dyed feathers from the dollar store, but I am not imagining how beautiful natural feathers would be, too! At home we have some wood slice ornaments, and I think bauble ornaments stuffed with natural feathers would look so beautiful!
Making Homemade Feather Bauble Ornaments with Preschoolers
As I said earlier, making Christmas ornaments with preschoolers is a combination of craft and process art. Here is a little more about the processes my preschoolers worked through as they made their homemade ornament.
Initially, some of my preschoolers struggled with handling the ornament, because it was round and rolled, while holding delicate feathers and trying to stuff them through a small hole at the top. One preschooler got frustrated and said, “I can’t do it.”
“But you can,” I said. “What can you do to make it easier?”
That’s when my preschooler used his body to support the bauble from rolling around.
After some practice (and some great fine motor work) his ornament was filled to the brim. The feathers overlapped and intertwined with one another, giving the ornament such visual interest!
A child in my toddler class loved stuffing the ornament, but the also loved pulling all the feathers back out, too!
His tiny fingers were just big enough to grasp the feather ends, and he spent the better part of a half an hour both stuffing and unstuffing the ornament. In hindsight, this could have made a quick and simple sensory bin! Could you imagine if the feathers were in traditional Christmas colors?!
He was also my student who stuffed the ornament with all one color, and then there were these “odd feathers out”. They may look out of place to an adult, but the single yellow, pink, and green feathers were deliberate choices by that student.
I loved listening to the chatter of my preschoolers as they made their ornaments.They talked about the colors they were using, as well as what their dogs’ names are, and what Lego ship they are making at home. These natural conversations with peers are important to a preschooler’s language development. Allowing for and listening to these conversations also teach me how I can connect with my preschoolers and give me insight to what skills my preschoolers coming into developmentally.
Preschoolers Make Beautiful Homemade Ornaments
This time of year, it’s a pretty classic choice to include homemade ornaments in your preschool lesson plans. Preschoolers gain so much from the process and parents love the keepsake this time of year.
I remember as a kid my mom kept all our school ornaments, even the ones that looked poorly made, and then when we became adults my mom passed them on to us. Now I have a Christmas tree that could be full of happy memories from my own childhood. And we do hang them, still.
WANT EVEN MORE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES?
You can find all my best Christmas activities for preschoolers in the link below.
WANT MORE HANDS-ON CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES?
Additionally, here are four favorite Christmas activities we’ve done in preschool. Just click the images.
LOOKING FOR CHRISTMAS PRINTABLES?
These are tested by my own kids and preschoolers. Just click the image below to see the post.
I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction