Christmas is over and the decorations are put away, but what are you going to do with your Christmas tree? Why toss it when you can recycle it? Perhaps you could cut up some tree cookies and tree blocks and offer them to children to play and learn with.
Insurgent Curriculum posted this awesome pic on their Facebook page about how to do it:
Some of us educators get all bent out of shape with cookie-cutter crafts. I must admit, I’ve done that too. So, here’s my advice to you: Don’t let it be a cookie-cutter craft.
We offer open-ended experiences for children to encourage creativity. It’s all about the materials we offer and creating a culture of creativity and risk-taking. First off, the materials. There’s a lot to be said about offering children a sample art inspiration with various loose parts and materials like this snowman below. We set out a loose parts buffet of materials that we can stand parting with. Sometimes we send home a quick note with materials parents can collect at home. It might be a real-life experience of building a snowman outside or a story that inspires the children to get creative. There are so many awesome children’s stories out there about snowmen like, “The Biggest Best Snowmen Ever” by Margery Cuehlner, “Snowmen at Night” by Caralyn Buehner, “Sadie the Snowman” by Allen Morgan, and “Snowmen at Sunset” by Shel Silverstein.
Next comes creating a culture of creativity and risk-taking. If our idea of perfection is everything in it’s place, then we might as well do this project on our own and call it a cookie-cutter day. However, if we inspire children with stories and/or real-life experiences and establish a culture where they are free to express creativity in their own way then children can explore, invent, take risks, design, problem-solve, and share their ideas with others.
Check out the shorty snowman on the left. The child that made this particular snowman said, “I’m going to make mine small with a tall hat” as she laughed and gestured about 6″ with her hands for the body and then the hat. It’s authentic, it’s natural, it’s from her… therefore it’s perfection.
What are you going to do with your left-over Christmas tree? We’d love to hear your ideas so be sure to comment below.
Happy tree-cookie chopping!