Oh Christmas Tree

So this idea started as we had to make a Christmas Tree to go to the local Christmas Grotto....unfortunately we never got it finished in time, I mean it's end of our school year and Christmas...well you know how it goes....things just kinda got away on us, but we did get it finished.

I was inspired by some pins on Pinterest in from some Reggio inspired classrooms of winding wool around sticks as a fine motor skill activity as well as creating a great art piece for the classroom.

Now first of all it's confession time.....for this to be a really worthwhile fine motor skill activity you would need to use fine wool and the students would take their time to do it and come back to it several times in order to complete it.

- BUT,  I had no time for that, I was already on a deadline...

So I got the thick wool with multi colors strands in it that would look like they had spent ages winding different colored wool around (gotta do what yah gotta do).

I purchased a set of bamboo garden stakes which I then cut to size - hint if you think about it when you cut the small pieces become the top of the tree so you are working towards the middle!

I laid them all out against a large thick garden stake an to ensure spacing, size etc before cutting the large stake - Now I can not give you sizes or anything like that cause I just winged it with my fingers crossed that it was gonna work.

As the students drifted in that morning I was working on the largest of the sticks, just slowly winding the wool around, let me tell you that got their interest up and ready and they piled on the questions as to what I was doing, could they try, what was I making etc.

I kept telling them they were just going to have to wait and see.

I hoped I was building the suspense and I would have them hooked.

Turns out I did.

At our morning meeting about the day I showed them what I had been doing, and explained what we were trying to do,  they were hooked and I had lots of volunteers.  Even though I couldn't show them an example of what we were creating (other than a crude drawing on the board) they were still on board with my vision and excited to try this out.

I started each stick off my taping the wool flat against the stick and the child then wound the wool over so you don't see the tape.

It was great to see the different techniques and styles of how to wind the wool around, and the sharing and helping that happened as they worked together.  You will also notice from the photos that the boys were into it just as much as the girls, in actual fact to start with I had more boys that girls working on the project.

When they had completed all the sticks I used zip ties to attach the sticks to the stake and then wound wool around the stake covering the zip ties and forming the trunk of the tree.

For added strength to the wool and help them not to fall off if handled too much I also hot glued the end and then topped that with glitter glue.

I had planned for the class to make mini pompoms as decorations, but remember what I said about time... well that kinda went out the window and we improvised by sticking on glitter pompoms.

One kiddo decided that it made it a math tree as the pompoms had been used during the year as one of our math centers 😆 and proceeded to count the different colors of pompoms.
The class were so happy with the tree, everyone who came into the classroom was dragged over to see it as they pointed out the stick they had done (or helped do).

While it only ended up mounted against our wall this year, I would love to have it in a weighted bucket next time and have it free standing and I would get the battery lights to string over it to make it really pretty.

And yes I did say next time, I think this is going to be my thing for a few years that as a class we are going to make our own Christmas tree and decorate it.   I'm just going to be more organised next year and start this at the end of November.

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