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“Life saving” winter crafts!
22 Dec, 2013. 8 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Crafts, December, First Grade, First Grade Holidays, First Grade Science, Holidays, Kindergarten Holidays, Kindergarten Science, Preschool Holidays, Science. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hooray!!! It’s Winter break!! We made it– congratulations and job well done! I don’t know about you, but our past week was filled with Christmas performances, crafts, parties, books, centers and maybe a few more crafts. On Tuesday, we had our annual Christmas production where our whole school, from the four year olds to the 8th graders, perform a cute play. It truly takes so much work to pull it together, but they all did a fantastic job– throughout BOTH of our performances! 
After all of that hard work, my students needed a little bit of a break and to do that we tried a new craft/science activity. We made bird feeder ornaments in class and my students LOVED it. This tied really well into our “winter science unit” that we had started and built a lot of great schema for when we get back! This craft was so easy to make and all you need to make this in your classroom are:
*bird seed
*a pot (or bowl)
*cookie sheets
*wax paper
*a spoon
*a few boxes of gelatin
*cookie cutters
*electric kettle
First boil a few cups of water in your electric kettle. Once it is boiled, add 1/4 cup of water and one packet of gelatin to your bowl. Then have your students stir this mixture until the gelatin is dissolved into the water. Then add 3/4 of a cup of bird seed into the water and stir until all the bird seed is coated. 
Next have your students pick out their favorite ornaments and put them on wax paper or a baking sheet. Have your students press their bird seed mixture into the cookie cutter. Make sure they pack it down pretty well. This will ensure that it all sticks together. 
Last, stick something into your bird seed so you can put a string in the ornament once it is dried. I used stir sticks because that is what I had on hand. You could use straws, too! 
Let the ornaments dry over night and then take them out of the cookie cutters. Then add a string and put them in a tree! 
My students LOVED making these and it was such an easy project to do in class. I was able to have 8 kids work at the same time. Each 1/4 cup of water and box of gelatin will make 2-3 small ornaments. I just doubled and tripled the recipe to get more students involved at once. {I am sure I could have even had more students working at the same time if I had brought in more bowls and cookie pans!}
This project {and many others} can be found in my Science for all Seasons: Winter Edition. If you are looking for some really fun, hands-on activities, be sure to check this one out!

Another craft that we make every year are the handprint snowmen ornaments. Each year this is what I use as our parent gift and my parents always love them! A few words of advice…
1. Make sure you buy plastic ornaments. They are much easier to draw on! (which really means: they don’t break as easily!)
2. You do not need paint pens! I have used Sharpies and Bic pens for two years now and saved myself a ton of money! Plus, the students have an easier time drawing with them! 
3. Make sure the paint has fully dried before you have your students draw on them. 
I paint my students’ hands with white acrylic paint and have them make a handprint on their ornament. I then let the ornaments dry overnight. The next day, I have my students draw the features on their snowmen! I love how different they all come out! 
I have used different types of ornaments in the past: glossy, matte finish, etc. This year I just picked out a box of the plastic ones and they did not disappoint me! 
I also add my students’ names and the year to their ornaments so their parents can remember when they made them!
To end the week, we had a party filled with fun rotations, parent helpers and lots of good food! My students decorated Christmas cookies, drank hot chocolate, colored in a coloring sheet, played with “snow play dough” and made a few different ornaments! 
 It was a perfect way to end our week! 
 My students were all smiles and I was, too. 
 Tomorrow I plan on sleeping until at least 8am and then finishing all my Christmas shopping! 
I hope that y’all had a great Friday, too! 

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8 Comments
  1. Definitely logging the bird feeder ornaments craft for future use. Love those and the kids look like they are having a blast. What cuties 😉

  2. Your pictures are amazing! I must make those bird feeders for January!!!! Looking forward to your winter science unit!

  3. So so cute!! I love it all!! p.s. I need camera lessons from you!!! Will you teach me in January!?

  4. Hi Kristen, I’ve recently lucked upon your blog and am really enjoying your ideas and teaching philosophy. It’s our long summer holiday here in Australia at the moment so I have some time again to reconnect with some favourite blogs and discover new ones! Oh and my Pintrest addiction can be ‘fed’ again too. Merry Christmas.

  5. Oops! Sorry, I mean ‘Pinterest”.

  6. If you teach Hadar you have to teach me too!!! Beautiful pictures!!

  7. Merry Christmas!!! Smiles and stop by anytime!!

  8. Lindsey -

    This is my second year making these. This year I found some glass oval ornaments cheaper than the plastics. Since they were flatter, the students didn’t break them when drawing with sharpies. It was only when ahmm “that student” continued to swing hers around the glass broke. They are super easy and a very handmade gift without a ton of work!

8 Comments

  • Definitely logging the bird feeder ornaments craft for future use. Love those and the kids look like they are having a blast. What cuties 😉

  • Your pictures are amazing! I must make those bird feeders for January!!!! Looking forward to your winter science unit!

  • So so cute!! I love it all!! p.s. I need camera lessons from you!!! Will you teach me in January!?

  • Hi Kristen, I’ve recently lucked upon your blog and am really enjoying your ideas and teaching philosophy. It’s our long summer holiday here in Australia at the moment so I have some time again to reconnect with some favourite blogs and discover new ones! Oh and my Pintrest addiction can be ‘fed’ again too. Merry Christmas.

  • Oops! Sorry, I mean ‘Pinterest”.

  • If you teach Hadar you have to teach me too!!! Beautiful pictures!!

  • Merry Christmas!!! Smiles and stop by anytime!!

  • Lindsey -

    This is my second year making these. This year I found some glass oval ornaments cheaper than the plastics. Since they were flatter, the students didn’t break them when drawing with sharpies. It was only when ahmm “that student” continued to swing hers around the glass broke. They are super easy and a very handmade gift without a ton of work!

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