Cardboard Learning Tree

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This is a great activity that combines seasonal holiday crafting with a little learning. If you play your cards right, the kids won’t even know you’ve slipped in some education with their fun!

For the shape of your tree, you can either paint a large piece of cardboard (holiday gift delivery boxes, perhaps?) or poster board. We chose poster board because I knew it would be easier to cut out the tree. Either way, Travis was thrilled when I said I needed the entire thing painted green.

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We left the paint to dry overnight, and the next day I cut out the tree shape.

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Next we gathered supplies for the “ornaments.” Use holiday-themed cookie cutters or other shapes, and trace the outlines on colored construction paper.

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Don’t worry if your kids don’t trace perfectly, you can always neaten up the lines when cutting the shapes out later.

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The next step was even more fun: laminating the cards. Although this step is optional, it will definitely make your paper pieces last longer. Travis adores whenever he’s allowed to help laminate, so this was a big hit.

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I cut out the shapes, and set them aside.

We hung our tree on the wall and added a brown piece of construction paper as the trunk.

The final step was to add Velcro strips to our tree and ornaments. Place the soft side of the Velcro on the tree at random intervals, then attach one rough Velcro piece to each ornament. Travis loved this even before we added the learning element, hanging his ornaments and then changing their positions.

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There are so many games you can play from this point on! First, I numbered the ornaments one through twenty with a wipe-clean marker, for a number search game.

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A simple wipe with a paper towel and we could play alphabet games. One suggestion is to hide the letters in your child’s name, and have them pinpoint those on the tree.

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As an alternative, write the upper and lower case of a batch of letters, and have your child find the pairs.

In full honesty, Travis was way more into the mechanics of this game (taking on and off the ornaments, wiping them clean with paper towels), than he was with the learning games, but we’ll play again over the course of the next few weeks!

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