What You Do:
- Have your child lay his arm, from elbow to finger tip, on a piece of brown paper. Be sure his fingers are spread apart to allow you to trace in between each one!
- Trace his arm, from elbow all the way up to his fingers and in between each finger, using a marker or pencil. This will be the outline of the tree. If the tree looks too small, ask your child if it’s okay to trace your arm and hand instead. If you get the green light, have your child help you trace it. (Tip: be sure the fingers are clearly drawn, because they will serve as the branches of the tree.)
- When the tree is all traced, help your child cut it out.
- Have your child draw some leaf shapes on the green construction paper and cut them out. Make sure they’re big enough to write a name inside, but not so big that they cover too much of the entire branch.
- Now the fun part: seeing how many family members your child can remember and write down. Feel free to make this into a game, like “Who lives in St. Louis?” or “Who is Mom’s brother?” Learning familial relationships takes some time and this is a great way to practice.
- Once you have all the names you want to use, make sure you have enough leaves (one for each family member). Ask the child to write the name on the leaf (if he is writing already) or have him tell you the name and write it down. You should have a nice pile of leaves with names on them when you’re done.
- Glue the leaves onto the branches (fingers) of the tree.
- Glue the popsicle sticks together to make an “X’ shape. This will serve as the stand for the tree.
- Place a good amount of glue along one side of the paper towel roll. Then press the tree against the paper towel roll as if to give it a backbone.
- Once it’s dry, glue the bottom of the paper towel roll to the “X” made of popsicle sticks. It should be standing straight up, like a tree. If it’s tipping, wad up a piece of paper (or newspaper) into the bottom of the roll and try gluing again.
If you have small photos of your family, cut them out into small sizes and glue them around the branches. To make it even more special, try dangling the photos from the branches using string. Punch a hole in the tree branches and tie the string through the hole. Glue the end of the string to the photo, and you have dangling photos of the family hanging from the tree. Just don’t pick them like apples!
Lisa M. Cope is a freelance writer who focuses on parenting and child development issues, among many others. She is the mother of two boys, ages five and two.