Whatever your family’s customs, the holidays are always an exciting time. Learning about the different holiday traditions is also part of the core social studies curriculum, which aims to help young children identify highlights of the community year. Here’s a craft project you can do at home to send goodwill into the neighborhood … and practice math and writing skills while you’re at it.
What You Do:
- Ask your child: how many kinds of stars can you make? Many children may have learned to create a five-pointed star; some may know how to make a six-pointed Star of David; but there are also “pom pom” stars made by crossing x’s several times. There really is a multitude of possibilities.
- Invite your child—and a friend or sibling—to trace at least five types and sizes of stars onto lightweight white paper, 3” to 5” or so across, and then have her cut them out using scissors.
- Meanwhile, heat up a regular household iron, and roll out a window-length sheet of waxed paper. Have your child lay out her stars on the wax paper, making sure there is plenty of space separating each one. Then, lay another sheet of wax paper on top, and run a hot iron over the “sandwich.” You end up with a striking white-on-white “stained glass” star panel to hang in your window as the winter light streams in. For an extra finished look, you can also add a “frame” piece of bright construction paper at the top and the bottom.
With this activity, you reinforce the social studies learning of your child’s classroom, but and give those fine motor skills a workout. Finally, although she won’t actually identify the terms for several more years, you’re providing her with early geometrical thinking activities that will come in handy later on. All this—and a lovely holiday window dressing, too!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.