This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tree Decorating: A Fine Motor Activity

Decorating the Christmas tree is more than fun tradition. It provides some great learning along with it! The most obvious is fine motor practice. If you try to have things spaced as well as a child can space things, you will also be focusing on some spacial awareness and pre-planning. 

But allowing a child to help decorate isn't always as precious as those greeting cards and images in your head would lead you to believe. You can end up with broken ornaments and time outs...so I have a few tips to make decorating fun.

1-Set the tree up ahead of time. Don't expect children to wait patiently while you get the tree ready to decorate. Whether your tree is real or fake, small or large, you will need some prep time. Unless you plan to have the children help with lights, I would include stringing lights in your list of things to do before hand.

2-Pre-hang breakable ornaments, OR set them aside for later. Some children do great around breakable ornaments. Last year, Kaitlyn accidently dropped a few ornaments and broke them. She wasn't being crazy or doing anything she shouldn't; she was simply a two year old carrying something. So don't be like me; just because it is Christmas it does not mean your little toddler no longer toddles. 

3-Have piles for what the child can put up. This year, we had certain ornaments that each child could put on the tree. We organized these before the decorating started. 

4-Forget perfect. Don't stress out about where the ornament is compared to all the other ornaments. If you are allowing a child to help decorate, expect it to look like a child decorated.

When I was growing up, we had our family tree and a kid tree. We could decorate our tree with our ornaments however we wanted to. We also got to help with the family tree, but my mom was allowed to tell us where to put things or to ask us to move something somewhere else. 

I am actually not particular about where things are on the tree (this is surprising I am sure; it surprises even me), but even so, I think a kid tree would be fun. Maybe we will watch after-Christmas sales this year for a small tree they can use next year. 


Katy said...

Our tree is up, but I have been delaying decorating. At first, I wanted our 17mo to help, but then thought maybe the whole tree should be "a no" and helping decorate would send a mixed message. Any advice on tree "etiquette"? (We also have cats, so I'm used to putting breakables up high)

Kristy Powers said...

Well, so much for fine motor activity at our house! My 4-year-old decided he liked getting the ornaments out of their piles, admiring them, and then handing them to his aunt who dutifully put them all up, though she was a little disappointed to have no hanging help. ;) It does look nice, though. We decorated while our 18-month-old was asleep in nap, and although we didn't plan it that way, it worked out well because he knows very well not to touch it now.

Plowmanators said...

Katy, On my parenting blog, I have a post on the Christmas Tree decorations here:


Hopefully that will help!


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