Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Tiny Tree for Tiny Hands

I really want to have traditions in our family.  I think traditions really help bring a family closer.  Since it's Baby's first Christmas, I want to go ahead and start some Christmas traditions in our household.

We don't have a glamorous tree.  It doesn't have coordinating ornaments and ribbons, or fancy jewels, or anything like that.  It just has random ornaments that don't really go together, whichever lights we decide we want to use, and candy canes (a tradition that Brandon brought from his childhood).  To be quite honest with you, it's pretty ugly, but I like it that way.  It feels homey.

I think it would be fun to have a mini tree in each of our kids' rooms, every year.  Then they can decorate them however they want, and be more involved.  Obviously, a regular mini tree doesn't make sense for a 10 month old.

Initially, I was going to make a felt tree like this one.  But, I just didn't think he would get the concept.  He would probably pull everything off, once, and that would be it.  So, here's what I made, instead.  It turned out just a great as I hoped!

It has fuzzy pom poms (these are supposed to be the Christmas lights) to make it a sensory toy.

Baby loves to put his finger into holes (the backs of Legos and my belly button tend to be his favorite), so I hung the "ornaments" from the inside and they show through holes in the tree.  This allows him to push and pull the stars through the holes.

If you want to make your own, keep reading.

What you will need:

  • 1 foam sheet (just make sure you choose a thickness that is bendy enough)
  • Pom poms (I bought 2 different sizes to make it a little varied)
  • Ribbon
  • Ornaments (I used felt shapes.  Use whatever you like, just keep in mind the age of your child and make sure it is a safe item for him or her)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Another type of adhesive-Optional (I used poster tape, but you could use hot glue or rubber cement)

Making the Cone

Cut your foam into a circle.  Size totally depends on how big you want your tree.  I made the biggest circle I could with the foam sheet I had.

Cut a triangle out as explained here.

Wrap it around and test your cone out but don't secure it yet.

Adding the Holes

While holding the foam sheet in its cone shape, decide where you want to cut your holes to hang your ornaments.  Take a straight pin and poke a hole through the foam to mark each spot you are going to cut a hole.  Keep in mind that your foam will likely overlap itself in some spots.  You will want to poke a hole through both layers to make sure your holes line up.

Remove stick pin and open the cone back up.  Cut a circle around each pin hole using an precision knife (make sure to put something behind it, like thick cardboard, to avoid ruining your table).  The size of your circle will depend on how big your "ornaments" are.

Make your cone again to make sure your holes match.  Make extra cuts as needed.

Once you are comfortable with your holes, add adhesive to any areas that will be overlapping and secure together.

Stringing the Lights

To add your "lights" (aka pom poms) to your tree, put a dab of hot glue on the back of each one and stick to your cone.

Hanging the Ornaments

If you did not use felt shapes, like me, you may have to do this differently.  Just make sure you secure your ornaments well.  We don't want anybody choking.

Glue a piece of ribbon to the back of your ornament, using hot glue.  Glue the ribbon to the inside of the cone so that the ornament hangs down and shows through the hole.

Putting the Star on Top

You can skip this step if you want.  I already had stars, so I just went ahead and did it.  My felt stars had a removable backing and were sticky, so I simply stuck them on.  I stuck the bottom halves to the cone and the top halves to each other.
There you have it!  Let your little one explore!

NOTE:  My little guy wanted to grab and bend the tree and put it in his mouth(which I had anticipated).  I would suggest sticking around while your kiddo plays with this, just in case something comes loose and they put it in their mouths.

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