When it gets cold outside, it is time to bring the fun indoors! For the past 3 years we’ve been making some fun ornaments to add to our tree each year. Last year, when Toddler S was 2 years old, we did something very low-key since I was very pregnant and had zero energy. We cut out some shapes from cardboard and decorated it with paint, yarn, pom-poms and other craft material.
This year, we repeated our activity from when he was 1 years old but it was so much more fun this time since he was able to participate in each step! We made salt dough ornaments and the best part is that this is easily a three day activity.
Since there are a gazillion Pinterest recipes for how to DIY an ornament, I thought I’d just share some pictures of what we did. I will also include the recipe (and this one and this one) we ended up using as a reference.
we used Kosher salt and the tip with that is to mix/dissolve the salt into the water first and then add it to the flour to knead.
we baked at 200 degrees for 2 hours, flipped the ornaments over and baked for another 1 hour
Day 1: Make the dough, cookie cut your ornaments and bake + let them dry over night (we let them dry overnight because the back side still felt a bit soft, I recommend flipping it and baking it if you don’t want to wait for it to dry overnight).
Day 2: Decorate your ornaments with paint, glitter, puffy paint etc., let them dry over night
Day 3: String them & hang them!
Extra Credit: We actually added one more activity to the fun! We made origami boxes since Toddler S wanted to gift some of ornaments to his baby brothers. He was so amused with our creation out of a regular piece of paper! Thankfully, origami was a big part of my elementary school years, so I had no problem jumping right back into it!
The best part of activities like this is that they are very montessori, if you allow them to be.
HOW did we make it Montessori friendly?
The key as always, is letting the child lead and more over letting them participate in tasks that are real life based.
Sensorial & Practical life – We let toddler S get his hands dirty. He mixed the dough and the salt together. He loved measuring & pouring the water into the dough and of course using the cookie cutter to shape each ornament. And so much paint, glitter and glue! This never gets old.
Math – We incorporate numbers into what we’re doing. Toddler S loves counting and he has been obsessed with the measuring tape so I made sure to include such aspects to this activity. He had so much fun measuring the how many cups of flour we needed, how many spoons of salt we needed and how long the ribbon needed to be before he cut it.
Fine Motor – Toddler S has spent a lot of time cutting up card stock, play dough and paper, so he loved cutting the ribbon for his ornaments to hang from. Even finer than cutting was stringing the ribbon. It was amazing to watch him concentrate and get the ribbon through the hole. He did it so well!
This is one of my favorite traditions with Toddler S! Hopefully, next year the baby brothers will be able to participate as well! As for this year, we can’t wait for baby brothers to open their presents from big brother!