Christmas activities in schools can often create a lot of waste such as glitter, plastic glossy papers and foils. This Christmas activity is different and uses natural materials that are readily available and easily compostable.
Take children out to collect natural materials such as pine cones, leaves and pine needles. Pine cones are so interesting to look at, come in all shapes and sizes and can make great festive decorations on their own. Talk to the children about the fact that pine cones come from pine trees, but the wider family – spruce, fir, cedar, yews- all have different cones. You can also mention that all of these trees are evergreen, which mean they keep their needles all year, unlike deciduous trees whose leaves change colour and eventually fall off. Ask the children which trees and leaves are their favourites and ask them to try and explain why.
Pine and Fir trees are of course particularly associated with Christmas, but even before Christianity, people brought them into their houses in the belief the evergreens would ward off witches, evil spirits and illness.
Christmas cookie cutters
Natural materials such as pine cones, leaves, pine needles etc.
Roll out the clay to about 5 cm thick, press the cookie cutters into it and gently push out the shapes. Smooth the edges with your fingers using a drop of water.
Use a skewer stick to make a hole near the top.
While the clay is still fresh, gently press your natural materials into it.
Use different parts of the pine cones to discover what shapes are possible. Use the pine needles to make lines and the leaves to imprint patterns.
Leave to air dry overnight.
Thread a piece of string or a colourful piece of ribbon through the hole at the top and display your decorations.
This ‘How To’ was created by our Marketing Executive Mayra Espinoza and written by Beverley Smalley. Beverley is a mum, an education specialist, writer and former primary school teacher.