Vocabulary Craftivity with a Holiday Twist

I was reading a book to my sweeties earlier in the week that had the word “overlapped” in it.  One of my littles stopped to ask me what that word meant {I always love it when they stop to ask stuff like that!!!}  Anyway, I tried to explain it as best as I could and then continued reading.  That little momentary pause for explanation got me thinking about making my vocabulary instruction more hands-on.  Now, that wasn’t necessarily a vocabulary word I was trying to teach, but since we discussed it, I figured ‘why not’?!  I’m always trying to find meaningful ways to make instruction more hands-on.

That night, I took my boys to Hobby Lobby for our annual Christmas ornament shopping, and I started perusing the scrapbook paper aisles so that I could have some extras on-hand for the holiday season.  I passed by the paper punches and then it dawned on me.  I knew exactly what to do to extend my mini-vocabulary lesson and make it hands-on and fun for my babies!!! 


I picked up lots of holiday scrapbook paper and went to town paper punching circles.  I have both the 1” and 2” paper punches, but used only the 2” for this little project.  Honestly, you could do this with just about anything!

Then I decided to assemble a little tree using all the circles I punched.


When introducing this craftivity to my kids, I reminded them about the word “overlapped” and we talked about it before we got started.  I told them we were going to make a little Christmas tree using little circles that overlap.  I continued to use that word throughout the assembly. 

The best thing about this little project is that it opened up a totally different discussion about growing and shrinking patterns!!!!!  Aaaaahhhhh!!!  I love it when that happens!!!!!  Now, I know that growing and shrinking patterns aren’t necessarily a Kindergarten skill, but it never hurts to introduce something like that to get them thinking.  And boy did it!!!!!! 

We started assembling our tree from the bottom up and one of my little guys stopped when we started *overlapping* the second row and said, “Mrs. Carroll!!!!  This tree is shrinking!”  I asked him to explain his thinking and he said, “we started with 6 circles.  Now we only have 5 circles.  It’s going DOWN.  You know, like shrinking?!  You just took one away!!!!”  After we assembled the third row, another little friend chimed in and said, “You keep taking one away, Mrs. Carroll!!!  It’s getting less!!!!”  Aaaahhhhh!!!  Ding, ding, ding!!!!!  Don’tcha just love it when things happen like that?!


It was cute to hear my kids using the word *overlap* when they were talking to their friends about their trees.  “Hey!  Yours doesn’t overlap!  You need to make the circles go on top of each other!!!” 


All in all, they did an awesome job and I really felt like this little craftivity made an abstract word come to life!  Definitely adding that word to our WOW word book!  And I’m pretty sure I’ll be thinking of a way to bring up growing and shrinking patterns again.  It was so neat to see the light bulbs turn on when they realized they were creating a pattern!!! 

Seriously though…I’m thinking this would be kinda cute on a canvas!  Maybe with a combo of big & small circles?!  With really pretty scrapbook paper?!?!?  Hmmmm….


  1. LOVE! What a great way to bring that word to life! Don't you just love those lightbulb moments!?

    First Grade in Foxwell Forest

  2. I love this idea. I am going shopping today and was going to get some of those circle paper punchers. I can't wait to put it to use!!!

  3. Awesome idea. So important to remember to stop and take in their questions, ideas, and inquisitive little minds sometimes when we're in such a hurry. :) Thanks for the reminder...and cute craft!

    What Happens in First Grade

  4. I recently discovered your food blog! You are simply amazing!!!! You are an inspiration. How do you do it all?? You're a super mom, super teacher, and a super woman of God!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I love this idea! I'm always looking for ways to make learning new vocabulary words more fun. Hands-on activities like this are perfect!

    Recess and Beyond

  7. Super cute! *LOVE* this idea! A coworker and I were just talking about interactive vocabulary yesterday! Thanks! =)
    Mrs. Dwyer’s A+ Firsties

  8. Great idea! Your Silhouette could cut the circles out, too. :)

  9. Hi Cara,
    I love how you incorporated this brillant idea into a craft. Our minds never stop do they?!? Thank you for sharing -- adorable!
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

  10. I love it all--how beautiful they are, how they touched upon so many areas of learning!!

  11. This is awesome! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  12. What a great lesson! And the trees are darling!!

  13. LOVE this idea. I am going to do it next week.
    Classroom Fun

  14. This is so clever! I'm currently student teaching in a first grade classroom. I know my kiddies would love this! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Adorable! What a fantastic lesson and a great way to pinpoint those kiddos that struggle with spatial awareness. I'm all over this activity!

  16. I am sooooooo doing this! I can't thank you enough for sharing the idea! Out of curiosity, what was the story? Did it happen to be "holidayish"?

  17. Love that idea! What a great way to help them "see" vocabulary!

  18. I have got to do this!! Just like my paper chain patterns...the discussions can take you places you didn't realize you were going to go and isn't it wonderful when it does? Isn't it great when you can make a teachable moment happen! I love it!! You are as Deedee said, brilliant!

    Terri Izatt

  19. Very cute idea!! And I love how you made the word come to life for your children. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  20. These are way too cute!! Thanks for sharing---and what a great idea for a vocabulary enrichment ;)

    First Grade and Fabulous

  21. I know this is a dumb question/comment, but I love how you have a typed card for each student to put on his/her artwork (the one with his/her name). What/how do you make your names for each of your kiddos?