Holiday Craftivity with a Vocabulary Twist

I know how fast and furious these 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break can be, so I wanted to revisit an old post today to share one of my favorite ideas in case you haven't seen it yet!  Not only was this activity absolutely precious, but we were able to weave in a vocabulary lesson with it as well and for the remainder of the year my kids had a solid connection to the focus word (overlap).  Anytime that word came up in a book, in conversation, etc., my kids would say, "remember when we made the overlapping Christmas tree?!"  And if I stopped to ask what that word meant, they could tell me without faltering.  LOVE.  Hands-on learning....concrete experiences.  That's what it's all about!!

You know, kids always come back to us year after year saying things like, "Remember when we did (XYZ)?!?!", but they never come back saying, "Remember when we did that worksheet?!".  Let's give them fun experiences to remember for a lifetime!!!


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. This is such a cute idea! I am actually making ornaments for my family/ friends with scrapbook paper and a 3" circle punch. But I like this for the students because it's easy and pretty. 😊

  2. These are so cute! I can't do anything "Christmas" this year since I have a student who doesn't celebrate the holiday. Maybe next year!

  3. I just finished punching about a zillion circles for my class. Since I teach second, they could punch them out themselves but it would take waaaayy too long. This will make a cute holiday display for our hallway bulletin board for the next couple of weeks and they're going to love making them! Thanks for sharing your cute idea.

  4. I see Christmas cards for their parents! What a cute idea and keepsake! Thank you!!!

  5. I see Christmas cards for their parents! What a cute idea and keepsake! Thank you!!!