I’m guessing many of us have gone the salt cookie dough ornament route once or twice? What was your experience? Mine involved a crying toddler with literal salt in his wounds and a happy puppy munching on low hanging ornaments! Give yourself a break from the kitchen with decorative Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments for preschoolers made using foam!
These adorable gingerbread cookie ornaments turn out beautiful every time. Preschoolers will use fine motor skills to press cookie cutters into foam, cut the shape and then design and create their own festive foam cookie ornaments with craft paint and glitter! Yes, prepare yourself ahead of time for the glory of glitter. What’s a Christmas craft without a little glitz?!
Benefits of Creating Art with Preschoolers
There’s a reason art is an integral part of any preschool classroom. From fine motor muscles to creativity and confidence, art offers many benefits to young learners.
Creating foam cookie ornaments is an opportunity for preschoolers to celebrate the season while working on those important skills. Pressing and cutting shapes gives them hands-on experience with important math concepts while dousing with glue and glitter lets them express their creative side to produce something they can feel proud of for years to come.
Art inherently works preschooler’s fine motor muscles because it requires young hands to pinch, grab, squeeze, press, and more.
Keep in mind that creating these foam gingerbread ornaments with preschoolers is more about the process than the product. It can be hard for adults to let children go when they, for example, feel pleased about covering their entire shape with globs of black glitter.
Restrain yourself. Please. Help young children develop confidence and a sense of a job well done by praising creativity, ingenuity, work, use of color, design, etc. rather than focusing on how the ornament looks.
How to Nurture Creativity in Preschoolers
Encouraging creativity in a child’s development gives a healthy outlet for self-expression. Using creative preschool craft projects in the classroom will help your students learn how to express their feelings and thoughts, and in turn, help expand their imaginations. I’ve found that children who utilize their creativity from a young age tend to have more outside of the box solutions for problems they face later in life.
The festive design of this easy prep preschooler craft will help young learners find a love of arts and crafts. That enjoyment can grow stronger as students move on to elementary school. I love that this cookie ornament craft can easily be adapted to other seasons or themes.
Nurture creativity in young students by considering projects and processes from a young person’s point of view. They don’t yet have preconceived notions about what something is ‘supposed’ to look like.
Instead of praising students with “Great job!” consider:
- I can tell you worked so hard on this project!
- Tell me about your ornament.
- I like that you used so many colors/textures/etc.!
- Wow! You put a lot of thought and planning into your ornament.
- Tell me about why you chose to do…
How to Make Foam Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments
TIP: Cookie ornaments preschool craft may take up to an hour from start to finish.
Gather all supplies. Press cookie cutters into craft foam, so they leave an indentation.
Cut out cookie shapes from craft foam with scissors.
Apply white dimensional fabric paint to “cookies.” Place cookie on a plain piece of paper, sprinkle with clear glitter. Gather paper and return excess glitter to the container. Set aside to dry for several hours or overnight.
Apply green dimensional fabric paint to “cookies.” Place cookie on a plain piece of paper, sprinkle with clear glitter. Gather paper and return excess glitter to the container. Set aside to dry for several hours or overnight.
Apply red dimensional fabric paint to “cookies.” Place cookie on a plain piece of paper, sprinkle with clear glitter. Gather paper and return excess glitter to the container. Set aside to dry for several hours or overnight.
Insert silver pony beads into dimensional fabric paint to mimic cookie decorations.
Attach silver ribbon to the back of each cookie ornament with a glue gun and glue sticks.
How to Adapt the Preschooler Craft
Consider using the gingerbread ornament idea with different themes. Use animal shaped cookie cutters for a unit on animals. Or, use the seven basic shapes to reinforce math in a hands-on way. Make shape patterns or reinforce numbers 1-10 with number shaped cutters.
Consider pressing letter-shaped cutters into foam to create dimensional versions of basic literacy concepts. Students could have a lot of fun pressing out the letters in their names to make a banner of sorts!
Create just one or two sets of numbers and letters to place at the sensory table. Or, send student created sets home with ideas for parents to help students play and practice at home.
Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!