Inside: This toddler and preschool keepsake ornament is fun because it allows the children to choose what small items they want to put into their plastic ornament, along with a laminated photo of themselves. It is then wrapped and sent home before winter break.
Every Christmas, as we are setting up our family tree, I love pulling out ornaments that my now-grown children made back in their days at preschool and elementary school. Their little touches. Perhaps their photos glued on top. Paint and glitter and maybe a handprint.
They get my mama heart all soft and sappy and take me back to those days of having children in the house.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve always had my toddler and preschool students make a keepsake ornament. I’m sentimental like that.
My hope is that many years from now they, too, will unpack their Christmas boxes and get emotional when they see those ornaments their children made in my classroom.
In fact, I’m friends with some of my former preschool families on Facebook and now and then they will share a photo of the ornaments on their tree. And there it is – the ornament their child made in my class many years ago.
It’s those little things, I tell you.
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How to Make a Toddler and Preschool Keepsake Ornament
I tend to change the details of our ornaments from year to year, but they always contain a photo of the child.
Okay, well one year I did not do a photo ornament. But just one out of 18.
This year’s ornament started with some clear plastic fillable ball ornaments that I found on Amazon. I found some assorted small pieces the children who choose from to place inside their ornaments, along with a laminated photo that I had taken of them during class.
How We Set Up This Toddler and Preschool Keepsake Ornament
I placed all the materials in one tub, all mixed together. You can see there is crinkled paper strips, jingle bells, santa erasers, sequins, little gift boxes, and pom poms. After laminating a small photo of each child, I wrote their names on the back of the photo along with the year. (We think we will remember what year the photo was taken, 10-20 years from now, but we won’t.) I placed those into the tub as well.
Because this contains small pieces, I invited the children to make their keepsake ornaments one at a time, so that I could be right there. I intended to place the tub on the table, but realized the toddlers felt more comfortable with it on the floor. I handed them one half of their plastic ornament and told them to pick out a few pieces to put into it.
The santa erasers and the miniature packages were the biggest hit. I found the erasers in the dollar section of Target and the packages at Michael’s.
Then I asked them to find their laminated photo. They had great fun first noticing their friends’ photos, calling out their names. When they found their own photos, they included them with the pieces that were in the ornament.
I was a bit surprised how patient the toddlers were with this activity. They took their time sorting through the materials in the tub and selecting what they wanted in their ornaments.
When they were finished filling their ornaments, I snapped the other half on so that it was complete.
After the children had gone home, I added some hot glue in between the cracks, hoping it will be harder to open. I also tied some gold string through the hole at the top of the ornament. (The string actually came with the ornaments.)
Here are some other ornaments to try:
Fun ornaments that make great gifts!