I wanted the boys to make some handprint mitten ornaments to give as personalized gifts to their grandparents. The Mitten Tree, by Candace Christiansen, and The Mitten, by Jan Brett were the perfect books to accompany our project!
The Mitten Tree
The Mitten Tree is a heartwarming story about the joy of giving, and taking the time to notice and care for others. When an elderly lady, Sarah, notices a little boy waiting at the bus stop with no mittens, she knits him a pair and hangs them on a nearby tree branch for him to find. Each day Sarah watches for children without mittens, and hurries home to knit more to hang in the tree. Before Christmas vacation, she uses up all of her yarn in order to knit enough mittens to hang on every branch of the tree. Even though the children had no idea who was responsible for the beautiful mittens, their smiling faces were enough to fill Sarah’s heart with joy and warmth. At the end of the story, Sarah receives a surprise gift of her own.
Handprint Mitten Ornaments
After reading The Mitten Tree to the boys, we got to work making some handprint mitten ornaments.
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- mixing bowl
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- mitten template (I used a large mitten from Homeschool Creations’ The Mitten Printable Pack
- dull knife
- acrylic paint (I used Martha Stewart’s acrylic glitter paints in garnet and pearl)
- extra loose glitter (optional)
- letter and number play dough stamps (optional)
First the boys measured and mixed the salt, flour, and water in a mixing bowl. You may need a tad bit more water if your dough is too dry.
After kneading the dough, I gave each of my bugs half of the dough to flatten and roll out with a rolling pin.
I traced the mitten, which I found in The Mitten Printable Pack from Homeschool Creations, onto a piece of cardstock, and laid it over top of the rolled-out dough. Then I cut around the template with a dull knife.
The boys pressed their hands into the dough mitten, creating a good impression. I made sure to use opposite hands for each of my boys so together their prints would make a mitten pair.
I drew a line across the bottom of the mitten with the knife, to create a cuff. Then, using our play dough stamps, I stamped my bugs’ first initial and the year onto the cuff of the mitten prints.
I placed the mitten ornaments onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, poked a hole through the top of each one with a straw for hanging, and then popped them into a 250° preheated oven for about four hours.
We didn’t get around to painting our mittens until a few days later. We used two coats of Martha Stewart Glitter Acrylic Paints in garnet and pearl (I wanted them to resemble Santa’s mitts). We also added some extra, loose glitter to the wet paint to make them even more sparkly. Lastly, I looped a matching ribbon through the holes. I plan on wrapping the pair of mittens in tissue paper as a gift for the grandparents from the boys (one print belongs to M and the other to B).
While the handprint mittens baked, I read Jan Brett’s The Mitten, online at We Give Books, to my boys. Then, using The Mitten Printable Pack from Homeschool Creations, I read the online book to the boys again, while they took turns adding the animals inside of the paper mitten as they were introduced.
We did a few of the other activities from the package as well:
This package is full of awesome learning activities, and it’s completely FREE! I plan on having M and B complete more of the activities in the following days.
My bugs are still too young (and uncoordinated) to do this, but if you have older kids, you should give finger knitting a try! It would tie in perfectly with either of the books!
Thanks for stopping by!