Friday, December 9, 2016

Foam Christmas Ornaments

When my sister asked our mom for advice on how to choose a preschool for her oldest son, Mom said something to this affect: "Go tour the school and look at the artwork hanging in the hall. If every piece looks the same, then you are in the wrong place." I know what she means. Schools are full of well intentioned, but misguided, parent volunteers (and even some teachers) in elementary schools, correcting children for putting the colored foam feathers on their turkey magnet kit in an order different from the manufacturer's photograph. Of course that's fine if you are raising sweat shop workers, but not if you want to encourage creative thinking skills.

This December, rather than buying a foam ornament kit with pre-cut shapes for your children, why not just buy sheets of foam and some glue? Kids have their own ideas. They need to be able to choose their own colors, cut their own shapes, and determine the size, proportion, and patterns that represent their ideas.  Hole punchers not only make the holes in foam to weave or sew ribbon or yarn, but the colored circles can be used as ornaments or lights on a foam tree, or Santa eyes or snow man buttons.

Craft foam is in expensive enough that if one idea is a flop, trying a second and third time is not a big deal. These ornaments were made by some of my elementary students this week and I'd like to think that if a mother were coming to check out our school, that she would notice the variety in every piece of my students' work, whether in the hallway or on the Christmas tree.

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