December 12, 2012

Painted Pine Cone Ornament

Painted Pine Cone Ornament

Painted Pine Cone Ornament is a variation of the Craft Stick Tree Ornament we did in our last post. While we were painting the craft sticks, I brought out a pine cone I'd been saving for Christmas. Little Arty Pants loves to paint. I think he'd paint anything I set in front of him.


  • The first step was to paint the pine cone, which was harder than we thought. The cone moved every time Calvin touched a brush to it. You and I would simply stabilize the pine cone with our other hand; but at 20 months, Calvin was not aware he could use both hands.

  • Calvin began to experiment with other methods of painting. First he tried dipping the cone into the paint, but that didn't work very well.

  • His next experiment was to dab (sometimes stab) the paint onto the cone, but that didn't work too well either. I like that he experiments with different ideas. I think it builds good problem solving skills.

  • Between painting, dipping, dabbing and stabbing, Calvin finally got the cone painted and we moved on to the next step: glitter. See that big smile? Calvin absolutely loves glitter.

  • We let the paint and glitter dry before we hung the ornament on our Christmas tree where Calvin was sure to see it.  

Painted Pine Cone Ornament was a great learning experience for Calvin. Working with a three dimensional form like a pine cone presents challenges different from working with a two dimensional flat piece of paper.  Its hard to explain the difference to children. They have to experience it with their own hands.

Extend the Activity:

I like to find other activities related to the art we are doing at the time.  Here are a couple of pine cone ideas.

  • You can read Penguin and Pinecone.  It's a great book for little ones.  The text is sparse and the illustrations big and bright.  It's a book about friendship.  It also shows how pine cones grow into trees: a nice way to teach that trees grow from seeds.

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  • You can make a pine cone bird feeder by following the links below:

Pine Cone Bird Feeder with Peanut Butter

Pine Cone Bird Feeder without Peanut Butter

Do you have a comment or suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.

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