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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gum Drop Tree

This activity was so much fun!  I love watching him “work”.  Aside from being fun, it can also present some pretty fantastic “teachable moments” if you track their play (especially for little ones):  “You put the GREEN gum drop on the tree.”, “You put TWO RED gum drops at the top.”, etc.  It’s also great for fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, crossing midline, spatial skills, language development, etc.

Some other dialogue might look like:
“Does it taste sweet or salty?”
“Are the gum drops smooth or rough?”

Of course, finding “teachable moments” is not ALWAYS necessary, and we definitely encourage taking the personality of the child into consideration and just enjoying the time together.

Styrofoam cone (from craft store)
Gum drops (we used 2 bags)


The first thing he did was put the "star" on the top of the tree.

Adding "lights"

"Wait, Mommy, my tree needs to be GREEN.  I need to paint it."
So he took off all of the "lights" and painted it with acrylic paint.

Busy at play.  The tree was still wet, so he brought out some wet wipes to clean his hands periodically.  This is soooooo my child!  LOL

Fine motor!

Pausing to wipe his hands.  LOL

Completed Tree

I asked him if he would like to document his work (I had to explain what I meant by this).  He took a picture of his tree with his camera and despite my attempts to have him show me how to draw a tree, I drew the tree for him and then he said “I can take it from here, Mommy”.  LOL  Here is his drawing....

When he was finished, we spent some time flying around the house like bats, leaving the tree and invitation out.  He revisited the tree about an hour later and began building things using the toothpicks and gum drops.  I LOVE that he took his play to a whole new place.  


"I made a helicopter"

"It's a bow and arrow now."

"Mommy, look at my roller coaster."

For me, this activity was about so much more than making a Christmas craft.  The evolution of everything just makes me SMILE.



  1. OH thank you! I think this is the perfect craft for Grandson Lucas! Can't wait to see what he comes up with!

  2. So fun!!!! I think with all the awesome crafts I am finding I need to stock up on toothpicks and candy!!!

  3. We've always made a gumdrop tree with a piece of hog bush. I'm excited to try this with DS4!! It will be more on his level than the hog bush. :)

    1. YES!! When I was little, we would do it with a branch, too. AK

  4. I love this idea and I love your photos with your real tree in the background! How many did he eat? We'll definitely do this this year!

    1. He probably ate 3 during the process. We talked about how too much sugar will make him feel, etc.

  5. I love this! It reminds me of making gumdrop trees (out of branches like mentioned above) with my grandparents. Still one of my favorite memories. I think we'll be adding that to our advent calendar!

  6. love this! Thank you for sharing!

  7. yay for small motor work and a tip of the hat to our man Froebel!

  8. Love it! Love all yr ideas. Thank you for sharing.

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