Sentiment Ornament: A Holiday Activity for Kids & Teens
My first holiday post must mean the season is upon us! I want to offer you a cheap and simple activity to do with your own kids, students in your classroom, or even a client in a counseling session. This holiday craft really is simple, no Pinterest fail images or a dog covered in icing after he ate all the gumdrops here!
This is the perfect activity for young ones learning to identify emotions and even teens who you’d like to get talking.
Introducing the Sentiment Ornament.
This is an adapted version of the ‘Remembering Ornament’ from Whats Your Grief.
Who is this activity for?
Young kids who are learning to identify feelings all the way up to teens who may enjoy creating with the family. I used this activity in session with an 18 year old girl who thoroughly enjoyed it, adapt as needed.
What do I need?
Clear ornaments - I found mine in the dollar spot at Target. I went with plastic #kids
Ribbon - I gathered ribbon from our christmas wrapping box. Get 5-10 options (to represent different emotions depending on age of the child). Suggestion: have a few different colors (not just red and green).
Strips Of Paper - Strips of construction paper, printer paper, or (as I used) cut up wrapping paper is fine. These can be used to write or draw on OR paired with an emotion like the ribbons.
Beads, Glitter, and pom-poms oh my! - I used assorted shape confettis and pom-poms because that is what I had so feel free to go through your craft drawer here.
How to prepare?
Cut up ribbon and paper into six inch segments.
Ask your kid(s) to identify all the different emotions they have this season. Examples: excited, disappointed, lonely, joyful, grateful, loved, mad, unheard, etc. These emotions will vary on age of the child.
Assign each emotion to a ribbon color and/or paper strip. (See my example below).
Lay out the glitter, pom-poms, etc. to be used as needed. When I made my own ornament I used confetti to represent holiday memories. In session with my client the pom-poms and glitter represented coping skills she has obtained and supports in her life. Again, adapt as needed.
Give each child an ornament and explain that they can use these items to fill it. The prompt is to “Fill your ornament with the emotions and memories you’ve felt this holiday season”. Younger kids may need some help, but the most important part here is being present and engaged for a child that needs to open up!
Go for it!!
Tips for Success:
This activity is to give your child a place to openly express his/her honest emotions as the holidays approach. Often times grief from the passing of a loved one may show up or anger that they have to visit two homes or simply pure joy for the presents they will receive. This is a time to be accepting of anything and validate the feeling. As a parent or teacher this could look like-
Reflecting their feeling - “Wow, you’re feeling worried about how Christmas is going to be divided up among the family”
Personal disclosure - “I get really excited around the holidays too, my favorite part is the snow” (ha just kidding we don’t get snow here in South Texas)
Normalizing - “I think lots of people miss their grandmas this time of year, you can include some of your favorite memories with her in the ornament today if you’d like”
This is a great opportunity to share memories together, but if kids do not want to share that is okay too.
The sentiment ornament is one of many ways you can acknowledge your child’s feelings this holiday season, share some memories, and create an adorable craft at the same time! Don’t forget to hang it on the tree afterward so they can reference their emotions and memories throughout the holiday season.
If you try this activity please make sure to comment below and let us know how it goes! Also feel free to share a photo with Project Rise Up on social media. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!