Christmas Play Dough Ornaments

Grade 3

Erin Powell, Raylene Brooks, Arbi Avetiove





1.      Students will learn the basic ingredients that are involved in making play dough

2.      Students will learn to make play dough

3.      Students will learn to use their hands and manipulate play dough to make an ornament

4.      Students will be given the opportunity to decorate using a variety of materials such as Red Hots and sprinkles.

5.      Students will learn the history of the Christmas Ornament


Student Materials:


1.      Flour

2.      Salt

3.      Water

4.      Food coloring (red and green)

5.      Newspaper

6.      Cookie Cutters

7.      Straws

8.      String

9.      Rolling pin

10.  Tissues

11.  Cookie decorations (Red Hots, Sprinkles, etc.)


Teacher Materials:


1.      History of Ornaments

2.      Examples of Project




1.      Ornaments




1.      Introduction: History of Ornaments

2.      Hand out all materials- flour/salt bags, cups of water, rolling pin, cookie cutters, straws and string.

3.      Add water to the flour/salt bag

4.      Mix well with hands to form dough

5.      Roll dough out to form a flat slab of dough about 3/4 inch thick

6.      Select cookie cutter shape then press into dough and remove the shape

7.      Poke hole into the shape with straw

8.      Decorate with given materials

9.      When dry, (24 hours) attach string and hang

10.  Closure: Hang ornaments and discuss project


Comments and Suggestions:


Artistic Development of Third Graders:


Third graders are between the ages of eight and nine. This puts them in between the stages two and three; Making Symbols and Realism. According to the text students still in the second stage are "developing their line and shape making skills as well as muscular coordination in handling drawing tools, scissors, glue sticks, and modeling clay." Students in this stage concentrate on relaying ideas in symbols. In the realism stage students begin to attempt to make things look more like they appear. Students concentrate on detail and want images to look in proportion.


Cultural/Historical Background:


Christmas ornaments originated in Germany in the mid 16th century along with Christmas trees.  Christmas markets were set up in German towns and provided gifts and food for the holidays. German bakers, at these markets, would make shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments for buyers to take home as souvenirs. These ornaments would then be placed on Christmas trees.


The Christmas tree and ornament became popular in England in 1846 when Queen Victoria and the German Prince Albert were illustrated in the London News standing in front of a decorated tree in their home. Ornaments were "home-made" and many young women spent hours making ornaments using a variety of material such as yarn, tinsel, and baked goods.


The trend moved to America with settlers and by 1860 ornaments was becoming popular and more complex and inventive. Glass bead garlands and small toys were very popular. In the 1880s there was a rise in the Aesthetic Movement and highly decorated trees became a sigh of an affluent family.


Information provided by


References: - Christmas Play Dough Ornaments


Class Comments:


Positive: The project was cheap and easy to do. Good to have limited colors so that children don't get overwhelmed.  It was fun and hands on.


Negative: Change newspaper to wax paper. Find the proper amount of water so students don't have to add more. Use bigger cookie cutters.