As much as we’d love to see all of our friends and family this holiday season, it’s often not possible. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t on our minds and in our hearts! We decided to honor our loved ones, near and far, by decorating our Christmas tree with ornaments in the shape of the states they live in.
We began by putting together the U.S.A. Map Floor Puzzle by Melissa & Doug. My son, R, had a lot of fun putting this puzzle together and talking about the various states. Once we had it assembled, we began talking about our friends and family and where they are located on the map. We even plotted routes we’d have to take to visit them.
Most of the U.S.A. Floor Puzzle pieces are actually in the shape of the state they represent, so we used these puzzle pieces for the template for our ornaments. We carefully traced around each state onto a thin piece of cardboard and I cut them out.
We decided to make our ornaments out of salt dough, but you could also simply decorate the cardboard states and punch a hole for the ribbon. If you’d like to make yours out of salt dough as well, you can find the recipe we used here. Follow the directions and make sure your surface is heavily floured. Don’t forget to flour your cardboard state piece! Just rub some flour on the back before you lay it on the salt dough. I used a plastic knife to cut around the cardboard piece, but you could also use a toothpick. Then press a drinking straw into each state where you’d like the ribbon to be. Bake as usual, let cool and then paint!
These were super easy to create and provide a meaningful reminder of our loved ones. Plus they were fun to make from start to finish! And you don’t have to save them all for yourself. Make several of your own state to mail out to those faraway friends.
Joyce is the mom behind Childhood Beckons, where she encourages parents to focus on their families and the childhood that beckons them. Her motto is “Childhood is calling my son to play and explore. And childhood is calling me to help him on his journey.” She enjoys discovering creative ways to play and learn and passing along her family’s favorites. You can find Joyce on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.