Do-it-Yourself Patchwork Gifts
Broaden students’ understanding of geometry with these shapely holiday presents
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Incorporate these crafty projects into your regular math lessons or use them to hide learning in a day of holiday crafting!
These stylish holiday gift boxes, covered with a simple geometric grid pattern, will be instant winners with family members. Begin by distributing boxes, scrapbook paper, and old holiday greeting cards to students, then guide them through these steps: Use a ruler and pencil to draw lines on the box, creating a grid with 1" squares. Cut square shapes from scrapbook paper or holiday cards to fit the squares on the grid. Then arrange the squares in a checkerboard design on the box, following the grid. Use a decoupage medium to glue on all the squares. Make a handle for the box by threading ribbon through a bead. Poke a hole in the top of the box and thread the ribbon through to the underside. Secure the ends of the ribbon with tape.
Shimmering Wrapping Paper
A tessellation is a pattern that can be made when a single geometric shape is repeated to fill a space. Introduce this concept to your students by inviting them to design tessellated gift wrap. First, give each child a sheet of aluminum foil and a 3" shape cut out of tag board, such as a triangle or square. Ask students to trace copies of their shapes onto tissue paper and cut them out. Next, have students lay their cutouts on the foil, and plan out a tessellated design. When they are ready, students then can use paint brushes and decoupage medium to glue their shapes to the foil. Don't forget to brush on a second coat!
Patchwork Coupon Book
Gear up to make these clever coupon books by asking your class to brainstorm specific chores that they could perform at home to help out family members. Then give students each three pieces of 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" white paper and a 9" x 12" piece of construction paper. Have them divide each piece of white paper into three equal sections, then select nine chores and fill out a gift coupon for each one. Next, they can each select a shape from a supply of pattern blocks, and use these to trace tessellated designs onto the construction paper. When designs are complete, have students fold them in half to form booklet covers, place their coupon pages inside, and staple to secure.
Let students experiment with symmetry as they color these fancy star ornaments, perfect for decorating holiday trees and seasonal parties. Begin by distributing the the Patchwork Gifts Reproducible (PDF). Invite children to color the triangle shapes in symmetrical colors to make a bright, six-pointed star pattern. Then have students cut out their stars around the outer hexagonal outlines and glue to colored construction paper. To complete, punch a small hole at one end of each star. Show students how to thread narrow string or ribbon through the holes, and tie the ends together to create hanging loops.
Patchwork Shopping List
Extend students' study of symmetry with these magnet-backed shopping lists, just right for attaching to their home refrigerators. After distributing the Patchwork Gifts Reproducible (PDF), ask students to color in the triangles to create a patchwork pattern of symmetrical colors. When they have finished, have students cut out their patchwork blocks, then glue to one end of a 3 1/2" by 9" piece of tagboard. Back each tagboard piece with two 3 1/2" pieces of sticky-backed magnetic strip. To make paper lists, show students how to stack at least 12 pieces of 3" x 5" lined paper together, and staple to the front of the tagboard as shown.
Patchwork Pencil Can
Many patchwork designs that seem complex are created by arrangements of only two geometric shapes. Share examples of this with your students in the form of these decorated pencil cans. Begin by giving each child an empty soup can and a copy of the Patchwork Gifts Reproducible (PDF). Have students use black marker to divide the grid along the dotted lines, then use colored pencils to create identical square and triangle designs within each block. For seasonal gifts, you might encourage students to use colors appropriate to a particular holiday. To complete, ask students to wrap construction paper around their cans as background and glue in place, then glue on their patchwork designs.
Holiday Card Holder
Keep your holiday correspondence in style with tessellated card holders. After students each select a piece of bright construction paper, show them how to fold one edge over to create a 3" pocket and staple the edges. Then have students trace many copies of a 2" triangle onto gift wrap and cut out. Students can arrange their triangle shapes into unique designs and glue in place. To hang, punch holes in the top corners, and thread with matching yarn or ribbon.