These cinnamon ornaments add a beautiful personalized look to your Christmas tree, and they add the festive fragrant smell of cinnamon to your tree (and house as they cook).
This is the first year I’ve made ornaments with my kids. They are ages 6 and 4, and are the perfect age to really help and enjoy making the ornaments with me. This simple recipe was perfect for our first dabble in making ornaments.
The cinnamon dough recipe is only 3 ingredients: cinnamon, applesauce and white school glue. I have seen versions of this recipe without the glue, but ours were pretty wet and not as moldable without it. We made 12 ornaments with this recipe which was enough for us to keep some and gift some too!
My kids loved helping me make these, and they are both so proud of their finished ornaments. My son picked one out to give to his teacher and we also will give a few to friends for holiday gifts.
Below are the complete instructions to make these fragrant, festive ornaments with your kids. I also share how to practice STEAM concepts with your kids while doing the activity.
- 1-1/2 cups ground cinnamon (I bought a giant size container of cinnamon at Costco for this project)
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 2 tablespoons white school glue
- Large mixing bowl
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Baking pan
- Cookie cutters
- Paints, glitter, etc. for decoration
- Ribbon to hang the ornaments
- Have your child help you measure the cinnamon, apple sauce and glue as you combine them in a large bowl.
2. Stir until it is a dough-like consistency, then pour out onto parchment paper. If the dough is too wet, add more cinnamon. If its too dry, add more applesauce.
3. Place a second piece of parchment over the top, then roll the dough to about 1/4″ thick with a rolling pin.
4. Remove the top piece of parchment and lay it in your baking pan.
5. Use cookie cutters to cut your dough into festive shapes of your choice.
6. Carefully, use a spatula to transfer the cut dough to the lined baking sheet. (This step was difficult for us because our dough was pretty wet. It took patience and a gentle touch. We achieved best results by leaving the cookie cutter around the dough as we transferred it to the pan.) However, in retrospect, this step may be made easier by leaving the cut dough on the parchment and removing all excess dough. Then place the piece of parchment with the cut shapes onto the baking pan (with no need to move the cut shapes with the spatula). I suggest trying the second method, it may save you some of the frustration we faced during this step.
7. Use the straw to poke a hole near the top of each ornament.
8. Place the baking pan in a preheated 200 deg F oven for 2 to 3 hours. This is to speed up drying out the cinnamon ornaments. Alternatively, you may leave the ornaments out to dry at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
9. Remove the ornaments from the oven and allow them to cool.
10. Decorate the ornaments using glitter, paints, glue, or whatever other decorations you have on hand.
11. Push a ~6″ piece of ribbon through the hole in the ornament, then tie the top.
12. This makes enough ornaments to put a few on your tree and give others away as gifts. This festive fragrant handmade present is sure to please any recipient. 🙂
STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:
- Science: Kids are learning that a dry ingredient (cinnamon) combined with a liquid ingredient (applesauce and glue) make a solid moldable substance (in this case dough). They also learn how adding heat can help speed up the drying time for the ornaments.
- Art: Kids get to use their creativity when deciding which shapes to cut with the cookie cutters. They also can practice their coloring and drawing skills while decorating their ornaments. I gave my kids full creative reins to choose colors and designs they wanted on their ornaments.
- Math: Ask your kids to count as they help you measure the ingredients. We used a 1/2 cup measuring cup so I explained to them for 1-1/2 cups cinnamon they needed three 1/2 cups of cinnamon. They counted with each addition of the cinnamon, apple sauce, and glue. They are also being introduced to fractions as we measure using 1/2 cup measuring cup.
There is so much for the kids to learn and explore while helping make these ornaments. And don’t forget to encourage them to use each of their five senses as they help:
- Taste: Let your kids taste some apple sauce with a little cinnamon in it and ask them to describe the taste of the cinnamon.
- Smell: Ask your kids to smell the dough before drying and then again after it dries (did the smell change, become less or more strong? How would they describe the smell of cinnamon?).
- Touch: Ask your kids to feel the soft dough and compare the feel to the dried ornament. Which feel do they prefer?
- Sight: What color did the dough become? Does the dried ornament look different from the wet dough? How can they make the ornaments look more beautiful by adding decorations?
- Hearing: What sounds do they hear while they make the dough? What sound does the dry ornament make when you tap on it? What sound do they hear when you tap the dry ornament on the table?
My kids loved helping me add ingredients and mixing the dough. They fought over who got to roll the dough (I let them both help), and they loved selecting which cookie cutters to use to shape the ornaments.
They had the most fun poking the holes in the ornaments with the straws. Each time we poked the hole the dough got stuck on the bottom of the straw, so they would blow on the opposite end of the straw to get it out. This was hilarious and endlessly fun for them!
It was fun decorating the ornaments too. Now we have ornaments on the tree that my kids are so proud of because they made the ornaments themselves. They make our tree look beautiful and smell heavenly!
Have you ever made cinnamon ornaments before? Are you going to give it a try after reading this post?