My children and I had been reading about Solstice and talking about how the Sun is born this day. We talked about how the sun will still be young and will stretch open, like a blossoming flower opening for the first time. As we cut out our handprints and layer them on this crown, my children's fingers indeed looked like closed flower petals. The two hands on the front of the crown mimic a sundisk and symbolize the first rays of light from the newborn sun.
This project uses scissors and a stapler so stick close to your toddler. I allowed Adventure Girl, who is 3 1/2 years old currently, to cut her handprints out, but I cut the plate and used the stapler. Also, we attached a lot of 'fun bits' (sequins, puffy stickers, pompoms, etc.) to our crown, but these can easily become choking hazards to younger siblings. Keep your eyes peeled!
This project was full of delightful symbolism for the Solstice, but was also fun practice for cutting along curvy lines and for fine motor skills when it came to picking up the small sequins that we attached to the crown.
Tips & Tricks
- Young scissor users will probably have a few paper-hand casualties along the way. Plan ahead by tracing a few extra.
- Reduce tracing and cutting time by tracing a few hands onto a single sheet and then stack your construction paper before cutting them out.
- If your sequins and other 'fun bits' have a lot of ridges, you may find some white school glue works better to attach them than our glue stick did.
- Pinching and turning and stapling can be hard for some children (or adults) with fine motor issues or arthritis. While this project is meant to help build those skills, it could easily overwhelm someone who struggles with them. See the Alternatives section at the bottom of this post for help.
Creating Sun Birthing Crowns
I chose to add white/silver to the colors of our Sun to reflect youth. If I was making a crown at the Summer Solstice, when the Sun is at his height of strength, I would replace these with vibrant reds and golds.
- To begin, trace 9-12 hand prints onto various colors of construction paper. The number needed depends upon the size of your child's hand and the diameter of your paper plate. Right, Left. It doesn't matter and allowing them to do both builds skills, so have at.
- Prepare your paper plate by cutting the center circle out and discard it. Cut through the paper ring to open it. You will now angle the two cut sections upward so the that they overlap and come to a point as shown in the images below. Staple on either side of the peak.
- Pick two yellow hands and glue them to the front peak with the heels overlaping so that they mimic a sundisk.
- Glue the remaining hands in a cascade (slightly overlapping in the same direction the entire way around -similar to the way dominos would fall) around the rim of the crown. Allow the fingers to lean and close in on the opening to mimic a closed flower bud.
- Decorate with 'fun bits' to your heart's content.
My daughter was very taken with the overlapping hands on her head. She's young, so I'm not sure the entire message has sunken in, but her curiosity was peaked and the doors for learning were open.
We followed up this project with a reading from Ellen Jackson's "The Winter Solstice" and ate some of our Yule cookies. The illustrations are exciting and kept our conversation going for longer than usual.
Instead of discarding the inside circle of the plate and having to twist and staple the ring, reduce that stress by instead cutting a 'C' shape in the center of the plate and folding the center up to create the front of the crown. Glue your two yellow handprints to this to create the sundisk.
Also, if your child has limitations that make tracing his or hands difficult, try this FREE hand template, instead.