This candy cane ornament craft is one of my favorite Christmas activities for preschoolers. My students love it every year!
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In the craziness of the last week of school before Christmas break, I have often brought out the pipe cleaners and beads. I loved playing with these materials when I was little!
While I now know how many skills are being practiced, back then all I knew was I was having a blast.
In this particular craft, the children work their fine motor skills, creativity, patterning, and I even add a literacy twist by including their names!
Three cheers for Christmas crafts that teach! So much learning and so much fun at the same time.
Candy Cane Ornament Craft
Related: Beaded Name Wreath Craft for Kids
This name craft is super flexible and adaptable for your students’ interests and needs. I’ve used it with small groups, put it in a literacy center as an independent activity, and have made it with my own little one at home!
It’s perfect for preschool, but kindergarten and older kids still love it, too.
Materials for Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments
I know the traditional candy canes are red and white, but I generally include beads of various colors for the kids to choose from.
You can, of course, keep things super simple with your students if you prefer!
Here are the items we usually use:
Preparing to Make Candy Cane Christmas Ornaments
I think center time is perfect for making these candy cane ornaments. You can also make them during small group time.
To prep, set out the pony beads, letter beads, and pipe cleaners. I usually place the materials in a tray or small bowls.
If possible, I suggest having multiple sets of materials. This way, all of the children can reach what they need.
When everything is set out, I sit down at the center with the kiddos and start to make my name as a candy cane ornament.
Watching me do so always leads to a variety of children wanting to make their own, of course!
I’ve found it’s best to have the children design their name candy cane ornaments on the table before using the pipe cleaners. This will allow them to make any changes before threading the beads.
If needed, bring your students’ name cards over so they can ensure they’re spelling their names correctly.
Completing the Candy Cane Ornaments
Once the students like how their candy canes are designed, have them grab a pipe cleaner each.
First, you’ll need to help the children bend over the edge of the pipe cleaner to prevent beads slipping off.
Then you can show the kids how to add the beads to the pipe cleaners.
Once all of the beads have been added, have the kids bend the opposite end of the pipe cleaner over. Again, this helps to prevent the beads from falling off the pipe cleaner.
Related: Pony Bead Christmas Tree
If you like, this can be a little more open-ended! Present the materials to the kids and let them create as desired. We end up with a variety of candy cane name ornaments by the end of the day!
Some are done as patterns, alternating between letter beads and colored beads. We have great discussions about what patterns are, how the letters have to be in the correct order to spell our names, and our favorite colors.
Others ornaments are strings of random letters, while still others are made of just the letters in the kids’ names.
No matter the final product, the children always have a blast while learning and creating with this easy candy cane craft!
Learning with the Candy Cane Names
It’s up to you to decide how you want to treat these candy cane names.
Do you want the children to choose how they make the ornaments? Or would you prefer that the candy canes be focused on a concept like name spelling or patterns?
The sky’s the limit here, really. Here are some of the ways the children can create their own beaded candy canes:
- Using a random assortment of pony beads and/or letter beads
- Making patterns using the colorful pony beads
- Making their names with the letter beads
- Creating patterns with both the colorful pony beads and the letter beads
- Making candy cane name ornaments for their friends and family members
- Sorting the pony beads by color and creating candy cane ornaments using just one color (they can make their names this way too)
Done-For-You Resources for Preschool Teachers
Save time planning (and, really, you can use all the time you have around the holidays!) with already done-for-you resources from Preschool Teacher 101.
Click on the photos below for more information about Christmas resources:
Make sure to check out some amazing name resources as well:
Have you ever made a candy cane ornament craft with your students? If so, leave me a comment to tell me how did you and the kids made it!
Originally published December 23, 2014. Updated to include video and new images.