This happy little tree is an easy DIY felt board that lets your little one decorate for the four seasons! It’s a perfect activity for any time of the year, and it gives you the chance to help them learn to identify different things you might see in or on trees throughout the year.
Of course, the fun of something like this is mixing and matching and designing a custom scene, so once you’ve made this seasonal tree felt board, your child can jump right into a new season!
10-inch embroidery hoop
Felt (green felt should be at least a 12x18in, plus other colors in smaller amounts)
Iron and ironing board
Place the green felt in the embroidery hoop and tighten the tension of the hoop well. Trim around the excess felt so there is about 1/2in of felt all the way around.
Glue the felt to the inside back of the embroidery hoop. Hold the felt in place with clothespins, working on about half of the hoop at a time. Use enough glue so that you can feel the felt starting to stick right away, but not to much that you have glue oozing out or soaking through too much.
Cut out the tree trunk from brown felt. If you want to make this a happy little tree, embroider the face with french knots for the eyes and a scallop stitch for the mouth. Acrylic paint also works for making the face.
Glue the trunk to the bottom of the back of the embroidery hoop.
Cut a half circle of felt that is the same size as the hoop.
Glue the half circle of felt to the back of the tree, forming a storage pocket. Use clothespins to hold it in place as it dries. This is especially important at the left and right side so that it doesn’t start to sink into the middle.
Trace a bunch of the seasonal shapes onto the non-shiny side of the freezer paper. Group them by the colors of felt that you’ll use, then cut them into sections. For example, on the sheets above, there’s a section of apples and leaves that will all be yellow, near it are what will be red apples, then green apples and tiny leaves.
Iron the freezer paper templates to the correct colors of felt.
Cut out all of the shapes, then peel off the paper backing.
Now your tree felt board is ready to play! You can lay this on a table for flat play, or hang the embroidery hoop on the wall for another way to engage with the tree and shapes.
And the back of the tree is the perfect spot to store all of those shapes!
Tip: Although it looks cute to have all the loose shapes in the pocket, it’s much easier to stow them in a resealable plastic bag before slipping them in the storage area.
Some of the felt shapes will overlap between seasons, but you can also use this activity as a way to encourage seasonal sorting.
This spring tree has blossoms and signs of new life!
Did those blossoms turn into apples? Sort the apples into color piles or make all of the apples the same color for something more realistic and use them for counting practice.
For an autumn tree, colored leaves and some silly squirrels are a must. Again, having different leaf shapes on the same tree isn’t accurate, but they’re still fun.
And similarly the winter shapes, should go on a bare tree, but we’re using our imaginations a bit here!
When one tree has been decorated, pull off the shapes and design a new seasonal look!