Cinnamon Ornaments: An Easy and Sweet Student Gift!

One of the best parts of being a parent is receiving a handmade gift from your child. I love when it’s close to the holidays and one of my kids comes home acting sneaky because they have a present for me in their backpack!

As a kindergarten teacher, I had a stronger appreciation for making time to do these handmade gifts once I had children of my own. Gathering supplies and finding the time to help 20+ children make something meaningful can be overwhelming. Factor in it being the busiest time of year and well, it’s just not always easy to get gifts done!

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite homemade gifts that is not only simple, but it’s very inexpensive! These Cinnamon Ornaments make great gifts for students to take home to their families. They’re similar to salt dough ornaments and they’re just as easy, but these smell amazing, too!

Fun Fact: When I was a kid, my mom made these ornaments with my sister and I! Many, many years later, she still has them and she hangs them on the tree every year!

Important Disclaimer Before Making Ornament Gifts

I want to quickly pause and acknowledge that many families do not celebrate Christmas. As you know, it’s important to be aware of and respect the individual beliefs and wishes of every family in your class. Therefore, before making ornaments with your students, make sure you’re not having students make gifts for a holiday they don’t celebrate. Instead, I’d encourage you to find a different, non-holiday gift that everyone can feel good about!

Ingredients and Supplies

The only ingredients for the ornaments are applesauce and cinnamon. Seriously!

You’ll also need the following supplies:
*Cookie cutters (I used these Christmas ones)
*Plastic straws for poking a hole in the top of the ornaments
*Rolling pin
*Cookie sheets
*Parchment paper (you can also use waxed paper; I just prefer parchment paper) – I use this for rolling out the dough and lining the cookie sheets.
*Ribbon or twine (here’s the twine I used)
*Bags and tissue paper to wrap the ornaments

How to Make the Ornaments

This is the recipe I followed to make these ornaments. There are dozens of recipes out there, but this one is consistently good! Click here to go to the recipe source.

You can leave them out to air-dry, but I’d suggest taking them home and baking them to make them firm up quickly and evenly!

I was able to make about a dozen ornaments with one batch, so you’ll want to double or triple the recipe accordingly to have enough for your students.

Some Logistics

Fortunately, these simple ornaments don’t take up a ton of time. Here’s how I’d suggest getting them done from start to finish in your classroom:

  1. Gather your students together. Talk about the ornaments (i.e. if they’ll be gifts, what shapes they can make, etc.)
  2. Mix the dough together in front of your students. Make predictions about what it will feel like, talk about whether they like the cinnamon smell, etc. Make it fun!
  3. Once the dough is mixed up, you’ll want to roll it out on a flat surface. I would use my guided reading table for this.
  4. You’ll need to call up 4-5 students at a time, so obviously the rest of the students will need something to do while they wait for their turn. This would be a good time for some GoNoodle brain breaks, a read-aloud by a para, or some winter-themed no-prep practice pages like these.
  5. With your small group of students, have each student select the cookie cutter they want. Have them carefully cut out their shape and place it on a cookie sheet. TIP: Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use a Sharpie to write each student’s name next to their ornament to keep them all in order. Once each cookie sheet is full, take a picture of it in case any get jumbled up later!
  6. Don’t forget! Use a straw to carefully poke a hole near the top of each ornament. This is where you’ll string the twine or ribbon through later.

Wrapping Up the Gifts

Once the ornaments are dry, you can have students choose a piece of ribbon or twine for you to tie on their ornament. You can carefully wrap the ornaments in tissue paper and place them in a cellophane bag or a paper bag.

If you use paper bags, have students decorate the bags first! 🙂

Students can write a special to/from message on the outside of their bag. Another idea is to stick a label on each bag and have students sign their names. If you’re interested, I created a printable label for Avery 8163™ labels that measure 2″x4″.

If you want to use these but don’t have the Avery labels, just print on cardstock, cut out around each label, and tie the label onto the bag with ribbon or twine!

    If you and your students make these ornaments, I’d love for you to share a picture with me! You can find me on Facebook at Katie Roltgen Teaching and on Instagram (@kroltgen).

    Happy Holidays!

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