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Crafts And Conversation: Decorative Acorn With The DUCK Lab

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Get crafty with the DUCK Lab! Each Friday, trained research assistants from the UNCG Psychology Department’s DUCK Lab will guide at-home crafts for children ages 3 to 12. Parents can join too to learn fun facts about crafts that foster age-appropriate skills or learn about the DUCK Lab’s nonprofit child development research projects. 

This Friday, the DUCK Lab invites all preschool-age friends to join Kathleen and make a decorative acorn! Follow along as Kathleen takes you through each step and see how tissue paper can transform a plain brown piece of paper into decorative art!

Parents, did you know?

This craft offers an opportunity for your children to illustrate their metacognitive abilities. Read on below for more info. about the connection between these types of activities and age-appropriate developmental milestones.

We also invite you to check out our child development research opportunities, which are now modified for the virtual world! Please click here to learn more or sign up to participate with us.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


  • Brown construction paper

  • Red, yellow, and orange tissue paper

  • Scissors

  • Glue


  1. Cut out shapes for the bottom (“nut”) and top (“cap”) of the acorn.

  2. Glue the acorn top to the acorn bottom.

  3. Cut out squares of tissue paper.

  4. Crinkle and glue the tissue paper to the top of the acorn.

The DUCK Lab: Decorative Paper Acorn

Relation to Developmental Science:

For this craft, young children will notice differences beyond size between their paper acorn and a real acorn from the outdoors. Preschoolers are aware that living and non-living things differ from one another. For example, preschoolers understand that a living thing, such as a squirrel, can eat acorns. However, they know that their craft acorn is not real, so a squirrel cannot eat it. Preschool aged children also understand that rules need to be followed, not just by parents at dinner time or friends at play time, but also when constructing something as simple as an art craft. Without rules, they would not know how to make the craft. Nevertheless, it is important that preschoolers understand that the outcome of their craft might not look identical to a friend’s craft, even if they both followed the same rules. Parents can remind children that their crafts will be unique to them, which prevents all crafts from looking the same and helps cultivate a sense of individuality.

*Great for preschoolers!

The DUCK Lab is a partner in the nonprofit Child Development Research Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They conduct studies of social and cognitive development with 2- to 12- year-olds. Families who participate in their research studies are volunteers in the Greensboro community who generously offer their time to help support research and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

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