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Crafts And Conversation: Reindeer Ornament 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 school-age friends to join Levi and make a reindeer ornament to get in the holiday spirit! Follow along as Levi takes you through each step and see how simple popsicle sticks can come together to create a festive reindeer.

Parents, did you know?

This craft offers an opportunity for your children to illustrate their perspective taking abilities and practice reflection. 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:


  • 3 popsicle sticks

  • 2 googly eyes

  • Small pom-pom or button for the nose

  • Pipe cleaners for the antlers

  • Glue

  • String or ribbon


  1. Glue two popsicle sticks to make a “V” shape.

  2. Glue the third popsicle stick across the top of the “V.”

  3. Glue on the googly eyes in the middle of each popsicle that makes up the “V.”

  4. Glue a button or pom-pom to the bottom of the “V.”

  5. Cut and twist two pipe cleaners and attach them to the top popsicle stick to make the antlers.

  6. Tie a ribbon to the top popsicle stick to hang it for decoration!

The DUCK Lab: Holiday Reindeer Ornament

Relation to Developmental Science:

As children age, they begin categorizing objects based on multiple shared traits and make accommodations as they learn new information. A parent might ask, “what makes a reindeer a reindeer?” Many kids will agree reindeer have antlers, a red nose, and can fly. In middle childhood, children begin to develop flexibility in their categorical thinking and more readily accept evidence that opposes their category “rules.” They might be more willing to acknowledge that some reindeer have black noses and not all reindeer can fly like Santa’s reindeer. This desire for more accurate characterization can also be reflected in changes in art style during middle childhood. Children ages 7 to 9 often chose colors as they appear in nature or have a more developed logic behind their stylist choices compared to younger children. For this craft, younger children might use green pipe cleaners for the antlers because green is their favorite color. However, older children might pick that color to represent moss on antlers or decorate the reindeer for Christmas. Regardless of whether children lean toward more realistic or abstract expression in their crafts, they practice logical thinking while making those choices.

*Great for children in middle childhood!

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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