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Crafts And Conversation: Holiday Tree 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 holiday tree ornament to get ready for festivities in December! Follow along as Levi takes you through each step and see how pipe cleaners can be manipulated into a decorative tree.

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:


  • Pipe cleaners in the color(s) of your choice

  • 1 popsicle stick

  • Foam shapes, stickers, beads, or other decorative materials

  • Scissors

  • String or yarn


  1. Cut 5 different sized pipe cleaners. Make sure each piece is progressively longer than the others.

  2. Starting with the largest pipe cleaner, twist each pipe cleaner around the popsicle stick, leaving space in between each pipe cleaner.

  3. Stick foam shapes, stickers, beads, or other decorative material onto the pipe cleaner "branches" to create ornaments.

  4. Place a foam shape or other decorative material on the top of the popsicle stick.

  5. Tie string or yarn around the popsicle stick, below the top pipe cleaner.

The DUCK Lab: Holiday Tree Ornament

Relation to Developmental Science:

As children develop, they become more aware that people have different views and opinions and do things differently. For example, older children understand not everyone celebrates Christmas, so this craft could be treated as a holiday tree. Relatedly, this craft gives children free liberty to decorate as they please and form pipe cleaner branches at their desired lengths. Also, older children may succeed with this craft because they can plan ahead and reflect on how to best decorate the tree. Rather than sticking decorations on in a random manner, older children might plan ahead and ensure that they do not overload the branches with decorations, which can cause the pipe cleaners to droop down or even fall off.

*Great for older children!

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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