These “Peace on Earth” ornaments are fun and educational to make at Christmas or really any time of year. They can go along with a new book that I think you’ll love.
(Disclosure: Books and Giggles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Also, the publisher sent me a free review copy of the book featured here – lucky me!)
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers is a magnificent new book. Writing to his newborn baby, Jeffers takes a sweeping “quick tour” of life on earth. With wisdom and wit, he covers everything from where Earth is in space to how people should treat each other.
He describes the land, sea, and sky with simple words and two-page landscapes. Then he zeroes in on people and animals, which he has drawn in colorful variety. I did a quick count, and there are about 80 people of all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and colors (including purple), along with the advice that “we may all look different… but don’t be fooled, we are all people.”
The illustrations are colorful and interesting, with descriptions and asides worked into the drawings. For instance, on the page describing the land, he’s included captions all around the illustration that note where the earth is hot, cold, flat, pointy, and bumpy. Just that page alone would be a great conversation starter with preschoolers.
Peace on Earth Salt Dough Ornaments
I was excited to create an activity to go with Here On Earth. Honoring a theme of the book, and because it’s almost Christmas time, I decided to make “peace on earth” ornaments. I sat at the park the other day watching my kids play, daydreaming about exactly what to craft, and decided salt dough would be perfect.
Salt dough is a wonderful tool for exploring different landforms. Children can shape it into pointy mountains and bumpy hills, just like in the book. You can also add items to it to give it some texture.
It’s been a while since I made salt dough. I vaguely remembered that you can put things into it, like a mosaic. A quick search yielded a great salt dough recipe and some inspiration. She used glass beads, but we only had plastic here. I lowered my oven temperature just to be safe, and they seemed to do all right.
Before we got started with our peace on earth ornaments, I let the girls play with the dough for a while. We made several different versions. I can’t decide which one I like best.
Peace on Earth Ornaments – Materials
- Salt dough: 4 Tbs flour, 1 Tbs salt, 1 1/2 Tbs water (makes about 5 ornaments)
- Food coloring: blue and yellow
- Beads and/or acrylic “jewels”
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Sparkle glaze (affiliate) – or you could try glitter glue instead
- Peace on Earth printout, scissors & glue
- Ribbon or yarn for hanging
Peace on Earth Ornaments – Instructions
- Mix up some salt dough and work blue food coloring into it to get a nice shade of blue.
- Form a 1-inch ball of dough, and set it on parchment paper.
- With your fingers, flatten the ball into a 2-inch circle.
- Pull out some blue dough and work in yellow food coloring to turn it green.
- Shape the green dough into bumpy continents and gently press it onto the blue dough.
- Press beads and “jewels” onto the green dough. Pretend they’re mountains!
- Bake at 200 degrees Farenheight for 2-3 hours, until hard and dry on both sides. Make sure your parchment paper doesn’t curl up into the ornaments (mine did at first).
- Let cool, then paint with sparkle glaze or another sealer. Let dry.
- Tie on a ribbon and attach a “peace on earth” tag.
Peace on Earth is in the hands of our children. We can get started by putting tangible lessons like this one into their hands today.