I can’t decide if this is a fine motor activity or a little chef’s activity, because once these Christmas trees are decorated, the last thing you will want to do is eat them – they look so nice! We do them every year at our CEFA Early Learning schools. I remember when my one-year-old did one when he was in the CEFA baby classroom. As soon as I saw it I melted – it was so beautiful! And I could only imagine the hard work that had gone into ensuring that the delicate ice cream cone was covered in frosting – not an easy feat for one year old!

Try it at home! All you need is ice cream cones, frosting with green food colouring and some sprinkles or candies, and you have a project that your child will love doing!

Best Ages for This Activity

One to five

How to Make It


  • Any cone shaped ice cream cone
  • White frosting
  • A few drops of green food colouring
  • Sprinkles or candy to decorate. Here are some ideas:

  • ¼ cup icing sugar and a strainer (optional – to make it look like snow on to pf the tree)
  • A butter knife or plastic knife (to spread the icing)

Let’s get Started

  • Lay out the materials on a table in an attractive fashion
  • Invite your child to decorate a Christmas tree
  • First, mix the food colouring into the icing. Put as many drops as you want, depending on the intensity of the green you would like to obtain (as your child “do you like it like this or would you like a more intense green?” this will teach your child about math.
  • Once the icing is read, show your child how to spread the icing over the ice cream cone delicately so as not to break the cone. This is a difficult fine motor skill for your child to practice.
  • Once the icing covers the whole cone, invite your child to decorate the tree with whatever sprinkles or candy they choose. This is also a good fine motor activity to practice. The smaller the decoration, the harder it is for your child to place it on the icing, and the larger it is, the harder to make it stick to the icing. To put yourself in your child’s position, imagine you had to decorate the tree (icing and ornaments) using your feet. That is as much control as a young child has over the small muscles of the hand.
  • Here is what it may look like, depending on the age of your child, plus some ideas on how to decorate it. You can always do more than one!

Learning Opportunities

Children will learn fine motor skills, cooking skills and self-confidence. Invite your child to clean up the workspace once they finish working.
They can learn to rinse the bowls, put everything in the dishwasher the right way (it is an excellent S.T.E.M. activity – they have to use their engineering skills to place things in the best possible way so they get washed). Show them how to clean a counter, etc. These are all excellent life skills.

Natacha’s tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of. If your child has difficulty or gets frustrated trying to spread the icing with the knife, invite them to use their fingers instead. This will be a good sensory learning experience for little ones!

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