Walk around your yard or neighborhood and help your child look for a branch that's broken off a tree. Choose one that has many smaller branches and twigs, since you want it to resemble a little tree as much as possible. It should also be fairly dried outnot greenso the branches are stiff. If it still has leaves on it, remove them. Take a bowl or flowerpot and fill it with sand or salt. Push the branch down into the sand or salt so it stands upright and looks properly treelike. Now you're ready to decorate!
Pour gumdrops into a bowl. If your child is 3 or older and is interested in patterns, you can let him sort the gumdrops by color into smaller bowls. You can decorate your tree in a rainbow of colors or just use red, green, and white. (Of course, if you plan to do that, you'll have to purchase extra bags of gumdrops.) Explain to your child that the gumdrops are going to become the leaves of your tree. Demonstrate by sticking a gumdrop onto the end of a twig so the twig pokes into the center of the gumdrop. Now let your child go to town, continuing until every last twig has a gumdrop on the end of it.
Learning and Growing
It takes a fair amount of hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skill to get those gumdrops stuck onto the branches. This activity is also a great way for your child to practice learning his colors.