Activity of the month

Make a pop-up robin card

Winter is well and truly here, in fact the 21st – 22nd of December marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and therefore the longest night. In the pagan tradition, this celebration was known as Yule and marked the rebirth of the sun and the return of the light.

This month sees the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah also called the ‘festival of lights’, while Christians celebrate Christmas.

Traditionally evergreens such as holly and ivy were brought into the home at this time, symbolising hope for the coming spring. Another evergreen that we bring into the home is of course the Christmas tree. This was originally a German tradition and was introduced to England by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.

Robins start to pop up at this time of year, featuring on cards, adverts and decorations. In the Victorian days, postmen used to wear bright red coats and so were known as ‘Robin redbreasts’. As postmen brought cards and gifts on Christmas day, the robin became associated with Christmas.

Why not make your own pop-up robin card or tree decoration? Download this month’s activity sheet to find out how!

You will need

  • The robin template from the back page
  • Red paper (an A4 sheet)
  • Coloured card
  • Scissors
  • Colouring pens
  • A glue stick

Step-by-step guide

  1. Colour in the robin picture and cut it out carefully.
  2. Take your red paper and cut it in half to make two A5 sheets. Take one half and fold it in four to make a concertina or fan.
  3. Cut out the heart-shaped template and fold it in half. Line up the centre of the heart template with the side of the fan that has two folds. Draw around the template then repeat below. You should fit three heart shapes down the length of your fan.
  4. Cut out these shapes. They should unfold to give you a collection of heart shapes.
  5. Take the first heart. Fold it closed and put a little glue on the outside face. Take another heart and stick the outer faces together. Repeat this until you have a little booklet of hearts. If you want to make this thicker, you can cut more heart shapes out of the other half of your red paper – but don’t let it get too thick or your card won’t close easily.
  6. Take your heart booklet, turn it upside down so that the pointy end points up and stick it onto your robin picture. It should line up nicely with the red breast of your robin.
  7. Take your card and fold it in half. You might like to decorate the front of your card at this point and add a seasonal message.
  8. Open your card up and line up your robin so that the heart runs down the centre fold. Glue it down and leave it to dry.
  9. To make a seasonal decoration instead, stick your robin onto card and cut round it. Add a loop of ribbon and hang it on your Christmas tree!

Photographs © Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project.