Star Mobile

As I mentioned in my cocktail umbrella wreath post, we had a rainbow themed party for my son.  One of the decorations that we did for the dining room, was to spice up our light fixture with a star mobile.  This is basically the same craft that I did in my Butterfly Mobile tutorial, but I made it a little more pro this time because it wasn’t just a whim.

Here’s what I used:

  • Craft foam in various colours
  • scissors
  • elmer’s glitter glue
  • crayola glitter glue
  • vinyl thread
  • needle

I cut out craft foam stars in 6 different colours and had my kids decorate them using glitter glue.  I then used clear vinyl thread to attach them to the light fixture.  I used a needle to get the thread through the foam and tied a double knot so the thread wouldn’t pull all the way through.  I then tied the other end to the light fixture.  This gave the illusion that the stars were just hanging in mid air, which definitely impressed the 5 and under crowd 🙂

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Cute Hand Print Penguin

Hand Print Penguin CraftI got this idea from a recent Kindermusik class.  I thought it was too cute to pass up.  I did this craft with my 2 year old, and it was a really good fit for her skill.

What you need:

  • 1 piece black construction paper
  • 1 piece white construction paper
  • scrap of orange construction paper
  • glue stick
  • tacky glue
  • 2 googly eyes
  • pencil
  • scissors

How to make it:

  1. Place your hand with fingers closed on the piece of black construction paper.  Trace around your hand with a pencil. Cut along your pencil line.  This will be the body for the penguin.
  2. Place your child’s hand with fingers closed on the piece of black construction paper.  Trace around his/her hand with a pencil.  Cut along your pencil line.  Repeat this step to make two wings for your penguin.
  3. Trace your child’s closed hand on the white construction paper and cut out.  This will be the penguin’s tummy.
  4. Cut out an orange triangle for the beak.
  5. Using the glue stick, glue the wings, tummy and beak in place.  I let my daughter go wild with the glue stick, and then helped her place the parts to make it look like a penguin.
  6. Use the tacky glue to add the eyes.  I put down the dabs of glue and let Anna place the eyes.

We went a step further to turn this into a Father’s Day card.  We glued the penguin to a blue piece of construction paper that had been folded in half.  We added “Happy Father’s Day” and my daughter added some doodles to turn it into a Father’s Day card.

Chinese Paper Lanterns

Chinese paper lanterns are a really great craft for cutting, measuring and ruler practice.  I think my son got the idea from the Treehouse website, but I’m not 100% sure.  I just know that he came and asked me if we could make paper lanterns after playing some games on treehouse.com.  I didn’t know exactly what he was talking about, so I googled something about paper lanterns and found this site.

What you need:

  • construction paper
  • marker
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • scotch tape

How we made them:

  1. Cut a 1 ” strip from a long side of your piece of construction paper.  This will be used for the handle.
  2. Fold your paper in half, long sides together.
  3. Draw a line about 1.5 inches from the long sides that you have just folded together.
  4. Draw lines about 1 inch apart from the folded edge of the paper down to the line that you drew in step 3 (see picture above for visual).
  5. Cut along the vertical lines that you just drew being sure to stop at the line drawn in step 3.
  6. Unfold your paper.*
  7. Tape the two short ends together and tape the handle to the top.

*At this point, for a more finished look, you can refold the paper the other way so that the marker lines are on the inside.

 

Quick & Easy Popsicle Stick Puppets

My son has been playing “puppets” with things that aren’t really puppets for a few days, so yesterday I suggested we make some puppets of people that he knows.  We didn’t have a lot of time to make complicated puppets, so we made these ones that are really easy and fast.

Here’s what you need:

  • constructions paper
  • something round to trace
  • pencil/markers/pens
  • scissors
  • glue
  • Popsicle sticks
  • yarn scraps

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Fold your paper in half.
  2. Place your “circle” (we used the bottom of a large glass) on the paper and trace.
  3. Cut out your circle through both layers.  This gives you two identical circles (and blew my 4 year old’s mind): one for the face and one for the back of the head.
  4. Draw your face on one of the circles.
  5. Put glue all the way around the edge of the other circle.  Attach cut pieces of yarn for hair and attach the popsicle stick.  These get sandwiched between the two circles.
  6. Press the face piece down on top of the popsicle, hair and back piece.

Voila! You can now enjoy endless hours of puppet shows 🙂

Foil Art

My mom bought the kids a foil art kit by Elmer’s because both my kiddos love shiny and sparkly things.  The age on the box says 5+, so my kids are a little young for it and they did need quite a bit of help.  They still had fun and there seems to be a good bang for buck (my mom paid ~$10).  There are 10 posters (2 10″x7″, 4 5″x7″ and 4 3.5″x5″) and 40 small stickers.  There are 40 sheets of foil in 10 different colours. Each of my kids did two little posters, so I’ve still got lots left over in my craft closet to pull out on a rainy day.

The way this works is you get a bunch of pre-printed posters and stickers.  The posters have individual yellow stickers that you have to peel off.  Then you place one of the pieces of coloured foil over the sticky part and rub it.  When you lift up the foil piece, the coloured part has stayed on the poster and you are left with just a clear plastic sheet.  It’s simple and you get a good result even if you have no artistic talent.  Where the little kids need help is to get off all the sticker parts because some of the pieces are really quite small.  Also, they tend to rub too roughly and end up crinkling the foil instead of pressing it on to the sticky stuff.  All in all we had lots of fun and look forward to doing more.

Butterfly Mobile

This craft got five stars from both my kids, and as usual, it’s not quite what I had in mind when I started.  However, the end result was more awe inspiring than the original would have been.

This craft really started with a buy one get one for a penny sale on craft foam at Micheal’s.  I decided instead of buying a second pack of regular foam I would buy a pack of pre-cut butterflies.  Once I got them home I sort of regretted the buy because I thought a few might be fun, but it was going to get boring decorating a whole stack of butterflies.  So the butterfly foam pack has been sitting in my craft closet for a few months and I had been mulling over the idea of doing a mobile with some of them to at least deplete the stack .  Yesterday when Danny wanted to craft he spotted them and asked to make some butterflies.  I sold him on the mobile idea and we started to decorate.  We actually had lots of fun and between the three of us we decorated 11 butterflies!  I had planned on dismantling his planetary mobile that we made a few months ago and replacing the planets and stars with butterflies, but as I was laying them out to dry on the dining room table, I looked up and realized that our light fixture would make a really great mobile base.  My son was more than thrilled to have his work on display in such a high traffic area of our house 🙂  It does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the ambiance in our dinning room (and by je ne sais quoi, I literally mean I don’t know).  My husband claims that he know exactly what it adds, and judging by his tone it wasn’t all good… Oh well, he’ll just have to get used to it.  I suspect having a mobile in our dining room is going to be a recurring project idea 🙂

Okay, so here’s what we used to make this mobile (so many substitutions are possible, so just use what you have!)

  • pre-cut craft foam butterflies
  • peel and stick craft foam flowers
  • peel and stick sparkly craft foam (I cut it into small rectangles)
  • Crayola pip squeaks glitter pens
  • Elmers Shimmer and Shine art glaze
  • crochet thread
  • darning needle (a.k.a yarn needle)

And here’s how we made them:

  1. Gather all your supplies and decorate the butterflies.  The kids don’t need a lot of help with this one, so I decorated some butterflies as well.  I found that my decorating gave the kids ideas for how they could decorate theirs.
  2. Thread your needle with crochet thread and use the needle to pierce the foam butterflies.
  3. Tie crochet thread to your mobile base (in this case my light fixture).

NOTE: After I hung them all up I realized that we could have let them dry completely and decorated the other side as well before hanging them.  We may do that next time, although the effect is still quite impressive with only one side decorated.

Craft Foam Art Frame

This is another craft that we did after my son watched an episode of Artzooka!.  The episode showed how you can change the look of the same picture by adding different backgrounds and different frames.  My son just picked up the idea of making a frame for his picture, so we didn’t photocopy his drawing to make multiple frames/backgrounds.  The instructions for this particular craft can be found here, but it doesn’t give instructions on how to make a frame, it just gives suggestions on what to use and how to decorate.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Draw a  picture.
  2. Add a background (Danny chose to do those with purple marker).
  3. Tape your picture to cardboard.  I used a cheerios box that I cut out a little bigger than the drawing.
  4. Cut out pieces of craft foam to cover the cardboard border.  This is what made our frame.
  5. Glue the craft foam to the cardboard using a good tacky glue.  I have found that Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue works really well for hard to hold items (craft foam, pipe cleaners, pom-pom’s etc.)
  6. Cut off the excess card board.
  7. Next came the part where this project went off the rails.  But, hey, that’s the fun when you do crafts with preschoolers.  We were now supposed to decorate the frame.  Danny asked for paints, so I got out the paints, and he proceeded to paint over his drawing…Then he asked to decorate the frame with foam flowers.  I pieced together the flower using three thin strips of craft foam and a lot of scotch tape.  I would put the tutorial up, but lets just say my way of making that flower wasn’t exactly an elegant solution.

I thought it was a shame that Danny painted over his cute self portrait, but my husband still gave it a place of honour on the office wall.  It was a fun project although I ended up doing more if it than I would have liked.  If Danny is still into crafts, we’ll try it again in a few years when he can help with the design and cutting.

Egg Carton Insects

I remember as a kid making caterpillars out of egg cartons, so last year I decided to do a little twist and make some ants.  They turned out well, but I did most of the work.  I think Danny painted his, but he got me to do the face legs and antennae.  This year I thought little lady bugs might be cute, so I set up the stuff and got ready to make some lady bugs.  The thing is, as Danny gets older he has more ideas of his own, so when I presented the idea of making egg carton insects, he immediately suggested making butterflies.  I wasn’t prepared for that, but decided to go with the flow.  Anna on the other hand wanted to make a caterpillar, which actually worked out well because she only wanted to do the painting part.  She was able to occupy herself longer with a 6 egg caterpillar than she would have with a one egg lady bug.   So, I didn’t have any enlightened ideas in the heat of the moment for the butterfly wings, so we just cut some out of construction paper and glued the is to the egg carton butterfly body.  Danny had a great idea though to decorate his wings.  He used the left over “spike” that gets cut out from between the egg holders, dipped it in paint and used it as a stamp.  I’ve displayed the part on the bottom right corner of this photo, although you can’t really tell what it is.  It just made a cute square stamp that added a little extra fun to the decorating process.  We used pipe cleaner for the antennae, which Danny then painted to make them extra special.

This was a fun and easy craft that didn’t require anything that we didn’t already have in our craft box.

Splatter Paintings

My 4 year old son loves the show Artzooka! on kids CBC, so we often try to do the crafts featured on the show.  Some of them require specialized materials or are geared for older kids, but we have had a lot of fun with many of the Arzooka! crafts.  One that we saw a few weeks ago was particularly suited to my son, as he had always raved about similar activities that he did at preschool.  I don’t find the Arzooka! website easy to navigate, so I haven’t linked to their instruction page for this.  I did a quick look and couldn’t find it, so it may not even be there.  Here’s how we did our splatter paintings:

Equipment:

  • small bottles of paint (we used of acrylic paint that we had left over from a previous small bottles of paintproject)
  • paper (we used 8-1/2 X 14 printer paper)
  • markers
  1. If you’re doing this with small children I would recommend folding your paper first.  That way the crease is already down the centre and your kids can “fold it” on their own after they’ve done their splattering.  I hadn’t pre-folded the first one, so once Danny had finished adding the paint he folded it on his own, but it wasn’t anywhere near the middle, so his painting didn’t really turn out.

2. Let your kid go wild with the paint bottles.  Simply squeeze paint out in crazy designs all over the paper.  It’s definitely more fun if you have more colours.  I was really surprised how many paintings we were able to do with just a few small bottles of paint.

3. Fold your paper in half and press down to smoosh the paint into a neat design.

4.  Unfold and admire your beautiful artwork!  Have fun deciding what each one looks like.

5.  Let your artwork dry. (We left them overnight)

6.  Get our your markers and add details like facial features or additional scenery to turn your abstract splatterings into actual pictures.  Here’s one that Danny turned into a bunny.  It’s really fun to see their imaginations go wild 🙂

I’ve only shown a few pieces here, but we’ve done this activity 4 times now and have produced over 20 pictures, all with 5 leftover bottles of acrylic paint.  One caution:  acrylic paint is NOT washable, so make sure that you have your painting bibs on!