This week’s project is an oldie but a goodie for me (as you can tell by how well loved and worn it looks in the picture). This valentine train engine is from my very first year of teaching (a group of second graders who are now college graduates. Yikes!) and it is still my favorite container for collecting valentines in the classroom.
To make a valentine train, each child needs a shoebox. Have them bring their boxes in ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to cover them. I usually get some cheap rolls of pink, white, and red wrapping paper, although bulletin board paper works well too. Wrap the boxes without the lids. Poke through the tops of the boxes, cut the paper covering the tops, and tape the paper down on the insides of the boxes so that the boxes are open on the tops. Give kids poster board wheels to glue on the bottoms of the boxes. Then give them all kinds of Valentine’s Day supplies – doilies, stickers, hearts – to decorate their train car boxes however they wish. Write their names on the sides of the boxes. When it is time to deliver valentines, line the boxes up in the shape of a train. The teacher gets to be the engine of course! Then have kids put their valentines in their friends’ train car boxes. The will love their valentine train for sure!
In my opinion, Groundhog Day is one of the most absurd holidays out there. However, it is also one of the most fun holidays to celebrate with children. And it’s coming up soon! This craft my mom invented years ago is my favorite Groundhog Day activity. Kids can act out Groundhog Day by sticking the groundhog puppet up out of the hole. On one side, if the puppet sees its shadow, it can scurry back underground. On the other side, if it doesn’t see its shadow, the puppet can dance around enjoying spring weather. It’s actually very simple to make too!
Groundhog Day Craft – Puppet
First, make your groundhog puppet. Cut out a groundhog shape from brown construction paper. Draw a face on it and glue it to a popsicle stick.
For the ground, get a big piece of white construction paper and fold it in half. Cut a curved slit large enough for the puppet to fit through on the fold. On one side draw grass or flowers to show signs of spring peeking through the snow.
Groundhog Day Craft – Spring
On the other side make a groundhog shadow for winter. Trace the groundhog puppet on black construction paper. Glue it down so it is touching the curved slit on the fold. Trim it to match the edge of the curved slit.
Groundhog Day Craft – Shadow
The best part of this project is that kids can act out Groundhog Day again and again with the little puppet.
Winter may be long and cold, but there’s no reason it can’t be cute too! I made this darling snow globe with our daughter last year. Having it on our fridge last January really brightened up the winter blahs – a little at least.
I first saw this little snow globe project on Pinterest and adapted it to what our little one would be able to do. She actually really loved making it! Cut a circle for the top of the snow globe out of blue paper. Then for the fun part – dip your child’s finger in white paint and make dots all over the blue circle for the snow. Our daughter LOVED doing this. Frankly I’m a little surprised she didn’t put dots on everything in the house. She would have if she could have, I’m sure! Next you need a piece of red construction paper cut into a trapezoid shape for the base of the snow globe. Glue it to the bottom of the blue circle. Use a circle punch to make white circles for the snowman’s body and head. Glue them to the blue circle. Draw a face on the snowman. (At the time, our daughter was too little to draw the face so I did it for her. Older kids can certainly draw their own faces though!)
Pretty simple! That’s all it takes for a cute little snow globe craft to brighten up cold and dreary January. Enjoy!
In our Jr. Kindergarten classroom, the theme for December is construction. We learn about simple machines, tools, making blueprints, and building gingerbread houses. So when I found this darling craft stick manger scene craft on Pinterest, we decided we should also build stables as part of our construction unit.
For the stable you will need 5 big (REALLY BIG – like 7 1/2 to 8 inches) craft sticks. Glue them in the shape of the outline of a stable. Then get 7 tongue depressor sized craft sticks (I think they are usually referred to as “jumbo” or “large” – they are around 6 inches) for the people. Cut one in half – one half will be Baby Jesus and the other half will be the angel. Paint “clothes” on the people sticks. Leave the areas for the faces unpainted. Draw the faces on the sticks and give the people “accessories” – jewels for the wise men, yarn headbands for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherd, and a sparkly pipe cleaner for the angel’s halo. Glue all the people in their places on the stable. Glue dot eyes and mouth on a cotton ball to make a lamb, and glue it to the stable too. Finish it off by gluing some straw at the bottom. You will end up with a very special decoration to keep for years.
According to my husband, the hand turkey is a staple of any good Thanksgiving. This year I was excited to find a new idea on Pinterest that made our daughter’s annual hand turkey extra special: the family hand turkey!
Start by tracing your child’s or children’s hands. Then trace the parents’ hands. Cut each person’s traced hand out of a different color of construction paper. Arrange the hand shapes in order from smallest to largest and glue them on top of one another so that each layer peeks out from behind the one in front. Add a turkey body and face. The end result is the the sweetest hand turkey ever. I love it so much because it highlights the most important part of Thanksgiving for me – being together and giving thanks for my precious family.
Even if you don’t go trick-or-treating anymore, everyone still needs a little treat at Halloween. ‘Tis the season for treats, after all! This little Halloween broom is a simple and cute treat holder you can make for trick-or-treaters (or non-trick-or-treaters) of all ages.
First, get your favorite candy – mine would be something chocolate! Put it into a little clear plastic treat bag. Put a wooden stick like you might use to make caramel apples down the center of the bag. Wrap clear scotch tape VERY TIGHTLY around the top of the bag until the stick is secure and doesn’t slip as it sticks out the top of the bag. Then take a brown paper lunch sack and cut it into about 3 inch thick strips. Cut the bag strips into fringe. Put double stick tape on the top edge of a fringe strip and wrap the fringed piece around the treat bag and stick – making sure that the double stick tape adheres well to the plastic bag. Finish it off with some ribbon and a cute Halloween stamped image on a tag.
Pass your broom treat bags out to your friends and wish them happy trick-or-treating, even if that’s all the trick-or-treating they will be doing this Halloween!
I like to do a craft each month with our two year old to display on the fridge. She is so little, but I still look forward to doing the projects with her each month. For September, I had planned to trace her hand on brown construction paper to make a tree, glue it to light blue paper for a background, and then have her make red, orange, yellow, and green leaves by dotting her fingers in paint and making prints on the tree. We have done similar crafts in the past, so I was sure she would love it.
I was wrong. She definitely has her own opinions about art (and everything else too!) lately, and she would have no part of the tracing or the dotting. Instead she has entered what Picasso would probably call her “Chopping Period.” She recently discovered my collection of paper punches, and now all she ever wants to do is “chop” paper with them which creates hours of fun in our art room and a very messy art room floor.
So I decided to go with it. Since I had already lost the battle anyway, I figured it was more important that the September fridge art showcase her artistic taste rather than my neat little plan. I cut out a tree shape from brown construction paper and glued it to the light blue background. Then I scraped all of the various shapes she had so carefully “chopped” off of the art room floor, and we glued them to the tree as leaves and apples. We had fun, and she loves her fall tree on the fridge. I like it even better than my original plan because it is much more representative of her, my baby Picasso.
The 4th of July is just around the corner! Time to start planning your 4th of July picnic. Firecracker Candy Rolls make a cute addition for your picnic table.
4th of July Table with Firecracker Candy Rolls
They are so easy to make! First get some sort of candy in a roll: Rolos, Life Savers, Mentos, etc. Then cut some string and ribbons to look like a fuze and sparks. Attach them to one end of the candy roll with a glue dot. Cover the candy roll with red, white, or blue paper and then decorate them with stars, stickers, or anything patriotic.
Firecracker Candy Roll
This is a fun craft activity for both kids and adults, and the little firecrackers will make your 4th of July table extra festive!
April showers bring… more May showers! Wedding and baby showers that is. Spring seems to be prime time for throwing showers. It’s a fun time of year to get to celebrate special events.
One thing I don’t like about showers though is the games. They often seem contrived and tend to be embarrassing and uncomfortable in my opinion. So I like to do some sort of craft project instead. Craft projects at showers are unique, and everyone seems to enjoy them – it’s as if regardless of age guests are instantly transported back to the arts and crafts time everyone loved in elementary school. The only problem is it can be hard to get people to stop doing the project in order for the guest of honor to open gifts!
For wedding showers, I have given guests paper dolls of the bride and let them use a variety of stickers, lace, jewels, ribbons, etc. to design wedding dresses. Very fun!
We recently had a baby shower for a friend expecting a little girl. It was a “fashion” themed shower, so I thought about doing a craft project decorating onesies. However, it seems that that has been done a lot lately. Instead I decided to have each guest make a page for a picture album. Everyone got a sheet of scrapbook paper and photo mats along with stickers, punch outs, etc.
Baby Shower Picture Album Supplies
They decorated their pages then we put them into sleeves in an album.
Baby Shower Picture Album Page
The mommy to be got to take home a completed album ready for pictures of her baby in all her new fashions. It turned out well, and I think everyone enjoyed the activity!
I’m over winter. Yes, it’s still February, and yes, the forecast is hinting at yet another winter storm for this weekend. But I have decided I’m officially moving on to spring! So it’s time to pose the all important annual question: Will March come in like a lion or a lamb?
This is a fun question to pose to kids. It helps them learn about both similes and weather. I like to make this lion/lamb puppet. It has a lion on one side and a lamb on the other so that kids can report on the weather regardless.
Just get a yellow circle and brown tissue paper and use these to make a lion face with a mane.
Then use a white circle and white tissue paper to make a lamb face. Glue the circles back to back on a popsicle stick to make the lion/lamb puppet.
Another fun activity to spark some creative writing is to ask children to make up their own animal similes about the weather at the beginning of March. For example, if it is rainy, March might come in like a fish. If it is snowy, March might come in like a polar bear. Kids can get really creative with this activity, especially if you have them illustrate the similes the write.
Here’s hoping for some lamb-like weather very soon!