Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fathers Day Handprint Ducklings

This week has been all about FARMS! As one of our fun projects, I made a cute little duck pond using my kids' hand prints. As always, we used Washable Crayola Kids Paint because it's the best. I found this idea on Pinterest when I was searching for farm craft ideas, but decided to make it for Father's Day when I saw how cute and special it was to have both our kids' hand prints on one project.

Have your child position their hand so their fingers are close together, but their thumb should be sticking straight up to make the hand print.  Once the paint is dry, add a beak, eye, and a wing. Small googly eyes would be cute, too. Finally, add a message at the top for Dad - I used "Daddy's Ducklings!" Reminder - Father's Day is June 15th!! (So you have some time to get your ducks in a row.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strawberry Craft - Great For Fine Motor Skills!

We had a blast picking strawberries yesterday... and will be eating strawberries for days to come, I'm sure! If you've never gone to pick strawberries before, I highly recommend it! Since they're ready in late May, the weather is beautiful and it's not too buggy out! This was a fun activity for my kids, ages 3 and 6, myself, and my mom so all ages can do it! The place we went to was so clean and nice - I loved it! Check out Gieringers Orchard in Edgerton, KS. I can't wait to go back in July for blackberries, blueberries, and peaches too!

Later that afternoon, I came up with a fun craft for my kids to do - Giant Strawberries!  I did some prep work while my kids were playing: I cut out a giant strawberry shape and leaf shape from red and green card stock for my son (age 3), and drew out a pattern of those shapes on red and green card stock for my daughter (age 6) to cut out on her own. Then I gave them each strips of black construction paper to work with.

My daughter first cut out her giant strawberry shape and they both glued the leaves to the top.  Making the strawberry seeds was the fun part - and great practice for fine motor skills! Encourage your child to tear their strips of black construction paper into tiny seeds.  My son also practiced cutting with scissors (a great first cutting project!) to create his seeds.

Use regular glue to attach your seeds. This is a good time to practice using only small dots of glue on your strawberry instead of the typical huge globs that kids tend to make!

Right now these giant strawberries decorate my refrigerator, but you can also laminate them to use as fun summer place mats! (The strawberries were cut from sheets of 12x12 card stock.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Painted Stained Glass Effect For Kids

As a fun first night of summer vacation, we had our little nephew spend the night. I put together a quick painting project for the kids to do while he was here and discovered how to paint "stained glass!"

Give each child a sheet of waxed paper to paint on and tell them to fill the sheet up with color. They can do shapes, blotches, swirls... whatever. We used washable Crayola kids paints because they are my favorite and really are washable! Even my 3 year old got in on the fun! Just have the kids blot their paint brush on a dry paper towel between colors. No water needed. So clean!

While the paint is still wet, use the tip of  your paint brush to add swirls and designs to your sheet. This was a really fun part for me. ;O) It's totally optional.

 Once the paint is dry (which goes pretty quickly), cut each sheet of wax paper into smaller rectangles, ready for a frame. I already had some 4x6 frames from a previous project but you can just cut some from any color card stock.  I had the kids decorate their frames with markers. Each child ended up with enough wax paper for two frames. I attached the waxed paper painting to the frame using Glue Dots, which I love. Now they're ready for the window!

**NOTE: I actually used one framed piece of "stained glass" as the front cover of a homemade card and it was really cute! I used a 6x5 rectangle of card stock as the back of the card. Fold over one inch of the 5" side so you can attach your framed piece of stained glass to the one inch strip. Now have your child add a hand-written message or picture inside!

Monday, May 20, 2013

End of the Year Teacher Poems

The end of the school year is upon us!! It is a great idea to give a little gift or card to your child's teacher as a thank you for all the hard work they've put in to your child's education. Teachers probably don't want to be bombarded with silly nic-nacs that take up space in their classroom, though, so here is a simpler idea they might like instead.

Number one: a gift card! Give them the gift of lunch out at a restaurant they like, or maybe a gift card to a store where they can buy classroom supplies.

Number two: stuff they can use in their classroom. My daughter picked out a book of small stickers for her teacher to use next year on the class's reading charts. I've also given her pens to grade with.

Number three: this is most special of all - a handmade card from your child. I had my daughter (6) draw a picture on folded construction paper to make the outside of the card. Then on the inside, I had her write out a poem I put together for her. Since my daughter is finishing kindergarten, she wrote the poem on separate lined paper first. I used a glue stick to attach the finished poem into the inside of her card.

If your child isn't old enough to write their own poem, here are a few poems I wrote myself for you to choose from!

"Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
You're a wonderful teacher,
And I'll miss you!"

"A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
Thank you Mr(s.) [teacher's name]
For teaching me!"

"The school year is finished,
But this isn't the end.
You're no longer my teacher,
But forever my friend."