A few weeks ago I found these really cool Bunny Napkin Rings we could make for Easter Dinner. The instructions seemed pretty easy but I would have to find Pony beads. After checking out Walmart and Michaels I realized finding pink pony beads, not mixed with other colours would be a challenge. I found a number of online beading sites but they were all American and had crazy shipping rates. I thought I found a Canadian company that had exactly what I needed at BeadFx. I placed my order and waited for everything to come in. The beads arrived and they were the perfect colour but they were too small. In hindsight I should have called and talked to a representative to make sure I ordered the right beads. I have not given up entirely but I think this will be a better craft for next year. That also gives me a year to find the right beads. If anyone knows of a great company that ships pony beads to Canada for a reasonable price let me know.
So we needed a new craft for this week. My goal was to find something easy to make that the girls could do by themselves (or at least mostly by them selves). I can’t remember how but I came across a site with a number of great crafts to make with paper plates. Upon further investigation I found YouTube video showing how to make simple Paper Plate Bunnies. The best thing about this craft is that all the supplies are normal things that most people may have in their house and a craft bin. To make one similar to us you will need: a paper plate, pink paint, pink construction paper, cotton balls, goggly eyes, a pink pom pom, pipecleaners, glue, markers and scissors. Kaitlyn was able to make her bunny all by herself and personalized it a bit for herself. I had to cut out Eileen’s ears and her pipcleaners but she did the rest herself.
So last week when we were making our Easter Lilies Kaitlyn asked if we could make pop up puppets, actually she pretty much begged. The results = this Thursday’s craft. This one was another 2 day craft. It doesn’t take that long but there is a lot of paint and glue drying time needed. The most difficult thing with this craft was gathering all the supplies.
You will need:
Paper mache cones – these are difficult to find at this time of year but we found some online through Stockade. We found the 7″ ones worked best.
Wooden balls or styrofoam balls. We used wooden but styrofoam would probably have been easier.
Socks – bright coloured adult socks work best
Felt, ribbon, paint, stickers, scissors, and tacky glue
Before beginning an adult needs to cut off the end of the cones.
Cut just enough to fit the piece of dowel. Get everyone ready for painting. For us this means the drop sheet is on the table, paint shirts are on and hair is tied back. You can use simple tempra paints to paint the cones. We (meaning Mommy) prefers to use these when we can because they are very easy to clean up when (not if) messes occur. Paint your cones a solid colour. You may need two coats of paint. Mommy thought pink bunnies would be best for Easter but Kaitlyn declared that she doesn’t like pink. We couldn’t find orange socks so she settled for red socks with an orange base – an it was perfect for her.
While the kids are painting their cones a parent can glue the doweling onto the balls. We managed to glue the wooden doweling to the wooden ball with simple tacky glue but you may have to use wood glue. If you can find balls with holes to push the dowel in it may be easier. Syrofoam would probably have worked well also but I am not sure how well they would glue together.
We left our cones and our heads to dry overnight. In the morning it was assembly time. First the girls decorated their cones with a variety of Easter stickers. Next they pushed their heads into their socks. I helped them tie a ribbon around the neck to keep the sock in place. We then determined how far we wanted the bunny to pop out of his hole and we cut the remaining portion of the sock. Use the glue to glue the sock to the opening of the cone and let it thoroughly dry.
The final stage is the decoration stage. The girls added ears, eyes and noses on their bunnies.
Very cute pop-up bunnies. They will work great with the puppet theatre Grampa is making them for Easter.
We have had some bigger crafts the past few Thursdays and the next couple weeks will be bigger as we get ready for Easter so I thought we would do a simple Easter craft today. I found this cool website: “Artists Helping Children” an on this site found instructions for Handprint Lilies. You don’t need many things for this craft: heavy weight white paper, pipecleaners, tape and scissors. It called for white construction paper but we didn’t have any so we used cover stock and it worked great. The best thing about this craft is that everyone could do parts of it, and needed minimal help from Mom (except Michale ofcourse).
We stared by tracing our hands on the coverstock. Kaitlyn did her own and I traced Eileen’s and Michaels. Kaitlyn tried to cut out her own but cutting was the one step they all needed help with. We didn’t want any fingers/petals cut off. When cutting out the handprints make sure to leave a bit of a section by the wrist to give room for rolling into the cone.
They then rolled their handprints into cones and taped them in place. Next was rolling down the fingers to open the petals. This step both of the girls were able to do themselves. Kaitlyn actually seemed better than Mommy at this part. We added our yellow pipecleaner (cut into 3 equal parts) to the green stem and inserted them in our flowers. This part created a whole new discussion. Kaitlyn wanted to leave hers just as it was to use it as a puppet. I convinced her that maybe we could finish these flowers and then next week we would make bunny pop-up puppets for Easter.
Each child made a bunch of 3 lilies and we tied a pipecleaner around as a ribbon. Everyone chose orange so they all look very similar. You can tell who’s is who’s by the size of the flowers (Michael’s are much smaller). A fun and easy craft for this week!
So taking some inspiration from TeachMama we set out to try something new today. This week I received an email from Today’s Parent with a link to simple craft supplies you can make with things in your pantry. I make homemade playdough all the time and might try slime one day but today’s experiment was the fingerpaint.
We paint a lot in our house but usually it is with brushes, sponges, potatoes or other objects. Not often do we use our hands. We have fingerpainted in the past but usually we use the store bought varieties.
Here are the directions directly from the website:
Five Fingers (and a HAND) Paint
For quick fingerpaint, dissolve ¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch in 2 cups (500 mL) cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat (use a wire whisk to keep it from getting lumpy) until it becomes clear and thick. Add a little food colouring or liquid tempera paint. Cool and apply to shiny paper, a high-chair tray or a tabletop.
This seemed simple enough and I even had all the ingredients in the pantry. The girls were playing in the living room and the baby had just been fed so it was time to experiment. I mixed the cornstarch and water and got it heating on the stove – then the baby started to cry. Lesson #1 – When making fingerpaint don’t leave it on the stove too long, it gets lumpy. I managed to save the creation with a bit of heavy duty whisking. Lesson #2 – You need a fair amount of food colouring to get any colour that is not transparent. Once it was made I let it cool on the counter before letting the girls use it.
It seemed pretty slimy and rather translucent when you used it. Parts clumped up while others were runny. Kaitlyn’s first comment was “Mom this stuff doesn’t work very well”. It doesn’t compare at all to the store bought fingerpaint when trying to make a masterpiece. I do however like the fact that it is totally non-toxic. Eileen is still at the stage where she likes to taste everything so I didn’t worry if she tried our fingerpaint.
The one use that worked O.K. was for practicing letters. Kaitlyn used her finger and our homemade fingerpaint to practice all of her upper case letters. They weren’t the easiest to read but it gave her the practice of writing them.
I would love to know if anyone has had any success creating homemade fingerpaint. There are many uses I would love to explore with the girls, especially Eileen as she works to improve her fine motor skills, and the non-toxic aspect is very important.
On Monday night Kaitlyn’s homework was to walk around her neighbourhood and look for signs of spring. Tuesday we took a walk around the house (outside) and we saw shoots for my iris’, daylilies, and tulips and we also saw buds on our flowering cherry and maple trees. Then we had a snow storm on Wednesday, and a snow day, and all our signs of spring were under a foot of snow. We decided that we needed to harness some signs of spring so this Thursday’s craft was Tin Can Herb Gardens. I found the idea when searching for kids gardening ideas, on Kaboose. Due to paint drying time this week’s craft took us both Thursday and Friday to complete.
First thing Thursday morning we took a drive to the local Walmart to look for a few supplies we didn’t have. The most difficult thing to find was the liquid Gesso but now that we have it, and have used it, I am hooked. Gesso allows kids to paint objects they normally would not be able to paint – and the paint stays on.
As we were using aluminum cans, paint normally won’t adhere to the can but after one coat of Gesso the girls were able to paint with normal acrylic craft paints and it only took two coats of paint to get a nice solid finish. The Gresso was painted on like you would with any paint.
We used simple acrylic paint to paint our cans. Be careful when using acrylic paints as they don’t wash out as easy as tempra paints. We have a drop cloth, purchased from a decorating store, that we always put down when we are painting, and we always wear paint shirts. I would rather the girls just have fun painting and not have to worry about any messes, as they are often part of the fun. After two coats of a solid colour I gave them a pallet with a variety of other colours to decorate. Kaitlyn took her time and created a pattern of hearts, circles, and lines on her can. Eileen loved mixing colours and seeing what she could create. The key is to let it be their designs. After the final drying I brought out some special flower sticker I had picked up for the finishing touches. After they were in bed I took the cans to the garage and sprayed them with an acrylic sealer and let them dry overnight. This is important to prevent any running of the paint when they water their plants.
This morning we were planting. We picked up a couple of Pesto Basil plants at our local nursery, Eisings. It isn’t the easiest time of year to find plants so we couldn’t be too picky. Ideally it would have been nice for them each to have a different plant but these were the only ones that would fit in our cans. We used 28 oz. tomato cans. It gave them a larger work space an there is more room for the roots of their plants to grow. After transfering the herbs to their beautiful cans the girls each made a small stake out of a popsicle stick to label their basil. Voila!
For a few weeks now we have been doing craft Thursdays. This week we are starting Literacy Tuesdays. Now don’t worry we really do literacy activities every day in our house. There are always books around my house, the girls have a number of ABC puzzles that Eileen is always in to, the number of workbooks and activity book we have is a bit scary, and they won’t go to sleep without their two stories each (one from Mommy and one from Daddy). There is also Kaitlyn’s work from school, so we are always doing literacy activities. What we will be doing on Tuesdays are a variety of new and different activities just to reinforce literacy concepts – and most important they will always be fun.
Today we did Fruit Loop names. We never have sugary cereal in our house so I was happy when Fruit Loops were on sale for 1/2 price at Sobeys yesterday. I may just have to give in and let them have a few for snack but the majority will be for crafts. I wrote each of the girls names on a piece of construction paper and then they glued Fruit Loops over the writing. This time I wrote both of their names for them but I think we may try this again and have Kaitlyn create the letters of her name without following my writing.