Posted in Books, Family Adventures, Milestones

The Christmas Tree

One of my main themes I have been using with my Kindergarten class this month has been Christmas Trees and so I am very tired of tree books but I found a different one that was perfect  for December 9th, the day we were suppose to get our Christmas Tree.  Grandmother’s Tree by Avril Tyrrell and illustrated by Frances Tyrrell  is told through the eyes of a Christmas Elf ornament, one of the oldest ornaments on the family tree.  The ornaments are very excited as it is the time of year that they get taken out and placed on the Christmas tree.  Some of them are older and others are new but they all have a place on the Christmas tree.

This is the perfect story to read before decorating the Christmas tree.  It provides children perspective and leads to great questions while putting up their favourite ornaments.  This didn’t quite work for us as we changed when we got our tree and it was already up when I read this story.  This didn’t stop Kaitlyn – she loves pointing out all the ornaments they each got on their first Christmas.

Instead I found a simple Christmas Tree craft the girls could both easily do in our Usborne Preschool Activity book Christmas Fun. 

The very first craft in this book is Stencil Trees.  Kaitlyn and I made these a couple of years ago so I knew Eileen would be able to do it easily.  I wanted to let them make them their own way so I did not show them the pictures in the craft book.

To prepare I made the tree stencil by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting out half a tree for each of the girls.  Then I taped it to a piece of cover stock and set the girls up with green paint.  I showed them how to make fingerprints all over their trees.

This started off pretty well but then Kaitlyn decided she liked it better if she smeared all the prints together and pretty soon they had covered the entire tree.  It wasn’t what I had planned but it was what they wanted to do so it was perfect.

We let them dry overnight and the next day it was time to decorate them.  I picked up a variety of jewels and decorations up at the dollar store and they glued them on the tree.  Kaitlyn did hers independently and Eileen just needed a bit of help putting the glue where she wanted it.  I didn’t get any stars and they both asked for stars for the tops of their trees.  This is a bit ironic as our family tree has an angel at the top.  Kaitlyn put snowflakes around the top of her tree and declared it was outside.  A very easy craft to make with young children, especially those who love paint!

Posted in Craft Thursdays

Easy Caterpillar Craft

We were busy on Thursday so decided to do our craft today.  I was looking for a craft to do this week and came across a cool idea for painting caterpillars.  I loved the idea, especially since you are using different, and unusual objects to create the patterns.  There is a lot of potential to do this with my Kindergarten class in the fall if we study monarch butterflies again this year.  I thought I would do a test run with the girls today while daddy was cutting the grass.

The first thing we did was make the grass for the caterpillar.  I love when you can get get kids painting with objects other than paint brushes.  The idea of using plastic forks for grass is awesome (not my idea – found it on Education Ease).  Eileen was even able to figure out how to do the grass by herself.  We have bit of grass in the sky but lets just call it an abstract, she is only 2 years old!

Next we used empty applesauce containers to make the body of the caterpillar.  To avoid wasting paint we painted the rims with a paint brush and then used them to make impressions on the paper.  If I did this with a larger group I would put paint on small plates and they could just dip the containers in the paint.

Finally we used Q-tips to create faces, antenna and legs on our caterpillars.  Kaitlyn was able to do this herself but Eileen needed a bit of help from Mommy.  She proudly did the spots herself.

I definitely think this would be a great activity with a preschool or kindergarten class and will try it is some version with my class next year.  I will probably use this when we study butterflies and then try some other art lessons using unique materials.  I would then do a culminating project where they had to create their own original artwork using a variety of objects.  I would provide a bin with materials and they would have to select which ones to use.

What would you put in the bin?  What objects would create the coolest patterns?  Comments encouraged!