When I was asked to create something fun for a sponsored post with Folk Arts Multi Surface Paints and the just launched Handmade Charlotte Stencils I immediately knew what I wanted to make. I am the queen of library fines. It’s embarrassing. I am doing my best not to pass this bad trait down to my kids so I wanted to make a place to keep library books that will also serve to remind us when they are due. The other craft I wanted to make was a special place for my son to show off his school work. Best part is that I could use the same stencils and paints for both projects.
Gather your materials. You will need a canvas bag , cork board, Folk Arts new Multisurface Paints, sponge brushes, stencil tape, chalk anything paint and Handmade Charlotte stencils. I like using paper plates to pour the paint into because I can just toss it after.
Start by planning out your design. I used the punch outs from the stencils to do this.
Start painting. The paints dry quickly which is nice when you have little hands trying to help.
For the bag start by taping off the chalk board area. Paint the black on. While it’s drying add the stars using the stencils. Once it’s dry add the chalk board surface paint. I love this paint because it dries clear and turns almost anything into a chalk board!
Let cure for 24 hours before using as a chalk board.
It didn’t take long to fill this with books.
Or add the cork board to my son’s room!
I loved these paints and our friends over at Micheal’s do too. You can find all the paint supplies over at your local store and to celebrate they are giving away a Folk Art Multisurface Paint Prize Pack and $100 Gift Card - Check it out here !
I love these placemats and how into the activity my kids were. It’s a simple craft and very kid directed. Give them the materials and see what happens. My daughter wanted glitter so we found a way to do it without having to wait for the final product or make a huge mess. Notice I didn’t say no mess. I can’t decide if my favorite thing about these fall placemats is that they make setting the table ( a kid chore at our house ) even more fun or that they get the kids outside exploring the changing seasons hands on.
- Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, crayons, leaves, and contact paper. If you want to get fancy and add glitter to the leaves like my daughter did you will also need some glitter, double stick tape and Ziploc bags.
- Start by having your child gather the leaves they want to use for the placemat. If they are wet you will want to let them dry before creating.
- Next choose a color of construction paper and start drawing. My son was into this step. My daughter did it as fast as she could to get to the good stuff also known as glitter.
- If you are glittering the leaves start by adding double stick tape to the leaves. I can’t stress enough how they must be dry. Next pop some glitter in a bag and add the leaf. Shake! This extra step for her made it so she and her brother were done at the same time since he took so much time and care with his design.
- Tape the leaves down onto the construction paper. My son added more designs after.
- Sandwich the paper with leaves between two sheets of contact paper. I find it easier to lay the contact paper sticky side up and flip the placemats face down to avoid bubbles. I also suggest not having a 3 year old try to help you with this step unless you want a lot of wasted contact paper covered in grass. Trust me on that one.
Books About Leaves
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All the illustrations are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.
Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work. Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!This post contains affiliate links.
I get a lot of questions about what I do with my children’s art work and my answer is usually that I take photos and recycle much of it. When I say I recycle art work I normally mean it gets popped into the recycling bin never to be seen again. This recycled art project for kids uses the art work and turns a finished piece into material for another art project. These fall trees are cute and simple enough for kids of various abilities to participate.
- Gather your materials. You will need some brown and white construction paper, glue stick, scissors, and finished artwork.
- Cut out a tree outline – I free handed this ( I can cut much better than I can draw) but you could draw it out first too.
- Glue the tree down on the white construction paper and if you have kids still learning to cut like mine cutting them into smaller pieces will help.
- Go for it. This is a simple project and there is no wrong way to do it. My son was specific about which colors he wanted where and took time to cut leaf like shapes. My daughter refused any and all offers of help and did this completely independently.
Science! How exciting to be here for science week. I’m Jillian, A Mom with a Lesson Plan. Just about any type of learning for kids gets me jumping for joy but I’ll admit, science is a fairly new love for me.
I think what really brought me around was seeing that science ties into so many other aspects of my kids’ growth. Now that they are getting a little older (8 and 6), I can see how they use the basic science method on their own. It’s quite impressive how they are able to predict, analyze and modify their actions easily.
Of course we still enjoy the fun, messy parts of science… but it’s the structure of how to conduct an experiment that I want to come as second nature to my kids. It will benefit them far beyond science class.
Before you start an experiment you have to have an idea of what your purpose is, you need a question to ask. Knowing how to ask a question seems simple enough, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. For most of us, it’s a practiced skill.
Learning how to ask a question
- Figure out the question. Sometimes a very long conversation boils down to one question. Help your kids learn how to pin point it, by following up with a question about the question. “Are you wondering how roller coasters are attached to the tracks or are you wondering how the roller coaster moves along the track?”
- Let the question develop. Often times you know what they are going to ask before they ask it. Give them the space to figure out how to ask instead of skipping ahead to the answer.
- Respect the questions they ask. Show interest and give them sometime to wonder before jumping in with an answer.
Research comes in many, many forms. You can read a book, ask someone who has experience, watch a video, etc. Once your kids know how to ask a question you can teach them how to search out the answer.
Learning how to research
- On the way to the library, talk about which topics they would like to read about. (or study. ) Remind your little ones about questions they’ve had recently. “Remember how you asked why bugs live under rocks? Maybe you can find some bug books!”
- Google it. Searching the web is pretty easy when you have a good question to start with. Of course they will also need to learn how to decide what’s valid information.
- Encourage them to ask around. I can not tell you how many times I’ve said. “You know what, that sounds like a great question for Grandpa.” (He’s kind of a trivia know-it-all.)
A hypothesis is an educated guess. So simple and yet a vital skill. Learning how to make predictions and think about possible outcomes based on past experience is huge! Can you imagine how this skill will help them when they are teenagers?
Learning how to make predictions
- Predict while reading. Talk about what might happen next in the story. Were you right?
- Predict while doing a science activity, art activity or just playing outside. “What do you think will happen when you let go of the ball at the top of the slide?”
- Predict… anything. “What do you think the weather will be like tomorrow?” “Do you think we should expect traffic?” Last week we found a tiny cantaloupe in our garden. Since it wasn’t getting any bigger we decided to pluck it and open it as is. It was a simple thing, but we took a moment before cutting in to talk about what we thought we would find inside.
When I think of experimenting there are two big things that come to mind. The ability to bring your questions to life and the ability to be persistent without losing patience.
Learning how to experiment
- When your little one has a question, help them figure out how to find the answer. Does it involve collecting materials or is it simply trying something that is already set up.
- Having a space set up with basic art supplies and a junk box will give your kids the space to experiment on their own. (We save toilet paper rolls, lids, boxes and craft scraps.)
- Encourage patience and persistence by allowing down time and showing the kids that YOU can take on mistakes as a learning experience.
Collecting data can be done in many different ways. It can be as simple as discussing what you find or as detailed as filling out a spreadsheet. Understanding how to observe, examine and consider your findings is at the core of any analysis. When kids understand how to collect results, the way it’s collected will come easy.
Learning how to record data
- Act like a teacher (because you are!) and set up activities with a little something extra. Ask your kids to draw pictures of what they observe in the garden. Give them a clipboard and a piece of paper to write about the details of a zoo trip. Use simple graphs and charts to have a little fun recording everyone’s favorite meal.
- Have a place for recording. Lot’s of empty notebooks make it easy for kids to grab and write when they observe something interesting. We have notebooks with lines, without lines and some with grids available anytime.
How do we learn from our mistakes? How do we know what really works for us and use that method again and again? We draw conclusions from our experiences.
Learning how to draw a conclusion
- Talk! Talk about why things have happened. What could have changed the outcome?
- Encourage your little scientists to try the experiment or experience again with a little tweak. Did they get the same result?
And because I know how much you love a good book review here at No Time for Flash Cards. I just have to share a new favorite. We just picked it up from the library yesterday and my Little M has been carrying it around all day. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly is about a little girl who wants desperately to be known for something. When her class begins studying butterflies and even visits a conservatory she finds just how to make herself stand out. I love, love, love how fun this little scientist is and how she becomes known for something she is good at.
Jillian Riley is a writer who focuses most of her creative energy into her playful learning, playful parenting blog A Mom with a Lesson Plan. She is mom to an almost 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Jillian is passionate about kid activities, learning and creativity! Find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Google.
Tomorrow we wrap Science Week up with a round up of easy science activities for kids. Do not miss it!