Green Christmas Crafts

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Today’s guest post is my Amy, who like her post explains is a mom and not really a crafter, although she has me fooled!  I love how she approached these holiday crafts for a large group and you will too. Thanks Amy for sharing ! You check out more about Amy’s adventures on her blog, Blog-o!

Crafting for a Crowd:Festive Crafts at the Winter Fair

When I signed up to run the craft room at my childrens’ school Winter Fair, I wasn’t in it for the crafts. To tell the truth, I’m not really a crafter. My problem  with crafts, particularly little kid crafts, is that they can  be pretty bad for the environment;often they involve gluing a bunch of non-recyclable things to recyclable things so you end up throwing the whole schmagiggy into the garbage. Not to mention the amount of pointless stuff that gets manufactured just so kids can glue it onto other stuff!

In truth, I signed up to run the crafts room with an agenda: I wanted to green it up. Our school is one of the leaders in the city on environmental matters and I thought our Winter Fair crafts room should reflect that. In addition to that challenge, I and my co-crafters Nancy and Tanya had to create a variety of crafts  which would appeal to children from JK (four years old) to Grade Six (eleven years old), and that wouldn’t be too messy or too expensive. Here is what we came up with.

Bows and Chains, or The Stapling Table

bows and chains

The simplest craft we offered was paper chains made out of strips of construction paper. We cut lots of different colours of construction paper into strips, and provided both staplers and glue sticks. This craft wasn’t very popular, I think because the other crafts were more glamourous (or messy). However, one mom made a nice long paper chain of her own and said it was very  relaxing!

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Also at the stapling table was our most challenging craft: magazine paper gift bows. To prepare for this craft, we cut strips about five or six inches long and wide out of magazines. (The best pages for this are pages which are mainly one colour on one side and another colour on the other.) We also cut little inch-by-inch squares from cereal boxes to  act as backs for the bows.

There are two ways to make gift bows. I call them “The Hard Way” and “The Easy Way”. Here’s The Hard Way:

1. Take a strip of magazine and fold the end over into a twisted loop. Use a dab of stick glue to stick the loop together.

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2. Turn the strip around and make another loop at the other end.

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3. Set that strip aside and repeat steps 1 and 2 for three more strips.

4. Stack the four completed strips on top of each other, angling them to get a full bow. Staple or glue the whole thing to a cereal-box square.
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Here’s The Easy Way:

1. Take a strip of magazine and join it into a loop. Bring the middle  of the loop together into a figure 8. You can staple this now, or just hold on to it, depending how dexterous you are.

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2. Get another strip of magazine, join it into a loop and bring the middle of the loop together as above. Put the two loops together  in the middle to make a +. You can stop at this point and staple the + to a piece of card to make a very minimal, chic bow, or continue…

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3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second +, then join the two together at an angle to make a fancier bow.

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These bows look great, but they would look even better if you could figure out a way to finish the middle of them. We were experimenting with  gluing a little loop in the middle on top of the staples. Perhaps you could stick a sticker over the staples, or it might be nice if you made them with coloured staples.

Cards

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We set up two tables for the children to make cards. At one table we provided small, deckle-edge cards along with crayons and watercolour paint. We drew simple holiday designs on some cards, and left the others plain. Some of the kids coloured with crayons and then painted over the crayons, and some just painted. This craft appealed to all age groups: the little ones made a painty mess and the bigger ones were very careful and precise with their painting.

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The other table had larger cards, some of which we stamped with  festive designs and others left plain. We provided pencil crayons, glue and foil shapes and let ‘em at it.

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Ornaments

The last craft;my favourite;was directly inspired by this one . To prepare, Nancy borrowed a die-cutter to cut a bunch of shapes out of card stock: trees, round ornaments, dreidels and stars.

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We cut lots of coloured bits out of magazines and sorted them into baskets by colour. We also cut out interesting little pictures, like animals and bugs, and cool patterns, as we came across them.collage5

Our little crafters stuck on the bits of magazine using stick glue, and then a helper trimmed any overhanging bits from the edges…collage9

And voila!collage11

This craft, as Allie says, works equally well for little kids and bigger ones. Little ones love the gluing and the sense of accomplishment, older kids like experimenting with colour and texture and combining images in unexpected ways.

In the end the Craft Room was a big success: everyone who came in, big and small,  left with a craft which they enjoyed making and were proud of. We managed to reuse a lot of stuff, and most of the things we bought,  like recycled paper and cardstock, and woodless pencils,  were easy on the earth. And even I appreciate crafting a little more! Maybe I will make some bows for my Christmas packages.

Kid Made Ornament !

star Christmas  ornament

I have the best readers in the blogosphere ! When I sent out a message to my facebook fans that I needed help with guest posts because morning sickness was leaving me unable to do much more than turn the tv on for my son , they flooded in! I still have more to come and I hope you have been enjoying them as much as I have. Today’s craft is perfect for our series of kid friendly Christmas ornaments.  Jessica for Muthering Heights was kind enough to share it with us , thanks Jessica!

{Super Simple Snowflake/Star Ornaments!}

This truly simple craft was originally inspired by a similar project that I, myself, made for my parents in my Kindergarten class.

{I will say, for the record, that a part of me died when I realized that it was twenty one years ago! Good grief!!!}

But *ahem,* I digress.

My daughter and I completed this project together. She is nearly three. And let it be known that she will be taking full responsibility for the wardrobe styling in the photos below.

The necessary materials are craft {ie: popsicle} sticks, Glue, dry pasta of your choice {we used Rotini}, paint {we used silver glitter paint}, and some sort of string {we used fishing line}. The paper plate pictured below is optional, for the neat-freaks among us.  Star Ornament

Step One: Using the glue and craft sticks, arrange and affix the stick in a star-like shape. star ornament

Step Two: Using the glue, arrange and affix the pasta on the sticks, as your child’s fancy dictates.

star ornament

Step Three: When the glue dries {the time lapse will depend on how heavy-handed your little crafter is with the glue}, apply the paint. Star ornament

Step Four: When the paint dries, attach the string. Hang and enjoy! OR, omit the string, and use these little beauties to adorn holiday packages! star ornament

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These ornaments are wonderfully simple, but so much fun for little hands!

Hanukkah Crafts

Sent In By You!

Kids Hanukkah Craft

These crafts come from Michelle  from Chic Baby New York who is a former teacher and mom who generously shared her creativity – she mentioned that a No Time For Flash Cards craft last year inspired the Star of David  craft , can you tell which one? Yes our Snowglobe Snowman!   Thanks Michelle.

Hanukkah Star of David

Kids Hanukkah Craft

Materials:

1 Sheet of white card stock, paint (I used roller paint), pencil, ribbon, sequence, tape, glitter pens ( or regular glitter), hole puncher, contact paper & scissors.Hanukkah Kids Craft

1) Trace out a star of DavidHanukkah Kids Craft

2) Paint it (we used blue) and let dry.Hanukkah Kids Craft

3) Cut out a piece of contact paper about a rectangular size since you will be folding it over…make sure it will be big enough to cover the center of the star (folded).

4)Add glitter and sequence to the contact paper and fold over in half when done, making sure there is no exposed sticky areas. Just so you know, the glitter pens leave a little glue film when dryed, so if you want it clearer, you should use regular glitter.Han5

5) Cut out the center of the star and attach the glittered contact paper part with tape.Star of David Kids Craft

6) Punch a hole at the top and put a string through it to hang it up.Kids Hanukkah Craft

A Menorah of shapes.

Kids Hanukkah Craft


Materials:

2 pieces of construction paper, 1 piece of white paper, 9 sequences, glue, scissors and a marker.Chanukkah  Kids Craft

1) Trace out the shapes for the Menorah on 1 piece of paper.  You will need to draw a semi circle, a large square, a long rectangle, a small square. Chanukkah Kids Craft

2) On the other paper, cut out 9 rectangles for the candles, I just eyed them instead of tracing them like on the Menorah. Cut everything out.Menorah4

3) Start gluing.  I outlined the Menorah in glue but the little one did the candles. I was told I didn’t make the glue outline ‘big enough’.Chanukkah Kids Craft

4) Add the round sequences for the flames, which is a great fine motor skill practice. You could cut out little triangles for the flames (to take the ‘shape’ theme all the way) or even using crumpled tissue paper or glitter.Holiday Kids Craft

5) Completed (with a lot of extra glue everywhere…which is how we like it)!Kids Hanukkah Craft

Way Too Many Toys!

Book and Activity!

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This guest post is from Amy from Media Macaroni, Amy’s blog is devoted to all things kids media and her love of books and toys are evident!  I love how they used a book as a leap pad for play and more learning!  Enjoy!


The book that I can’t help but think about constantly as I’m at toy store after toy store buying presents is David Shannon’s Too Many Toys , one of our household favorites. The other day I cleared out what can only be described as rubble out of my daughter’s room. You know what I’m talking about: the broken plastic yo-yos and noisemakers from birthday party bags, bent up pieces of paper from that origami phase, little unidentifiable pieces that will never be matched with the toy they came from. All I could think was, “I’m seriously bringing more into this room?!”

In Too Many Toys, little Spencer has way too many toys, a sight all too familiar. The toys cover the floors and spill down the hallway. They cover the yard and the bathroom. But, Spencer’s toys were becoming a household hazard. Spencer’s mom (perhaps one of the most relatable moms in a picture book ever) finally loses it when she trips on railroad tracks while carrying a load of laundry. She haggles, bribes, coaxes, and threatens Spencer to start getting rid of toys. Spencer’s mom is victorious when there’s a giant box full of toys to be banished, but when she returns from a tea break, she discovers the toys emptied all over the hall. There’s Spencer, astronaut helmet on, sitting in his new cardboard rocket. Forget all the toys – the box is the best toy EVER!

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We took this to heart one day, and built our own rocket out of a gigantic cardboard box. To be authentic to the book, we taped pencils and cardboard tubes to the outside, and drew a nice assortment of planets and blinking lights. One of my favorite features was the control panel that we made on the inside. We drew a numbered keypad beside a list of planets and numbered codes. All you had to do is punch in a three-digit number and you were transported to that planet.

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No wonder the cardboard box has been inducted into National Toy Hall of Fame . It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend a morning.


Open Ended Art

Today’s guest post is perfect for what I often call “Free Art Friday” .  As often as we do crafts in my house I also offer plenty of “free” or “open ended” art for my son. It’s so important and should outweigh the structured crafts by far. My son has open access to a bunch of materials but if you are unsure how to start here is a great post by Shannon of Mommies Little Artist .
What is Open Ended Art?

In our house we do Open Ended Art and some have never heard of it or are not sure what it is or where to begin. Open Ended Art is simple and every kid can do it. Set up a art center in your house whether it is big or small just designate an area in your home (one that you don’t mind a mess; ours is in the kitchen so i can mop the floor if needed). Set out the supplies and keep the supplies replenished so they create when ever they want.

Our Art Center is stocked weekly with the supplies to create : one week we might do say: Shades of A Color (say blue for example): I would stock the Art Center with Shades of Blue Paint, Paper, Markers, Pencils and Crayons. It would stay stocked like that for the whole week, they created what ever they wanted so it was Open Ended.
I host a weekly Linky Meme called Open Ended Art where moms get to let their children create a wonderful piece of art, link up to my blog and we can all see and explore how their children used the materials and mediums provided. We also feature a artist a month; last month was Henri Matisse, December’s is Hans Hoffman.
Some of our favorite Open Ended Art:
Shades of Blue Painting:
Henri Matisse:
Pumpkin Decorating:

So how can you have Open Ended Art in your home:

1. Provide New materials weekly

2. Its ideal to leave them out so they can go to it and create whenever they want (with puffy paint that isn’t possible! but with our other themes it will be)

3. Do Not Alter or Fix your child’s artwork (so it should look like a child did it)

4. Don’t Ask what is this? or say Is this?

5. Is about the Process NOT the Product

6. There is no Right or Wrong way

7. Never Tell them what to create

8. Do not have a sample or model of what you want them to create

9. Let them be as independent as possible

10. Let them come up with their own ideas on how to create with the art materials provided.

Thank you Shannon and all the readers who have sent in guest post. I am so pleased by the community that No Time For Flash Cards has become and am amazed by how well you have stepped in when I needed you!  Thank you !