Hamsa – Crafts From Around The World

by Katy

In this project we were studying Africa and created a Hamsa as part of that study. A Hamsa is an ancient good luck sign that has been adopted by almost every culture and religion in North Africa and Central Asia. They are often created at stained glass pieces and hung in windows to help protect the home. I decided to make ours in a similar fashion.

To make the Hamsa, you will need:

An assortment of light colored crayons (red, yellow, orange, etc.)
wax paper
black and white construction paper or sticky foam
A hair dryer (may substitute another heat source like an iron if necessary)
pencil sharpener
dark permanent marker

The first thing you do is turn your crayons into shreds. A really easy way to do this is with one of those little hand-held pencil sharpeners, but before I figured that out, I was just snipping at it with a pair of scissors and that works too.

You want to get a lot of shavings, and it’s best to stick with light colors. The darker colors just read like black or brown when they mix together. Once you have a nice little pile of shavings, place them between two sheets of wax paper.

Now, most of the crafting books I’ve read suggest using an iron to melt the wax. I tried this, and it was a complete disaster. Wax ran everywhere, residue got on the iron, and I was a little afraid I was going to catch something on fire. I found that pointing my hair dryer at the wax paper worked just as well, felt safer, and created a lot less mess.

Once your wax is melted and cooled, take your child’s hand and place it on top. Hamsa’s are traditionally thought of as right hands, so go ahead and use their right one. Then, cut out the hand.

Create and eye with your construction paper and attach it.

And that’s it! You can hang it in a window to catch the light if you’d like.

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Katy is a mom of three who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracles at Bird on the Street.

Handprint Hedgehog

This hedgehog craft was so fun, it’s simple, but we had a great time doing it while Little Missy was swinging in the swing in the morning. What I really loved was his imagination when I gave him the crayons to draw where the hedgehog lived, it’s habitat ( new word for the day). He made me go get more crayons for different things like grass, water and toys. It would be cute to make a whole family of them with your hand prints too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 colors of construction paper, I used 2 sheets of brown because my guy has insane long fingers and one yellow. Also some crayons , glue, scissors and one googly eye.
  2. Start by tracing your child’s hand. I find it easier to trace once, and fold the paper into layers to cut the number I want out.
  3. Hand your child the crayons and sheet of paper to draw the hedgehog’s habitat.  New vocab word slipped in there!
  4. Cut the hand prints out while they draw.
  5. Cut out a head.
  6. Time to glue.
  7. Add a hand or twoAdd more for the next layer if need be.
  8. Add the head
  9. Add the glue for the eye.
  10. Add the eye and let dry!

Books

Hedgehog, Pig, and the Sweet Little Friend by Lena Anderson is not a book I like. I hate giving bad reviews mostly because I think that every book has something for some child and that may be true of this book . I worry though as a parent about the message about strangers this one gives. A little pig seeks refuge at Hedgehogs house after getting lost, and while I like that the little pig asked for help the hedgehog suggests:

“First fill your tummy, then I’ll make up a bed. We can all sleep together tonight. Tomorrow we’ll find your mama for sure.”

WHAT? Maybe I am just paranoid ( I tend to be a little over safety conscious, especially in the first few months postpartum ) but  really? I immediately started to say something to my son about it and he chimed in saying that he wouldn’t want to stay at someone else’s house. Not saying he wouldn’t but that he wouldn’t want to. I told him that it’s not a good idea and luckily we have phones unlike Hedgehog and we can ask a nice person to call for help or better yet find/call a police officer. Don’t even get me started about the sub plot of the seemingly adult male pig falling in love with this little lost pig too.  The book was originally written in Swedish and I keep thinking that perhaps the story was lost in translation? Perhaps.

Hedgehog (Animal Neighbors) by Michael Leach is a great resource about these spiky little creatures.  My son and I learned so much neither of us knew about hedgehogs. Did you know baby hedgehogs are called hoglets? The book has a good mix of pictures, illustrations and short pieces of text filled with facts. The short paragraphs of text are perfect for little guys who aren’t ready for a full book but want to learn more about the subject, parents can pick and choose which tid bits to share while exploring the pictures too.

Hand Print Monkeys

by Katy
There’s just something so cute about little kids’ hand prints. Here is a fun way to turn them into an easy art project.
First get some brown finger paint. I didn’t have brown, so I mixed red and green together to make brown.
I painted Charlie’s hand and pressed it onto a piece of white paper–this will make the body of the monkey. If your child has fisted hands because of a disability, go ahead and paint your own–you can do the body and then they can help with the next part.
Next, I had Charlie make a fist and I painted the side of his hand. We stamped this above each handprint on our paper (palm side). This will be the monkey’s head.
I then cut paws for each monkey out of beige paper. I cut out four for each monkey and I didn’t have a pattern or anything–I just did it real quick. Once the paint was dry, I put a dot of glue on the back of each and then put them at the end of the fingers. Every finger gets a paw except the middle one–that’s the tail!
The last step is to give each monkey a face. At this point Charlie was starting to melt down a little ,so I did the last one for him.
And there you have monkeys! If your child enjoys playing with paint, you can add green hand prints around the monkey to create a jungle.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Handprint Fireworks

I am sure there are versions of this craft all over , I haven’t seen any lately but here is our take on a fun 4th of July craft. It’s the first craft we’ve done since the baby arrived and it was awesome to get back to “normal” making it with my little man.  I like it because it’s simple but really adorable.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of white and a piece of black construction paper, red and blue paint, glue,  2 plates, scissors and glitter.
  2. Start by putting the paint on the plates.
  3. Dip your child’s hand in , get it well covered.
  4. Print on to the white paper.
  5. Repeat with other hand and color. We did 2 hands each.
  6. If your child is like mine have extra paper on hand to keep finger painting with the extra paint. This gives the hand prints time to dry some as well .
  7. Let the hand prints dry a little and cut out.
  8. While I cut them my son washed his hands, my sink, and my breakfast bowl… I wasn’t complaining.
  9. Although I ended up doing all the gluing because he was having fun in the sink. So now glue the hands together to look like fireworks.
  10. Add glue for the glitter. If the paint is still wet, you won’t need glue on the hands.
  11. He came back for glitter, imagine that!
  12. Let dry.

Need 4th of July Books? Check these out

Handprint Holiday Wreath

kids wreathThis is a classic craft, when I asked my son what he wanted to make he said and I quote ” I just want to cut” he’s kinda into scissors right now. So while I did the cutting for the hand prints, he happily cut the red berries and got his wish to cut! Foam is tricky to glue with regular glue but not impossible. All you have to do is lay some parchment paper on top and throw a coffee table book to squish it for an hour or two. Also there is no reason you couldn’t use paper, I just chose foam because I had it on hand.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some green, red and white foam or construction paper, a marker, scissors, glue and a paper plate.Handprint Wreath
  2. Start by tracing your child’s hand , instead of tracing it 10 times simply trace their hand once and use that as a template for the rest.Handprint Wreath
  3. Cut the hands out.Handprint Wreath
  4. Cut strips of red foam out.Handprint Wreath
  5. Have your child snip the strips into smaller pieces. My son loves to cut things, then use it as garbage for his garbage truck toys. So this was a big hit.Handprint Wreath
  6. While they practice their fine motor skills ( did you know that using scissors is great for that?) cut out the inside of the paper plate.Handprint Wreath
  7. Add glue to it.  A lot.Handprint Wreath
  8. Add your hands. I have a big confession it drove me bananas that he put most of the hands facing in. I preach about letting your kids direct their art, and not fixing it but dude it drove me nuts. I resisted changing it but admit to being very happy when he added a few with fingers pointing out. What can I say I am not perfect.Handprint Wreath
  9. Add glue for the red berries. I did this glue.Handprint Wreath
  10. Add the kid cut berries. Handprint Wreath
  11. Let dry – remember parchment paper and a heavy book will do the trick if your foam isn’t sticking.
  12. Add a ribbon and hang up!Kids Christmas Wreath

Books

How Santa Got His Job

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practicle story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job.  It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he aquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty,  develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig!  There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book  jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!

Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas Board Book by Clement C Moore and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. I was so excited to share this poem with my son, but was not as excited to share some of the illustrations with him. Some of them freaked me out. The first picture of Santa coming out of the chimney was creepy! That said my son wasn’t at all afraid and loves this book. The illustrations are mostly done from funky perspectives and are beautiful but not the polished happy mall Santa that you may be expecting. My 3 year old didn’t pick up on Santa’s and the father’s exchange with a cowboy figuring but adults will enjoy the message that we are never too old to believe and to be a part of the Christmas magic.