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
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!
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.
2. Turn the strip around and make another loop at the other end.
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.
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.
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…
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second +, then join the two together at an angle to make a fancier bow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our little crafters stuck on the bits of magazine using stick glue, and then a helper trimmed any overhanging bits from the edges…
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.