Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gettin' Antsy!

I put up my end-of-school-year display today. I had each of the kids make an ant. I originally cut out a bunch of circles from different colored paper. The kids glued 3 circles together, added legs, antennae and eyes. As they were coming together I thought they looked more like caterpillars.
And then my boss walked in and said, "Ooh! Caterpillars!" So I ended up scratching that idea and coming up with a new one rather quickly. I cut "lemon" shapes and circles out of black construction paper. The kids glued two lemon-shapes together and one circle for the head of the ant. I randomly cut a bunch of small rectangles for legs, without worrying too much about making them all the same. The kids glued six legs on their ant.
I also cut out some longer rectangles for the antennae. We used neon wiggle eyes to add some color to our ants. The kids drew on a smile with a metallic Sharpie.
I hung them in the hall with the title, Gettin' Antsy For Summer. Under each child's ant, I wrote their favorite thing to do in summer.

Check this one out. Her response was to "squish ants" and she actually drew the mouth of her ant wide open, instead of a smile. So I couldn't resist having a little fun with that and I made a thought bubble above the ant's head that said, "Yikes!"
And in case you are wondering, I let the kids take home their "caterpillars" after they drew in some eyes. (I had torn off the wiggle eyes so we could use them on the black ants.) I'm so glad I changed the craft a bit because I love how they turned out! And now I am going to carefully clean my camera lens because I think I see a smudge...

Fun Fact: Ants have two stomachs -- one for themselves and one to feed others.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Peas in a Pod

We made adorable pea pods yesterday to go along with our Vegetable Garden theme! I knew I wanted to have the kids make some sort of pea pod craft, but I didn't know what. So I began looking through my craft drawers to see what I could use for peas. I found these pop beads that the kids sometimes use to brush up on their fine motor skills.
I had plenty of green ones so I decided to use those.
I snipped off the end easily with a scissors. Then I had to find something that could be the pod. These beads are pretty small, so I needed a small pod as well. I found a bag of seashells that I use for my beach unit. Although not perfect, I thought it would be good enough. So first the kids painted the outside of the shell with green paint.
When that dried, they painted the inside of the shell.
When that dried, I used hot glue to attach the beads to the inside of the shell. When the glue was cool, the kids used a thin black Sharpie to make faces on the beads.
They are so cute!
This pod has one pea yawning!
I love it! I tried putting magnets on the back, but all I had were thin self-adhesive ones and they weren't strong enough to hold the shell. I think those thick round ones would have worked. You could hot glue it to the back of the shell. But I just sent the pea pods home as is.
Oh, sweet pea...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother's Day Flowers

Here's a short and sweet post about what the kids made their moms for Mother's Day.
I got the idea for the paper flowers from Crafts For All Seasons. Please visit that site for the directions. She called it a paper bouquet, but I think it looks more like a potted plant. Either way, it is very easy to make and they turned out great. The kids did all the cutting themselves. And instead of putting glue on each green stem, the kids dipped the tissue paper into the glue and then attached them to the stems. They could also use several different colors of tissue paper.
They look so pretty! I only wish they smelled pretty, too.
For the card, I used stencils to trace the word MOM and made sure the letters were all touching. Then I shrunk it down so it would fit on a regular piece of card stock. I traced the word so the top was touching the fold of the paper and then cut them out. I decided not to cut the middle out of the O, and just used a marker to draw it. Although I do think it would be cute if it was cut out and had a picture of the child showing through. The kids wrote their name on the inside and drew some pictures or wrote "I love you."
Then they flipped it over and decorated the front with all kinds of sequins. They used a toothpick to apply glue to the card, then put on the sequins.
And they all loved it when I pointed out that when their card was open, MOM turned into WOW! ;o) Tomorrow I will put the flowers and cards into colored paper lunch bags to send home for Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cupcake Liner Flowers

I found a package of brightly colored cupcake liners at the store and I couldn't resist buying them. I knew they would be perfect for an art project. So today the kids turned those liners into beautiful flowers. I folded all the liners in half 3 times. (The liners were white on the inside, so I flattened them out and then folded them with the color on the inside.)
The kids held on to the pointy end and cut a design into the other end. They could snip off the sides or cut a wavy line or cut triangles into it -- whatever they wanted.
When they opened them up they were amazed at their creations! After they cut the liners, they glued green stems onto blue construction paper. (I had cut a bunch of stems out ahead of time, but I also put green paper on the table in case anyone wanted to cut their own stems.) Then they glued the middle of the liner on top of their stem.
They made sure to glue down the white side, and only the middle so the "petals" of the flower would stick out. Then they added leaves. Again, I cut a bunch out but the kids were welcome to cut their own.
Finally, they used white glue to add a pink or purple button to the middle of the flower.

They turned out BEAUTIFULLY! I just love them! Some kids chose to cut the pointy end of the folded cupcake liner so they had a hole in the middle of their flower. Still pretty!
These really brighten up our room and I'm excited to do more flower crafts later this week!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rainbows and Storm Clouds

I have a couple more weather-themed projects to share with you, although the rainbows we actually made for St. Patrick's Day and I never got around to blogging about them. We talked about rainbows last week when we learned about all the crazy weather spring brings, so I thought it was a good time to share them. I first tried Kool-aid art last summer, and I fell in love instantly. You just sprinkle Kool-aid powder on paper, then stand back and spray water on it! It's so easy and creates beautiful art. But last summer the kids just sprinkled it all over their paper any which way. This time I encouraged them to make a rainbow. I set out 6 different colors of Kool-aid and they got to work.
It doesn't look like much at first, but once you use a spray bottle, the colors come to life! And so does the scent!
It's important not to spray too much water on them. The pictures should still have some texture to them. I let the kids use the spray bottle themselves, and a few of them got carried away. Also, don't spray too close to the picture. Spray bottles don't really work when you face them down anyway, so stand back and aim almost straight ahead. Just make sure the Kool-aid powder that is still in the bowls doesn't get hit by the water or it will be ruined for other kids who haven't made theirs yet.

The other weather-related project I want to show you is our storm clouds. During free-play in the morning, when kids were being dropped off, I had them come over to the table one at a time. I put white and black paint on a piece of paper and they used their fingers to swirl it around and mix it up, making a storm cloud.

Then during art time, when it was mostly dry, they used glitter glue to make lightning. I taught them that lightning can be many different colors and that purple lightning is the hottest.
We used gold glitter for yellow, and I didn't have it in a glitter glue pen, so they used regular white glue and then sprinkled gold glitter on top. That was actually easier because those glitter pens can be pretty hard to use! Especially when they are almost empty. For some kids, I ended up squeezing the pen and they moved my hand where they wanted the lightning to go.

We finally have warm spring weather and I hope it's here to stay!