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Make Fall Frames

Show off all you have to be thankful for in this adorable frame….I am talking about your family!  So, I have a super crafty friend who had us over to make these adorable frames for Halloween. I chose paper that could be kept up for the fall and Thanksgiving, simply because I like to do less decorating and have less storage.

Fall Frames

These are simple and are a great craft for children and adults alike. The frames with a family picture or child’s art work make a perfect gift for family or the Thanksgiving hostess this year.

What you need:

Wood frame (the one I used is a dollar frame from Michaels

Wood cut out (pumpkin used in pictured frame)

Scrapbook paper (I used 12×12 to have the two frames match)

paint

paintbrush

adhesive (glue)

sandpaper

scissors and Exacto knife

This is the back of the frame and you can paint before or after paper is applied.

If you choose before,  leave time for drying before you complete the craft.

Back of the FrameWhat to Do:

First paint the inside and outer edges and allow to dry.

During this time, cut the paper to fit whole frame. This will not be perfect and can be cut closer to edge with exacto knife and will then be sandpapered to get that smooth look on the edges.

Smear glue onto front of wooden frame and place paper on to dry. Cut out the middle square with an exacto knife and then smoothing the edges with sand paper.

Repeat the same process with your chosen wooden cut out and glue to your frame when it is all dry. I placed the pumpkin in different locations, you can also print the year or family name onto the wooden cut-out. I kept mine plain in case I wanted to change the picture in the future.

Here are the edges of the frame after the sandpaper.

Fall Frame

These frames are so inexpensive and can be used throughout the year. The same craft above can be used for all holidays with the appropriate paper. Think of all the beautiful paper for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and vacations. Check out other ideas for these frames such as the summertime Life is a Beach frame and the Nuts and Bolts Father’s Day frame.

These frames can be used for girl scouts, birthday parties and in classrooms for parents gifts. Of course, if you choose to use paper get some adult helpers for the exacto knife part. But, children of all ages can do some variation using these frames. Happy decorating!

Decorative Clip Board

This started as a request for my daughter to bring in a clip board to use at school during reading time. We decided to decorate and have her name on the board. I had plenty of scraps and craft leftovers for my daughter to choose a variety of colors and textures. This craft is inexpensive, creative and fun. First, buy a plain clip board. They can be found for around two dollars.

You can be much more creative than we were. The possibilities are exciting from old postcards, pictures, cut outs, fabric and more. In our pictures, you will see stickers, flowers and scrapbook paper. You will also need Mod Podge or another clear adhesive.

Place papers, stickers, and all of your materials on clip board. Apply first layer of adhesive and allow to dry for about twenty minutes. I used a paintbrush to apply and then place in water so the adhesive does not dry on the brush. Apply and dry as many time as is needed. It may take longer for thicker paper.

We chose not to decorate the sides, but would have added ribbon to cover and decorate the sides. Since it was for school and most likely going to be well utilized, we just Mod Podged the sides to be smooth.

If your child enjoys making gifts for others, this would be perfect. It could easily be themed for teachers, coaches, fathers and mothers for gifts. Are you looking for a great girl scout, playgroup or birthday craft? Children will love bringing these home and using them for sketching or writing. Have fun creating!

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Cupcake Liner Flowers

Looking for another way to use left over doilies and cupcake liners? These simple and fun flowers are a joy for little ones to create. The flowers make pretty birthday and shower decorations. Place them in a vase, pot or plant.

All you need are cupcake liners of any size and color, doilies and popsicle sticks. The doilies are optional or you could cut a circle out of paper for some more color.

Flatten out one of the cupcake liners. Glue on to the doilie. Place the cupcake liner and glue onto the flattened piece, as seen below.

The popsicle stick will then be taped or glued to the back and left to dry.

Simple and fun always works for a quick afternoon craft. Make a few for a bouquet to give as gifts for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Fourth of July Watermelon Carving

Fourth of July is such a fun time to gather with friends and family. Are you looking for a fun and creative activity for your family on the Fourth of July?  Watermelon carving is a blast and a unique new tradition or memory for guests and family.  We chose to use small melons that each child could draw and cut,  if appropriate age.  Large melons would be great for a family to do together especially with small children. The rules are the same for pumpkin carving, except have plenty of storage or containers to serve the fresh watermelon. If you plan to have guests participate in this activity, let them know ahead of time so they can wear the appropriate clothing.

You will need:

Melon

Knife

Area set up for a mess

Spoon

Bowl

Place the melon on the side that allows it to stay up without falling over.

Then cut the top off, just like with a pumpkin.

Set the top aside and start to scoop out watermelon into bowl.

Once it is all scooped out, I rinsed out with water to get the stickiness off the outside. Dry.

The drawing and carving begins.

We only had knives, but you could use carving utensils that are meant for pumpkins.

The little ones drew on the watermelons with sharpie markers as the adults did the carving.

It was a blast and they were pretty awesome all lit up!

Now you may have plenty of watermelon, so what can you do with it?

Make watermelon coolers for all of your guests.

You will need:

8 cups of i/2 inch watermelon cubes

1 1/2 cups ginger ale

1/3 cup water

1 (6 ounce) can of frozen limeade concentrate

Freeze watermelon for about eight hours in a freezer bag (single layer.) Thaw at room temperature for fifteen minutes. blend or process the ginger ale, water, limeade concentrate and the watermelon. If you need to do in half batches for size reasons please do! It is possible to substitute honeydew melon for the watermelon and lemonade for the limeade. Either way, you will have a cool refreshing drink!

I found this watermelon recipe from Southern Living, 2007.

Watermelon Kabobs

Another idea is to make kabobs, a perfect treat for gatherings.

Cut watermelon into squares. Use other ingredients such as cheddar cheese, turkey, other fruit and melons.

Place onto coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Guests will enjoy the ease of eating these tasty treats.

A Flag Worth Waving

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are many reasons in America to wave your flag. Here is a simple idea to show your pride and instill some tradition in your children. A dear friend of mine had us over for Fourth of July and gave us blank linen flags to take home and write words that we thought would show our feelings of the brave men and women on the

Fourth of July.

Blank Mini-Flag

When we returned home with our blank flags, we read Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier and then wrote with Sharpie marker onto our mini-flags.

Each year on Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day we display these in a glass jar with confetti, curling ribbon or whatever I have on hand.

This activity is ideal for classroom or homeschool children when learning about american symbols. It may be used for Flag Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Flag day is in June and falls during National Flag Week. Search your area for flag raising ceremonies and celebrations. The National Flag Day Foundation is focused on educating and organizing activities and events that honor the country.

Flag Facts:

-On June 14, 1777 the continental congress changed the symbols on the Grand union flag to a new design. The new flag had thirteen stars, one for each state at the time, in a circle on  a background of blue and also had thirteen red and white stripes.

-The United States flag is also called “Old Glory” and “Star Spangled Banner.”

-The modern flag has fifty stars, one for each state and thirteen red and white stripes for the original thirteen colonies.

-Flag Day is observed on June 14th.

Make a Sombrero for Cinco de Mayo

Looking for a cute decoration or craft for Cinco de Mayo? Making a sombrero is fun and creative for children. You can also make for your own fiesta!

First of all the pictures on this page show styrofoam, which I do not recommend for several reasons. The first and most important is that they are wasteful and do not decompose. Now, on the other hand, if you are recycling from a restaurant then I would say use them. They are not as easy to decorate, but worth it if you are reusing. But, you get the idea.

You will need a paper plate and paper cup and tape. You can choose small or normal, it is up to you.

Optional items include pom poms, paint, glitter glue and sequins.

Tape the paper cup to the paper plate (in the picture below, a hole was made to push the cup through.)

If you would like to make the cups look authentic, paint them a light brown or cream color. Let it dry and then decorate.

Otherwise, just decorate and you have a mini sombrero!

Other versions of this craft:

Using larger white and cardboard plates, with paper cups, decorate, add ribbon to the paper plates to tie on and wear. Place hole in the sides of the plate to add the ribbon. Also, to decorate add streamers to the ends of the plate. These sombreros would look great hanging from your ceiling for a fiesta or just for fun.

Have fun and let the children get creative. Plan a small party for a group of friends. Make mini sombreros, do the Mexican Hat Dance and have a piñata and you are all set for a fun celebration. Serve some simple food such as chips, guacamole and salsa. If your having children, serve up quesadillas as most kids will eat this!

Quesadillas

Ingredients

Tortillas (corn, if you are serving gluten free)

Grated cheese (cheddar or monterey jack)

Oil or butter

Optional items to include, avocado, onions, sliced olives, mushrooms, anything you want!

Heat frying pan on medium high heat. Spread oil or butter. Place tortilla on pan, flip it a few times to warm it up. Sprinkle cheese and any other of your optional ingredients. Fold it in half, flip once to melt cheese. Cut into wedges and serve warm. You can always serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

The Mexican Hat Dance

This is a national folk dance that is also known as Jarabe Tapatio and was written in the 1800s during the revolution. Teaching children the dance with music is fun and is a great way to use their brand new mini sombreros! it can be done with a partner or whole group.

Four Seasons Paper Plate Craft

How to Make a “Four Seasons” Paper Plate Craft

What you will need:

White, plain paper plates

Construction paper (green, brown)

Glue

Cotton balls

Crayons or markers

Hole punch

Yarn or pipe cleaners

Tissue paper

This is a fun craft project to go with learning about the seasons. It can be done over several days or as you speak about each season and then display the while craft at the end. This would be appropriate with help for preschool age kids and also for kindergarten and first grade students. Classroom teachers could use this lesson in center time.

To make the Craft:

Winter

Cut out tree with brown construction paper, color background black and ground white (leave blank), glue cotton balls or torn white construction paper for snow.

Spring

Cut out trunk in brown construction paper, color background, crumple small tissue for new buds and glue on branches.

Summer

Color background on paper plate, cut and glue brown tree trunk and cut out green tree tops.

Fall

Color background, cut out brown tree trunk, green leaves and glue falling leaves.


Hanging the paper plate season craft:

Hole punch the top and bottom of paper plates, have children use pipe cleaners to attach together. For younger students, the parents or teacher may need to tie the plates together. On the top plate make a loop to hang on the wall. These hang nicely at home or in the classroom.

Books and Poems:

There are many books, songs and poems about the seasons and each can be used for literature and the thematic unit. Children can make their own poems for each season, which can also be displayed along with the craft or made into a seasons book. Teachers can create thematic books and folders to compile all of their thematic papers and art to take home neatly at the end of the seasons study.

Four Stories for Four seasons by Tomie dePaola

Arctic Winter, Arctic Summer by Reid and Canizares

Scholastic offers many choices

Moonstick: The Seasons of Sioux by Eve Bunting

Music:

Listen to Vivaldi during craft time. For further discussion, have children listen to corresponding season and dance and feel the music and discuss how it reminds them of certain month or season.

Studying the seasons of the year has science and more behind it, this craft and introduction to the seasons is ideal for younger students at home or in school.

A List Poem

Poetry is an exciting way for young learners to play with words. This is an easy but still important poetry lesson. It is a simple way to introduce brainstorming and adjectives as well as poetry. if you are working with a group of children such as scouts or a classroom you need to have a board or large paper for the group poem. this is to role model the process. as I always state (or think in my head) this lesson can be tailored for younger or older students.

As a group decide on the topic of the group poem.

Let’s say someone said dolphins:

Then you would write the title and write down all of the responses of descriptive words. Depending on the crowd, you may have too many words. So, this is your chance to discuss words that are similar and how to eliminate.

Then you write the final list poem.

Dolphins

Sleek

Friendly

Fast

Jumping

Dolphins

When you have completed writing the first poem together, allow the child or the children to write their own.  The beauty of this lesson is that it can be used for almost any topic. It would be ideal for animals, seasons, nature, social studies and much more.

A Few Examples:

Beginning of the year:  Have students write a list poem about themselves.

Mother’s Day/Father’s Day: Have child make a card and write list poem inside about parent.

Earth Day: Choose a topic such as the earth, land, pollution, ocean, trees etc and write a list poem. Extend it into an art project using paint and paper to illustrate the topic.

Simple Flower Science

This is s a simple experiment for children of all ages. The visual of how water travels through a plant is amazing and would go along well with any study of plants.

First, you need to gather the materials:

White flowers such as carnations or daisies

Flower vases, glasses or jars

Food coloring (any color you want)

Water

Science notebook if desired (see note below)

White Flowers (before)

Directions:

Fill the glass about one quarter full with water.

Add plenty of food coloring (try about 15 drops and see how dark it is, you may need more if your using larger jars.)

Have an adult trim the flowers at an angle.

Put a flower into each filled jar.

Observe, discuss and journal.

Questions:

What is happening? Do some colors seem to show more? What part of the flower do you see the color in?

Science Notebooks:

If you already have a science notebook for your classroom or children at home, utilize that book. Otherwise, take two pieces of plain white paper and fold it in half. Staple together to make a small booklet. Have the child design the cover and write name on it. the title could be “Flower Science” or “Colorful Flowers.” On the first page, write or draw what the flowers look like before the activity. the next few pages can be used for observation drawings, marking the hours, time or date. the final page can be for written results and explaining why the color can be seen.

What Exactly Happens?

For Younger Kiddos:

Plants, flowers and trees drink water from the ground through their roots, kind of like a straw. The water moves up the stem and travels into the leaves and flowers. The plant will use this water to make food for itself. Explain that the roots are no longer on cut flowers, although it would be good to show a picture of a flower with roots.

Older Children:

The food coloring and water goes through the sap tubes that produce the required capillary force. Capillary action carries water from the beakers to the petals of the white flower, which causes it to change color. It is the same thing that causes water to rise up in plants and trees. It goes through the roots, trunk or stem and then on to the flowers and leaves.

Transpiration-It is the loss of water vapor from the leaves, stems, flowers and roots. It is part of the water cycle.

Two Colored Flowers:

Another version of this activity is to split the stem and use two colors on one white flower. You would fill two glasses with water and use two different colors of dye, one in each glass. Split the stem in half. place one half in each glass. Check it out in a couple of hours.

This is also just a fun decoration for any holiday or celebration. St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, President’s Day and birthdays would all be great times to make colorful flowers either as decoration or as gifts!

Veterans Day Celebration

Honoring military veterans, the holiday Veterans Day falls on November 11th.  This is the anniversary date of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War 1.  In the 1950′s the name of the holiday Armistice Day was officially changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.

Each Veterans Day check your local area for celebrations, parades and activities.

Here are a few things and activities to do with your family at home:

IDEAS:

READ STORIES (Appropriate for age)

My favorite book is The Wall by Eve bunting. Most of her books are my favorite!

  • Activity Idea:  In the story they make a rubbing of the name on the wall, you could place objects like a quarter under paper and rub with the side of a crayon to make your own  rubbing.

Books about Flag

  • Design flags
  • Write words/phrases on flag as below that have to do with story read or Veterans Day

Here is the plain flag that was bought from the store. The child could draw or paint the flag and then write on it when it is dry.

The words were written on the flag with a fine point sharpie permanent marker.  The words below were written by an eight year old boy who studied the civil war in his second grade class and also had just read the Star Spangled Banner.  That may explain some of his words he chose to write on the flag!

WRITE LETTERS

  • Design notes and letters to send to troops or veterans.
  • Younger children draw pictures and have the adult write a short message and note the child’s name and age.  If the child would like a certain message, put quotes around the message along with child’s name.

If you do not know anyone to send letters to, we  have found troops to send to through churches, local VA medical centers and check with local retirement center for veterans that would like to receive notes of thanks.

RESEARCH

Older children can research American war heroes such as George Washington. Have them write or present their findings. They could even act out the part for a meaningful experience they will not forget!  Give some creative free choice on how to present the material, children (and students) always amaze me how creative they can be when allowed the time.

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