So I'm noticing that as I am evolving this year as a person- currently pursuing a degree in Art, as well as more hands on "mommying" (I'm thinking that we should add that word to Webster's), AND as my adorable 2 year is now old enough to participate in crafts with me, I'll probably do more posts focused on activities and crafts that can be done at home OR school.
About a month ago, as I was making one of my periodic attempts to organize my crafting supplies in a more efficient manner, Ari got hold of my bucket of foam shapes. While I'd been attempting to introduce the various shapes and colors to him over the course of the Summer, Ari decided that today was just for fun- and with that decision made, he promptly emptied the bucket onto the carpet. He was so exciting to watch and feel the shapes fall all around him, that he spontaneously began to gather more shapes by the handful and toss them into the air, laughing as they rained back down on him!
While not educational in a traditional sense, the fun (that lasted close to 15 minutes!) taught Ari about softness, laughter, and is sure to be strengthening his arms for future sports ;)
And since it is Fall right now, why not incorporate the activity into your classroom with Fall leaves? Take the kids on a nature walk with paper bags and fill them with not only the soft freshly fallen leaves, but also the dead crunchy leaves; and when you get back to your classroom/play space, allow the children to just revel in the joy of experiencing the leaves!
These stamps are fun and super versatile, and best of all- they're free!
You will need:
Exacto Knife/Razor Blade
Brown marker (optional)
An adult needs to prepare the stamp in advance by cutting 2 nicks at the opposite sides of the same end of the cork (doesn't make sense? Check the photos below). Now provide the kids with the paint, paper and corks and show them how to "press and lift"- Press the cork in to the pint and lift, press the cork onto the paper and lift.
You can use the brown marker once the paint is dry to draw stems. I like to use this technique on the cover of my cards and then place a photo of the kids in their apple costumes inside the card.
These mats are fun for the kids to make, easy to clean, and beautiful for the table.
You will need:
Red/Green/Yellow construction paper
Clear contact paper (I like the colorations brand because it's super clear)
Ripped/cut up tissue paper squares
Cut a large apple shape from the center of the sheet of construction paper, being careful not to cut the frame.
Mount the paper onto a sheet of contact paper and trim the edges. Have the kids fill in the apple with the tissue paper. You can combine this with a lesson on the various colors that apples come in or just allow free expression and use all colors.
Finally, cover the exposed side with a second sheet of contact paper and trim that.
You now have a honey mat that will wipe clean.
As we all get ready to send out our Shanah Tova cards- here's a cute way to tell mom and dad we love them!
You will need:
1-2 Red Poster boards
1 Brown poster board
1 green poster board
Thick rubber band
Cut the red posters into a basic apple shape. The second poster board would be for a double sided costume- completely unnecessary but can look cuter. Then, cut long strips from the brown poster- about 2-3 inches thick. Use the green poster to make the leaves- use your creativity. you may want the leaves to sit on a brown crown (stem). Finally, use the stapler and rubber band to make an adjustable back to the crown. Click here
I like to have the kids decorate the front of a card either by stamping real apples, or creating an apple stamp using cork. Then on the inside, I would put in a Rosh Hashanah message, and sign it "Love, the Apple of your eye"
Have a happy Sweet New Year!
Do you have some form of a Mitzvah Tree in your classroom?
I always had a hard time getting parents to actually write the Mitzvah notes even when I sent blank Mitzvah notes home. So I brainstormed to see what I could do to change that. Why are Mitzvah notes so important? They give kids 30 seconds to shine and be singled out in front of everyone. For the shyer kids, this is a huge confidence booster. For the more outgoing child, these give them extra positive reinforcement.
So at first I sent home a sheet of 5-6 blank notes every Friday and told parents that if easier, they could just send in all 5 on Monday and we would read one each day. It still wasn't really doing the trick though. So I switched it up a bit. Now, I don't bother sending the Mitzvah notes home, I just keep a bucket of precut Mitzvah notes at the kids' cubbies with a sign above it asking parents to please write one. I keep an empty bucket next to it to place the written Mitzvah Notes inside, and then I can read them at circle time.
Now for the notes themselves. For the past few years, I've been changing the mitzvah notes every two weeks when we would switch units. This year I changed it up a bit. I'm switching by season. So when we started the year, it was Summer, so we had Summer fruit Mitzvah notes. For the Fall, we had different Fall leaves, and now, during the Winter, we have snowflakes. I've also been changing the actual tree and saving the notes. At the end of the year, I'll give each kid a bunch of his/her mitzvah notes to make a frame with, and then place their photo in the center. Another fun thing to do is simply collage with them. Parents get a real kick out of seeing their mitzvah note from the beginning of the year!
How do YOU get your parents tho write/bring them in?? Comment below!
I missed posting last night, so I'll do 2 tonight. This will be my final Fall post for this year, since I've been asked to move on to Chanukah! Anyways, back to the leaf rubbings, we took the kids on a Fall nature walk to collect different Fall leaves. When we returned to school, I taped them to writing paper (it's super thin) like so. Finally, the kids turned the paper over, and gently colored with the crayon at a slant and voila! The leaves appeared!
Doesn't it look great?!
My favorite Fall fruit is apples because of their versatility. There are so many fun things to do with apples, here are some ideas:
Apple Graphing- Many of you probably do some sort of apple taste test for Rosh Hashanah, but if you didn't, you can now! Prepare a chart with each child's name followed by 3+ blank columns, depending on how many apples you'd like to taste. The classics are of course, Granny Smith (green), Golden Delicious (Yellow), and Red Delicious (Red). If your kids are older, you may want to include Gala or Fuji and point out it's many colors, for fuji you can also point out its crispiness. Prepare slices of each apple for each kid to taste, and pass them out one at a time. Remind kids that we all have different tastes. You may want to give the kids 2 at a time, and ask which was their favorite, documenting on the chart. When you've tasted all apples, describe and show the results to the kids.
Apple Stamping- Slice apples in half horizontally so that the flower of seeds is visible, and remove the seeds. Use these apple halves as stamps to either dip in ink or paint and create beautiful prints!
Applesauce- Cook apples on stovetop (if you teach older kids you can do this in your classroom with a hot plate) and place them in a bowl. Provide the kids with forks to mash the apples, and season with some cinnamon and sugar- delicious! You can even send some home in small plastic containers!
Fruit Leather- You can either make applesauce or use prepared applesauce for this. You'll need a well oiled baking sheet, and simply spread the applesauce about 1/4 inch thick and bake for 6-8 hours on lo (200-250). When it's done, it will simply peel straight off the pan. I like to give the kids some to taste and then bag the rest and send it home to share with the families.
Apple Mat- Follow the instructions to make Stained Glass
except, cut out Apples from red, green or yellow construction paper, and fill in with appropriate colored tissue paper. You can also make the stained glass papers smaller, and add a small hole at the top to create a car hanger, door hanger, etc. (see the picture below).
Apple Cork Stamps- I don't remember where I saw the blog post with this idea, but it's too fabulous not to share! Cut 2 nicks opposite each other in the same end of a cork. This will be your stamp. You can dip into apple colored paints and press onto paper. Once it's dried, you can give the kids brown markers to draw stems.
Now that we have the background of Fall crafts- don't worry I've got more up my sleeve :), today I had so much fun with my kids as we decorated a sign for our bulletin board proclaiming that it is indeed the Fall. First, I cut out the Letters F A L L, along with 4-5 different Fall leaves. Google images provided me with the ideas for different leaves :) Next, I provided the kids with tissue paper squares that were green, red, orange, yellow, and brown; following the progression of color that the leaves go through. The children had so much fun gluing the tissue paper squares to the letters and leaves, and then shaking off the excess squares, and when it's dry we'll hang the whole ensemble on our wall for all to see!
Stained glass is a fun craft that can be applied to any unit by simply changing the shape and color!
You will need:
Fall colored Construction paper- one per child
2 sheets of contact paper per child
Tissue paper squares
Fall leaves that the children picked on a nature walk
First draw a large leaf on each sheet of construction paper. Then, cut it out so that you are left with the complete frame- feel free to butcher the actual leaf, or save it for an additional Fall project! Next, carefully stick one sheet of contact paper onto each page, covering the sticky window with the nonstick part of the contact paper to protect it. When the kids are ready to do the project, simply remove the non stick paper, and set out either tissue paper squares in Fall colors, or actual Fall leaves that they collected. Once the sticky leaf is covered, cover that side with the second sheet of contact paper, and hang against a sunny window for a stained glass effect!
So, I wrote in the previous post about the corn prints, and today, I went searching through my photo archives for a picture to demonstrate the technique. The picture shows the corn being stamped to resemble a flower print, as well as rolled to resemble polka dots.