Showing posts with label kids crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids crafts. Show all posts

Encouraging Children in Crafts- No Sew Pillows and "Baby" Quilt for the Beginner

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As someone whose life is so totally entrenched in the arts- from photography, drawing, printmaking to yarn art and sewing, I encourage my children on a daily basis to create and think creatively.  When they're bored, I try to set them up with arts and crafts.  Sometimes I have a lot of time and we make something elaborate, and others it's a fleeting learning experience made from popsicle sticks, toilet paper holders and glue.  

One of the most important things to remember when teaching your children (or other people's children) about art is that it is one subject that is totally subjective.  What is aesthetically pleasing to one person is not to another, what meaning I draw from a painting will probably differ from the meaning you draw from it.  This is not to say that either is wrong, with most art it is the reaction, the discussion, the feeling that determines the success of the art.

It is ok to make mistakes, it is ok to draw a purple ladybug (c'mon, many artists have had a weird streak!), and it is ok if it doesn't look like it could sell at a gallery, let alone a shelf at walmart.  It is the creation, the exploration and curiosity that make teaching art so much fun.

Here are two examples of where I had to let go of perfection (the kind I would expect from myself) and let my kids have fun with it.

Zebra Pillows

We were at the craft store one day and I always have to go to the clearance section- sometimes you can get great swatches of fabric for super cheap just because it's small or the last of a roll.  I found this awesome zebra fleece which I estimated from the measurements should be enough to make two small throw pillows.  I set this fabric aside for a rainy day and when it came, it was the easiest craft ever and the girls were both totally entertained.  

How it's made:  
Cut two squares of fleece about 4-5 inches bigger than you want your pillow.  Cut 1" strips about two inches in all the way around the squares (holding them together).  Tie matching strips together around three edges, lightly stuff with poly fil and tie knots around half of the remaining row.  Add more stuffing if needed, finish tying knots around.

How to encourage your children to help:
I have a 3 year old and a 7 year old.  I pretty much let my 7 year old do her entire pillow by herself.  She was able to cut the strips, tie all the ties and stuff the pillow.  (I think she did need some help with a few ties but she did 99% of the pillow by herself)  For my little one, I cut all the strips and it was a good lesson on how to try to tie knots.  She especially enjoyed stuffing the pillow.  They both love their pillows and display them on their bed, and it makes them proud to show someone what they made!

Simple "Baby" Quilt for the Beginner

I had been sewing up a storm and my 7 year old girl had been watching me begging to do a project of her own.  I set her down with some different fabrics, told her to cut some squares of matching sizes and that took her about an hour.  We packed everything up and the next day she began making rows.  It's a simple straight stitch to make a row of four blocks, three times. Then, she sewed the three strips together.  She picked a solid fabric for the backing and I attached the border for her.  Then, she picked a zig zag stitch and "quilted" all over the blanket.  (I think this was her favorite part)

No, it doesn't look perfect, but it's a great first try.  She loves it, and "gave" the blanket to her baby, who sleeps under it on her zebra pillow in bed at night.  

I love encouraging my children to develop themselves through art- Whether they want my yarn scraps from when I'm weaving in ends, or if they're using our old toilet paper rolls, I want them to explore their creativity, discover their likes and dislikes, and find yet another way to express themselves.

Is there a way that you encourage your children through crafting? Leave me a comment!

Guest Post: Arts and Crafts with Belarusian Children

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Arts and Crafts with Belarusian Children

This article was written by Ella Rose West, author of the Selfish Mum parenting blog – Ella posts about all things travel, family and home related, and believes passionately in mums living life to the full!

So my best friend did a crazy thing recently and volunteered to let 2 little girls from a village in Belarus stay with her for 4 weeks. Why? I asked her. Why not? she replied. And that’s why I love her.

Let me explain about the girls. They’re from a village in Belarus that is still suffering from the explosion and subsequent radiation leak at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. The radiations is still present in the air they breathe back home, in their water supply, and the ground they grow food in, so the villagers are generally very ill, and also very poor. There are charities in many Western countries that bring children across for a month to provide them with better nutrition that helps boost their immune systems and can add years on to their lives. It’s definitely worth checking out in Google!

Babysitting the Kids
She’d asked me in advance whether I’d be her “official” babysitter for the girls, meaning, could she get me CBR checked by the charity so she could dump them on me at a moment’s notice. Great friend – or glutton for punishment – I said yes.
And so that is how I ended up looking after two little girls who barely spoke any English for an evening. Thank God for Google Translate – we coped.

Our Paintings
Ok, so it wasn’t a moment’s notice, she had a work friend’s leaving meal (or something like that) planned in advance, so I knew this day was coming. She’d told me they love to do arts and crafts activities, and so I bought materials, and we made beautiful pictures of the local skyline to take home as souvenirs of their time in the UK.

How to Create the Painting
1. Start by using red paint and lots of water. Do side to side strokes from the top of the page to about two-thirds of the way down. Make sure the paint is a brighter, darker red at the top and becomes paler as you move down the page.
2. Use blue paint and do the exact same thing but from the bottom of your page working upwards to where the red paint ends.
3. Find something circular to draw around to mark the sun, and use a pencil to mark the outline. Colour in using yellow paint.
4. Add some yellow strokes into the red sky and blue sea, brighter nearer to the sun and fading out further away.
5. Add a couple of easy black birds in the sky using black paint.
6. On black paper, draw some of your area’s local landmarks. Cut the silhouettes out and stick them onto the painting.

Slime {Craft Tutorial}

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After I did Oobleck with the kids, they were screaming for more gooey projects... so I found a recipe for Slime and figured we would try that!  They loved it (though not as much as the oobleck), and played with it for at least an hour after we made it.

Ingredients Needed:

One larger bowl filled with 1 1/3 c. Warm Water (must be warm, but need not be hot)
2 TBSP Borax, added to same bowl of water, mixed well

In smaller bowl, 3/4 c. warm water (once again needs to be warm)
one Cup of Glue
Food Coloring

Mix the glue and food coloring into the smaller bowl.  Mix well!  Try not to get it on the table like me... :D

 Add the contents of the small bowl to the large bowl all at once.  Let sit for about 2 minutes to set up and then lift it out of the water.  It will feel really slimy, but as you pack it together it will gain a little more on the solid form.

We found that this slime snapped apart if you pulled on it, if you made a ball and left it on the table it would flatten out, and you could put two pieces together and they would slowly meld together.

It's not as fun as playdoh, you can't really make shapes out of it, but they had a lot of fun playing with the funky texture and just messing around with it.

We kept ours in ziploc bags and they will last for weeks!


Mosaic Aprons {Craft Tutorial}

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Going off of an idea from the Disney Family Fun website for making your own mosaic shirt, I decided that this Saturday at our Play Day, we'll be making aprons for all of our artistic ventures. 

What you'll need:

Something to be your apron: By this, I mean that you can do one of two things:  you can A) go to the craft store, or the kitchen store, or goodwill or whatever and buy yourself a couple of aprons  or you can B) upcycle one of your old white T-shirts  or you can C) go and purchase a plain white T-shirt to upcycle.  If you want to upcycle a tshirt to an apron, all you have to do is cut the sleeves and back shoulders off (leaving the hole for the neck, and use the lower part of the shirt to cut a piece that can tie in the back). I shopped around and found several options for aprons that you could buy, and after looking on Amazon and seeing that the cheapest one was around $15, I decided to take my chances with the local craft store.  A stop at Michael's proved to be worth it, as I scored two aprons for just $1 each!

Carrots:  You will cut these into shapes and they will be used as your stampers.

Fabric Paint or Ink:  I used Fabric Screen Printing ink, since I had some lying around.  Just make sure that you follow any setting instructions that are included with the ink/paint.  Mine said to let it air dry for a couple of hours, then to lay a paper bag or Kraft paper on top, and then iron for about two minutes to heat set the ink.

Unfortunately, while you're making aprons, you probably don't have one to wear... so make sure that you wear an old t-shirt that you don't care about when you do this project.  That way you won't mourn stains on your clothing!

Tip: Have everything all set up before you start.  Your kids will get bored quickly if they have to wait for you to cut the carrots and prepare the ink.  I laid out a piece of Kraft paper on my table so I wouldn't have any messes to clean up.
  Once you're all set up, all you have to do is roll up the kids' sleeves and let them stamp away!

When they're all done, let the aprons air dry for a couple of hours and then heat set per paint instructions.

Oobleck, simply one of the best things EVER.

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Today Lily had a play date and we decided to make Oobleck!  Oobleck, as you might know is a gooey substance that is both a liquid and a solid and has some very interesting properties.  I thought it would be something fun that they could play with and see how it would entertain them!  There have been several occasions in my life in which I have made oobleck, however they have all been a very long time ago and I haven't felt the need nor opportunity to make it again.  Well, now I have children!  (and this is a very good excuse!)

For today's Oobleck, we used the following items and ingredients:

Roughly 1.5 c Cornstarch
Roughly 1 c of Water (read on to see why I say "Roughly")
Casserole dishes, about 2" deep
Food coloring (must find stain free food coloring, if it even exists)
Our hands

How it's done:
Put your cornstarch in the casserole dish and slowly mix in the water using your hands.  You'll notice that when there isn't much water, or when the water is separated from the cornstarch, it is very hard to mix.  You might need to add more water or cornstarch to get the right consistency (which is why I said "roughly" earlier) We had to help the children get it going.  You'll know it's the right texture when you are able to pick it up and shape a ball with it, but then it will melt pretty quickly in your hand.  You can give it just one color or you can add several colors and marble them together as we did.

DISCLAIMER:  This stuff is super awesome.  It makes a mess, but I guarantee that your kids will LOVE this activity and play with it forever.  You will even want to play with it.  It's nearly impossible to keep your hands OUT of the Oobleck, actually.

Our kids played with it for 45 minutes straight before the first one decided that she was done, and the second followed suit quickly.  However, as anyone who has 3-4 year old children knows, for them to be interested in it for that long is amazing.

After a while, just playing with the Oobleck seemed boring, so we decided to try our luck at pulling oobleck prints just like The Imagination Tree, and it was super fun!  Each of the kids pulled 3 prints, then they decided that they were done, and cleaned up.

After they were all cleaned up, however, us adults decided to try our luck at pulling prints!  It was super fun!

I recommend letting the print dry, then just rubbing your hand over it to remove the excess oobleck mixture and reveal more color that soaks into the paper!

About two hours after we finished with the oobleck, the kids came back around asking for more!  The water dries up quite a bit, but we just added a bit more water and they were back in business!
The blog over at Mossy Mossy contains a lot of really interesting facts about Oobleck and why it behaves the way it does- you should check it out!

All in all, this activity earns 5/5 Hearts from me as a mom, it kept the kids entertained for a really long period of time and I've got Lily asking me already when we're going to do it again!

Have you Made Ooobleck? If so, share it here!