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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Banish Summertime Boredom with Greeting Card Craft Projects!

"Hey Mom (or Dad), I'm bored! What can I do?"

 How many times have you heard those words in your lifetime? Summer is usually when those words ring out in even the busiest homes. The best advice I can give you is to have plenty of paper, glue sticks and colorful markers on hand. If you have a good public library, I suggest that you go to the "Arts and Crafts" section and look for books about greeting card making.

I recently found a delightful crafting book at my own public library.  Pop-Up Paper Structures: The Beginner's Guide to Creating 3-D Elements for Books, Cards & More is jammed packed with well-written instructions for making creative pop-up greeting cards for all kinds of occasions. The best part is that you can adapt any of the design concepts so you can use supplies that you might have on hand. Those are MY kinds of projects--the ones that reuse stuff!



I have a big storage box where I keep all of my hoarded paper supplies. (If you are a regular reader of this blog you might remember my post about re-using greeting cards. ) That big box is the home for the file with all those greetings card pieces. There is also a big zipper bag with my favorite tools and glues in that same big box.

I am sure your older children will be able to find a pop-up greeting in the book shown above, that they could figure out how to make. Just remember, dear parent, try not to be too critical and just go with the flow. So what if some of the cutting is not as straight as you might expect. Let your children be creative. Sometimes their ideas might just be better than yours.

If you are not in the red and green "holiday" spirit yet, you should read "How to make a Watermelon Card Invitation for Summer Parties", make the card then throw one! Not a watermelon--a party! You will still be red and green, but this card will not feature any holly or red noses!



greeting card craft projects
 "Creative Ways To Recycle Holiday Greeting Cards"
Have you saved a ton of cards, you most definitely should read Creative Ways to Recycle Holiday Greeting Cards. This page abounds with many of ideas for recycling those greetings. I particularly like the projects for a "Star Tree" and a "Woven Card" (see them above--Thank you AcornOakForest for allowing me to use your image!). You will be happy to know that there are wonderful photo tutorials to walk you through the steps for making both of these green crafty projects.

If you need a good crafting glue for paper projects, I highly recommend Elmer's Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue. I use it myself to repair books and make my own greeting cards.




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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Little Artists

As the Little Crafty Kids Contributor for Squidoo, I don't just look at craft projects for the under-fives, I look at art ideas, too, because to me, the two subjects are inextricably linked! Many crafts involve at least some painting, drawing or artistic input, and all the creativity that goes into them can only serve to enhance the art that kids go on to produce.

I'm writing about art for preschoolers this week because my daughter has done very little crafting, but a heck of a lot of drawing. She is obsessed at the moment, and is really exploring color, too. So much so, that even food cannot get in the way of this current passion - she doodles away on the paper towel that I put under her breakfast, lunch and dinner plates, so I am currently the proud owner of numerous sheets of beautifully decorated kitchen roll, including numerous rainbow designs like the one on the left, which I am working out how to effectively display in some kind of scrap book!

Engaging with children and their art is a wonderful way to connect and encourage, I feel. Don't simply say, "Oh, that's nice," and definitely never ask, "What's that?" - instead, talk about the shapes and colors and styles used. Comment on what you like about the picture, or why they decided to put that particular object there, or whether there is a story behind it. Today, I was telling my little girl how much I liked the way she had drawn the mountains in the background, and the pattern she had colored on the girl's dress. This led to her explaining more about what the picture meant to her and why she had drawn it.

They may only be young at this age, but don't let that put you off exploring the art world! I have been reading lots recently about introducing different artists to preschoolers, and I heartily agree with this idea.
I recently showed my daughter (4) some of my high school artwork, and she was particularly captivated by this pointillism painting I had done (right). So I explained a little bit about pointillism, impressionism, and Monet, and she expressed interest in having a go herself. As serendipity would have it, one of the books we had taken out the library, Katie and the Waterlily Pond, was about a little girl exploring an art gallery, and she magically hopped in and out of, yes, you guessed it, various Monet paintings whilst trying to paint her own impressionist painting! My little girl was now definitely hooked, and we're in the midst of starting an impressionist project as I write!

The beauty of art is that you can make it as simple or complex as you like - great for deconstructing artists and interpreting them at home for age appropriate activities! 

One of the great things about art for kids is that, like crafts for kids, there is plenty of scope for recycling things! I'm slightly obsessed with melting things at the moment, especially with all the terrific ideas for melted crayon art and melted bead crafts. These projects do of course need adult supervision, but under-fives will just love the things you can do - such as seeing what amazing patterns and colors you can make on canvas with this Melted Crayon Art project by neeznoodle.

Another wonderful form of art for children is modelling with clay. We were using it out in the forest this week, making marvelous mini beasts at forest school (here's Pud's lovely ladybug on the left, decorated with twig legs, leaf wings and catkin spots!) 

As this was a fun activity outdoors, the bug is left unbaked. For ideas at home, don't worry if you don't have access to a kiln for proper clay. There are lots of air drying clays available, as well as non-toxic polymer clays such as Fimo, that you can bake in the oven. You can also make salt dough or your own homemade clay too. 

So, are you inspired? What masterpiece of artwork can you create with your children or grandchildren? If you have enjoyed some great art projects with your under-fives, please come and share them on the Little Crafty Kids Facebook page!

As always, happy crafting.

(c) All photos are copyright of the author





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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Babies Can Craft, Too!

When it comes to crafting with small children, there are always lots of ideas out there for toddlers and preschoolers. But what about the babies? 

Believe it or not, it's never to early to start getting arty with the bubs! Once they are of an age where they can sit unaided and grip things, you can start experimenting with them. Most activities will need to wait until they are between 18 months and 2 years old, but there are some things you can do as early as 8-9 months. 

My 9-month-old son LOVES getting his hands dirty. The gooier and stickier, the better! Unlike my now 4-year-old daughter, who hated getting her hands messy as a babe, my little boy has his hands straight in his breakfast, lunch and tea as soon as he possibly can. As he loathes having his hands and face wiped, I encouraged him to dab his messy fingers onto some kitchen roll (paper towels) and showed him the "finger painting" he had done - which made him giggle! 

(c) Image copyright of the author

Once he got the idea (rinse and repeat until it clicks with baby that he is the one making marks), I whipped up some homemade edible finger paint (made from squished fruit and veg, mainly!) and let him start having fun on paper. You can do this with edible play-dough and sensory materials like rice, pasta and so on, too! Baby can even try stamping with potato stamps using food-based "ink"! 

If baby doesn't mind having food and edible paint on his or her hands, then hand printing is a lovely craft to do! It makes a beautiful keepsake to enjoy for years to come. All you need to do is cover baby's hands with the paint and help them press down onto the paper. We have done this with all the family, printing the hands inside one another according to size (Daddy's first, then mine on top, then my daughter's, then my son's) to create a lovely "our family" picture for the wall. You could make cards for friends and family, too (which older siblings can get involved in making).

I cover this and many other ideas for older babies in Crafts for 1 Year Olds. If you like the hand print idea, then crafting connoisseur Pastiche has lots more of them in her Hand Print Crafts guide.

If you want to have a go at making homemade paint for baby, then you'll find several recipes in Homemade Paint for Kids  (just make sure you pick the ones that are entirely food-based and edible, so it is safe for baby to put in his mouth). As for play dough and clay, homemade recipes are covered in Recipes for Fun - Kids Play Doughs and Clays by jkvkdailey.

Now go and enjoy nurturing your tiny one's creative spark!




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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Crafting is for Life, Not Just the Holidays!

I love how crafts can seep into every area of life. My daughter is an autonomous learner, which means an unstructured home education that is child-led and follows subjects that she is interested in. Right now we are learning about the body, and building a skeleton. This term at forest school is all about minibeasts, and there is a new show on the CBeebies channel all about minibeasts too, so we are learning lots about insects! My daughter has taken a great interest in musical instruments recently, and also wants to learn about the vikings. And, as I mentioned last week, we do weekly crafts and activities based around a picture book of choice. All of these topics can include crafts, so not only are we getting creative and arty, we are learning lots, too!


 At the start of the week, we went on a lovely morning out in the forest for the May Bank Holiday. An author was visiting with her book, Teddy Edward's Rainbow Walk, and along with the storytelling and songs was a "rainbow walk" to find lots of different colored "nature treasures" which the children then glued onto a beautiful big rainbow painted onto a large sheet of paper (above). The collage created from the many shades of leaves, twigs, flowers and pine cones was a sight to behold!


Yesterday, we made a tambourine (left) and a kazoo. Both were simple to make and used mostly everyday materials, but the process was super fun and produced great results! Whether crafting from nature, junk or actual craft materials, there are so many DIY instruments you can make. My latest lens on how to Make your Own Tambourine shows you just how easy it can be!

Our skeleton crafts have encompassed both literacy (we recently read and had fun with the book Funnybones), art (chalk drawings, glow in the dark paint, moving paper skeletons), puzzles (printing out and piecing back together skeleton bones) and science - we're building a skeleton week by week with a cool partworks series, which comes with a magazine explaining all about how the body works, and to demonstrate how strong our bones are, despite being hollow, we did a fantastic craft where we stuck about 30 drinking straws inside cardstock and rolled them up to make a bone, before placing things on top to see how strong the construction was!


We also made cotton bud skeletons (right) and pasta skeletons, which LeanneChesser explains how to make in her Spooky Skeleton Crafts, along with toilet roll skeletons, skeleton mobiles and more!  

Minibeasts have also brought out the crafters in us - insect nature collages, making up mud minibeasts at forest school, and even creating our own ant farm out of a plastic container. I can't wait to have a go at making the super cute pom pom peg butterflies that Spelloutloud shows us how to make as part of their Butterfly Unit for Young Children.

You don't have to be a home educator to nurture your child with creativity and learning through crafts - taking time to do this one evening a week or at the weekend will create wonderful memories and teach them so much.










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