Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cupcake Craft

Here is a simple cupcake craft we made today. I made puffy paint with glue, shaving cream and tempera paint. The girls painted on cardstock paper.
Then they added some cookie sprinkles.
After they dried, I cut out a cupcake shape from it and glued it to a white piece of paper. Older kids could probably just paint a cupcake shape like I did.
That looks more like ice cream, I know. Anyway, I also cut out a trapezoid shape from colored paper and folded it accordion-style. Again, older kids could do this themselves. I glued the two sides to the paper and that's it. Then we added a cherry on top! I didn't have plain red pom poms so we used sparkly ones.

They look good enough to eat!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Citrus Art Ideas

This week I'm spending my days with my 2-year-old daughter and an almost-3-year-old girl who was in my daughter's class. I've kind of had to shift gears when it comes to art projects, since I'm used to crafting with 4- and 5-year-olds. Because summer is right around the corner, I thought some citrus art would be fun! I used masking tape to make my lines on a small paper plate. I cut one piece of tape into three strips so they'd be thinner. I put one piece straight down the middle and then made the other two into an X.
I cut the plate across the middle, but you could also put tape across the middle and leave the plate whole. We used neon paint that I found at Michaels a couple years ago.
And the sponge brushes were given to me by a nurse when I was in the hospital for my daughter's birth. She found out I was a preschool teacher and asked me if I wanted them. Of course!
But I forgot about them until I cleaned out a closet not too long ago. They ended up being perfect for this project. I poured some paint onto another paper plate and the girls dabbed the paint on their plates.

They made one in each color, representing a lime, orange and lemon. When they were dry I peeled off the tape. Then I decided to paint the rim using regular tempera paint. I love how they turned out!

We also had some citrus fun by painting with jello! I mixed cold water into jello powder until it was a thick paint.
It smelled so good! The girls painted with the jello onto cardstock,
and as in the case of my daughter, on her hand!
It was very sticky, but the girls had fun. It dried with an interesting texture, too!
There's one more citrus idea I want to share with you, if this post isn't too long already. Back in February, my class made citrus prints for our Five Senses theme, but I never got around to blogging about it.
I cut up lemons, limes and oranges the night before we did this so they would be dried out. I originally planned on using paint with them, but it didn't work so well. Then I tried an ink pad and it was much better!
The neon ones are paint, the blue and purple are ink. So I cleaned off the fruit slices and put them all on ink pads, using all the colors just for fun. And the kids stamped away.

The notches in the top of the fruit gave the kids something to hold on to.
The prints were very detailed. I thought they looked so cool!

I should warn you, though, that they kind of ruined the ink pads. (Sorry, boss.) I think it was because I had to wash the paint off my fruit so they were damp. If your fruit is really dried out, I think it would be fine.
Hope you enjoyed these citrus ideas!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Handprint Butterfly Gift for Teachers

Yesterday was the last day of school for me and my daughter. I mentioned in my last post that my center was changing ownership at the end of the month. It's getting a new name with all new staff. It was quite an emotional day, to say the least. I wanted to give each and every one of my coworkers a little something to say thank you. I came up with this:
There's actually a little treat hidden inside, which I will get to later. I used glitter watercolor paint that is thicker than most watercolors. (I bought them on Amazon.) My original plan was to make one butterfly at a time on white paper. But after my first trial run, I realized that wouldn't work.
I had missing fingers or too many fingers or globs of paint in weird places. So then I decided to just have my daughter make a bunch of handprints that I would later cut out.
We made about 20 the first day and probably over 30 the next day. I had a few extras, but that's what I wanted so I could pick and choose the best ones. After cutting them out, I glued them to a piece of cardstock. For the body of the butterfly, I rolled up a pack of Rolos in colored paper and used double-stick tape to keep it closed. I did not tape the paper to the pack of Rolos.
Then I used double-stick tape to attach the roll to the middle of the butterfly, covering up the bottom thumbprints.
The top thumbprints became the butterfly's antennae. In one corner I wrote the teacher's name, in another corner I wrote my daughter's name and the year, and in another corner I wrote, "Thank you for teaching me to spread my wings and fly!"
The pack of Rolos easily slides out, and the butterfly body remains intact.
I scrunched the paper at the end of the body just a bit to hold the Rolos inside when the paper is held upright.

And after the teachers eat the treats, they still have a little keepsake from my daughter. I worked with a wonderful bunch of women and I will miss them greatly! They were not just coworkers, they are, and will always be, my family.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Elephants and Jello

Our theme this week is The Zoo. Believe it or not, in all the years I've been teaching I've never done a zoo theme. I usually teach animals by habitat or class. But I like the zoo theme because I can teach about my favorite animals from all around the world! Today's animal was the elephant. I saw some melted crayon art on Pinterest, where they had a silhouette of an elephant and the melted crayon was water spraying from the elephant's trunk. I knew melting crayons would be hard to do in my classroom, so I decided to use blue kool-aid. I've always loved my previous kool-aid art projects, so I was looking forward to this one. But my grocery store was all out of blue kool-aid, so I picked up a box of blue jello instead. It worked just as well! I set the elephant silhouette (using this as my template) on the paper so the kids could get an idea of where to put the jello powder. They started by sprinkling a little bit by the trunk and then went up from there.
Then I took the elephant off before the kids sprayed their paper with water.
When the paper was dry, I glued on the elephants. So simple!

I invited another class to do this as well since I had so much jello. I love how they turned out!

I displayed some on my door:
They are a bit sticky, but not too bad.
And now for a bit of sad news. I mentioned in my last post that my boss sold our center. Well, the people who bought it are changing it to a different child care and I decided not to take a teaching position with them. I will be spending the summer with my daughter and perhaps another child from the neighborhood. I'll still be doing crafts, of course, but they will be for toddlers, not Pre-k. Although, I do have a bunch of projects from past years that I never got around to blogging about so I might sprinkle those in as well. I hope you still tune in to see what we do!

Fun Fact: When stretched out, an African elephant's ears are the shape of Africa.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Handprint Flower Garden

I have a very special display to share with you this evening. When I first had the idea it was just going to be another bulletin board or door display, but it's turned into so much more. I started out by having the kids in my class make handprint flowers on a huge sheet of white paper.
Yes, I only had three kids that day. I have an extremely small class right now. So I decided to get the handprints of the 3-year-olds across the hall from me. I also painted in some grass at the bottom.
Then I thought I might as well get the handprints of the kids from other classes, too. So the 2-year-olds added theirs, and then the 5-year-olds.
In the picture above, some of the stems hadn't been painted in yet. All the kids made their own stems except for the 2-year-olds, which were painted by one of my 4-year-olds or me. And the kids had to get a little creative with their stems because they had to avoid painting over someone's handprint! I wish I could have gotten prints from the infants and toddlers, but it would have been too tricky. If I had thought of it before I started, I would've done their prints first and made the white paper much bigger. But I still love how it turned out. I titled the display, "Love Grows Here" and hung it at the end of a long hallway.
I wrote each child's name next to their handprint using a marker of the same color so it kind of blended in.
I even got my daughter's handprint. She moved up to the 2-year-old room about a month ago and hers is the smallest flower. It's so cute!
Now, the reason why this display is extra special is because our center is going to be changing ownership in a couple weeks. The current owner cried when she saw this in the hallway. It reminds everyone that we are still a family, no matter what. Even if we all end up going our separate ways. Our center is filled with love.