Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spider Cups

So I thought it would be easy to find black paper cups this time of year, but no. Every store just sold the big plastic ones with ridges. Then I looked for any solid-color paper cups. Still nothing. So I ended up buying some monster cups from the birthday party section at Target and painted them black. It took two coats of paint, but went fairly quickly.
Then I poked eight holes near the top of the cup (which would actually be the bottom since they will be used upside down), four on each side. I also poked two holes a little further up near the front of the cup. You'll be able to see that in a bit. I set out some black pipe cleaners (cut into smaller pieces) and wiggle eyes that were stuck on glue dots. I also cut some triangles out of red and white paper and put those on glue dots as well.
First you take the black pipe cleaner and string it through the two holes near the front of the cup.

Those are the spider's pedipalps. Then we used silver pipe cleaners for the legs by stringing them through the remaining eight holes, using 4 whole pipe cleaners.
You just go in one side and out the other. Then the kids used a metallic Sharpie to draw a mouth and then stuck on the eyes and fangs. The glue dots worked great! Then they bent the pipe cleaners into legs.
If you bend them just right, you can actually get the cup to be up off the table. We sure did have some creepy crawlies!
In the past, I've spent an entire week teaching about spiders. I love my spider theme. But at my new center, I don't get to choose my themes. (Boo.) So I just taught some basic spider facts during one day of my Halloween theme. I used this amazing book:
It's by Nic Bishop. It has the coolest close-up pictures of spiders I've ever seen! Look at those fangs! And it's filled with great information. I also read this book:
"'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the spider to the fly." Ooh, I love it! It's by Tony DiTerlizzi, but it's based on the famous cautionary tale by Mary Howitt. If you haven't read it, go get it!

Fun Fact: Spiders have pale blue blood!

10-18-12 UPDATE: We made these again this year (although I found and bought black paper cups!) but used colored glitter pipe cleaners. I love the added color!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haunted Houses

Today we discussed the letter H, talked about Halloween, had Hat day...

and made Haunted Houses.
I cut several "cartoonish" houses from black paper. I just cut free-hand and made each one a little different.
Then I cut out a bunch of simple shapes for the windows, shutters, doors, and chimneys. I also put out pumpkins and ghosts and other self-adhesive foam pieces that I got from Michaels a couple years ago.
Then the kids decorated their haunted houses.

I love how unique each one is.
And to keep with our Halloween/spooky theme, I got out the water gems again (I first mentioned those here) but this time I added eyeballs! They are actually super balls that I got at Target in the Halloween section.
I made a game for it, as well. I cut out some pumpkins from paper and put a number (1, 2, or 3) on them. The kids picked a pumpkin and grabbed that number of eyeballs from the bucket.
When they got 10 eyeballs, the game was over and they could play again.

I have one more thing to share with you today. One of the kids in my class brought in orange jack o' lanterns for snack!
They were filled with grapes. How cute is that?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Class Pumpkin Display

You've heard of Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, right? Well, I put my own spin on it. First I cut out a big pumpkin from orange poster board and then cut out a jack o' lantern face.
Then I taped yellow construction paper to the back of it.
I used yellow because black would have been too dark for what I was planning on doing. Besides, when you put a candle in a jack o' lantern, it glows yellowish, right? Anyway, I had taken a bunch of pictures of the kids in my class in different poses. Then I cut them out, carefully outlining them completely so there was no background, and I glued them inside the mouth, nose and eyes.
Some kids I asked to pretend like they were jumping out of a big pumpkin and others I had lie down on top of chairs with their heads hanging down.
And still others I had peeking out from behind something, like the bookshelf, and after cutting them out it looked like they were peeking out from inside the pumpkin.

Some kids posed in cute positions.
And some didn't want to do anything other than smile, which was fine. Then I added a green stem to the top of the pumpkin and hung it up in the hall with this poem:
In case you can't read it, it says:
Teacher, teacher, Preschool teacher,
Had a class of little creatures.
She put 'em in a pumpkin shell
And there she kept 'em very well.
Sorry about the bad angle. We have skinny hallways. I've done this pumpkin display a couple times in the past, and I also made a haunted house one year using this same technique. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of it until after it had been stored in my basement for years and it got pretty destroyed. But here's a couple pictures of it. I just made a big haunted house on black paper, added windows and shutters and a door. Then I printed the kids' pictures in black and white so they'd be like ghosts. I glued the pictures in the windows.
See? I told you it got destroyed.
I also added some ghosts and pumpkins and cotton balls stretched out to look like cobwebs. And I had a sign in front of the house that said, "Beware of Children!" At the top of the house I wrote, "Trick or Treat?" It was very fun to make, so I think I will have to do this next year.
And the kids loved looking like ghosts!

Silly Pumpkin Faces

I totally copied this idea from I Heart Crafty Things, but she found it here. We started this project yesterday. I squirted yellow and red paint on each child's white piece of paper and they mixed it up and painted the whole thing.

Some of the kids already knew red and yellow make orange, but others were surprised and excited when they made orange!
Today we did all the cutting and gluing. The kids in my class are 4 and 5 so they have trouble cutting circles and ovals free-hand. I had them flip over their paper and draw their pumpkin on the back. Then they cut it out.
They glued their pumpkin to a black piece of paper and then started cutting mouths, eyes, pupils, teeth and noses from black and white paper. There were a few kids getting frustrated trying to cut circles but I reminded them that it could be whatever shape they wanted it to be.
Then they cut a stem (and some wanted to make grass) from green paper.
We had some really cute faces!

And the best part was there was absolutely no prep from me! I just put out all the supplies. Wonderful!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Suncatchers

This is a simple craft, but a beautiful one, too. I used laminating sheets, but contact paper would work as well. I traced a pumpkin template onto orange construction paper and then traced a smaller-sized pumpkin on the inside of that. I cut out the bigger pumpkin and then cut out the smaller pumpkin, leaving just the outline of a pumpkin. I glued that to the inside of a laminating sheet. Then the kids filled the middle with tissue paper squares.
We used orange, yellow and peach/light orange tissue paper. Once the inside was filled up, the kids placed black triangles (made out of construction paper) on top of the tissue paper. This made the eyes and nose of our jack-o-lanterns. Then they placed a mouth on it. They didn't use any glue at all for this.
They added a green stem, also made from construction paper. Then I folded the laminating sheets, sent them through the machine, cut them out and hung them in our window.
As always, it's hard to get a good shot at things hanging in a window, but they really do look beautiful.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One-Minute Ghosts

Here is a very simple project I did with the kids. I traced their foot (without a shoe) onto white paper.
They made a ghost face on the heel.
I used thin ribbon to make a bunch of bows.
And the kids glued the bow onto the ghosts.
That's it! Each one has its own personality.
When the glue dried, I hung them from the ceiling with our lanterns.