Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Hats

Which hat will your ankle-biters wear?
When I taught pre-school, we made these hats every year at Thanksgiving time.  They are SOOOO unoriginal and every school in America probably makes them, but I guess that's also what makes them a traditional children's holiday craft.  So, this year, what hat will YOU wear?

  • 12" x 15" sheet of heavy white paper (I used poster paper)
  • White yarn or ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

diagram from

click HERE!

  • Black heavy weight paper - I used construction paper (because that's what I had), but poster paper would probably be better
  • 2" strip of heavy weight poster paper - measured and cut to fit the wearers head
  • 3" x 3" square of yellow construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Stapler

1.) Cut the shape of a basic top hat out of the black paper.
2.) Trace a square (about 1 1/2 x 2 inches) inside the yellow square of paper and cut it out.  Measure, cut and staple the white headband strip.
3.) With the glue stick, add a think line of glue to the hat (just above the brim section).
4.) Attach the hat to the inside of the white strip.  Press & hold (the black paper will form to the contour of the headband. 
5.) With the glue stick, attach the yellow cut out square (the buckle) to the outside of the white band.

  • 2" strip of heavy weight poster paper - measured and cut to fit the wearers head
  • Crayons, markers or colored pencils
  • Stapler
  • Construction paper in colors red, yellow and orange
  • Scissors

Measure and cut the length of white paper for the headband and decorate with the drawing utensils.  If the children are old enough to replicate patterns, try introducing some images of Native American motifs. A quick Google image search can yield a lot of inspiration.  Otherwise, allow children to free draw on their headbands.
1.) Fold strips of construction paper in half (you can vary the sizes) and draw a pointed semi-oval on the folded side.
2.) Cut out the shape on the folded half of the paper.  You should now have a full feather shape when opened up.
3.) Fold the feather in half again and (with the scissors) make diagonal snips down the length of the side without the fold.
4.) Open up your feather shapes and ruffle the fringed edges with your fingers to help them separate. Fan & arrange the feathers and staple them together at the bottom.
 Staple the feather cluster to the back of the headband on the inside.  {{NOTE}} To avoid hair snags and skin scraps, position the staple to where the flat side of the staple is against the body.

I hope you have a festive holiday!  Have fun & get messy!  ~ Miss Jenna :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Napkin Holders

I came across this fabulous project while surfing the web and loved it SO much that I just had to share it.  It's from First Palette.  This would be an excellent family project and you only need a few (mostly common household) supplies!

Make your Thanksgiving table look festive with these crafty napkin holders!

  • A variety of  seeds, beans, rice, corn, spices, etc...
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • White glue (at full strength) or tacky glue
  • Craft knife
  • Tempera or Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush


Some Thanksgiving I'll make a set of my own...just not THIS Thanksgiving.  The holidays are sneaking up on me so fast this year...all ninja style.  Have fun & get messy!  ~ Miss Jenna :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Handprint Turkey

I mean really....what CAN'T you do with a handprint?!

  • Paper - cardstock weight
  • Tempera Paint - in colors brown, red, orange, and yellow
  • Paint Brushes - one for each color
  • Black Sharpie Marker
  • Crayons, colored pencils or markers - whatever you have
  • Hand (of course)

Paint the palm of the hand and thumb with the brown paint and then paint the remaining four fingers with the other colors.
Like So...

Place the hand on paper to make the print and let it dry...dry time should be about 5 minutes or less.

The thumb print is the Turkey's head.  With the Sharpie marker draw an eye and legs & feet.  With your other drawing supplies (crayons, colored pencils, markers) add the remaining features of the turkey...beak & gobbler.  Now, give your turkey a pretty background!  Have your ankle-biters fill in the rest of the page with their very own scene.  The End!  Have fun and get messy! ~ Miss Jenna :-)


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Foot & Handprint Ghosts

These ghosts are so fun and easy.

  • Black poster paper
  • White & Black Tempera paint
  • Paint brush
  • Wiggly eyes (optional)
  • Q-tip
  • Scissors
  • Hands & Feet
  • Glue (only if you are using wiggle eyes)
  • Fine tip Sharpie (optional)

Paint bare hands and feet with the white tempera paint and stamp onto the black poster paper.
Like so...
Allow to dry (should take about 5-10 minutes depending on how thick the paint was applied) could use a hairdryer to speed this up if you're impatient ;-)

Cut out your feet and hand prints.  You could do this yourself or trace a line around the prints and have your ankle-biters cut them out with child-safe scissors.

Rotate your feet and hand prints so the toes & fingers are at the bottom.  You want the heel and palm to be the place where you add the ghost face.

Give your ghost some eyes!  You can add a dab of glue and adhere wiggle eyes OR with your Q-tip, dip it in black paint and paint little ovals for eyes.

If you want to give your ghost some eyelashes, do so with the Sharpie.

Every ghost needs a mouth to make those spooky "Oooooooo's"!  Add one by dipping your Q-tip in black paint and painting an oval.  THE END!  :-)
Have fun & get messy!  ~ Miss Jenna :-)

Silly Witch Heads

I was doing a google image search for witch faces to get a design inspiration for my pumpkin this year when I came across a painted lightbulb witch head.  I thought it might be a fun project to do with my friends children for a Halloween, but I decided to do a more kid friendly version.  Hmmm...something about easily shattering light bulbs in the rambunctious hands of young pre-schoolers just didn't jive with me as a safe idea.  I didn't make my own to test it out beforehand, so it was an experimental project day with Sam and Molly.  The photos I took are essentially before and after because this did require the helpful hands of adults...older kids (Elementary & Middle) could most definitely tackle this one on their own.

  • Styrofoam balls (in size of your choice) - I had several white craft balls left over from the spider project, so I used and painted these, but you could also try the green floral foam balls (from any craft store) if you want an easy pre-greened face.
  • Acrylic paint & brush - I used green, but any color of your choice will do.
  • Witch hat - I found these in the doll making section of my craft store for little money, but you can craft your own out of black foam paper using the pattern below.
  • A length of ribbon (optional) - enough to wrap around the cone base of the witches hat
  • Button (optional) - for added hat decoration 
  • Tacky glue - be careful if you wish to try hot can and most likely will melt your styrofoam.  I used tacky glue (and requested patience from the kids while the witches dried) just to be safe.
  • Black Sharpie marker (Oh, how I LOVE the smell of a Sharpie!)
  • Red craft foam - for lips
  • Wiggly eyes - as many as you'd like
  • Black feathers - for hair
  • Tooth picks (2) - the prop your witch heads up for decoration OR (and I wish I had done this) ... with a needle and thread, knot and thread a length of fishing line or thread through the top of the witch hat and create a loop so you can hang your witch decoration.  I imagine this being much easier than angling the toothpicks perfectly to keep your witch head from rolling around.
Found HERE

Paint your styrofoam ball.  {{{TIP}}} Because the styrofoam has so many tiny holes, it kind of takes a little more effort to get full coverage. Use a stippling technique (like you would if you were stenciling a wall).  Dot the bristles down onto the surface to help fill in the holes with paint.  Swirling the brush in circular motions also helps. Allow to fully dry before you continue.
Have the children count out how many eyes they's like their witch to have and dot some tacky glue in place and add the wiggly eyes.

With the Sharpie, have children draw a nose and smile (or frown if they decide their witch is not a happy one).

Cut some lip shapes out of the red craft foam.  If you want super easy lips....just cut out a small circle and then cut the circle in half.  The two semi-circles can work for top and bottom lips.  With the tacky glue, have the children glue them into place on the mouth they have drawn.
With your toothpicks, prop your witch heads so they can sit upright on their own and you can continue working on them without them rolling all around.
Like So...
With the tacky glue, adhere feathers to the underside of the hats brim (either the one that you bought or the one you made) a fashion that looks like crazy hair showing out of the hat.  Try to leave a space without you'll be able to see the facial features.  Attach the witches hat (that now has feathery hair) to the styrofoam ball head...using the tacky glue.

Decorate the witch hats!  Have the children glue the length of ribbon to the hat and embellish with buttons if they so desire.

Molly chose the purple ribbon and red button for her "girl" tri-clops witch

Sam was not loving the idea of making a "girl" witch so I suggested that maybe it could be a Brujo (Spanish for male witch). 
Allow your Brujo or Bruja to dry and (of course) give them an awesome name.  Have fun & get messy! ~ Miss Jenna :-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Creepy Crawly Spiders!

These creepy crawly spiders are pretty easy and super awesome.  You might want to tackle the painting part yourself (either the day before or several hours before you jump into this project) takes a decent amount of effort to get good paint coverage on plain styrofoam balls and depending on the age of the child, they might get frustrated and tire of this part easily.  Don't let that little disclaimer talk you out of doing this really is VERY easy.
  • Styrofoam balls (in the size of your choice) - these can be found at any craft store
  • Serrated knife
  • Black acrylic paint - I bought a small bottle of glossy black (you won't need a ton for this).  {NOTE} I DON'T recommend using spray paint.  That may seem like the easier option, but a lot of aerosol paints or adhesives actually eat away the styrofoam.  There might be some out there that don't have this affect, but I wouldn't know what to recommend.
  • Medium sized paint brush - you don't need a fancy painters brush...a regular kid craft one will do
  • Your favorite brand of tacky glue - I like to use Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
  • Q-tips
  • Small container to hold a blob of glue - glass dish or even a small paper plate or square of card-stock will do
  • Wiggly eyes (as many as you want)
  • Black chenille pipe cleaners cut in half (enough for each spooky arachnid to have 8 legs) 

Slice your styrofoam balls in half with the serrated knife.  This is messy, so do it over a trash can or piece of newspaper to catch all the teeny tiny foam bits that fall.

Paint the bottom of the spider body with black acrylic paint.  {{{TIP}}} Because the styrofoam has so many tiny holes, it kind of takes a little more effort to get full coverage. Use a stippling technique (like you would if you were stenciling a wall).  Dot the bristles down onto the surface to help fill in the holes with paint.  Swirling the brush in circular motions also helps.  When the bottom is dry or dry-ish, paint the top of the spider body the same way.  Allow your spider bodies to fully dry before moving on.
It's always good to try to fit in a little counting practice.  Have the children count out their desired number of wiggly eyes.  

In your small glue container, place a blob of tacky glue and with the Q-tips, add dots of glue to where the wiggly eyes will go.  Gently press the wiggly eyes onto their designated gluey spots.

Have the children count out eight legs.  It's never a bad idea to insert a little lesson here and talk about our eight legged creepy arachnid friends!

Poke the ends of the pipe cleaners into the sides of the spider bodies {{{TIP}}} have the children hold the pipe cleaners as close to the ends as possible.  This makes them easier to penetrate the styrofoam without bending all out of whack.  The legs should be stuck an inch or two into the body (so they don't easily fall out)
Little ones might need some help with this part
When all the legs are inserted, bend them in a 'Z' formation to prop them up....or leave them flat if you so desire.

Last (but certainly not least) Give your creepy creation a name!  Have fun & get messy! ~Miss Jenna :-)

Cut & Paste Jack-o-Lanterns (can't get much easier folks)

Hello Friends!  My apologies for not delivering timely project ideas for your little ankle-biters.  I'm not sure what my problem was exactly, but Halloween crafting posts really fell off my radar.  I did get together with Sam and Molly (my little ABA helpers) last week for some belated Halloween fun, so if you're not sick to death of spooky holiday stuff, check out what I did with the kids!  This is one of three projects we did that day.  Creepy spiders and silly witch heads to follow!

We started off with easy peasy lemon squeezy cut and paste Jack-o-Lanterns.  Since Molly is a youngen', I pre-cut her pumpkin and face shapes, but Sam is a big boy in pre-school now, starting to master the ways of the scissor.  Cutting is great for developing those very important fine motor skills, so little ones really benefit from lots of (supervised) scissor practice.
  • Construction paper in colors orange, black and brown
  • White crayon or metallic marker (to draw face shapes on the black paper)
  • Pen, pencil or marker (if a child is cutting out the shapes you might want to draw them with a marker...a thicker line is usually easier for them to follow)
  • Child safe scissors
  • Glue stick

"I'm not a perfect cutter yet, but I do a pretty good job."
Draw out your eye, nose and mouth shapes on the black construction paper using a white crayon or metallic marker.  It's difficult (especially for the child cutting) to see the lines if drawn with a plain pen or pencil...the white or metallic shows up much better on the black.

Draw your pumpkin shape on the orange paper and a stem on the brown.

Cut out the shapes, assemble the Jack-o-Lantern face and adhere with the glue stick.  Super easy!  
We were all rockin' some pretty cool fake tattoo's that day.
On Molly, the robot tattoo and fluffy flowery dress match perfectly!

Well...this was not so messy (you know how I love to make a mess), but it was fun and chill.
I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween!  ~ Miss Jenna  :-)