Friday, January 24, 2014

Clean-Up Fun

Empty box-scissors, tape
(Markers, stickers, etc. as desired)
If you want your little ones to think that clean up is fun, all you have to do is turn an empty tissue box into a loud-mouthed monster who likes to eat trash! They will be eager to "feed the monster!"

Simply flatten the box by carefully tearing it open where it is glued. It is easier to decorate a flat surface. Also, this shows how it can be stored and stacked with your construction paper to be used again later.

You can make your monster any way you like, but I think it is especially cute to give a monster some funny hair that sticks straight up. I simply cut strips down on the flap that is above the "face" portion of the box. This can be curled, colored, beribboned, etc. to make your monster unique. If you are using a large, rectangular box without this "hair flap," you may want to add yarn hair, an antenna, a hat or something you think is funny. ANY tissue box will work with a little adaptation as long as the opening is the mouth.

Cut down on one flap to make "hair."
Add some facial features to you trash monster. 
I like to add funny eyes.  Plastic google-like eyes can be added, but a simple sticker-magic marker drawn eye will suffice. Let children be creative in making their monsters--the trash eating monster can be an arts and crafts activity in and of itself--and it's reusable.

Reshape the box and tape the side (which is now the bottom) so that it stays closed and sits on the craft area to "gobble up the trash" from an arts/crafts activity. Children love to take their monster to the trash can and empty out his mouth (or shake trash out of is head!). This activity makes clean up a fun activity.

Once the trash is emptied into the real trash can, the tape can be removed and the monster can be folded flat to be stored with other craft items. It can be used again and again.
Once the monster is done, it will be fun to feed it trash! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Swords and Shields

      It was wonderful having the entire family here for Christmas. Once Christmas was over and all the decorations were put away, it was time for me to get "back in the groove" and start sending my weekly fun letters to the "long-distance" grands who had returned to Texas. I knew they'd enjoy this activity.
      When everyone was here we had a lot of vegetables and that meant opening some canned good. Since I buy a lot of groceries in bulk, the cans come in 6 or 8-pks and there is a nice curved-rectangular piece of cardboard at the bottom holding the cans. I put a stack of the cardboards aside just for this activity.

Cardboard from canned good.
For the sword, fold a piece of paper (approximately as long and wide as the cardboard) and cut out one-half of a sword shape, open the shape and trace the entire outline onto one of the cardboard pieces. Cut the sword out with a craft knife or scissors. (An adult should do the cutting.)
Make one-half the shape.

Trace the sword shape onto one cardboard.

Make one for everybody! 

Mark and cut two "straps" on the second cardboard.
Make a shield with a second cardboard. A child's small arm will easily slip into the two  "straps" so the child can hold the sword in one hand and the shield in the other.
I like to put the child's name or initial on the shield. They like to color and decorate the sword and shield.
Remind the little ones that these are for playing and dress-up and not for being too rough!