Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Crafts

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to post some of the fast, fun and just about free crafts that I've done with, or for, my grand kiddos this year~

Craft 1: Happy Halloween Collage 

All you need for this craft is a piece of paper or cardboard any size you want, scissors, glue and a lot of Halloween newspaper or magazine ads that you would normally throw away. (Packaging tape and index cards and pens are optional.) 

When you have some time or are watching a TV show, you can sit and snip out pictures. Glue them randomly on the paper (or cardboard). You can't make a mistake. If you don't like one thing you glued in place, glue another thing over it. Glue lots of fun stuff all over the paper. To make this collage sturdier, use strips of clear packaging tape taped to the collage face. Lastly, I like to then add an index card that challenges the recipient to find specific items I've glue in place. (I lightly tape the card to the edge of the collage so that it can be easily removed. Since I'm sending these to several children at a time I want the card to be with the collage--at least when it first arrives.) Note: If you're making a collage for a very young child, you may want to outline on the back where the specific "hide and seek" items can be found. These challenges can easily be adapted to fit the age of the recipient. 

I've made these for my grand kiddos and they've made their own and challenged me! They also like to ask me to find additional things in the collages I've made for them. 

Craft 2:  Dryer Sheet Ghostie

While folding laundry recently I began to throw away a spent dryer sheet. I thought, "This would make a good ghost!" 
Cotton ball, yarn, spent dryer sheet
All you need is a spent dryer sheet, a cotton ball and a scrap piece of yarn long enough to tie and hang. (glue, "eyes" and a marker are optional.)
Tie the cotton ball in place

Place the cotton ball "head" in the middle of the dryer sheet and tie in place with the yarn making sure to allow one length of the yarn long enough for your ghostie to hang. Voila! You have a ghost! 

I decided to embellish my ghostie by gluing a few bright hole punch dots in place and then adding some expression with a magic marker dot to the center of each eye. 

Eyes optional 
Florescent green eyes are good.

Craft 3: Make Your Own Jack-o-lantern Card

Instead of purchased Halloween cards this year, I found some autumn, plain pumpkin cards in a craft bin and thought they'd be great for making Jack-o-lanterns. This way, I could write a note inside, but each child could design his/her own Jack-o-lantern. I found a sheet of adhesive-backed, black, glitter paper and cut it into several mailable pieces. In each envelope I enclosed a message in the pumpkin and the piece of glitter paper. On the white side of the glitter paper, each child can trace eyes, a nose and a mouth and cut them out. This way, their own pumpkins turn into their own Jack-o-lanterns. Can't wait to see what the kiddos come up with!
Purchased pumpkin--or make your own.

If you need to, simply cut an orange piece of paper in the shape of a pumpkin. I just happened to find these cards and it saved me one step and all four of the kiddos would have the same pumpkin shape with which to start. Loved the fact that yellow envelopes were provided too. Even if all the cards go in one larger envelope to be assured they all arrive on the same day, it is still nice to have a separate envelope for each kiddo to open. 
A personal note goes inside.

Everyone can create his/her own Jack-o-lantern with the adhesive backed glitter  paper. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Critters are Cool

Critters are Cool is my new book of poetry for kids. (But adults will love it too!) It joins the other "Celebrating Poetry that Fits in Your Pocket" books: When Magic Helps Us Steer and Happy Birthday, Florida!

Five-lined Skink
Critters are Cool features all sorts of animals--some unusual and some well-known--presented in poetry form. Kiddos can learn a lot about these special animals while enjoying the word play and black and white illustrations. This book will make it fun to learn about animals and will encourage additional exploration.

From aardvarks and blue-footed boobies to zebroids--there's a lot to learn about in the animal kingdom.

April is National Poetry Month, but poetry is fun all year long. In the back of this book there is a pocket pattern to encourage children to copy and share a poem they love.

Happy reading!

Blue-footed boobies