Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Spring Brings Pussy Willows!

One of the first signs of spring is a furry bush called a pussy willow. Children love being able to touch these soft kitty cat feeling flower buds called catkins. 

There are several fun ways to create the pussy willow as a craft.
One is to make them by cutting off the ends of Q-tips! 

The children draw a stem stick with crayon or marker on paper. Have them notice that pussy willow buds alternate as they go up the stem. Simply make a little line on the stem where the Q-tip bud is to be glued on. Then color the bottom end of the Q-tip bud to look like the bud covering.
Another way is to do the same as above, but use clumps of cotton instead of Q-tips.
This third way is cheaper, but is messier to create! Again the child draws the stem stick, but this time the catkins are made by them pushing their pointer finger into a black ink pad, then pressing down on the paper in the spots where they should go.
The ink should be washable!
 It is always fun to bring a little spring inside to share!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Heart Wreath of Deliberate Moments of Caring

This is a memorable craft that not only creates a beautiful finished heart wreath, but it fosters simple acts of caring!

Bend a clothes hanger into a heart shape. The handle at the top bends down into a loop and becomes the hook for hanging the wreath.
To decorate the wreath I cut a variety of ribbons and tulle or netting to about 8 inches long each. How many yards of ribbon needed depends on how tightly the ribbons are pushed together on the hanger.
It is always better to have too much of the materials to make the wreath rather than run out in the middle of the project. I usually use about 6 to 8 different varieties of ribbon, plus tulle using rolls of ribbon with about 25 feet on each.

Cut the various ribbons and tulle and place each different set in large zip baggies.
Share with the children that when they choose to do something helpful, nice, thoughtful or caring for someone, they may tie on a ribbon and a netting piece on the heart hanger.

Daily deliberate and intentional acts can make a big difference and get them into the habit of showing care for each other.
To tie on the ribbon to the heart wire, the child simply wraps the ribbon around the hanger and does one tie like the first part of tying their shoes, pulling it tight.
It is so simple that even the youngest learner can participate in this. It is a wonderful fine motor activity too!
I thought the ladybug ribbon looked a little like hearts to add fun to the wreath!
The ribbons can be put on in random order or a pattern can be established to be repeated.
Extras like shiny pipe cleaners or garland can be used to bring more sparkle!

When the ribbons are pushed up together it keeps them from falling off the hanger. The tighter the ribbons are pushed together the better the finished heart will look.
If you find the time is passing and the wreath is not getting finished, change the amount of ribbon that the child can put on the wreath to five or ten at a time. It is motivating to see the heart wreath getting more full with each passing day.
Each wreath is different!

When finished place it on the door or wall for all to see the number of
Deliberate Moments of Caring!
While this is a great month project for Valentine’s Day, it can be done for each month as a monthly theme with decorative ribbon for the season/holiday. The hanger can simply be bent into a circle shape instead of a heart.
Hopefully we are fostering deliberate actions to bring happiness to another, doing something thoughtful, nice, and caring.

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