Star Tree

Submitted by: Tracy Emond

This is a great math activity to celebrate the Christmas/holiday season.

Goals:

• To help children practice fractions and measurement
• To create a beautiful centerpiece to display for the holiday season

Before You Start:
Gather all the necessary supplies, including: green and yellow construction paper, rulers, tape, glue, scissors, glitter, sequins, beads, pom-poms and other decorating items.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Have children measure 1″ increments lengthwise (and draw lines) on 2-3 sheets of green construction paper. Have them cut along the lines, creating 1″ wide strips.

Step 2.
Have children measure and cut the 1″ strips into the following seven lengths: 20″, 17-1/2″, 15″, 12-1/2″, 10″, 7-1/2″ and 5″. (For longer lengths, you may need to tape 2 strips together at the ends before measuring.)

Step 3.
Demonstrate how to fan-fold (like an accordion) the 20″ strip in 2″ wide sections. Have the children fan-fold the rest of the strips in varying increments. Fold 17-1/2″ strip into 1-3/4″ increments, 15″ into 1-1/2″ increments, 12-1/2″ strip into 1-1/4″ increments, 10″ strip folded into 1″ increments, 7-1/2″ strip folded into 3/4″ increments and 5″ strip folded into 1/2″ increments.

Step 4.
Let children decorate their strips on one side with the glitter, beads and other items and let dry.

Step 5.
Have them refold each strip and tape the ends together. This will create beautiful star shapes.

Step 6.
Starting with the largest star, stack them on top of one another, turning each one just slightly so they will balance on the one below.

Step 7.
Now you have a decorated Christmas tree to display in the classroom and/or use as a centerpiece for the holiday season!

Furthermore:
You can top off your tree by creating a star out of yellow construction paper or by using a large, yellow pom-pom. This is an easy project to take apart and reassemble over and over for years to come.

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Gobble Gobble Jar of Thanks

Submitted by: Audrey Meidl

A great way to give thanks and to share what young ones are thankful for.

Goals:

• To reinforce social/emotional development
• To encourage creativity

Before You Start:
Have on hand craft foam, felt or construction paper in brown, red, yellow and orange. You will also need a papier-mâché flower pot or glass jar, scissors, tacky glue and wiggly eyes. You will also need sentence strips (or strips of cut-up lined paper) and pencils.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Using felt, foam or paper, cut out two ovals of the same size. Glue the two ovals to the outside of the flower pot or jar. This will be the turkey head. Allow the young ones to be creative with this; there is no “right” or “wrong” way.

Step 2.
Using felt, foam or paper in fall colors such as red, yellow, orange, etc., cut out more oval shapes (one of each color) and glue them to the opposite end of the flower pot or jar, on the outside.

Step 3.
Glue on wiggly eyes and use leftover felt, foam or paper to create the waddle and beak.

Step 4.
After the children are finished creating their turkey pots, have them write down things they are thankful for on the strips of paper and place them into the pot.

Step 5.
During circle time, have each child take turns sharing what they are thankful for.

Furthermore:
Tip: you can also use craft feathers instead of felt or foam for added texture. Also, add more details such as feet, or, you might want to paint the pot or jar to give it more color.

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Good Qualities Count

Submitted by: Bonnie Gable

Children are encouraged to be creative as they identify and recognize positive qualities about a classmate.

Goals:

• To build self-esteem through peer recognition
• To aid in the prevention of bullying
• To build awareness that everyone has positive qualities
• To recognize that everyone is different in many ways

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: activity paper, BioColor® paint, markers, glitter glue, scissors, paint brushes and assorted collage materials.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Assign each child with the name of a classmate. Divide the class into groups, so that each child is separated from the classmate they are assigned to.

Step 2.
Have the children write and/or paint the name of their assigned classmate in the center of their paper.

Step 3.
Have the children add color and collage items to their painting that help emphasize the positive statements.

Step 4.
When finished, have each student stand and present their art by explaining why their classmate represents the statements that they wrote.

Furthermore:
Hold class discussions that revolve around the statement, “One thing I like about _____.” Have each child pick a classmate to say a positive quality about, or have all the children say a positive quality about each classmate.

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Giant Golf Ball Painting

Submitted by: Jamie Toriello

Go BIG and take marble painting to a new level!

Goals:

• To introduce and practice teamwork skills
• To practice coordination

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: a plastic kiddie pool, used/old golf balls (check local golf shops) and a variety of paper and BioColor® paint colors.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Place sheets of paper at the bottom of the pool, somewhat in the center.

Step 2.
Squirt multiple colors of BioColor® paint around the edges of the pool. Try to be aware of and use colors that will mix with each other to create new colors.

Step 3.
Place multiple golf balls in the pool.

Step 4.
Have the children line up around the pool and grab the side. Encourage them to work together to get the golf balls to run into the paint and over the paper.

Step 5.
When finished, display your beautiful masterpieces and use a hose to rinse the pool!

Furthermore:
Do this activity several days in a row to see how the children’s improves given more practice. Ask them what they’ve learned about mixing colors. What are some of their favorite colors to make?

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Thankful Turkeys

These terrific turkeys incorporate a lesson about Thanksgiving and giving thanks!

Goals:

• To learn about and practice expressing thankfulness
• To encourage creativity and self expression

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: Construction paper in various colors, wiggly eyes, feathers, crayons, markers, any collage items you wish to add, glue and scissors.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Help children trace their hand on a sheet of construction paper, making sure to have them spread their fingers wide.

Step 2.
Explain to the children that their thumbs will be the neck and head of their turkey and the other fingers will be its “feathers.” Have them color and decorate their turkeys any way they like.

Step 3.
Demonstrate to children how to cut feather-shaped pieces from the colored construction paper. Have them each cut several “feathers” using the different colors of construction paper.

Step 4.
Talk to the children about the history of Thanksgiving and how the holiday is celebrated today. Ask the children what they are thankful for and have them write the names of the people, animals and other things they are thankful for on each feather. Help them with writing, if necessary.

Step 5.
Have the children glue the “feathers” onto their turkeys. Add any additional collage materials if you wish to. Now everyone has their own unique Thankful Turkey to display around the classroom!

Furthermore:
Construct a large classroom turkey to display in front of the entire class. Have the children each create a few “feathers” with messages of thanks to add to the turkey. Now you have a collective classroom Thankful Turkey!

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Planet Protector

Children take pride in being given responsibilities if those responsibilties are manageable and explained. Let them help out in the classroom!

Goals:

• To encourage recycling and environmental awareness
• To promote self-esteem and cooperation

Before You Start:
Recycle some cardboard boxes for the activity. Set out scissors, crayons and markers.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Cut a slit up from the opening of the bag to the bottom, and cut out the bottom of the bag, leaving the boxy shape intact. You can leave a lip of paper as a “collar.”

Step 2.
Cut two holes, one on each side, for sleeves. The bag should be in a “vest” shape. Decorate it or invite the children to decorate it with a drawn on “badge” and symbols of either recycling or the earth.

Step 3.
Each week, choose a new child to wear the vest and take charge of recycling duties for the classroom.

Furthermore:
Talk with the children about different organizations that help take care of our environment. Discuss other ways children could help the environment at home.

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Animal Effigy Coil Pottery

Submitted by: Robyn Priest

Children can create an animal-inspired coil pot to treasure for years to come.

Goals:

• To learn coil pottery techniques and create original, 3-Dimensional artwork
• To introduce Native American cultural crafts and traditions

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: non-hardening clay (for practice), Crayola® Model Magic® or other air-dry modeling clay, dough mats, Colorations® markers, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes and feathers.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Expose children to Native American pottery examples and provide a global view of how pottery is used across the world. Provide a demonstration of how to build a coil pot. Explain that they will choose their own animal to inspire their artwork, and allow time for them to plan by drawing or writing about their ideas. Children can use non-hardening clay for practice.

Step 2.
Provide modeling clay to the children, and have them divide the material into four quarters. Explain that one quarter will be used to create a slab bottom. Three quarters will be used to create a coil for the pot.

Step 3.
Provide modeling clay to the children, and have them divide the material into four quarters. Explain that one quarter will be used to create a slab bottom. Three quarters will be used to create a coil for the pot.

Step 4.
Then, have children shape a smooth even coil (it will look like a long snake shape). The coil will be wrapped around the perimeter of the slab bottom. The coil pot is complete when they wrap the coil around on top of itself a few times.

Step 5.
Provide students will additional clay to mold the head and tail of their animals and they can color with markers if they wish. Other materials, such as feathers, wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners, can also be added for decoration. (If you use Model Magic® allow it to dry before decorating with washable markers.)

Step 6.
Display the final pots around the classroom.

Furthermore:
If time permits, allow students to create an environment for their animal. Incorporate this art project into a lesson about Native American culture and art as well as other cultures that create coil pottery. This is a great opportunity to describe how people’s experiences and culture influence the development of specific types of artwork.

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