Category Archives: Gifts

Clothespin Caterpillars

clothespincaterpillarsCreate cute clothespin caterpillars that can be used to hang art work or be given as gifts.

Goals:

  • To practice fine motor skills
  • To explore different color combinations
  • To express creativity

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: clothespins, tacky glue, pom-poms and wiggly eyes.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Set out all materials and provide children with 1 or 2 clothespins each.

Step 2.
Apply a line of tacky glue along the entire length of one side of a clothespin.

Step 3.
Place a row of pom-poms close together on the glue. Use however many can fit on the clothespin (3-5 is usually a good number).

Step 4.
Apply two dots of tacky glue to the pom-pom on the opening side of the clothespin. Apply wiggly eyes to the glue.

Step 5.
Allow the glue to dry, then place wherever you like!

Furthermore:
Use the Clothespin Caterpillars activity to supplement learning about real caterpillars, or for when reading about The Hungry Caterpillar. Or, use brown pom-poms to make clothespin worms. Then read the book Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin.

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Valentine’s Day Monster

valentinemonster

Create a friendly “monster” to share on Valentine’s Day!

Goals:

  • To create a special gift to give on Valentine’s Day
  • To practice creativity

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: cardboard craft rolls, assorted pipe cleaners, assorted craft twist ties, ceramic or foam heart shapes, wiggly eyes, pom poms, red and pink paint, paint brushes and tacky glue.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Paint a craft roll in a Valentine’s Day color. Alternatively, you could cover the roll in construction paper or foil paper.

Step 2.
Glue two lengths of either craft twist ties or pipe cleaners in the center of the craft roll. These will be the monster’s legs.

Step 3.
Glue a heart shape to the end of each leg. You can use ceramic or foam heart shapes, or simply cut your own hearts out of construction paper. Paint, if desired.

Step 4.
Glue two wiggly eyes and a pom pom nose to the outside front of the monster.

Step 5.
Twist the ends of two pipe cleaners together to create an extra-long pipe cleaner. Wrap the extra-long pipe cleaner through the back side of the monster and create a heart-shaped antenna.

Step 6.
Display your monster, or give to someone special!

Furthermore:
Stuff the monster with a small baggie of Valentine’s Day treats to give someone an extra-special delivery!

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Painting with Jackson Pollock

pollock

Submitted by: Christie Castagno

After introducing children to artist Jackson Pollock, they create their own Jackson-Pollock-style abstract painting.

Goals:

  • To learn some simple information about artist Jackson Pollock and how he painted pictures
  • To become familiar with the terms “abstract painting” and “motion painting”
  • To experience painting by moving
  • To introduce the concept that different artists have different “styles”

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: BioColor® paint in many different colors, canvas panels, paint brushes, paint cups and smocks.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Give the children a simple lesson about Jackson Pollock and how he painted. Explain the difference between abstract art and realistic art, and that there are many different ways to paint (see website under “Furthermore” for more information).

Step 2.
Provide each child with a canvas panel. Have them choose a single solid color and paint the entire panel that color. (Or, use color canvas panels) Allow to dry overnight.

Step 3.
Take the children outside and set up all painting materials in an area when they can get a little messy. Provide smocks, if possible.

Step 4.
Have the children throw, splatter and drip paint on their canvases. Their goal should be to paint without touching the paintbrush to the canvas. Paint your own canvas as an example for the children – and to get in on the fun!

Furthermore:
Visit jacksonpollock.org to experiment with making digital Jackson Pollock art. Remind children about the difference between abstract art and realistic art.

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Father’s Day Magnet

dadmagnet

Submitted by: Jennifer Galvin

Make a cute magnet for Father’s Day to display on the fridge!

Goals:

  • To practice fine motor skills
  • To practice using scissors
  • To practice tracing

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: a circular lid from a plastic container, magnet, felt, glue, markers, buttons, feathers and other collage materials, and a picture or piece of artwork.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Place the lid on top of the felt and trace around it. Cut out the felt and glue it to the top of the lid.

Step 2.
Glue a picture of the child or a piece of artwork by the child onto the felt.

Step 3.
Decorate around the picture your choice of collage materials.

Step 4.
Glue a magnet to the back of the lid. If necessary, trim the rim of the lid with a scissors.

Furthermore:
Make several magnets for Dad, with different messages or pictures on each!

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Father’s Day Collage Cards

dadcards

Create a decorative holiday ornament while reinforcing knowledge of geometric properties.

Goals:

  • To create an original collage that is also a card
  • To make a special memento/keepsake for a loved one
  • To encourage creativity and fine motor skills

Before You Start:
Gather Colorations® Heavyweight Construction Paper (12″ x 18″) in a variety of colors. Set out small bowls with glue or glue sticks, scissors, Colorations® markers and crayons, glitter, craft sand, pom-poms, foam shapes, stickers and other collage materials. Have old magazines, newspapers and/or catalogs also available for children to cut out pictures and/or words for their collages.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Provide each child with construction paper and have them fold in half so it resembles a card. Explain to children that they will be creating cards for their fathers (or uncles, grandfathers, friends they know.) The outside of the cards will be collages of pictures they draw or cut out from magazines and newspapers provided, words they write (or cut out) and any other items they’d like to decorate with. The teacher can help cut out materials or have pre-cut materials available for younger children.

Step 2.
Allow children to decorate their cards any way they wish. As this is an open-ended activity, encourage the children to experiment with different colors, textures and mediums. Allow to dry.

Step 3.
Now everyone has their own unique card to display around the classroom and to give as a gift.

Step 4.
Optional: Have the children create a poem for Dad (or loved one) inside their cards. The teacher can help them by writing out prompts they can fill in or dictate such as, “My dad is special because…” or “I love you because…”

Furthermore:
Teachers can also have children create their own “book covers” about their fathers/father figures! Have children give their “book” a title that relates to their dad, (who he is, what he likes or how they spend time together,) and then children can decorate them any way they like. Gather everyone at circle time and have take turns sharing their “books.” Display around the classroom and/or give as gifts on Father’s Day!

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Watercolor Canvas Creations

watercolorcanvas

Submitted by: Melanie Rivard

Feel like a real, grown-up artist but without the mess!

Goals:

  • To learn how to use watercolor pencils on canvas to create colorful pictures
  • To learn that art you create can be used to decorate a home
  • To learn that artwork can bring happiness when given away as a gift

Before You Start:
Gather materials needed: Canvas panels, watercolor pencils, paint brushes and water bowls.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Provide children each with a canvas panel and their choice of watercolor pencils. Have the children draw whatever they wish to draw on the panel. If they don’t wish to draw something specific, suggest that they draw shapes or patterns. Encourage them to use lots of colors.

Step 2.
When the drawings are complete provide the children with paint brushes and water. Have the children paint over their drawings using the water. The colors will start to spread, similar to watercolor paint.

Step 3.
Place the paintings on a safe surface to dry for about an hour.

Step 4.
The children can bring their paintings home or give them as a gift. Either way, they are sure to bring happiness!

Furthermore:
Share this activity with the children by creating your own piece of art. Everyone’s art will carry a special memory of having worked alongside each other while being creative and having fun.

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Heart Sensory Pillows

heartpillows

These easy-to-make heart-shaped pillows provide a multi-sensory activity experience for children as they make precious keepsakes or gifts for Valentine’s Day!

Goals:

  • To promote tactile and auditory exploration
  • To help develop fine motor skills while encouraging creativity
  • To teach the children how to recycle common household items and avoid wasting paper

Before You Start:
Have children bring empty paper and plastic shopping bags from their last grocery trip and old newspapers. (Teachers may need to help collect some bags and newspaper.) Gather one-hole punches to make holes for “stitching” pillows. Set out Colorations® markers and crayons, glitter, glue sticks, and a variety of other materials the children can use to decorate their paper hearts. (Colorations® Confetti Glitter Glue can add a sparkly touch on these works of art.) Prepare newspapers and plastic grocery bags to use to stuff pillows, and cut pieces of yarn to weave the hearts together. You may consider shredding or cutting the newspaper into small pieces before this activity, or having the children do so if they are old enough.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Flatten clean, empty paper grocery bags and have children draw a large heart shape on one side (you may want to provide a stencil or template). Have them cut out their paper hearts (or cut them out for younger children), making sure to cut through both sides of the bag. This will make two matching heart-shaped sides for the pillows. Reserve any left over paper clippings for “stuffing.” You may want to have the children turn the hearts over if designs were already on the outside of paper bags.

Step 2.
Have the children hold the two hearts together and demonstrate how to punch an even number of holes with a one-hole punch around the outside edges of the hearts for “stitching”. (Teachers may need to help children with this step; alternatively, they might want to punch the holes for young ones.)

Step 3.
Encourage children to experiment with different colors and textures as they decorate their two heart shapes any way they like.

Step 4.
Once the hearts are decorated and dry, it’s time to make the pillow. Starting at the bottom of the hearts, have children tape one end of yarn between two holes (leaving an inch or two free for stuffing later), and demonstrate to children how to weave the yarn through each of the holes (both sides at the same time) until you’ve gone around the entire heart. Make sure to leave yarn allowance on both ends to tie up and close the heart after stuffing.

Step 5.
Have children “stitch” their own pillows, helping as needed, and then show children how to stuff them with the different sensory materials. As you use the different bags and paper, crush and crinkle it, in order to demonstrate how they each make various sounds. As the children stuff their pillows, it can be an opportunity to discuss what different sounds they hear and feel.

Step 6.
When pillows are stuffed, show how to tie the ends of the yarn into a bow and trim any excess from the ends. Now everyone has a unique and squishy pillow of their own!

Furthermore:
Pillows can be displayed in the classroom for the Valentine’s Day holiday and/or taken home to use as a special Valentine’s gift or keepsake. Or, make it an “all about me” activity! Heart pillows can be decorated with one or more pictures of people and things the child loves. These can be photos brought from home, cut-outs from recycled magazines, or drawings they do themselves. Children can then share their finished pillows as a group and describe the different pictures they used.

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