Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidents' Day Activities

These are just some of the many creative activities that can be done for Presidents' Day.

You can use construction paper to make a George Washington hat that can be decorated with markers or cutout stars. Artists Helping Children has a great and easy tutorial on how to make these hats. Slightly Nerdy Sometimes Cool also has instructions, complete with a cute plush dog wearing a hat.

The Lincoln hat can be made in a variety of ways and with different materials. The one shown here was made with construction paper, a toilet paper roll, and yarn. The toilet paper roll was cut so it was about three inches tall. Two black circle cutouts with tabs were made so that the tabs could be taped to the toilet paper roll. The roll was then covered with a piece of construction paper about 3" wide by 6" long. The bottom was then taped to a larger black construction paper circle. I hole-punched the circle and added string so that the children would be able to wear this adorable hat.

Enchanted Learning has a great instruction page for this hat that includes images and is very helpful. 

If you don't have too much time to create this Lincoln top hat, there are many other activities you can create to celebrate this day. You can create a Lincoln Log Cabin to celebrate and remember Lincoln's upbringing, and this Lincoln Penny Pendant is also a really creative idea. You can create a Washington pendant, or even a simple star pendant with multiple or single stars. The possibilities are endless!

Have a Presidential Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Two Great Books for St. Valentine's Day

If you're looking for some books for St. Valentine's Day, look no further. These two books have beautiful stories with breathtaking artwork, and would complement each other wonderfully.

Henry in Love by Peter McCarty

Snowy Valentine by David Petersen

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine's Day Ideas

One of the ideas I have always had for Valentine's Day is the creation of a Valentine Mailbox utilizing either a shoe box or a Kleenex box (especially as Kleenex boxes already have built-in slits for Valentine cards to go through). The book Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit gave me some of the ideas for the Valentine mailbox. If you haven't read it, please do! It's one of the best Valentine picture books I've come across, and it introduced me to Mary Engelbreit. I have now fallen in love with her dog and Scottie illustrations.

Ask for donations of Kleenex boxes early to make sure you have a good amount for the number of children you expect at your St. Valentine's Day event. You can cover the boxes with construction paper beforehand, or allow the children to cover them on their own. Use die cuts to create shapes such as hearts, castles, fairies, dragons, and other Valentine-related shapes. These can be used to decorate the box. The children can then use the box as a mailbox for all of their Valentine cards.

I have not yet managed to collect the 30 boxes I was hoping to have by Valentine's Day, so I came up with a quick and easy craft that children could do if there were not enough boxes. As it turns out, I love this craft just as much, and I'm not sure which of the two is my favorite. This craft consists of cutting the top of a brown paper bag about an inch or so, and decorating it with a Cat, Dog, or Giraffe template and heart. I found this adorable idea over at Craft of the Day, a daily craft blog from the makers of The Best Kids Book Site. There is also a very cute Panda Bear template you can use as well.

You can also check out this adorable Dog Box for Valentine Cards from DLTK.

And finally, this last craft was originally from Family Fun (by Disney, which is now Spoonful, I believe). You take the Conversation Hearts by Brachs or Sweethearts (there are also some small Valentine tattoos at the stores that would work), and you cover them with construction paper and an iPod template to create the illusion that it is an iPod. You can pretty much use any candy, however. There was a box of 30 Twizzlers and Jolly Ranchers (15 of each) that was much cheaper than buying conversation hearts, and that is what I decided to use. The candies were covered with construction paper and tape, and the iPod template was glued on the front. The adorable iPod template was incredibly hard to find, especially with the moving around on the Family Fun crafts site to the Spoonful site, but I was able to find it. I can't find the exact link I used, but I did find it available for download on this site. The iPod (or iLove) shows Valentine songs, but you can edit the template to add your own songs. For this craft, I added the following book titles: Bunnicula, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Goosebumps, and Harry Potter. 

You can see Reese's candy because you can add two strings to the iLove and attach one Reese's peanut butter cup (small) to each string to create headphones! Very cute indeed.

You can visit these websites to see how others have created Valentine iPods.