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End of the Year Keepsake "Craftivities"

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A super-fun project I like to do with my students at the end of the year I call "Sweet Summer Dreamin' Pillowcases."

Just about every month we have practiced the art of stamping something with a foam stamp. 

I have collected them through out the years to use for our science units.  They make fun art projects and are great for math extensions as well. 

My Y5's self-esteem is also built, because the process is quite easy and the results are simply smashing.  They pat paint on a foam stamp and then press it onto paper and a lovely print of something is left. 

They make beautiful collages, paintings and patterns and are really quiet proud of their projects. In the process, they have become quite skilled at this technique. 

Instead of doing an autograph book, I thought it would be fun for my students to autograph a pillowcase that they have stamped with all of the various foam stamps, depicting everything they have studied throughout the year.  This  makes a wonderful keepsake for them. 

I send a letter home to parents asking them to send in a plain, light-colored pillowcase and ask if they would be able to volunteer to help. I've found that having 4 helpers makes the process go faster and stay organized, but I've done it with only one daddy as well. 

One year I asked several 5th graders if they could come and help during their study hour when I was short on parents and they worked well with the little ones too.  I chose students who had also been my Y5 students, so that made it extra fun as they even remembered doing the project when they were little! 

I do this project on the floor in our entry hall atrium so that the children can spread out.  Be sure and lay plastic or paper down in case of spills.  There are very few, but The Dollar Store plastic tablecloths make clean up a breeze.  I put 5 children in a row and made a large square. 

painted pillowcases, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, keepsake artInsert a piece of tag board (I recycle them each year) inside of their pillow case so that the paint does not bleed through.  I write their name in large print on the edge of their pillowcase. 

Painted pillowcase, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, may artI buy primary and pastel colors of the acrylic permanent paints that are only .59 cents at a hobby/craft store and spill a dollop of one color on a paper plate.

That paper plate, a foam brush and a stamp is given to a helper who pats the paint on the stamp and hands it to a child, they press that stamp anywhere on their pillowcase, lift it straight up and then wait for the next stamp. 

We rotate all of of the stamps in this assembly-line fashion, until everyone has done every stamp and used every color. This takes about 45 minutes if I have help.  Afterwards, the children go wash up and go outside for recess with several of the parents.

When they come back in, the paint is dry.  We flip the pillowcases over and everyone is given a permanent marker. I have 10 different colors. I remind children that they cannot rest the markers on the pillowcase as they will start to bleed into the material and run. 

I also tell them that it is hard to write on fabric so that they need to hold the fabric taught.  I demonstrate this as I "autograph" a pillowcase. 

Everyone signs their own pillowcase first, then they stand up when they are done so that I can see when everyone is finished; when everyone is standing, they move to the next pillowcase and sign their name; when they are done, they stand up again. 

We do this until they are back to their own pillowcase and have signed everyone's.  Make sure you remind them that they are writing THEIR name and "autographing" each other's pillowcases. I had one little guy who was trying to write each person's name on the pillowcases instead of his own! 

In the beginning I had the children sign the fronts of the pillowcases where the stamps were, then a mom thought it would look nicer, since the children wrote so big, to sign the backs!  I've done it that way ever since. I don't paint the backs of the pillowcases, because the paint is scratchy when it dries. 

I type up a little note about washing directions which reads: When your child brings their pillowcase home, turn it inside out and toss in the dryer on high.  This will set the paint.  Wash in cold water on your gentle cycle, for years of wear.  Sleep on the side that is not painted.  I hope you enjoy your sweet summer dreamin' pillowcase and that it helps you to remember all of the fun we had learning in young fives with all of these wonderful friends!

Some years I had one or two children who were absent.  Because I did this "assembly line process" it was easy to lay out the missing child's pillowcase and simply stamp theirs too.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback over the years about this project, and my students absolutely loved making their pillowcases. A plain white or pastel colored T-shirt would also work. 

sweet summer dreamin pillowcases, end of the year autograph books, end of the year activities, autograph pillowcases, autograph t-sheirtsThat's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. It's a beautiful sunshine-filled day, with a refreshing spring breeze.  The perfect weather to work in my flower garden.  Wishing you a relaxing day filled with memorable moments.

"I am grateful.  My life isn't perfect, but I am grateful for the perfect moments that make it special. " -Unknown

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