Recylce paper garbage by making "Stuffy" the trash bag snowman, as a classroom decoration, which will help students practice fine and gross motor skills.
1-2-3 Come Do Some Snowman Craftivities With Me!
I LOVE rip and tear craftivities for little ones. It's so important to strengthen their finger muscles and tearing strips of paper is an especially fun way to do that.
Run off my snowman template. I purposely make these small, so that children don't get tired and bored trying to fill up too big of an area. Inform students to rip up their strips, putting each color in a pile, before they start to glue.
This way, they can rub their glue stick over an entire section and simply press those colored pieces on that area. This expedites the gluing and keeps children's fingers from getting too sticky. You'll still have a few that will rub glue on that little piece and stick it on that way, which takes a lot longer.
You can do this as a whole-group activity. While students are at special, lunch or recess, place the strips on their desk/table area, so they can get started when they return.
You can also do this as an independent center. When students completed their table top morning lessons, I had special centers the Y5's could transition to. This really helped children stay on task and focused, as they wanted to make whatever fun thing I had on those TV tray centers.
So that my kiddo's didn't make a huge mess of all the colors of paper strips, I slid the paper in the openings of a plastic basket.
Another option for rip and tear, is to rip the paper parts and then glue them together like a puzzle.
I suggest this for Y5's and older, as some of my kiddo's had a hard time figuring out where to tear, while trying to keep their paper folded and stay on the line. Before hand, demonstrate this.
In later years, I held up the hat and said, "Do what I do." Doing this activity with step-by-step directions (monkey-see, monkey do) really expedited things. These look wonderful hung back-to-back from the ceiling.
In the photograph, they are hung along with our cylinder snowman windsocks. My hallway was always decorated to the hilt, which was a real self-esteem builder.
These snowmen were also the January page for my Y5's Rippin' Through The Year monthly keepsake booklet. Click on the link to view/download that booklet. Click on this link to view/download the Rip & Tear Snowmen packet which includes both kinds.
Another group activity that's great fine motor practice, is "Stuffy." We have a recycled paper box in the teachers’ lounges through out our schools. The last day we’re in school, before Christmas break, I visited these rooms and loaded up a big black trash bag, with as much paper as I could carry.
If you don’t have a recycled paper box in your school, start one. These scraps are great to make “shred” and do all sorts of activities with.
When my students came back from vacation, we'd build our own two-snowball snowman out of a couple of white garbage bags. My Y5’s named him “Stuffy.” Children sat on our Circle of Friends carpet and crinkled up paper “snowballs.”
As they got a snowball done, I had them toss it towards our big garbage can that was lined with the white garbage bag. Every time they made a “bucket” they gave themselves a tally mark, under their name that I’d written on the white board. If they missed, they simply tried again.
Afterwards, everyone got a snowman sticker, and the one who made the most “buckets” got a trip to the treasure box. This is great counting, and tally mark practice, as well as wonderful fine and gross motor exercise too.
Take the garbage bag out when it’s pretty full and have students continue to stuff ‘til the bag is nice and round. Make sure the bottom bag is bigger than the “head”. When you are happy with Stuffy’s size, put your snowman "ball" in the corner of the classroom, so he leans against the wall for support and “build” him from there.
Using duct tape (It’s nice and sticky) put on the head. Decorate with a real stocking cap and scarf. Poke a hole on either side and use two rulers as arms. Two paint sticks work well too. A pair of gloves or mittens, go on each end and wahla (!) your own inside snowman.
Add a construction paper nose, “coal” black eyes and red cherry mouth pieces, + some circles for the buttons; stick them on with duct tape.
Each month I tried to do something that was RECYCLED and Stuffy fit the bill for January. Click on the link to print Stuffy's directions.
Finally, a simple and quick decoration for your students' lockers is to make the Snowman Name Stacker.
If you don't have lockers, these look adorable lined up on a hallway wall. Have your students help you arrange them in alphabetical order, or from tallest to shortest.
You can make a template, trace once and cut out 3-6 circles at a time, or run off my template on white construction paper and have students cut out their own circles.
For younger children, especially those with long names, have a 2-3-circle cutting limit and then allow them to add as many pre-cut circles as they need to spell their name.
Demonstrate how to glue just the edge of the "snowball" to another to "build" their vertical snowman stacker. Review vertical and horizontal vocabulary with them, as well as the circle, rectangle and square shapes.
Give each child a pre-cut black square and rectangle. Have them glue the shapes together to make a hat to glue to the top of their snowman.
Using crayons or markers students draw and color a face. Wiggle eyes are also fun. You could cut their school photo in the shape of a heart, and have them glue that to their hat as well.
Afterwards, students write a letter on each of the belly snowballs, so that they spell their name. If you have the time, go over their letters with Elmer's glue and have them sprinkle on glitter.
As a math extension, graph how many letters in students' names, or which letters were used the most. Add up everyone's totals for a grand total of how many letters for the entire class. Click on the link to view/download the Snowman Name Stacker.
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"Getting an inch of snow, is like winning 10 cents in the lottery." -Bill Waterson
Our main themes this month are
SPIDERS and PUMPKINS!
Welcome to our Arts-Crafts & Activities section of the Blog.
I simply LOVE fall and hope you will enjoy these activities with your children as much as I enjoyed doing them with mine. I designed some "Quick Crafts" along with a few that take a bit more time. All of them are easy and fun tho'; and If you're looking for more autumn art projects to fine tune report card skills and standards then check out my Pumpkin Art and Activity Book. My Fall Fun as well as my Leaf Unit have some great fall activities in them as well.
I’m big on recycling so I have at least one project for my students each month using recycled materials. This one involves newspapers. Some of my little ones were actually unfamiliar with them! They are a great way to review concepts of print, talk about news, and advertising, plus have them hunt for letters, and shapes, then spell their name in the smile of a Jack-O-Lantern. The orange colored pumpkin on newsprint makes for a very interesting background. Click on the link to print directions and see a bigger picture. Newsprint Pumpkin.
Pumpkin Patch Mobile
, p I try to incorporate science into my art activities as well, so this Pumpkin Patch Mobile made from a coat hanger is perfect. It also helps reinforce sequencing and cutting skills. Click on the link above for complete directions and patterns.
Dryer Hose Pumpkin
While visiting Hobby Lobby I ran into a wonderful gal who asked my opinion about what color to paint her dryer hose pumpkin. She was making them as center pieces for her church and said the idea was almost 2 decades old! I asked her if I could put it on my website and she said “Yes!” Then I went to the hardware store and bought enough dryer hose to make the pumpkins with my Y5’s! Their mommies loved their pumpkins! You can use a fall-colored leaf or, to make it more of a keepsake, do what I did, and paint your students' hand print a lighter shade of green than the construction paper you press it on. Trim around the edges, add a green pipe cleaner that they wrap around a pencil and you have the finishing touch. I had the dryer hose sections all stapled before hand. Decide how big you want to make your pumpkins. I kept mine small (18 inches) and used a stapler to fasten the ends together. I stuck a toilet paper tube in the center. Because the hole in the center of the pumpkin is smaller than the tube, there was no need to fasten it. The children hung on to the tube to paint the bottom of the pumpkin, when the time came. You can have them paint the t.p. tube stems green, but I had my students simply leave them brown. They looked more realistic and was one less painting step. Make sure you buy white plastic dryer hose. Most places only sell silver because it is flame retardant. True Value Hardware still sells white and so does Menards. Menards has a 20 foot bag for $7.99; this will make 11 pumpkins. True Value sells it by the foot as well as a 9 foot bag. This project will cost you a little over a dollar to make for each pumpkin, so you might want to collect some money for it, or do it only if you have a small class. Make sure you give the children big foam brushes so they brush on a lot of paint. Remind them that they need to get into the cracks so that no white shows. I covered my tables with brown butcher paper and had them wear paint shirts. As you can see buy the photo they really look like those miniature pumpkin gourds! When other teachers saw them they couldn't believe how realistic they looked and that my 4-year-old's had made them! Dryer Hose Pumpkin
Another recycling project that I do, is with water bottles. They make an adorable web-walking dancing spider sure to scare Miss Muffet away! When you press the "head" down she "bounces" up and down! Click on the link for directions.
To go along with your Web Walking Water Bottle Spider why not learn a bit of trivia about spiders and make this cool Spider Fact Flip Book out of a black paper plate. Click on the link for directions and pattern pages.
Paper Plate Puppet Theater
October’s just not complete if you’re not singing a few pumpkin songs. I especially like “Five Little Pumpkins Sitting On A Gate” but with all the hoopla over Halloween and witches etc. I thought it best to change a few verses a bit. Here’s a Paper Plate Puppet Theater I designed that you can make for yourself, or it’s easy enough for all of your students to make and take home. Click on the link above to print out directions and pattern pieces.
Cup Cake Cuties
I was in Michael's Craft store and saw the Wilton paper cupcake holders. They come in a variety of seasonal prints and are too cute! As you know my "mantra" is: "What can I do with this?" So I dreamed up "Cup Cake Cuties" Since we got our school pix back, I simply enlarged them on the copy machine and cut an oval head for each child. Cut some orange strips on a paper cutter and let your students have some much-needed fine-motor skill practice by folding the strips into an accordion fold for the legs and arms and then have them glue to the cup cake holder. You too can have adorable "little pumpkin people" dangling from your ceiling! Mommies are sure to enjoy these cupcake cutie keepsakes! Have them make the flower card also made out of cupcake holders for Sweetest Day, or save for a Mother's Day or spring flower activity. Click on the link to see that pix. FLOWER
Whatever arts and crafts or activities you're doing with your little "punkins" I hope it will be brimming with lots of fall fun. As always if you have an original idea you'd like to share with us, we'd enjoy hearing from you!
Here's a pix of the Pirate Booty Bag that I made for my grandson to take trick or treating. Michael's Crafts sells the bags for only $1.99. I used puffy paint for the lettering and white glow-in-the dark paint for the pirate skull and cross bones. He loved it!
As a "sneak peak" into next month's topic: Scarecrows click here to see my favorite scarecrow project I do with my students. I call it "Personal Scarecrows". Enlarge a student's photo on the copier machine. At this size it will become pixelated and give their face a true scarecrow look! We're studying shapes so I have examples of rectangles, squares, and triangles throughout the project. You can print my scarecrow head and design your own shape project or check out my Scarecrow Art & Activity Book for all kinds of patterns, poems and fun! There will be more freebies in November!
Until then "Keep On Craftin'" and making those wonderful memories that make you smile and your little ones smile!