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Egg Carton Flower Wreath Activity

May 28, 2016

What You Need:

  • Sheet of felt or craft foam
  • Food dye
  • Water
  • Egg carton bottom, with cups separated
  • 2 bowls or circular items, to trace wreath base
  • A few short glasses or ramekins
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue
  • Buttons, gems, glitter glue, or stickers (optional)
  • Newspaper or a drop cloth (optional)

 

What You Do:

  1. First find two objects you can use to trace two circles onto a sheet of felt. Mixing bowls that nest into each other are a good choice. The goal is to draw an inner and an outer circle that when cut out will leave you with an O shape to use as the base of the wreath. Trace the larger circle first, then trace the smaller circle within the larger circle. If you want to point out symmetry to your child you can make an example of trying to center the smaller circle so that the O shape is somewhat even all around. 
  2. Cut out the circles. Cutting Tip: Fold the cloth in half and you’ll only need to cut out two semicircles.
  3. To make the flowers you’ll want to first separate each cup of an egg carton. Hand your child one of the cups from the egg carton. This will become a flower! Ask him how he’d like this flower to look. He can leave it as it is, cut slits down the sides to make petals, snip bits off the top, or even tear the paper flower into shape. Make sure to leave the center base of the cup intact.
  4. To paint the flowers set up a couple of short or shallow glasses, or ramekins, with a little water in each. Have your child choose a color of food dye and help him by squeezing a drop or two of dye into a cup of water. Separate colors into different cups. You may want to spread newspaper out on your work surface to sop up any drips or spills. 
  5. You’re ready to paint! Painting the flowers will be a bit like dyeing eggs – lots of dunking, dipping, and swirling. Encourage your kid to dip one end of his egg carton flower into the colored water. He can try out different techniques–a quick dunk, fully submerging the flower or just putting in an edge. Have him see what happens if he leaves the flower to dry then dunks it in a different color. Tip: the longer you leave the paper cup in the water the more water it will soak up. For less wait time don’t leave your paper flowers to soak; they’ll dry faster!
  6. You can also get out a tub or bowl and have your child hold a paper flower over it as he pours different colors of dyed water onto it, literally giving it a splash of color. Keep in mind that colors will mix together in the bottom of the bowl; this can be great when it’s just two and he makes a secondary color like purple! Pretty quickly the water in the bowl will get inky and murky the more colors get added.
  7. Once he’s colored as many flowers as he’d like for his wreath he can leave them out to dry before finishing the wreath; it may take overnight.
  8. When the flowers are dry or when you’re ready your child can decorate them more by gluing a button or gem into the center of each, drawing on them, or adding glitter glue or stickers.
  9. He can preview his wreath by putting flowers around the circle of fabric to see how he’d like to position each and moving them around.
  10. Help him add glue to the bottom of each flower and press each firmly back down into position on the circle of felt. Leave it to dry.

Make Your Own Garden Markers Activity

May 27, 2016

What You Need:

  • Tongue depressors
  • Card stock cut into 3 x 4” cards
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Seed packets or a book with plant pictures
  • Laminator

What You Do:

  1. Start with pictures. For each type of seed you’re planting, ask your child to find a picture of how the plant should look if everything comes up right. This is easy if you’re using seed packets; if not, you can also look in a garden book or seed catalog.
  2. Now explain to your child that for each row of seeds you plant, you need to make a little sign with a picture and a word. Then give your child one card at a time, placed vertically. Start by having your child draw the flower or vegetable with bright markers or colored pencils. Make sure you leave about 3/4” at the bottom of the card, though, for the name of the plant!
  3. Across the bottom of the card, ask your child to copy the plant’s name in clear capital block letters. (While you’re at it, encourage your child to sound out those letters and put them together into the full word!)
  4. Repeat this process for as many cards as necessary.
  5. Laminate! Run your card through a laminator so that there is a plastic border at least 1/4” wide all around. Staple or glue it with superglue onto a tongue depressor. Stick it in the ground and celebrate—unless, of course, the signs are so cute you can’t bear to use them!

Make a Milk Carton Bird House Activity

May 26, 2016

What You Need:

  • Half gallon milk carton, washed and dried
  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Hot glue or rubber cement
  • Colored markers or crayons
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Popsicle stick
  • Craft knife
  • Bird seed 

What You Do:

  1. Help your child cover each surface of the container with construction paper. Help him trace the outline of the rectangular sides onto the paper and help him cut along the lines.
  2. Once he has cut out each appropriately-sized piece of paper, help him paste or glue the paper onto the milk carton and then let it dry.
  3. Once the glue has dried, encourage your child to use markers or crayons to decorate the outside of the bird feeder. If your child wishes, he can also cut out pictures from magazines and glue those on.
  4. After the outside of the bird feeder has been decorated, use the craft knife to cut a 2″ x 2″ square in the front of the bird feeder, about 3 inches above the bottom of the carton.
  5. Carefully use some hot glue and affix the popsicle stick to the bottom of the carton, directly below the square. This will be the perch for the birds to stand on when they come to the feeder.
  6. Next, poke a hole in the top of the container, and then help your child tie a loop of string through the hole to hang the bird house.
  7. Once this has been done, you’re ready to fill the feeder with bird seed. Help your child gently pour some bird seed into the bottom of the feeder through the hole you cut.
  8. Help your child decide on a good place to hang the bird feeder.

Flower Prints Activity

May 25, 2016

What You Need:

  • Flowers, real or fake
  • Construction or drawing paper
  • Water soluble non-toxic block printing ink (Tempera or acrylic paints may be substituted.)
  • Tray for the ink such as a reused fruit or vegetable tray
  • Brayer, spoon or craft stick

What You Do:

  1. Go outside and have your child look for and select a few different types of flowers or leaves for her project. Try to find a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. You can make a print from most any flower. Find a use for dandelions, for instance, or even reuse old silk flowers to create incredible abstract art in a variety of patterns and colors.
  2. Pour the printing ink into the tray. Spread the ink out with the brayer, spoon or craft stick. Make sure that the ink is not spread too thin, as your child will be dipping the flowers into the printing ink.
  3. Ask your child to dip and press a flower into the ink. Encourage her to choose for herself the part of the flower that’s dipped in.
  4. Have your child firmly press the flower onto the construction paper.
  5. Remove the flower and repeat.
  6. Invite your child to experiment with printing different parts of the flower and different types of plant life.

Color Spy Activity

May 24, 2016

What You Need:

  • Card stock or other sturdy paper (index cards work well too)
  • Scissors
  • Markers in a rainbow of colors

What You Do:

  1. Begin by talking about color with your child, using the markers as a guide. Take each marker out of the package one at a time and ask her to name the colors as you go along.
  2. Cut the card stock into 5″ x 7″ rectangles. If you’re using index cards, move on to step 3.
  3. Have your child draw a picture of a flower, plant, or other spring thing on the front of each card, using only one color for each card.
  4. Now turn each card over and write the name of the color you used on that card on the back using the same color marker. For some handwriting practice, try writing the words lightly in pencil first, then having her trace over the letters in marker.
  5. Now it’s time to play! Take the cards outside. Choose one card and ask your child to name the color, then turn the card over to reveal the color word.
  6. Now look around outside and find something natural (like a tree or flower) that’s the same color as the card.
  7. Once you’ve found something, turn to your child and say, “I spy something with my eye that is the color_____”. Encourage her to try and find the object you chose. Give her descriptive word clues to help point her in the right direction. If she guesses another object that is the right color, let her know that her pick is also correct.
  8. Continue playing by repeating steps 5-7 for the rest of the color cards. Once she finds all the colors, she wins!

Tissue Paper Butterfly Hunt Activity

May 23, 2016

What You Need:

  • Wood embroidery hoop, small
  • Net bag, (found on vegetables like onions or brussels sprouts)
  • Low-temp hot glue gun, with parental supervision
  • Wooden dowel rod
  • Construction paper, various colors
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Help your child to place the edges of the net bag over the inner hoop of the embroidery hoop, then latch the top hoop over the bag and screw it into place. The bag will be secured between the two hoops.
  2. Have your child watch as you hot glue the wooden dowel rod to the outer edge of the embroidery hoop, creating a handle for the butterfly net.
  3. Encourage your child to fold a sheet of construction paper in half, vertically, so it’s thin and tall.
  4. Have her draw half of a butterfly, (one wing and half the body) starting at the folded edge. She can repeat this until half-butterflies fill the fold of the paper.
  5. Keeping the paper folded, she can cut out the half-butterflies, and unfold them into whole butterflies.
  6. She can lay out the butterflies around the inside or outside of the house, or toss them in the air and try to capture them with her butterfly net.

Spring Party Ideas Activity

May 21, 2016

What You Need:

  • Card stock
  • Markers
  • Puff paint
  • Construction paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Scissors
  • Streamers or crepe paper in spring colors
  • Balloons in spring colors
  • Rubber bands
  • Plant seeds of your choosing (choose only plants that can be started in a container)
  • Potting soil
  • Pint-sized cardboard milk cartons or 20-oz plastic soda bottles, washed well and dried (you need one per guest)
  • Kid gardening gloves (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Start by creating the party invitations. Ask your child to fold each piece of card stock in half width-wise to make a card.
  2. Invite her to decorate the front with spring-inspired images such as flowers, grass, and rainbows using puff paint. Encourage her to draw a different picture on each invitation.
  3. Open each card and write the party information inside: party address, date, time, theme (spring flowers), and a contact number that guests can call to RSVP. You can hand write this part or type it up on the computer.
  4. Now design your party decorations. Help your child cut large circles, ovals, and rectangles out of the construction paper and tissue paper and use them to create huge, over-sized flowers.
  5. Make balloon flowers. Bunch together several balloons in the shape of a flower and secure them together with a rubber band.
  6. Now plan the party activities. These can range from crafts to outdoor fun. Think up simple activities with a flower theme. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • Make prints using flowers and paint. Dip the flowers in acrylic paint and press onto paper to create a print.
    • Design flower collages. Gather enough flowers and leaves for all the kids. Invite the kids to glue the flowers onto paper in a pretty design. Pressed flowers work well for this craft (click here to find out how to make pressed flowers).
    • Throw a flower tea party outside. Serve mini sandwiches cut into flower shapes with cookie cutters and flower-based teas (iced or hot) for the adults and fruit juice for the kids. Some good flower teas are jasmine green, orange blossom, or rose.
    • Decorate cookies shaped like flowers with spring-colored icing and sprinkles.
  7. Time to select a menu. Make sure to choose a variety of foods that kids and adults will both like. Here are some ideas:
    • Serve fresh veggies in the shape of a flower, with celery sticks as the stem, broccoli as the center, and carrots as petals.
    • Bake a flower-shaped cake or spring cupcakes.
    • Bake sunflower seed granola and serve with fruit and yogurt.
    • Grill up some veggie burgers (they’re made from plants!).
    • Make mini sandwiches cut into flower shapes with cookie cutters (it doesn’t have to be for a tea party).
  8. Finally, make the party favors. Cut off the tops off the milk cartons or soda bottles. Fill each container with potting soil. At the party, give each child a few seeds and a container filled with soil that they can plant their seeds in. For a special touch, include inexpensive kid gardening gloves with each favor.

Tea Garden Activity

May 20, 2016
  • Various tea herbs from plant stores: apple mint, bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon basil, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, peppermint, spearmint, etc.
  • Large plant container or garden area
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Hot water, tablespoon, mug, strainer
  • Optional: sugar and stirring spoon

What You Do:

  1. Take your child to a plant shop to select herbal tea plants. Take the list of plants above for ideas. 
  2. At your home or a community garden, have a large container and potting soil available or garden soil area.
  3. Let your child read the planting directions that accompany each plant. General directions are also listed below.
  4. All the herbs listed above grow in areas of full sun. Your child can use the shovel to dig areas in the ground or in the container’s potting soil for the plants. Note that lemon balm and mint herbs are best confined to containers since they can become invasive in gardens.
  5. Let her water herbs after planting according to each plant’s directions. For most of these plants, the leaves are used to make tea. Chamomile and lavender are exceptions, as tea is made from their flowers. Bergamot has leaves and flowers suitable for making tea.
  6. Let her pick leaves or flowers for tea. Leaves should be rubbed together to release their essential oils. Let her put the leaves (and flower buds for chamomile, lavender, or bergamot) into a tea mug. She should add three tablespoons of leaves or flowers per cup. Be sure not to use any leaves or flowers that were treated with pesticides, and make sure your child doesn’t have plant allergies before letting her drink herbal teas.
  7. The parent can pour boiled water into the cup. Let it steep for five minutes. Help your child use a strainer to separate leaves and tea. 
  8. Sip and enjoy! She may wish to add sugar. If it’s sunny outside, bergamot and peppermint make good iced teas.

Leaf Printing Activity

May 19, 2016
  • Tree cutting
  • A favorite poem
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brush
  • 3 sheets of construction paper
  • Marker that matches your paint color
  • Glue stick
  • Tape

What You Do:

  1. Coat one side of your tree cutting with tempera paint. Make sure that both the branches and the leaves are covered.
  2. Press the wet, painted cutting onto a colored sheet of construction paper. Press it down firmly to make sure the print will show up.
  3. Remove the tree cutting and discard.
  4. Use your marker to write your selected poem in your best handwriting. Be creative with the placement of your poem!
  5. Set the other two sheets of construction paper flat on a table horizontally so they look like one giant sheet of paper. Tape the two pieces together at the seam. Flip the paper over to use as a background for your poetry print.
  6. Center your poetry print in the middle of the matte and glue it in place with a glue stick.  

Painted Tea Cup Activity

May 18, 2016

What you need:

  • White ceramic tea cup
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tea bags
  • Pencil and paper
  • Clear cellophane paper
  • Rbbon 

 

What You Do:

  1. Think of designs for the cup that your mom might like, such as hearts, flowers, or a rainbow. Practice drawing them with a pencil and paper.
  2. Use acrylic paints and paintbrushes to paint the outside of the teacup. Keep the acrylic paint away from the top edge of the cup. Your mom won’t be able to drink from the cup if there’s paint where she sips from.
  3. After the paint has dried, carefully paint on the designs you practiced. You could even write her name on the cup or something cute like “World’s Best Mom”. Experiment with what you think your mom would like best.
  4. Arrange a collection of tea bags inside the cup. Try to find enough tea to fill up the cup.
  5. Wrap the whole cup with clear cellophane paper and then tie the top closed with a pretty ribbon.






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