Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coffee Filter Stingray

For our Ocean theme last week, I taught the kids about stingrays. This was new to me. I've never taught about stingrays before so I was very excited to learn all about this gentle sea creature. For art, I folded coffee filters in half and the kids used dot markers to decorate them. The only reason I folded them in half is because I thought it would be cool if they had a symmetrical design, but it's not necessary to the craft.
(We put paper under the filters to catch some of the ink so cleaning the table would be a little easier.)
While it was still folded, we sprayed the filter with water. When it was dry, I made a template of half of a stingray and traced it onto the folded filter. I didn't get a picture of it on a colored filter, but here it is on a plain white one so you can see what I mean:
I kept the crease in it when I opened it up (I thought it looked better that way) and used one of the pieces I cut off as the tail.
The kids glued that piece on the end and added wiggle eyes to the top.

I love love love how they turned out! So simple and so beautiful.

Even if you don't fold the filter before decorating it with dot markers, as one child did, it still looks cool.
Fun Fact: Stingrays only use their tail, which has a poisonous barb, in self-defense. Otherwise, they are very gentle animals.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peeking Red-Eyed Tree Frogs

I've done a lot of frog crafts over the years, but when we had our Jungle unit I decided I wanted to do something new. I did countless Google and Pinterest searches for frog crafts and there was one I saw that stuck in my mind. Unfortunately, after deciding to do that one, I could not find it again! I really wish I could give credit to my inspiration because it is a cute craft! I used the frog template from my hopping frog craft, but crossed off the body because we didn't need it. The kids painted the head of the frog green. (I mixed yellow and green paint to make a bright green color.) And they painted the two circles (the eyes) red.
When they were dry I cut them out and used a Sharpie to add black slits to the eyes. The kids glued the eyes on their frog, then glued their frog head to a leaf I had cut from green construction paper.

Then they glued orange frog feet to the leaf on the side of the head. These are the frog's front feet.
The idea is to make it look like the frog is peeking over the top of the leaf, with the rest of the body behind the leaf. For the most part, though, it just looked like a frog head with a leaf body. Oh well! Still cute!
 The kids also colored in a smile and nose and some other facial features.
I hung them above our jungle wall. (To see my dramatic play jungle from past years, read this post.)

Oops! Looks like a poison dart frog snuck in with our red-eyed tree frogs! ;o)
I also had the kids marble paint using orange, green and brown paint.
Then I cut out letters from the marbled paper to spell Welcome to the Jungle.
If you've seen this craft before, please let me know where. I'd love to give credit to that person!

Fun Fact: Red-eyed tree frogs can change color for many reasons, from a dark green to a reddish-brown.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gorilla & Me Handprints

When we had our Jungle theme a couple weeks ago, I went to the library and checked out the book Actual Size, by Steve Jenkins. In it there is a picture of a life-sized adult gorilla hand. I thought it would be fun for the kids to see how much bigger it is compared to their hands. So I traced it to make a template and then I traced the template onto black construction paper. I used white paint to put a handprint of the child right on top of the gorilla handprint. And just for fun, after cutting it out, I glued it onto a colored piece of paper.
Note: It would have been easier to glue the gorilla handprint to the paper first, then get a handprint of the child. The paint from the kids' handprints made the black paper crinkle which made it hard to glue down smoothly.
My plan was to have the kids cut out the handprint themselves. I had my oldest try it first. And although she did great, she struggled with it a bit.
Usually when the kids cut something out I tell them it doesn't have to be perfect and they don't have to worry about staying on the lines. But for this project, if the kids didn't stay on the lines, the end result wouldn't be the same. If it looked nothing like a handprint, or was smaller than it was supposed to be, or if it was missing fingers, it would not have the same effect. So I cut the rest of them out.
And then I asked the kids what they would do if they met a gorilla. I wrote down their responses and posted them under their handprints on our door.

And I couldn't resist doing this project with my 16-month-old. Her tiny little handprint is so cute!

Fun Fact: Gorillas have fingerprints just like us!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Paper Plate Dinosaurs

I love this dinosaur craft. I found free templates at The Craft Train that were specifically made to go with paper plates. I printed them out on card stock. When cutting them out, I doubled the number of legs on the template to give the dinosaurs a more three-dimensional look.
First the kids painted half a paper plate using pom poms.
Then they picked which dinosaur they wanted to make and I cut out the pieces. The legs were all attached with glue dots, but either the head or tail was attached with a brass fastener so the kids could move them up and down. Then they added a wiggle eye and decorated them with markers.

I hung them around our Dino Camp sign. (Read more about our Dino Camp here.)
Thanks to The Craft Train for the free templates!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Handprint Dinosaurs

Here's a fun and quick dinosaur project for you! I painted the side of each child's index finger and thumb in a paint color of their choosing.
Then I stamped it onto a piece of paper. It was a little awkward to get the hand into the correct position, but we eventually got the hang of it.
That's the dinosaur's mouth and head! Once dry, the kids drew the rest of their dinosaur. They also used wiggle eyes.
 We had a couple dinosaurs guarding a nest,
 (one of which had a meteor headed straight for the eggs!)
 one taking a shower,
 and one ballerina dino dancing around her eggs!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Giant Dinosaurs

We did a Dinosaur unit a couple weeks ago. It's one of my favorite themes. Since I have a small class this summer, I decided to draw huge dinosaurs for them to color and decorate. I made a T-Rex and a Brachiosaurus (or a Diplodocus or any other "long neck" sauropod dinosaur). I drew them by hand and didn't let my perfectionism get in the way! I actually only drew one of each by hand. The big white paper I used was very thin so I could see through it and was able to trace the others. I rolled the paper up beforehand and when I passed them out to the kids I said, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit." They didn't see what they got until they unrolled them! We had to go into another classroom to use their hard floor since coloring on carpet was sure to put a hole in the paper and we wouldn't have had enough room on our tables. The kids unrolled their papers and got to work decorating them!

When they were done, they added big wiggle eyes. During nap I cut them all out and displayed them in the hallway. I also wrote down the names of the dinosaurs using the kids' names. For example, the dinosaur that Liam made was a Liamosaurus.
And Sam's was a Samosaurus Rex.
Her dinosaur had a lovely hat on its head! They turned out great and the kids loved coloring such a big piece of paper.