No matter how many times it happens, I am always amazed what a group of young children can come up with when left to their own devices.
Yesterday afternoon, we made boats.
Other than providing materials, and the direction to make a boat that floats (of course!) I left them to discover on their own.
And as they worked, they discussed the merits of different materials.
They talked about what a boat should look like. They wondered if they made a boat a different size and shape if it would still float.
They debated whether a cardboard boat would remain afloat.
And rather than answering their questions, I asked a few of my own. Like “If you think a cardboard boat would get too wet, what could you do to protect it?”
In the midst of all this boat-talk, there was also learning about working with materials. Puzzling over how to get pieces to stick to one another, how to make holes in the middle of a box, how to balance one object on top of another, how to work with plasticine.
And as I guide them to learn and discover on their own, I know the learning runs much deeper than the things I simply tell them.
And then, with twelve brand new boats in hand, we headed outside to test the waters!
“Hmm…what happens if I put water inside my boat……”
“Hey! This yellow tape floats!”
And then the bowls of water became vessels for all sorts of floating things on the playground. And then sand from the sandbox. And lots of stirring with fingers and squishing and scooping of mud. My young scientists were still at work discovering long after my job was done and the after school program began.
Taking it Further
- Older children could test out materials and models before designing what they feel to be the “best” model
- play an advanced game of “will it float?” Go beyond the usual items.
- Learn about different types of boats and build a boat for a specific purpose
- Take water exploration in new directions. Provide funnels and tubing and containers and see what they can come up with (I once did this with a small group of seven and eight-year-olds who spent several days designing elaborate water-moving machines.)
- Have children find ways to make their boats move in the water (and maybe even have a boat race!)
Don’t you just love it when learning is so much fun?Read More
Isn’t she cute?
The birthday girl aslo enjoys making things, so I also included all the materials so that she can make a family of fairies on her own, and a few things to create a fairy house, too.
I might just have to make a few more of these….Read More
I admit that I am often a last-minute person. Although I have great plans for holidays that might start months in advance, the bulk of the work is usually done a day or two before. And so, Valentine’s day is almost upon us, and I have been busy preparing both a meaningful way to share the day with my hubby, and some fun ways to celebrate with my students.
If you are like me, and your holiday planning happens last-minute, here are some fun and easy ideas for a handmade holiday that you still have time to do before Tuesday!
1. Take advantage of some of the beautiful printable Valentines available in blogland (this site is a good resource) for unique cards for all of the people on your list.
2. Make cute origami hearts (found here.) One year I made one for each of my students!
3. Make heart-shaped cookies. You could even write the Valentine message in icing and skip cards altogether!
4. For the love of your life, make a set of Valentine coupons. Take little slips of paper and write things such as “Good for one back massage” or “Redeemable for watching a movie of your choice together” or whatever you think your love would like the best. You could staple them into a book or fold them and put them into a glass jar tied with a red ribbon.
5. Create a video telling your Valentine how much you love them. Use your camera, or create a slide show of pictures with a favourite song in the background. If you have never done this before, Windows Movie Maker is an easy way to put together videos of this type.
6. Make a personalized card by printing out photos of things you and your Valentine have done together and pasting them onto a heart-shaped cut-out. (Hubby made one of these for me one year and I LOVED it!)
7. Create “Heartbreaker” Valentines from stapled paper stuffed with treats!
8. Make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. (If you don’t have a heart-shaped mold and find it hard to pour the batter in a heart-shape, just use a cookie cutter to cut out the shape once the pancakes are cooked.)
9. Use a heart cookie cutter to create heart-shaped sandwiches for a special lunch.
10. Make a “Sweet Memories” jar or an “I love you because” jar. Find a pretty jar (or box or tin) and some small pieces of paper. For a “Sweet Memories” jar, write a memory you have of being together on each piece of paper and then put it in the jar. For an “I love you because..” jar, write things you love about the person instead. I have been lucky enough to be a recipient of both of these kinds of gifts and still cherish them years after they have been given.
Here’s to another handmade holiday!
What do you like to do to make Valentine’s Day special?Read More
Is anyone else out there just a little addicted to Pinterest? I have only been on the site for the last two weeks, but have found it to be an amazing resource for creative ideas, as well as a way to finally get my overloaded “Favourites” file under control! And for someone who likes to make things, there is no shortage of things to add to my “to make” list!
It’s not often I come across something and make it right away, but I found these sock snowmen too cute to resist. You can find the originals on “Then She Made…”
My versions are slightly smaller (I used one short white sock and one ankle sock to make each one.)
This was a super fun and quick craft (I made two in under an hour) and I think it would be fun for older children to make, too (anyone old enough to handle a glue gun.)
Anyone else creating crafts for the holidays? What’s on the top of your “to make” list?
Last year I shared with you how my mother-in-law taught me how to make an evergreen wreath. This year we gathered with the whole family (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, too!) to make them again. We started our outing at our land to gather the evergreen boughs, and after a long (and somewhat wet!) hike we finally found the perfect branches. After lunch we had a wonderful time creating our wreaths, and then going through the bags of flowers and pinecones that my mother-in-law has kept for just this purpose in order to decorate them.
Creating an evergreen wreath is super easy and fun! Here’s how:
1. Gather a bucket of fresh evergreen boughs. We found fir trees to work best for this because their needles lie flat and aren’t prickly. I think other branches would work, but you might want to wear gloves to keep from getting poked by the needles.
2. Find or make a wire wreath frame. You could make one out of a wire coat hanger, and the bonus is you will already have a hook for hanging! You will also need some florist wire.
3. Cut your boughs into lengths about as long as your hand.
4. Gather these “hands” into a group of three or four (depending on how full your boughs are).
5. Secure your wire to the wreath frame. Wire the greens onto the front of your wreath frame by wrapping the wire around the wreath and greenery several times.
6. Gather another group of “hands” and wire them to the back of your wreath frame, a small distance away from the group you just wired to the front.
7. Continue to wire groups of branches alternately to the front and back until your whole wreath is covered.
8. Twist the end of the wire to secure, and cut it off. If you need a hanger, twist the wire into a hanging loop before cutting.
9. You now have a beautiful evergreen wreath! If the shape is a little wild, trim the boughs until you are happy with it.
10. Decorate as you wish! When I purchased wreaths in years past I only ever decorated them with a long velvet bow that I reused year after year. I can’t resist my mother-in-law’s collection of decorations though, and love the way the flowers and pinecones look on the greenery. These are attached with a glue gun, and they pull easily off the wreath at the end of the season to reuse next year.
Happy wreath making!Read More