Thursday Craft Program – Flight

Some program ideas seem to come out of nowhere. I’ll be walking along and BOOM! I have an idea for a craft or a theme. Others, however, have a very clear origin point. This particular theme is of the latter variety. While driving home a few weeks ago, a low-flying plane passed overhead, startling some birds that were also flying around. This got me thinking about the many different things, biological and not, that take to the sky. I wanted to explore the world of flight in all its many forms, and from there was born this craft program.

IMG_20170720_154509

One of the best things about this theme was finding books about all sorts of flight. There are lots. Really. Lots. I ended up getting a pretty good little variety. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Airplanes: Little Louie Takes Off by Toby Morison. If you can’t fly, take a plane! And in this book, that applies to birds, too!
  • Birds: Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long. Competitive little things, birds! Well, at least they are in this book. But they do all fly one way or another.
  • Balloons: Sally’s Great Balloon Adventure by Stephen Huneck. A dog follows her nose and ends up in a hot air balloon in this sweet tale. Lucky pup!

On with the craft! We made suncatcher mobiles using images of things that fly! Balloons, planes, butterflies, birds, kites…we used them all!

IMG_20170720_151808

This is a super easy craft that only takes a few supplies. The most difficult one to find is the clear plastic. I used TruBind Clear PVC Binding Covers and it worked exceptionally well. I ended up getting a pack of them for another project, and I’m using up the leftovers. I think they’re going to have a repeat performance in a couple weeks, too. They’re a wonderfully versatile product…even if they’re only marketed as a way to cover folders. Boring! I can SO do more than that!

Other than the plastic, I just needed some stencils, permanent markers, string, wooden sticks in a variety of sizes, some scissors and a hole punch. That’s it!

IMG_20170720_152724

I’m lucky because we have a big drawer full of stencils at my library, so it was just a matter of picking out the ones that fit my theme. If I hadn’t had these, I would have printed pictures for the kids to trace. Either way would be fine. I’m not a free hand artist, but if you are, that would be a fantastic way to get some great images.

IMG_20170720_154921

As it was, I just let the kids pick out their stencils and had them trace the images onto the plastic. Most of the kids went with me and picked things that flew, but a few didn’t. And that’s okay. It’s all about the creative process, right?

IMG_20170720_163248

Once the tracing was done, they got extra creative with the markers, making some truly lovely pieces. From there it was just a matter of punching some holes and stringing it all together.

IMG_20170720_163942

A couple of my kiddos chose to decorate the whole sheet of plastic as a sort of mural. And you know what? That looked pretty great, too!

IMG_20170720_162310

Three cheers for creativity! As I always tell the kids: As long as theirs doesn’t look like mine, it’s perfect!

IMG_20170720_162350

Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Dinosaurs – Week 2

Summer is zipping along…middle of July already? Where does the time go? We’re still learning about dinosaurs here, and will be for the rest of the summer. Not only are the kiddos enjoying it, but I’m learning a lot that I never knew. Perk of homeschooling!

We continued reading in Guide to Dinosaurs, a book which is just packed with all sorts of cool facts. The kids are enthralled. We talked about the potential link between dinosaurs and the stories about dragons, which I found fascinating. We also looked at some really amazing pictures of fossils.

On the book front, I chose four fun little books, randomly selected from the piles of dinosaur books we have at the library. Well, maybe only partially random. The four books consist of one that is at least partially non-fiction, one “How Do Dinosaurs” title, and the last books really are random. I just grab something and go. It’s fun that way!

  • We started out with How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? by Jane Yolen. Do all kids enjoy watch misbehavior, or is it just mine? lol
  • Next up was the nonfiction piece, Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick. This was a great book. Highly recommended.
  • In the random category came our next book, Digger the Dinosaur and the Cake Mistake by Rebecca Dotlich. I thought it was fine, but I think the humor was lost on the little ones.
  • We ended with another random piece, Dinosaur Train by John Gurney. Barely about dinosaurs, it nevertheless made a wonderful read aloud and the kids greatly enjoyed it.

From there we were off to our project. Since we had been reading about skeleton fossils in our text, I decided to do this fun piece that I discovered at Pink Stripey Socks. Tape resist dinosaur skeletons!

IMG_20170709_105003

The instructions are over at the original poster’s site, so I won’t repeat all the steps. I did change a couple things, though, to better work with my kids.

IMG_20170709_090537

I used blue painters tape instead of regular masking tape, since it came off so very easily from the watercolor paper. Also, I bought a coloring book, Ferocious Dinos, and let them each choose their favorite. Once they did, they cut it out and taped it, with very small pieces of the tape, to the watercolor paper.

IMG_20170709_095215

They then traced around the image with pencil. Once that was done, the image was carefully removed, the blank spots filled in, and the outline traced over with a thin, black permanent marker.

IMG_20170709_101554

From there, each kid placed think torn pieces of tape (I helped with the tearing for the little ones.) where the skeleton would be. We had some interesting discussions about what would have been bone and what wouldn’t have been. Then it was time for the watercolors! We don’t use those very often, so this was a nice change of pace.

IMG_20170709_102025

The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry. Are all kiddos so impatient? lol I ended up letting the kids free-paint for a while to fill the time. This actually ended up being a great thing, because the little one, who isn’t much for structured activities yet, but LOVES dinosaurs, joined us so he could paint his own dinosaur. I’m not gonna lie here. I was way impressed with his work. It really looks like a dinosaur, don’t you think?

IMG_20170709_110029~2

Not bad for a three-year-old! Probably better than I would have done, that’s for sure!

Once they were all dry, the kids very carefully pulled up the tape, leading to an interesting discussion about the tape resist technique.

IMG_20170709_103636

When the kids were all done, we talked about what we can really KNOW from just the skeletons and what is just educated guessing. Go, science!

This was a great activity that embodied the S.T.E.A.M. target, working heavily with both science and the arts. And the kids ended up with some great pieces to show off. My personal favorite? One of the kiddos used a little too much paint and tried to move the page while still wet. The result? The paint ran a little, making the dinosaur look like it’s fencing. Love that Beautiful Oops!!

IMG_20170709_104832

Thursday Craft Program – Baseball

I never was much of a sports person as a kid. Or a teen. Or an adult. I was a swimmer and a flag twirler, but that about did it for me. And I never could figure out why people would want to sit around and watch other people play sports. Plus, I think professional athletes are horrifically overpaid and refuse to support that. So imagine my surprise when I ended up attending a minor league baseball game a decade or so ago and found that I really, really enjoyed it! Seriously. I love everything about it! Well, except the creepy mascot, but that’s beside the point. Attending a minor league baseball game has become a tradition for me and the hubby, so I thought I would play (pun intended) off this for our weekly craft.

There are some fun baseball books out there, and I had trouble narrowing it down to my favorites. But here are a few.

  • First up was Curious George Plays Baseball by Margret Rey, a cute little story with illustrations that appear to be taken directly from the old films.
  • Next was Let’s Play Baseball! by Charles Smith, part of the Super Sturdy Picture Book series. I’ve enjoyed all of this series, and this was no exception.
  • A pleasant little surprise was The Baseball Counting Book by Barbara McGrath. It managed to give a very solid overview of the game, its rules, and its history, all in a minimum of text and with lovely illustrations.
  • Finally, my favorite on the list, Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki tells the story of playing baseball in Japanese internment camps. It’s a little long, but so worth it, since it exposes kids, in a gentle way, to a very big mistake our country made during WWII.

The craft was a simple one, but it did take a bit of work. We made bracelets out of old baseballs!

IMG_20170713_162543

Before we even started, I used a sharp utility blade to cut around the stitching on some used leather baseballs that I was able to obtain. This isn’t difficult for adult hands, but it does require care, and I wouldn’t recommend letting kids do this part.

IMG_20170713_153227

Next, we all worked together to pull apart the baseballs. We were all a little surprised at how they looked inside. I’m not sure what I expected, but layers of yarn and thread wasn’t it! The kids thought this was absolutely fascinating. Being able to take things apart is so very important for kids, but letting them do it can be hard. This was a perfect compromise.

IMG_20170713_153751

We cut each set of stitches into two pieces, since there’s enough length on each ball to make two bracelets.

IMG_20170713_162942

I let each kid pick their piece, then the kids worked to trim the extra leather away from the laces. The closer it is trimmed (without cutting through any of the stitches or stitch holes) the more flexible the bracelet will be.

IMG_20170713_154144

Once it was trimmed to satisfaction, the kids started pulling the stitches out on each end until the bracelet was the right length.  Then we trimmed off the excess leather, leaving the string intact.

IMG_20170713_162839

From there, it was just a matter of decorating the leather with permanent markers and tying on the bracelet. A loose knot works just fine, although some of the kids had enough extra string that we were able to make a bow, which was fun.

IMG_20170713_161430IMG_20170713_162627

All that was left was to show off their creations to each other and for the camera. Another successful and incredibly fun craft afternoon. Best. Job. Ever.

IMG_20170713_160841

Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Dinosaurs – Week 1

As you may recall from two weeks ago, we finished up our unit on fruit and I decided to give the kids a chance to suggest our next topic. They came up with lots of interesting suggestions, but I was most impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the littlest one for one topic: Dinosaurs. He doesn’t usually join us for much of the homeschooling time, since he’s still only three, but I thought this particular topic might give him the chance to interact with all of us, in an educational setting, a lot more. So we’re going to be talking about all dinosaurs all the time for the next couple months. Books will be easy, but finding S.T.E.A.M. activities will, I assume, take a little more work. I look forward to the challenge!

For a basic text, we will be using Guide to Dinosaurs from Harvest House Publishers. This text is too difficult for most of the kids to read independently, so I’ll be doing the whole thing as a read-aloud. We’re looking at around ten pages a week to finish by my goal date. That makes sound like a lot, but these kids love being read to, so I’m not worried. Besides. It’s dinosaurs!

This text was selected because it doesn’t present the theory of evolution as fact, and that was an important consideration. Instead, it presents solid scientific evidence for a young Earth and for a creation event. While I know this isn’t an issue for every homeschooling family, it is for this one, and the text reflects that fact. I’ll be supplementing this text with lots and lots of great picture books about dinosaurs. I’m ever so glad right now that o work in a library! If I had to buy all these books, it would cost me a fortune!

For this first week, we read three fun little books, all pulled from the library’s collection. I’m pretty much grabbing whatever I see with the word “dinosaur” in the title, so we’re getting an interesting variety!

  • We started out with Dinosaur Dinosaur by Kevin Lewis. This is a fun little book about a dinosaur who acts and feels a lot like a child, and the kids seemed to identify with him quite a bit.
  • Next up was How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. I’m tentatively planning to use one book from this series each week until I run out. They’re just so…fun!
  • Finally, we read Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey. It’s George and he finds dinosaur bones. What’s not to love? Plus, it talked about the drudgery of paleontology, and that’s something important for kids to see: If they want rewards, they’re going to have to work hard!

Once we finished our reading, we moved on to the activity portion. As this one involved sugar, the kids were immediately excited. Kids and their sweet teeth. What can I say?

We were talking about dinosaur footprints today and showing how they could become fossilised. We had talked a good deal about that during our textbook reading today, so it was a good match. We made sugar cookie dough (gluten free and vegan so all the kiddos would get to eat some) and the kids worked on measuring skills. While the eldest is quite competent in this area, the younger ones still struggle, so cooking helps greatly in their understanding of fractions.

IMG_20170702_131842

Once the batter was done, we spread it into a round pan and gave at some oven time. I pulled it out when the surface was dry but the cookie-cake (as the kiddos called it) wasn’t yet cooked all the way through. Then came the fun part. I had the four oldest kids each pick any one implement they wanted which they thought would make good fossil impressions. After washing their choices, I divided the cookie-cake in quarters and let each child press in their implement into their quarter. We had a variety of choices. Fork, toy wolf, baby toy, and a spoon handle combined with a couple pieces of chocolate rescued from a melted bowl of ice cream. Each was unique and made unique impressions, just as all dinosaurs left unique footprints.

I did have to remind the kids to be careful and hold the pan myself with a pot holder since it was still quite hot. When the kids were done, we talked about what story each set of impressions might tell. They were very creative!

IMG_20170702_140727

In the image above, you’ll see their creations. We had ( starting at the top and moving clockwise) dinosaurs who were walking, standing, trying to outrun rising floodwaters, and taking a nap. They thought it was interesting that the impressions could be made so easily in a soft surface, and we discussed how mud makes such a great medium for that reason. Then it was time to fill in our fossil impressions, just like ancient footprints were filled. In our case, though, we used chocolate instead of mud. Because yum.

IMG_20170702_142712.jpg

After a little more baking time, the cookie-cake was done and the chocolate chips could be spread out to fill the fossil. Then we voted on our favorite. We do a lot of voting. There’s never a prize, and the kids know they aren’t allowed to vote for themselves. I give them specific voting parameters (which I never reveal until it’s time to vote), and they are good about following them. In this case, they were voting for the one that looked the most like the story it was trying to tell. The youngest won, getting three of the four votes, for his cookie-cake fossil interpretation of a meat-eating dinosaur with claws on his feet standing in the mud while waiting for prey. Pretty impressive, I think!

IMG_20170702_142913

This ended up being a very fun and educational lesson, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the unit and lot more than I expected. See you next week for more Dinosaurs!

 

Thursday Craft Program – Wind

With temperatures in the triple digits and my AC unit on the fritz at home, I find myself longing for anything at all that might give me a break from the heat. Since I can’t have the kids dunk me in ice water for our craft program, (although I’m getting quite tempted to head over to the Community Center Splash Pad on my lunch break…) I decided to do a program about the one thing that makes a hot day bearable: wind. Which we, of course, didn’t have today. Just still, hot, humid air. It really was a miserable day to be outside. I am ever so grateful for air conditioning at work!

There are a decent number of books about wind. Unfortunately, many of them seem to focus on cold autumn or winter wind. And while that sounds lovely right about now, those books didn’t feel relevant. But that’s okay. I was still able to find enough books to fill up the program.

  • First up was Whoosh Went the Wind! by Sally Derby, a tale that reminds adults to check into a child’s story before assuming it’s a lie.
  • One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis, while really more about a Japanese garden than about wind, is a highly pleasing book of haiku which made a good addition to the program.
  • The classic The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins was unsurprisingly popular, and I appreciated the season-neutral setting.
  • Finally, How Does the Wind Walk? by Nancy Carlstrom followed wind as it went from season to season, making for a charming piece, perfect for summer.

And then it was time for our craft! We made beaded wind chimes today. Super easy, and a great way to use up odds and ends in the craft cupboard.

IMG_20170706_151518

This was a simple craft, but it was a bit time consuming, especially for the younger ones. We did end up having to let the parents help out a bit with the stringing of the beads. If we hadn’t, we could have been there for hours. Your detail oriented kids are going to take longer, too. Just be aware of that.

Supply wise, this was simple. I provided plastic lids that I begged from fellow staff members (I don’t eat enough cottage cheese to provide this all on my own.), yarn, pony beads, and some jungle bells. Add a hole punch, a bit of glue, and some scissors, and that’s it!

IMG_20170706_153058

I punched holes in the lids for the kids, since it was just too tough for most of them. I found that eight strands worked well. Six wasn’t enough, ten took too long to string, and odd numbers are hard to make evenly spaced on the lid. Then the kids strung a bell of each strand of yarn…about a yard per strand seemed to work well. But I didn’t measure, and neither did the kids, so we ended up with a variety of lengths. And that’s okay.

IMG_20170706_161735

Once the bells were in place, we put a tiny bit of glue on the yarn ends just so they’d go through the beads more easily. It helped. A lot. Don’t skip this step or you’ll be thinking very unkind thoughts as your yarn frays! And don’t worry about the fact that the ends look funny all covered in glue. We just trimmed them off at the end.

IMG_20170706_153124

Then came the fun part. Beads, beads, and more beads! Some of the kids made patterns. Others didn’t. Some kids made all the strands the same length. Others made them all different. I love projects like this, where anything they do still leads to a great result!

IMG_20170706_163058

Once the beads were strung, it was just a matter of threading the yarn through the holes in the lid and tying all the strands together in a knot at the top. Trim the glue-covered ends and your wind chime is done! Each one was unique, beautiful, and worked perfectly. A great reminder to find something to appreciate even when you’re melting in the heat.

IMG_20170706_163500

Thursday Craft Program – Summer

It has been far too hot out here in my neck of the urban woods. Summer has hit southern California hard and fast, and most of us spend our days trying to avoid that feeling of melting. I’m not immune. Summer has also brought about library-sponsored visits to parks and a host of outreach opportunities, many of which are outside. Because, well, it’s summer. Hot, yes, but also beautiful. And being inside just doesn’t feel right. We should be enjoying all this sunshine…right? Well, yes. And I am. But I’m still hot. So I decided to celebrate summer by letting the kids make a trip of fans to keep themselves nice and cool. Perfect for an afternoon at the beach!

I had plenty of great books about summer to choose from. Turns out that heat is a popular topic. Or maybe our collection development team just feels the heat as much as the rest of us do and buys books to match. It makes me wonder: Do places with mild summers still buy lots of books about melting in the summer heat?

  • One of my favorites is It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser, a wonderful book to read to kiddos at storytime, but also enjoyable for a slightly older audience.
  • Another favorite among the kids was One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews. While I wasn’t as keen on this one, the illustrations really appealed to my audience, so I’ll give it credit for that.
  • Part of an always-pleasing series, Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson was a joy to read and greatly engaging for the kids.
  • I was especially intrigued by Summer Is Summer by Phillis Gershator, a book I had never read before but found both lyrical and charming. A real treasure!

And then it was time to craft! I had three stations, each stocked with everything the kids would need to make that fan.

IMG_20170628_154244

Station one was the watermelon fan. I can’t take credit for this idea. I found it here at Red Tag Art. I did have to interpret it a little for American ears and paper sizes, but the basic instructions were good. The video made it super easy to understand, which was a great help.

IMG_20170629_160443

I had to walk the kids at this station through the steps, but that’s fine. The other fans were easy to make and didn’t require much oversight on my part. Several of the parents chose to make one of these fans along with their kiddos, which I always find exciting. I love seeing intergenerational cooperation and that alone made up for the lack of individual creativity in this one.

IMG_20170628_154300

Next up was a super simple paper plate fan. I saw one of these somewhere and thought it was a great idea. It works well, too! Not bad for only requiring half a paper plate, a couple craft sticks, some markers, and a piece of ribbon!

IMG_20170629_155552

The kids had fun decorating theirs until they had the fans looking just right. This craft station was virtually self-explanatory, and didn’t require anything on my part once it was set up. And the kids liked the ribbons. 🎀

IMG_20170628_154320

The final station was for a watercolor painted fan. All this one took was a half sheet of cardstock, painted with watercolors and folded in half, with a colored craft stick glued in between.

IMG_20170629_164156IMG_20170629_161927IMG_20170629_155051IMG_20170629_164148

I think everyone, parent and child alike, made this one! Each was unique and beautiful in its own way, and made quite an impact considering the simplicity and inexpensive nature of this fan. Truthfully, it was my favorite, too, so I can’t blame others for loving it.

IMG_20170629_164545

Overall, this was a wildly successful program. The kids loved it. The parents loved it. I loved it. And I’m keeping my samples for myself. Because I love them. And I think they’ll be just the thing for keeping me nice and cool at a summer evening baseball game.

IMG_20170629_161812

Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Fruit – Bananas

As is forever the case, all good things must come to an end. And so it was with mixed feelings that I presented this lesson on bananas. While it was a great program and the kids had a blast, it marked the end of our unit on fruit. This was probably the easiest unit I’d ever done, but it was also one of the best received. So it’s hard to let it go. But, well, I wanted to run a new theme starting in July that will take us through until Labor Day and the start of the new school year, so this one had to end. And, I have to say, it was a great unit on which to end!

Banana literature is fairly easy to come by, and I was especially pleased with the non-fiction titles available. Not all fruits has good non-fiction works for kids, but this one had several.

  • For the first non-fiction title, we read Banana by Pam Robson with the little ones.
  • A similar book, but covering a different range of information was Bananas by Elaine Landau, and I read this one with the bigger kids.
  • Then we proceeded with a couple fiction titles, starting with Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony, a perfect story for kids who want to do everything ALL BY THEMSELVES!
  • Our last book was Beautiful Bananas by Elizabeth Laird, a clever little trading sequence book in which a little girl is trying to get the perfect gift for her beloved grandfather.

Then it was time for our activity…Banana Art! This was fun. We started out with a discussion on oxidation and another on pointillism, and then I turned them loose with toothpicks a huge pile of bananas. Here’s what happened!

IMG_20170416_122122

IMG_20170416_115608IMG_20170416_121921IMG_20170416_121935

The kids thought this was an absolutely fascinating process, and we ended up with some really great art. Of course, the greatest thing about banana art is it’s transitory nature. Try as you might, it just won’t last. So when it is all said and done, there’s only one thing to be done with banana art. Yep. Banana smoothies. Yum, yum, yum!

IMG_20170416_115604

One of the things I most appreciate about homeschooling is that it can be a semi-democratic process. I say semi, because I let them vote on topics and choose much of what we do, but I have the final say in what happens. So in keeping with that process, we brainstormed possible topics to get us through the summer and then crossed off anything that one of us didn’t want. Here was the list…

IMG_20170618_093246

That was the democratic part. But I get the final choice. What will it be? Check in two weeks (We’re taking next week off for the Independence Day holiday…) to see! Have a great week!

Thursday Craft Program – Summer Reading Kick-off!

It’s time! Summer Reading has officially started! Our theme this year is “Reading by Design” and I’m doing some great programs this summer to coincide with that theme.

For the first program, I decided to speak directly to the design theme by having kids design their own marble mazes. What fun!

I selected a variety of books on mazes and a couple on marbles, but here are my favorites:

  • Marbles: Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes is a charming early chapter book about a beautiful marble and how guilt can ruin all your joy. I loved the message about honesty in this one.
  • Mazes: Thump, Quack, Moo by Doreen Cronin is a hilarious tale of a corn maze that may or may not turn out exactly as it’s designer had planned. For fans of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, this is a guaranteed winner!

IMG_20170622_152737

Our craft was a blast! I had a stack of dishpans that we’d gotten at the dollar store for some reason or another, so all I had to buy was a bag of marbles and some colored straws. Add some scissors, a bottle of glue, a few pipe cleaners, and some permanent markers (if you want to get fancy), and that’s it!

I told the kids there were no rules as to how they created their designs, and they took me seriously. Some were basic and navigable…

IMG_20170622_161556

Others…not so much…

IMG_20170622_161010

But they were all fun to create, and the kids made up their own rules if they couldn’t exactly be used as mazes. Either way, they were designing something unique and having a great time in the process. I call that a success!

IMG_20170622_155221

Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Fruit – Oranges

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Being a father is one of the highest callings in the world, and the difference a good father makes in a family is incalculable. I know I sure am grateful for mine!

We continued on with our journey through fruit today with a study of oranges. Growing up in Southern California, oranges have always been a huge part of my life, and seeing those orange globes hanging on trees will never cease to make me smile.

Our haiku unit is coming to an end. I wish it could go on longer, but there are more writing styles to explore. So here’s one of our haiku we wrote today about oranges.

IMG_20170618_105401

Abstract, isn’t it? It’s nice to see them moving away from being so literal all the time. This one wasn’t half bad. And it confirmed to me that, yes, they’re ready to move on.

I stuck with only two books this time around. I wanted to include a nonfiction title, but it didn’t make it to me in time, so I had to just tell the kids about the development of oranges. They were especially interested to learn about why there are sections inside an orange. Actually, so was I. I’d never really given it any thought. And you’d think it was just the kids who learn things during homeschooling!

Our books this time were short and sweet. Pun intended. 😄

  • First up was Armadillo’s Orange by Jim Arnosky. While not strictly about oranges, the orange does play an important role, so it counted.
  • The second book was An Orange in January by Dianna Aston. This celebration of how oranges travel from hot climates to cold ones was a great one, and the kids thought it was interesting to think that not everyone would have ready access to citrus like we do.

And then we were on to our project! We dissected our oranges, looking at the fascinating way an orange grows from a blossom. The sectioning really is amazing.

IMG_20170618_120715

The kids scooped out the flesh, leaving the membranes an intact as possible. And then I squirted fabric paint into paper plates and let the kids start stamping!

IMG_20170618_121236

Each kid got one color of their choosing. If they wanted another one​, they had to borrow someone else’s orange. Teamwork and sharing were the lessons of the day here!

It was great to see how different and unique each kid’s work was. The little ones kept it pretty simple, which was age appropriate and lovely to see.

IMG_20170618_121829

The older kids did a lot more detail work, using the orange prints as part of a more complex scene or design. At this point, paintbrushes started to come into play, and I allowed a couple extra colors to be used as accents. They did amazing work!

IMG_20170618_124428

Personally, I really like the chicken camping out under the horse! The use of the orange prints to create to tree was very effective, and, if I were grading this, she’d get an A for sure!

While not as heavy on the science as some of our lessons, the increased art component more than made up for it. If you’ve never done printmaking, I highly recommend it. It’s a blast!

Thursday Craft Program – Father’s Day

We celebrated the fathers of the world today at our afternoon craft program. Fathers play such an important role in the family, and taking time out to talk about all the great things they do is the least we can do. Every year I have a moment of worry that I’m going to upset folks who don’t have loving dads in their lives, but it hasn’t happened yet, so I keep doing the programs. And the dads sure do appreciate it!

We had a wide selection of fabulous books about dads this time.

  • We started out with Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse, a sweet question-and-answer tale of fatherly love set in Africa.
  • Next up was Piglet and Papa by Margaret Wild, in which little Piglet searches the barnyard to find out who loves him the most. While the answer didn’t come as a surprise, it was a wonderful story of a father’s love.
  • What Dads Can’t Do by Douglas Wood was a kick, and the kids thought it was silly that the dad “couldn’t” do all those things. It led to a fun discussion on parent-child relationships and also questions about what “can’t” actually means.
  • The stand-out title, though, was the charming and tender Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by the marvelous Anna Dewdney of “Llama, Llama” fame. The children’s literary world really lost something special when this author died.
    She just…gets it. Kids, parents, and library staff alike loved this one.

From there we moved onto our craft. With fiscal year end in sight, I’m having to pretty much use what I have, and this was a great chance to do just that. Some craft sticks, a bottle of glue, and some markers were all it took to make this great little treasure box for dad.

IMG_20170612_121023

The kids had a lot of fun putting it all together and decorating it just so. This is a great craft for all ages, since it required little skill to create but could be made as complex as the imagination desired. Since we used the thin sticks, it was eleven placed side by side and one glued across each side to stick them together.

IMG_20170615_155138

Then you build up…like building a really basic log cabin. The kids can go as high as they’d like, really, but generally four to six layers seemed to be the magic height.

IMG_20170615_160330

Once the perfect height is reached, it’s just a matter of making the lid, which is exactly like making the base. Except this time, you turn it over and start decorating. The kids drew trees and hearts and wrote sweet messages to their dads. A simple and perfect craft to celebrate Father’s Day.

IMG_20170615_161048