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