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Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Thanksgiving Crafts

There is so much to be thankful for this time of year, and what better way to explore the concept of thankfulness with your child than through activities you can do together? These Thanksgiving-themed crafts are the perfect place to start.   

Turkey Tracks 

Where did the Thanksgiving turkey go? Follow the tracks to see! Your child will enjoy this activity while learning spatial relationships, developing fine motor skills and getting creative. 

Materials 

  • Pipe cleaners; 
  • Paint in assorted fall colors; 
  • Paper plate; 
  • Paper. 

Directions 

  1. Help your child bend a pipe cleaner in half to make the turkey’s legs, and then bend the ends of the pipe cleaner on each side to make the turkey’s feet. Make one set of turkey feet for each color of paint you use. 
  2. Pour each color of paint onto a paper plate to create a palette.  
  3. Have your child dip the pipe cleaners into the paint and make “turkey tracks” on a piece of paper. 

Thanksgiving Place Cards 

Help your child get involved with the Thanksgiving festivities by creating place cards for the dinner table. This activity supports writing, counting and creative skills while connecting to those you love. 

Materials  

  • Cardstock; 
  • Scissors; 
  • Crayons and markers; 
  • Glue; 
  • A variety of craft supplies. 

Directions 

  1. Talk with your child about the family members and friends who will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner.  
  2. Cut the cardstock to twice the desired size of the place cards, and then fold them in half to make tents. Slightly larger place cards will be easier for a little one to decorate! 
  3. Help your child write each person’s name on a place card. 
  4. Let your child get creative and start decorating them any way your child would like. 
  5. When setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner, let your child put out the place cards. 

 Leaf Letters 

From learning to identify letters to spelling simple words, the number of activities you can do with this simple fall craft are endless. You’ll love spending time outdoors with this fun way to help build your child’s knowledge of letters along with developing their fine motor skills. 

Materials 

  • At least 36 leaves; 
  • A black permanent marker. 

Directions 

  1. Go on a nature walk with your child and collect leaves. You will need at least one leaf for each letter of the alphabet and some extras.  
  2. Write each letter of the alphabet on a separate leaf. 
  3. Have your child identify the letters, put them in order, trace the letter shapes with a finger and spell out different words. If your child can recognize uppercase and lowercase letters, make a set of each, and have your child match the uppercase letters with the lowercase ones. The possibilities for language and literacy lessons are endless!  

 Fall Mosaic Wreath 

Your child can help you decorate for the season with this fun craft. Besides the fact that children simply love to tear up paperthis is a great way for them to get their creative juices flowing while strengthening their fine motor and pre-writing skills.  

Materials  

  • Construction paper in fall colors; 
  • A paper plate; 
  • A glue stick; 
  • Scissors; 
  • String or yarn to hang the wreath. 

Directions 

  1. Cut out the inside of the paper plate so that the outer ring is left.  
  2. Have your child tear up pieces of construction paper. 
  3. Help your child glue the pieces of construction paper around the paper plate, and talk about the difference between a mosaic, where the pieces of paper don’t touch one another, and a collage, where they can overlap.  
  4. Once the glue is dry, tie the yarn or string around it to hang it up 

 

Autumnal Luminaria 

These festive lights are perfect for cozy fall nights, and they are a great way to bring nature indoors. Your child will build fine motor skills while following a sequence of steps to create a special candle. 

Materials  

  • Leaves; 
  • Clear glass jars; 
  • Mod Podge; 
  • A foam paintbrush; 
  • Battery-operated votive candles. 

Directions 

  1. Have your child paint one side of the leaves with Mod Podge and place them against the insides of the jars.  
  2. Allow the leaves to dry, and then help your child paint another thin coat of Mod Podge on top of the leaves to help seal them to the jar.  
  3. Once the Mod Podge dries, place a battery-operated votive candle inside the jar and enjoy!
     

Pine Cone Turkeys 

This fun fall craft is a great way to get little ones involved in setting the holiday table and sharing their thankfulness.  Along the way, you’ll help your child build processing skills through sensory learning while supporting their development of self-awareness 

Materials  

  • Large, unscented pine cones;  
  • Construction paper;   
  • Washable markers;  
  • Googly eyes;  
  • Child-safe scissors;  
  • Glue.  

Instructions  

  1. Trace your child’s hand on a sheet of construction paper, and cut out the handprint.  
  2. Ask your child to share at least five things he or she is thankful for, and write one thing on each finger.  
  3. Write your child’s name on the palm of the hand.  
  4. Draw a small diamond on an orange or yellow sheet of construction paper, and cut it out.  
  5. Fold the diamond in half to create a beak for the turkey. Repeat as necessary for multiple turkeys.   
  6. Glue googly eyes to the tapered end of the pine cone 
  7. Glue the beak below the googly eyes.  
  8. Insert the handprint between the back scales of the pine cone so that it stands up. If it won’t stay upright, glue the hand to the bottom of the pine cone 
  9. Have everyone who is coming to your Thanksgiving dinner create a turkey, or make them ahead of time to use as place cards.

Picture Frame Collage 

This craft is a wonderful way to help your child understand the concept of thankfulness. Before you begin making the frame, talk to your child about someone your child is grateful to know, and explain that the frame will be a gift for that person. Gift giving supports your child’s development of social awareness and relationship skills.

Materials 

  • An unfinished picture frame; 
  • Glue; 
  • Assorted fall-themed materials, such as leaves, acorn caps and  colored paper ; 
  • A picture to include in the frame, such as a photo or a piece of your child’s artwork. 

Directions 

  1. Remove the back of the frame and the glass, and keep them away from your child’s reach.  
  2. Help your child arrange and glue the fall-themed materials around the frame.  
  3. Set the frame aside to dry, and help your child choose a photo or create a drawing to place in the frame.  
  4. When the glue is dry, replace the glass, place the picture inside the frame and replace the back. 

Whether you and your child try all of the crafts on this list or just a few, you’ll both be most thankful for your time together.  

Sensory Bottles – Infant


ACTIVITY 

Fill a clear wide-mouth plastic bottle or container halfway with water (you can add food coloring if you’d like). Then work with your baby to collect items to place in the container. Gather twigs, pebbles, blades of grass, soil and whatever else you would like to add. Once you add the objects, seal the container using hot glue or tape (check for leaks). Give your baby the bottle and talk about what is inside, shake the bottle, listen and describe the sounds. *Keep a close watch on your baby in case of choking.* 

LEARNING SKILLS  

Science and Nature, Fine Motor Skills 

Materials  

Plastic bottle or clear container, glue or tape, natural objects 

How to Make Cardboard Tube Animals


You can make these adorable cardboard tube animals with items most people already have around the house. While this tutorial provides instructions for making an owl, a cat and a dog, the possibilities are endless!

Materials

  • Paper tubes (toilet paper tubes are the perfect size)
  • Yarn or shoelaces in assorted colors
  • Paper scraps
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue dots
  • Scissors
  • Markers

Instructions

  1. If you are using a larger tube, cut it down to the size of a toilet paper tube. Push down the top edge. Add a glue dot to the edge before folding down and securing the other top edge. This will make your animal’s ears.
  2. Secure the end of a piece of yarn or a shoelace to the bottom edge of the tube with a glue dot. Then, wrap the tube about three-quarters of the way up the tube, leaving enough room to make a face. Secure the other end of the yarn or shoelace with a glue dot.
  3. Cut out pieces of scrap paper to make additional animal parts.
  • To make an owl, cut out two wings, a beak and two colorful circles where the googly eyes will go;
  • To make a cat or a dog, cut out four paws, a nose and a tail.
  1. Glue the paper pieces and googly eyes onto your creation. Then, use the marker to draw any finishing touches, like whiskers or smiles.

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose – Three Textile Crafts for Earth Day

Did you know that the average American throws away nearly 80 pounds of clothing per year? Although close to 100 percent of textiles and clothing are recyclable, only 15 percent get recycled or donated. The remaining 85 percent end up in national landfills.

This Earth Day, The Goddard School encourages recycling with a fashionable twist as families give their old clothes and textiles a new life.

Here are three fun ways you and your child can repurpose clothing into something fresh and exciting.

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No-Sew Superhero Cape and Wristbands

With this fun transformation, your little superhero will have the power to save the planet.

  Materials

  • An old, adult-sized T-shirt;

(The larger the size, the more material you have for your cape.)

  • Scissors;
  • Fabric markers;
  • Adhesive Velcro strips.

  Directions

     Cape

  1. Lay the shirt out on a hard surface with the front facing up.
  2. Cut off the sleeves along the seams and set them aside for later to be used as wristbands.
  3. Cut the shirt along the side and shoulder seams and along the neckline, but do not cut off the neck. The neck hole should still be attached to the back of the shirt.
  4. Have your child try on the cape for length and shape before trimming accordingly.
  5. Help your child draw a favorite superhero symbol on the back of the cape with the fabric markers.

Wristbands

  1. Cut the sleeves open at the seams.
  2. Measure the fabric around your child’s wrists and arms to determine the correct length and width of the wristband.
  3. Add the adhesive Velcro to either side of the wristband.
  4. Help your child decorate the wristband with the fabric markers.
  5. Repeat this process with the second sleeve.

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Infant Fabric Book

This recycled creation is a great way for big brothers and big sisters to help their little siblings enjoy the benefits of repurposed textiles.

   Materials

  • Recycled fabric;

(Thicker fabric, like felt or denim, works best for the book’s pages, while a thinner fabric is perfect for page designs.)

  • Scissors;

   Directions

  1. Help your child plan the layout of the book. Decide how many pages it should have and what to put on each page. Will the book have a theme, like shapes, colors or counting? What about a cover design?
  2. Cut out squares or rectangles for pages and glue them together at one edge to form the book.
  3. Help your child cut out various designs and glue them onto each page.

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T-shirt Tote

Repurpose a shirt and reduce your family’s use of plastic bags with this craft.

Materials

  • An old T-shirt;
  • Scissors;
  • Ruler;

Directions

  1. Lay the shirt out on a hard surface with the front facing up.
  2. Cut off the sleeves at the seams.
  3. Cut out the neckline to provide a larger opening for the top of your bag.
  4. Use the ruler to measure about two inches up from the bottom of the shirt and draw a straight line across.
  5. Measure and draw vertical lines about one inch apart from each other up to the straight line along the bottom of the shirt.
  6. Help your child cut both layers of fabric along the vertical lines up to the straight line that goes across the shirt. This will be the fringe that will hold the bottom of the bag closed.
  7. Help your child tie the fringe closed using double knots.

Five Child-Friendly Ways to Ring in the New Year

Pom Pom Popper from The Goddard School on Vimeo.

Celebrating the new year doesn’t have to mean staying up hours past bedtime. These activities are the perfect way to include your little one in the festivities.

  1. Fast Forward

Sticking it out until midnight can be exhausting for parents and children alike. To ensure everyone is awake enough to celebrate, choose a city a few hours ahead of yours and celebrate when it turns midnight there. It might only be 8:00 PM at your house, but it’s midnight somewhere!

  1. Get Glowing

Bring the fireworks inside with glowsticks. Choose a variety of colors and wave, dance and spin around in a darkened room to mimic the effects of fireworks without having to go outside.

  1. A Toast…with Toast!

Sure, you could pour your child a glass of sparkling grape juice for a typical New Year’s toast, but why not start a new, silly tradition? Toast up some bread, cut it into triangles and toast the new year by “clinking” your toast pieces. Your child will be delighted by this literal adaptation, and everyone will enjoy a quick snack.

  1. Reflections and Resolutions

New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to talk with your child about some favorite moments of the past year and plans for the new one. Here are some questions to help get the conversation going:

  • What was the best thing that happened this year?
  • What was the hardest thing you did this year?
  • What was something you learned this year?
  • What is something new that you want to learn to do next year?
  • What do you think next year will be like?

Use your child’s thoughts as a springboard to talk about New Year’s resolutions and discuss some fun goals that your family can work toward together in 2020.

5. Party Pom-Pom Poppers

This quick craft is sure to generate tons of excitement with your child as you ring in the new year together.

What You’ll Need:

  • A paper cup
  • A balloon
  • A rubber band
  • Pom-poms or confetti in your child’s favorite colors
  • Assorted stickers
  • Scissors

What to Do:

  1. Cut out the bottom of the cup while leaving the bottom rim in place. (This step is for adults only!)
  2. Have your child decorate the outside of the cup with the stickers.
  3. Cut the tip off the balloon. Make sure you cut across the balloon’s “fold” to prevent ripping when you stretch it over the cup.
  4. Knot the balloon at its end, and help your child stretch it over the bottom of the cup. Then, put a rubber band around the balloon to hold it in place.
  5. Fill the cup with pom poms or confetti and help your child stretch the knotted portion of the balloon before letting go!

Apple-Printing Activity

 Supplies 

  • Apples 
  • Paint (washable poster paint for paper prints or fabric paint for clothes) 
  • Paper plates 
  • Printable surfaces (such as butcher paper, t-shirts or canvas bags) 
  • Newspapers 
  • Art smocks or old t-shirts 
  • A knife (for adults only) 

Instructions 

  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper and make sure everyone is wearing old clothes or a smock.
  2. Pour paint on the paper plates. Use one color per plate.
  3. Ask your child to guess what shape half an apple will look like. 
  4. Cut the apple in half from top to bottom to create an apple silhouette, or create a circle with a star by cutting the apple horizontally. You and your child can also brainstorm ways to create different shapes with the apple. 
  5. Encourage your child to dip the flat side of the apple in the paint, thoroughly covering the flat side, and then place the apple with the paint side down on the printing surface. 
  6. Enjoy creating fun designs and pictures with your homemade stamps. 

 

Hand Print Turkey Craft

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Celebrate Thanksgiving with this fun, family-friendly craft. Gobble, gobble!

WHAT YOU NEED

* White construction paper

* Non-toxic paint in brown, green, red, yellow and orange (or any other colors you have on hand)

* One paintbrush for each paint color

* Paper plates

* Googly eyes

* Glue

* Crayons or markers

* Aprons or paint shirts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Pour a little paint onto the paper plates. Use one plate per color.

2. Set out the white piece of paper in front of your child, and have your child put on an apron or paint shirt.

3. Using a paintbrush, paint brown paint onto the palm of your child’s hand.

4. Then, paint your child’s fingers. Make sure to use one paintbrush and paint color per finger.

5. Press your child’s hand onto the paper. Try not to move it around too much, and then lift your child’s hand.

6. When the paint is dry, put a dab of glue onto the thumbprint, which will be the turkey’s head, and press on a googly eye.

7. Finally, let your child use the crayons or markers to draw a beak, legs and a snood, which is the red part of a turkey’s neck. Enjoy your adorable masterpiece!

What Thanksgiving crafts do you make with your children?

Save, Share, Spend Piggy Banks

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Teach your children how to be savvy with their money.

It’s never too early to teach your children about financial responsibility and the benefits of saving, sharing and spending money. Whether it’s a special treat they receive from the tooth fairy, money they are awarded for completing their chores or simply loose change that they find around the house, it’s time to get smart with what happens after they get the money. All children resort to happily stuffing their money away, but it’s important that they know what to do with it before stashing it in the bellies of their piggies.

It’s always a good idea for a child to have a piggy bank, but it’s time to revamp this old-school classic. Instead of putting all the money into one container, break it up into three parts, teaching your children how to spend, save and share their funds. Constructing a save, share, spend piggy bank is something that you can do with your little ones right at home. This project will help your children realize the importance of money and how it can be used in many ways.

You can use the Save jar as a rainy-day fund or for helping your children save money for something they really want to buy. The Spend jar is for spending money wisely on things that they are ready to purchase, and the Share jar is for giving back to the community or donating money to the cause of their choice. The goal of the different jars is to teach your children the hard work of saving money and the importance of using their funds wisely and effectively.

Materials that you’ll need

  • Three pint-sized Mason jars;
  • Three labels of your choice;
  • Chalk or any color paint marker.

Directions

  1. Remove the lids from the Mason jars and screw the metal bands back on.
  2. Secure one label to the middle of each of the jars.
  3. Write “Save” “Share” “Spend” separately on each label with chalk or the paint marker.
  4. Customize the piggy banks! Include your children’s names and let them decorate the jars.
  5. Display the piggy bank jars where you and your children can easily see and access them.

 

Spooky Science Fun

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By Lee Scott

Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Fall has certainly arrived, and pumpkins are everywhere. Families are planning costumes for Halloween parties and decorating their homes. We thought it would be fun to provide a couple of spooky science experiments that are easy to do at home in keeping with the “spirit” of the occasion. Children love to get messy, and these hands-on activities will tap into their curiosity while they are learning.

Spooky Volcano – You will need a soda can or bottle, modeling clay, paper, vinegar, dark food coloring, dish soap and baking soda.

  1. Cover the bottle with the paper and the clay. Leave a hole at the top. Let it dry.
  2. Add one cup of vinegar, a few drops of the food coloring and a tablespoon of dish soap to the bottle.
  3. Put a tablespoon of baking soda in a bit of paper towel and push it into the can. The spooky volcano will erupt once the paper breaks down. Spooky!

Magic Images – You’ll need white paper, watercolor paints, paintbrushes and a white crayon.

  1. Your children can draw a scary face or pumpkins on the paper with the crayon.
  2. You can make a few more by drawing a witch or a ghost.
  3. Swap drawings, and have the other person paint over the paper with watercolors.
  4. The scary images will appear!

Ask questions while trying out these experiments.

  • What did we see?
  • What do you think will happen?
  • How can we experiment with the volcano or the paint?
  • What happened in our experiment?

Asking these questions while you experiment will support your children’s scientific-thinking skills.

 

Five Fall Crafts Your Children Will Love

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  1. Work with your child to create an Acrostic poem like the one below. Consider using alternative words, such as leaf, pumpkin or scarecrow.

Thankful for my family

Uncover the changes in nature

Ready to stuff my belly with turkey

Kicking the warm days right out of here

Enjoy a game of family football

Yearning for snow to arrive.

  1. Ask your children to draw turkeys using their hands. Have each one of your children place a hand on a white sheet of paper and trace around the hand, fingers and thumb. Then count the names on your Thanksgiving guest list, and have your children create a corresponding number of hand-drawn turkeys. Ask your children to color them using crayons and imagination. Once they finish, take the pieces of paper to your nearest office supply store to be laminated. You now have adorable placemats for your Thanksgiving dinner.
  1. Use the colorful leaves of fall to create a lion’s mane. Gather a bunch of leaves with your Make sure they are dry and bug-free! Tell your child about the assorted colors as you gather the leaves. Next, take the leaves and put them in an old book for a few hours to help press and preserve them. Take a paper plate and help your child glue the leaves around the rim. Once you’ve covered the entire rim, let it dry. Finally, encourage your child to draw the lion’s face on the paper plate.
  1. Create a tree using buttons. Gather old or new buttons. Talk to your children about fall colors and have them choose the buttons that they want to use for this activity. Then, encourage your little ones to draw a tree trunk and branches. Finally, guide your children in gluing the buttons onto where leaves should appear. During this project, talk with your children about how trees grow.
  1. Ask your children what they are thankful for. Instead of having them write it on a piece of paper, have them make a turkey craft out of it. Get a paper plate and an assortment of colored construction paper. Help them cut out feathered shapes from the construction paper to glue on the plate as the turkey’s feathers. Once the glue dries, ask your children to write something that they are thankful for on each feather. Assist them with the writing if necessary.