Posts Tagged With: kids’ projects

DIY Holidays: 2 Sweet Ornaments to Make With Kids!

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The 1st ornament is a “make your own necklace” kit and the 2nd is a sweet keepsake of hand-written-well-wishes for a loved one (in our case, Grandma ūüôā )

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Both of our holiday ornaments are made with clear, empty bulb ornaments that we purchased from a craft store for 50 cents each.

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The well-wishes ornament was made simply by using an old scrap of Christmas paper.  Any paper will work!

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We cut the wrapping paper into strips.

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Write sweet, personal messages on the strips (use at least 2 per ornament) and gently feed them into the bulb. ¬†Pop the top on and add a little tag. Captain’s tag reads “Well-wishes for Grandma”. Her little messages on the strips of paper are very dear. One wish was to “come and visit me a whole bunch!” These are so incredibly easy to make, and each one can be quite personalized.

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The 2nd ornament is a “make your own necklace” kit for a friend of Captain’s. She filled the bulb with an assortment of beads, then we added some lengths of cord, and little ends, so that her buddy can make a couple of necklaces. Add a festive little tag and you’ve got a sweet gift for a craft-lover. (We cut out a small paper round and added some edging with a red fine point Sharpie).

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We were inspired by Heather at Green Eggs and Goats. She and her daughter filled a bulb with lovely feathers!

Today is a perfect day for doing some crafting here at The Cabin. The snow is falling again, and after playing outside, it feels so good to be indoors getting ready for the holidays.

Do you have any ideas for filling the clear bulbs? We would love to hear about them here on Kartwheels. Have a most wonderful day….

Cheers! Karen

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Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Be Your Child’s Scribe So They Are FREE to Create!

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Standing on the back of the couch, wiggling around with her little dog, Captain creates a poem

But she is not writing. She is not fiddling with papers and pencil, stopping to ask how to spell a word, or having concern for getting her thoughts down on paper. She is free to muse, to talk, to connect with what she is feeling, to throw her head back and laugh and bounce with happiness when she is pleased with herself. I am her mom, and I am her scribe.

I have addressed this concept in other posts, but wanted to take a moment to dive in a bit more deeply, as it is something that feels very important to me. Elementary-aged kids do a lot of writing. They are encouraged, cajoled, prompted and sometimes pressured to keep up with writing practice. This is a wonderful, yet difficult, stage for many kids as it is all about practice, hand control and just getting used to getting things down on paper. They are learning to spell new words constantly and even the best writers of the bunch need a little break sometimes, I feel. It wasn’t long ago that I realized that my kiddo was getting plenty of writing practice with other things, so I decided to ask her if she would like me to write for her when she created a story. It was amazing! Letting her loose to just create and go wild with a story or a poem is fantastic, and what comes out is so pure and full of energy and creativity. Think about if you felt inspired to come up with a story, whether on your own, or prompted for a school project, and you couldn’t get the words down easily. What you were thinking was coming in a flow of words and ideas, but you just couldn’t write them down, couldn’t spell the words or get past the paper in front of you. It wouldn’t be very nurturing of the creative process. In fact, I think I would probably put the pencil down and move on. What if someone recorded it for you? Pure freedom to ramble. How wonderful!!

I am sharing this because I have experienced, with my 6-year-old daughter, how beneficial it can be. I will be her note-taker sometimes and we both enjoy the process immensely. In fact today we are continuing our study of pineapples (the things I am learning about because Captain is interested!) and this afternoon, when she comes up with her “Pineapple Poem”, I will be her scribe. She loves it and trust me, I can’t wait!

Thank you for reading here. I welcome any comments or conversation about how much writing kids do, creative writing or anything else. In the meantime, I truly hope that kids get as many opportunities to let themselves be free to wander creatively, with someone who loves them willing to write it all down.

Good thoughts, juicy pineapples, and a freshly sharpened pencil to all,

Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Simple Science Experiments: Tornado-in-a-Bottle + Tornado Facts!

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An easy, fun way to learn about the power of tornadoes

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You’ll need: Glass (or plastic) bottle with cap, dish soap, glitter (or dirt) and a pencil (or straw)

Fill bottle about 2/3 with water. Add a few drops of dish soap. Dip the pencil (straw) in water, then in glitter and swirl it in. ¬†That’s it! ¬†Simply swirl the bottle to create your very own tornado.

Cool facts about tornadoes:

1.Tornados are sometimes called twisters.

2.A tornado is a rapidly spinning tube of air that touches both the ground and a cloud above. The tornado on the ground follows the same path as the thundercloud.

3.Tornadoes develop from a thunderstorm when warm, moist air rises and cools. This creates clouds. Water vapor condenses and releases heat. This release of heat creates the energy in a thunderstorm. Under certain conditions, when the air moving up into the cloud is very strong, a tornado can develop.

3.The Fujita Scale is a way of measuring the strength of tornadoes. The scale ranges from F0 tornadoes that cause minimal damage through F5 tornadoes which cause massive damage.

4.In the southern hemisphere, tornadoes usually rotate in a clockwise direction.

5. The US averages more tornadoes than any other country in the world. The states of Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida are the most often hit by twisters.

6.Most tornadoes travel for only a few miles before exhausting themselves.

7. Extreme tornadoes can reach wind speeds of over 300 miles per hour (483 kilometers per hour).

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We hope you enjoy learning about one of the amazing powers of Mother Nature: the tornado!

A powerful funnel of goodwill to all,

Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Make A Ming-Inspired Bowl!

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These sweet bowls would make lovely Christmas gifts for family & friends!

We’ve been studying the beginnings of Ancient China and highly recommend this straight-up fun project for all ages. If needed, parents can help younger kids in between making a Ming bowl for themselves!

You’ll Need:¬†A large ball of air-dry clay (I have some of the Crayola brand, and it works great, and is affordable at about $5 for a tub), plastic wrap, a small round bowl, a rolling pin, a sculpting tool or blunt knife, acrylic paints, a clear acrylic sealing spray, or a mixture of glue and water, to glaze the finished piece.

1. Wrap the outside of your bowl in plastic wrap. ¬†I recommend using a smaller “condiment” sized bowl for the first one.

2. Roll out your ball of clay to no less than 1/4″ thickness, making sure it is big enough to cover the outside of the bowl. Press it tightly around the bowl, then use your tools to trim away any excess. Be sure not to make the air-dry clay too thin or the bowl will crack when it dries (we did this and then used the pieces as “archaeology pottery” ūüôā )

3. Place the bowl on a piece of newspaper and allow to dry in an airy place. Don’t put it in the direct sun or it can dry out too fast and crack. It should be dry by the next morning.

4. Remove the dried bowl from the form and paint! Ancient Chinese pottery was usually decorated with pictures of birds, flowers, and outdoor scenes, painted in whites and blues. Captain painted hers with cobalt blue, let it dry, then painted flowers and bird shapes in moon yellow. She was a little bummed that her birds didn’t come out the way she wanted, but they are fabulous! She even added a little tiny “M” for “mom” in the center of one of her flowers… ahhh!

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5. After the piece is completely dry, a fine sharpie can be used to write a name, or initials, and date on the bottom. What a sweet keepsake!

6. Spray with clear acrylic sealer (adults only), or you can glaze it with a mixture of 2 parts white glue to 1 part water. These both will give it a shiny glaze coating, which we love. Or, you can leave it as is.

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Before and after I sprayed the acrylic seal on

Fun, simple and a little “M” to boot. I love it! ¬†I hope you and/or your kids will give this a try.¬†Check out Google images to share some traditional Ming bowls and pottery with your kids. Captain has been inspired to try making another one that looks like this:

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A gorgeous flower bowl from the 1300’s

We got the idea for this project out of The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Ancient Times. We thank you kindly!

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects, Social Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Make a Lung Model out of a Plastic Bottle, Straws & Balloons!

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It’s funny how this thing has become a toy to her. This morning she was in her room explaining the respiratory system to Scooby Doo and the Gang!


It’s anatomy time, and the human body unit is in full swing at The Cabin. In learning about the respiratory system, we created a simple lung model that has been a hit in our household. I doubt Captain will ever forget how this system works!

You’ll Need: A plastic 2 liter bottle cut in half, two straws, two balloons, masking tape (or black electrical tape as that is what we had around and it worked great!) a rubber band and a piece of plastic bag.

* As you are creating this model with your kids, be sure to use the proper terminology. Explain that you’ll be making a model of the lungs to show how the respiratory system works. Let them know that the plastic bottle represents the rib cage, the straws represent the trachea/bronchi, the balloons represent the lungs and the plastic bag represents the diaphragm. While assembling, use only the anatomical names! For example: “Can you hold the ribcage while I slide the trachea and lungs in?”

Step 1: Put a straw down into a balloon, almost to the bottom. Securely tape the top of the balloon to the straw so that it is air tight. Go around with the tape a few times to be sure it is sealed. Do the same to the second balloon and then secure the two straws together with more tape.

Step 2: Put the straws down into the bottle top and tape around and around the rest of the bottle-opening to be sure that it is air-tight. If air gets in, the model won’t work.

Step 3: Place the bottle onto a piece of plastic bag and use a rubber band to secure it tight to the bottom. Trim off the excess bag, if needed.

Step 4: It is helpful to tape a little piece of paper, or a string, to the bottom of the diaphragm to pull it up and down.

That’s it! Now the child can pull the diaphragm up and down and see the lungs expand and contract! In the human body, the trachea goes down and splits into the two bronchial tubes that go into the lungs. We weren’t able to show this extra step in our model, but we looked at pictures and learned how it works. Here is a good explanation to share with your kids, if you don’t have other learning materials handy:

“Your body needs air to live! Air is a mixture of many things, but the oxygen in air is what your body needs most. Oxygen is a gas that your body combines with the food you have eaten to make energy. When you inhale, or breathe in, air goes in your nose or mouth, down a cool tube called a trachea and into your 2 lungs. Your lungs are big bags made of a bunch of tiny bags that fill with air.Oxygen from the air goes into the blood and carbon dioxide, a waste your body makes, comes from your blood and goes into the air sacs. When you breathe out, the carbon dioxide leaves your body. Ya-hoo!”

You take about 20,000 breaths a day and sneeze at about 100 miles per hour! Lungs weigh about 1 pound each and adult lungs are each about the size of a football! Your right lung has 3 regions, or lobes, while your left lung has two lobes and each lobe has its own blood supply. That way, if one part is damaged, the other 4 keep working! How cool is that?

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One more note: It is very beneficial to have kids draw a picture of what they learned, coloring the balloons, straws, etc. Help them label the simple parts.

The human body is amazing! Happy breathing into all of those lovely lobes!

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets!

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Who wouldn’t WANT to make their own hieroglyphic tablets out of sand dough?

Ancient Egypt has been rocking our household all summer long, and making sand dough hieroglyphs is full of gritty fun! Hieroglyphs are fascinating for kids, and I think this project would be terrific whether or not kids are studying ancient Egypt. Even for very young kids, I feel that this project is really beneficial because it is fun, and kids seem to have a natural fascination with Egyptian symbols. Basically, a simple sand dough is mixed up and pressed out into 1/2″ “tablets”, symbols are pressed into it, the dough dries and can then be sprayed with clear acrylic, or coated with Mod Podge. Kids can do as much of the measuring and mixing as they like with this project!

* This is one of those instances where I feel that just being exposed to the idea of ancient cultures, picture languages and sticky, gritty dough to play with is enough to stimulate even very young children. It is NOT important if they learn all the specifics of the history and social-science of Egypt! Just brushing up against these ideas and letting whatever crumbs (quite literally!) fall where they may is a wonderful thing.

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You’ll need: Two bowls, mixing spoon, 2 1/2 – 3 cups sand, 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons white glue, measuring cups, rolling-pin, a dash of dark red, or sand-colored acrylic or tempera paint (optional) and clear acrylic spray or Mod Podge, parchment paper, baking sheet, clay tools or spoon, chopstick, toothpick etc. It is helpful to have a book about hieroglyphs to look at and hieroglyphic stencils. *I recommend the book Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton, illustrated by Charles Micucci. It is simple and vibrant and includes a plastic stencil sheet too! It sells for $6.29 on Amazon. I found the recipe for the sand dough at a wonderful children’s art and craft site called firstpalette.com.

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Step 1: Measure 2 cups flour into large bowl stir in 3/4 cup of water and mix into a soft and sticky dough. Add 2 cups sand and mush it all together. Add glue and a small squirt of dark red paint (optional) and mix together. Dump out onto countertop and 1 cup of sand (as needed) to make a thick dough. Using rolling-pin, roll out dough onto lightly sandy counter until about 1/2″ thick.

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Step 2: Using stencil, clay tools, toothpicks etc. Press symbols deeply into the dough.

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We had a lot of dough and Captain used the last “tablet” to make a hand print for Grandma!

Step 3: Place tablets onto baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Be very careful when transferring them to the sheet so that they don’t crack. If you live in a low humidity area, you can let them dry out slowly over a few days, turning once in a while. Or, put them in a low oven for about 5-10 minutes to help start the drying process.

Keep an eye on your hieroglyphs. We had a little trouble with the drying of Captain’s hieroglyphs and two of them cracked. Captain’s reaction was terrific. She exclaimed “They look more real now!” ūüôā I love the spirit in her!

This project is very fun and we ended up talking a lot about The Rosetta Stone and Ancient Egypt. I hope you try these too, they are fun!

Here’s to getting messy and vacuuming up sand…

Cheers! Karen

Categories: History Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Budding Egyptologists: Make Your Own Canopic Jar!

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Greetings! This is a straight-up wonderful project for kids and adults alike. Captain made her very own canopic jar as part of an extensive study of ancient Egypt, and it has turned out to be a wonderful art piece, not to mention a terrific keepsake of this lovely period in her life.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ONE! These jars are made from a condiment squeeze bottle (like ketchup!), wadded-up paper towels, masking tape, pre-plastered gauze rolls (I used the leftovers from a belly-cast I did while I was pregnant), Crayola air-dry clay, and paint.  Kids could also create an entirely different style of jar using this method, without an Egyptian theme, if desired, and the possibilities are creatively endless!

In the time of Ancient Egypt, canopic jars were used to store particular organs of the body during the mummification process, and were placed in the tomb along with the sarcophagus containing the prepared body. The jars had lids, or stoppers, that were shaped as the heads of the minor funerary deities known as the Four Sons of Horus. It was the job of these deities to protect the internal organs of the dead. Ancient Egyptians firmly believed that the deceased required his or her organs to be reborn in the Afterlife. The organs needed to be removed from the body so that it would not decay, but needed to be present with the body, so the jars were used for their storage. They were made of natural materials such as limestone, wood, pottery, alabaster or calcite. There were 4 jars used. The deity Hapy, the baboon, was for the lungs, the human-headed Imsety guarded the liver, Jackal-headed Duamutef held the stomach and the falcon-headed Qubehseneuf took care of the intestines. Fascinating! Captain chose Duamutef for her jar and created a wonderful jackal-head out of simple air-dry clay right onto the squeeze bottle top!

When Captain decided she wanted make her own jar, I found the instructions for this project at Detroit Institute of Arts Lesson Plans for Teachers. Here are the supplies you will need:

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One plastic squeeze jar or bottle with a top (preferably a pointed top as shown above, because it provides an armature for holding the clay head tightly in place and makes it much sturdier), pre-plastered gauze rolls, self-hardening modeling material,¬†like Crayola’s brand, masking tape, paper towels or newspaper, acrylic or tempera paint, paint brushes.

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Step One¬†is simple and fun. Use wadded up paper towels and masking tape to create a canopic jar “shape”. ¬†I pulled a bunch of strips of tape off and had them ready for her and helped her to hold the paper towel wads onto the jar as she taped. ¬†She stopped when she got to the shape she desired. Leave the top of the squeeze bottle in place while creating the body of the jar, including applying the plaster strips.
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Step Two: I pre-cut the plaster gauze rolls into strips and had a bowl of water on hand. Dip each strip quickly into the water and apply to the jar to cover completely in overlapping layers. Cover the bottom first and work up from there, covering the entire jar and smoothing it all down as you go. Do NOT cover the jar tops, as the heads will be formed later with clay, after the body of the jar has dried.IMG_0514

While the jar then dries for a day or so before painting, the top can be removed to start working on creating the head!

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Step Three: If it has not already been decided, the child should choose which of the 4 deities they would like to make. Captain chose Duamutef, the jackal-headed god, and there were lots of gooey comments about the stomach that would have gone into this one ūüôā I basically gave her a smooth ball of air-dry clay, she flattened the bottom, and I helped her press the lid into it. Again, the pointed tip provides an excellent armature for making a solid head.

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Using clay tools, or anything you have on hand like toothpicks, knives etc., help guide your child in carving out the basic shape of the desired head. I explained that she would need to remove clay from under the “chin” and extend the nose to get the jackal face that she wanted, and she did an awesome job shaping the clay. I helped a little bit here and there. I showed her how to add the ears before¬†adding the final details to the face. I got out some toothpicks and after she shaped the ears, I showed her how to use a toothpick to secure the ears to the head and then use her fingers to carefully sooth the clay down to help secure the ears in place. The jackal is the only one that has ear “extensions” like this, and we really wanted to make them sturdy! The air-dry clay was very thick and took a few days to dry outside.

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Meanwhile, the body of the jar had dried and was ready to paint! If the jar and lid are both going to be one solid color, you can wait to paint them both at the same time, but there are endless ways to paint and decorate the jar. Captain went for a solid-color “stone” look after painting the bottom of the jar a dark color and then changing her mind.

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Using acrylic paint, she mixed the desired colors…

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Painting the jackal head…. It looks so cool!!

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Painting the jar was fun. When she got bored with painting it the second time, Dad jumped in and helped too!

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After the jar is completely dry, screw the head right on! Fantastic! This is a terrific project and I want to thank the folks at DIA for sharing this wonderful method. Captain’s jackal-headed canopic jar has become a conversation piece at our home, and we all LOVE how it turned out and are very proud of her. This project stimulates so many things like creativity, history, culture, patience, imagination! We talked about Ancient Egypt a lot while working on this and throughout our other Egyptian projects, which will be coming up here on Kartwheels. I would like to add that any project that allows for mistakes to be made with solutions to be figured out is terrific for kids. When the jackal head and jar were outside drying, Captain tried to play with the head and snapped one of the almost-dry ears off of her jackal. She was devastated and cried that it was ruined and was ashamed of herself for trying to mess with it after we had advised that it not be touched until dry. It was a wonderful moment when I came out of the house with some Gorilla Glue and together we reattached it and also filled in a couple of small cracks. ¬†Voila! It was a gentle reminder that most things can be fixed, and I got a giant hug too ūüôā

Read more about Canopic jars of Ancient Egypt¬†here¬†and definitely google “canopic jar images” to see some fantastic examples of both ancient canopic jars, and handsome ones made by students and Egyptologists alike!

Visit Discovery Kids to try your hand at preparing a body for mummification online, courtesy of BBC.

Thanks so much for reading, and if you try this project with your kids, we would love to hear about it!

An ancient tomb of echoing cheers to all,

Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, History Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Learn About The Night Sky With Constellation Collector Cards and Astronomy Fast Facts!

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Simple, bejeweled constellations on rounds of cardstock add a tactile (and glittering!) experience for learning new things about the night sky! ¬†Add a few reference facts on the back of each card and you may just be answering questions about the mythical story of Andromeda at the dinner table…

Greetings star lovers! Captain has been interested in the solar system, stars and constellations lately, and this project really goes nicely with the process. Stars really do twinkle up there in the sky, and why not have a little fun with some simple supplies to stimulate the imagination?

I got the idea to make constellation “rounds” from designer, and artist, Dina Edens of Country Eden. In her version, the stars of the constellations are made by using a hole-puncher, which means you can hold them up to any light and behold the lovely shapes of the pictures in the sky. Click here to see Dena’s cool astronomy punch-hole cards for kids.

To make our version you will need:

Cardstock in blue or black (we used a heavy “textured” cardstock and they came out nice and sturdy)

A glass, pencil, scissors, hole-puncher, ruler, fine black sharpie, book of constellations (pictures and facts) or internet, and adhesive jewels (*see photo below of the Recollections brand adhesive jewel pack that we purchased from Michael’s Crafts for $6.95. ¬†It has a nice assortment of sizes, and plenty of leftovers for other projects)

A “toilet chain” key chain, string, or a thin, old bracelet (which is what we had on hand to use ūüôā )

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Trace the glass onto the cardstock and cut out your rounds. This is an ongoing project for us, as it is fun and relaxing to make a few at a time and talk about them for a while. Using photos or drawings, draw the stars onto the cards and use a ruler to add the lines.  Older kids can do this part themselves. For the littles, a parent, or other helper, can draw the constellations for them. Do this all in pencil so that you can erase a bit to get them as accurate as possible.

Go over your lines and star “dots” with the black sharpie and write the name of the constellation and stars onto the card.

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Help your child choose sizes and apply the jewels to represent the real stars. On the backs of the cards, write a little bit about the particular constellation. There are so many things to learn!

Here are a few fast facts about stars and constellations to share with your little astronomer!

1. Stars are gaseous spheres that appear close to each other, but they can really be millions of miles from each other!

2. Some star formations appear to form the outlines of figures, and observers throughout history have given these shapes the name “constellation”.

3. Constellations are usually named after mythological characters, people, animals and objects. In different parts of the world, people have made up different shapes out of the same groups of bright stars. It’s kind of like connecting the dots!

4. In the past, these “pictures” in the night sky helped people navigate and keep track of the seasons.

5. Stars are composed mostly of gas and plasma, a super heated state of matter made up of subatomic particles. Cool!

6. Our planet’s sun is a star.

7. Why do stars appear to be different colors? Because their temperatures are not all the same. Hot stars shine white or blue, cooler stars appear to have orange or red hues.

8. Stars occur in many sizes, which are classified in a range from dwarfs to supergiants!

9. The constellation Andromeda is named after a mythical princess who was chained to a rock as an offering to a sea monster called Cetus. The star Alpheratz marks her head, and with binoculars, you can see lines of stars marking her chained, outstretched arms. The constellation also holds the Andromeda Galaxy. At 2.5 million light years away, it is the farthest object visible to the naked eye. The name Andromeda means “The Chained Princess”!

10. How many stars are out there?

According to astronomers, there are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable Universe, stretching out into a region of space 13.8 billion light-years away from us in all directions. And so, if you multiply the number of stars in our galaxy by the number of galaxies in the Universe, you get approximately 1024 stars. That’s a 1 followed by twenty-four zeros. That’s a septillion stars!

But there could be way more than that, and isn’t that delicious to think about?

Cosmic Cheers to all,

Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

DIY: Mom & Me Journal!

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In the photo, Captain and I are BOTH inside my shirt..

Here is our version of the “Mom & Me” journal! ¬†Basically, it is a composition notebook with a label on the front for you and your child to write notes, letters, share pictures, etc. I made this one morning, wrote a note inside inviting Captain to share notes with me, anytime we feel like it, and left it on her bed. She was thrilled and sat in bed for a long time with a pencil, drawing pictures and writing notes. We have had it for about 6 months already and both love it. Sometimes we forget about it and a lot of time passes before one of us adds something to it, and that is just perfect. There is no pressure to do anything but tell each other little things… ¬†She has written notes to ask me to make her favorite dinner, which I love! There are so many “I love you’s” and pictures of our dogs. It is also surprising how some honest, hard to talk about, things can come up. There is something safe for kids to be able to write down some feelings and ideas that they have a hard time saying in person. They KNOW their mom (or Dad) will see it, but don’t have to talk about it, just yet.

I think this notebook idea could be adapted to boys simply by changing the colors and making it suit their personality more. It would be really easy to make a “Dad & Me” notebook as well! Because it is a solid book, clearly marked, it doesn’t get lost in all of the other paper and notes that seem to fly around our cabin! ¬†I am especially looking forward to reading it again one day when Captain is all grown up. What a wonderful keepsake! I got the idea from Mama Jenn on her blog, and she got the idea from another, who got the idea from another…

I do hope you try this.  It is fun and pretty special.

Here’s to good memories (and notes that state that a certain someone would rather NOT clean up her room, complete with little, drawn, grumpy faces… love it!)

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects, Positive Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

DIY: Cool Art with Aluminum Foil, Glue & Shoe Polish!

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View From The Cabin, By Captain and Mom

This project is soooo cool! ¬†Captain and I had a blast doing this, and it has a wide range of possibilities that meet the needs of smaller kids, big kids, and adults. ¬†Our first attempt at creating aluminum foil, glue, and shoe polish art had some mistakes that we learned from. ¬†Our second try was inspired by the view out of our front window at home. ¬†We love how it turned out, and enjoyed working on it together. ¬†We’d like to frame it as a “mom-n-daughter” piece ūüôā This project can be adapted to all kinds of images, and I hope you try it!

You’ll need:

A piece of cardboard (we used the back of a pad of watercolor-paper)

White glue and a glue stick

Heavy duty aluminum foil

Black shoe-polish (the kind that comes in a sponge-applicator bottle is best)

Method:

Create your basic image (don’t worry about the little details as they get added later) by drawing on the cardboard. ¬†Go over all of the lines with the bottle of white glue, squeezing out some of the lines in a thin stream and go back over some of the main lines heavily with the glue. ¬†Let it dry. ¬†Or, as we did, you can skip the drawing part and just use the glue to make the free-form shapes.

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As you can see here, the glue has dried clear.  If you run your fingers over it you will feel the relief-texture that will create the basic shapes in your picture.  Very simple!

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Next, use the glue stick to go over the parts of the piece that don’t have the dried glue. ¬†This will help hold the foil tightly onto the cardboard. ¬†Be sure to rub the glue stick around all of the edges too. ¬†You will then decide if you want the shiny side of the foil to show, or the matte side. ¬†We chose the matte side, but it will depend on your image and the effect you would like to have. ¬†Place the image, glue side down, onto the foil and press it down. ¬†Be sure to have a big enough piece of foil so that you can wrap the flaps around and tape them on the back.

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Put a piece of toilet paper, or a thin, soft cloth, over your fingertip and carefully (don’t rip the foil!) go over both the raised, and flat, parts of the image. ¬†Take your time. ¬†Use a cotton swab to go over every line to make the image really stand out. ¬†This is an excellent time to talk about “relief”.

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Ooh, good fun here.  Swab the whole thing with the shoe polish, wait a couple of minutes, and then wipe it all off with a paper towel.  Use a dull pencil to make details, textures and patterns on the foil.  If you used heavy-duty foil and your pencil is dull, the foil wont rip.  All these little swirls, dents and marks help add dimension and life to the finished piece. Cover it with the shoe polish once more, let set.

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Wipe off the polish, taking care to let the very dark parts of the polish, right up against the edges of the raised parts stay.

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Voila! ¬†Your very own “antique-ish” piece of art!

Below you will see our first try.  We were inspired by two beautiful, pearlized ammonites.  Our mistake was that we used yarn to make our relief, and it was too thick for the foil.  We looked online and saw how others had made this project and learned that simple glue was enough to get a good relief.  We loved making this one and it turned out pretty sweet anyways!

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The possibilities with this project are juicy and delightful!  We saw some nice owls and other free-form patterns when we looked online.  I hope you try this one.  It is inexpensive, easy and rewarding.

Cheers! Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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