flower arrangement foam or styrofoam cut in small cubes, pipe cleaners of different colors and lengths, beads, foam paper, scissors
- push a pipe cleaner into the styrofoam- can leave straight, or bend into different types of lines, can also poke the second end into the styrofoam too
- decorate with beads
- cut shapes from foam paper and push them onto pipe cleaner like a bead
These are so simple and the children are really engaged in the process. Michael’s sells little jewelry boxes and the last time I did this with kids, I cut the foam to fit inside the box for a finished touch. (I also bought a styrofoam cutter but it is possible to cut with a knife!)
liquid watercolors, popsicle sticks, ice trays, watercolor paper, salt
This is a fun summer (or any time!) activity, especially if there are real popsicles involved as a reward for making great art!
- freeze liquid watercolors (can dilute with water) in ice trays, and after about 15 minutes in freezer put a popsicle stick in each ice cube hole
- place watercolor popsicles (not for licking!) on a tray since they will slowly start melting
- let children choose from the different colors and draw on their papers- as time goes by, the paint will melt and release more and more color
- LAST step is to sprinkle salt (not piles, sprinkles) on the wet paint and then be amazed when they are dry! (you can shake off salt into trash)
contact paper, masking tape, windows if you have them handy 😉 , sequins, tissue paper shapes, decorative paper shapes
- pre-cut tissue and decorative papers into shapes- I did rectangles, squares, and triangles, and with the decorative papers I also made some circles with a punch
- place all items in little bins/bowls on a table (or floor) near the windows (or just spread them all over the table…)
- cut contact paper to fit window, and peel open
- tape contact paper sticky side out to the window
- add beautiful shapes!
- seal with either a second piece of contact paper or a piece of clear plastic film (transparency sheet)
- trim edges if needed, and send home with kids – for these, I cut each piece in half so each child could take one home
large paper, plastic forks, toothpicks, masking tape, card/mat/chip board, feathers, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, ink, muffin pan paint tray
- set out ink trays on each table, along with several drawing tools
- to make the pipe cleaner tool, simply bend one in half and wind the ends to keep them together
- to make the toothpick tool, connect several toothpicks with masking tape onto a small piece of either cardboard, mat board, or chip board
- tape a feather to a popsicle stick for the feather tool
scrap paper of a similar color palette plus light neutrals, blender, warm water, liquid starch (Sta-flo is what I used- I had to order from walmart), large plastic bin, window screens (need to be small enough to lay down flat in your plastic bin, and make sure the edges aren’t sharp- cover with duct tape if so), white felt (cut to similar size as your screens)
- pour about a gallon of warm water into the large plastic bin, along with about 1/4 cup of liquid starch (doesn’t have to be exact, and you can even do this without it but the paper won’t be as sturdy – good idea to use starch if you plan to write on the paper)
- rip up pieces of paper into small bits (about the size of a quarter or smaller)
- make a pile of pieces (my students placed them on a tray)
- add bits to blender until about 1/3 full, then fill the rest of the way with warm water and blend until smooth (“paper soup”)- I was using an old blender where the blade is small, secure, and all the way at the bottom, be careful if you use the newer kind that has giant blades that fall right out!
- pour this into the large plastic bin and repeat until you have poured 4 or 5 blender-fulls
- you are done with the blender- move it out of reach from the kids!
- stir up the paper soup with your hands (fun) and then place a window screen into the mixture, swishing the mixture around once it is submerged
- gently lift the window screen while holding it parallel to the floor like a lunch tray- the water will fall through and the paper bits will have collected on the screen
- flip over onto a piece of felt so that the paper is touching the felt
- dry by pressing down onto the screen with a washcloth to soak up excess water
- gently lift one side of the screen and tap the back (I used my hand but I am interested to research how professional paper makers do this step) until the paper falls off onto the felt- the edges will be messy but you can cut them later! no perfect deckle edges here…
- let dry over night
- use the paper for anything! to write on, to make collages with, to make DIY note cards, to give away, as gift tags, as wrapping paper…let me know if you have more ideas!
scrap or decorative (or handmade) papers cut into squares, a large white paper cut into a square, scissors, pencils, glue sticks
- make sure you have enough hearts that can fit across the white paper vertically and horizontally, with enough extras to do the heart cutting
- glue squares in a grid all over the page (I always have children glue on the back of the piece and on the table or a “messy mat” so they don’t get their final product all gluey)
- with one square at a time, fold it in half and draw a half heart (this can be done ahead of time for young children, so all they have to do is cut and glue)
- keeping the paper folded, cut along the half-heart pencil line, then unfold
- glue the hearts or negative space hearts on top of the squares (or not!)
sticker board, colored sand, condiment bottles
- pour some of the bulk colored sand into condiment bottles
- peel off the cover sheet to expose the adhesive side of the sticker board
- pour sand onto sticker
- smooth sand around with hands if you’d like (another great sensory experience)
- dump excess in trash to reveal the design that was created by the very first sand to touch the sticker
bubble wrap, masking tape, tempera paint, squeeze bottles, brayers, paper, shaving cream (optional), a sink close by!
- tape bubble wrap with bubbles facing up all over a table
- ideally, put tempera paints in small squeeze bottles
- set brayers and squeeze bottles all along table
- squeeze a little bit (good luck) of TWO colors in one spot on the bubble wrap (I had only yellow, blue, and pink paint available to make sure their mixing would turn out pretty)
- roll paint out with a brayer
- make a print!
- repeat! (if your table is crowded, have children keep their prints paint side up on the floor near them in between prints)
- if there are a few extra minutes, add shaving cream to the table and let them mix it with the paint with their hands- great sensory experience!
embroidery hoops (these are 6 and 8 inch and I love the look with 6), markers or washi tape, yarn or ribbon, wooden beads, plastic needles
- decorate the wooden hoops with marker (these images also show some decorated with washi tape but it is tricky for kids to wrap it tightly enough to stick)
- attach decorative hanging pieces of yarn by folding one piece in half, holding by the loop, placing loop under the hoop, putting loose ends of yarn piece over hoop and through loop, and pulling! (directions I tell kids- so simple- see picture and video)
- add as many hanging pieces as you’d like
- use the plastic beading needle to thread beads onto hanging yarn and tie off the last one on each strand
- tie a long piece of yarn to the hoop and wrap around until there is only enough left to tie off, creating the web- I think less is more regarding the web because if kids play with it (it’s a jellyfish! it’s a hat with hair! etc) the web can come undone into a loose tangle and you’ll have to stretch it back to be taut again (this is also why we do the web part last)
I did this with 4-7 year olds so we kept it simple so they could work independently, but there are lots of ways to embellish and make these really fun for all ages! Here is Art Bar‘s version, and Meri Cherry‘s.