Posts Tagged ‘craft’

Pine Cone Turkeys

November 13, 2008


Today I dragged myself to the craft store to buy feathers, pipe cleaners and google eyes.  It was worth the trip.  I try to do most of the projects I post with stuff I have in the house, but I made an exception for this project, since it sounded like so much fun.  The leftovers will go straight into my craft box to be used for another project on another rainy day.

 My mother-in-law suggested making pine cone turkeys, so I thought we’d give it a shot.  If you don’t have pine cones lying around the house, take your kids on a walk to find some, or, God forbid, buy some.  I have to admit that I had to buy some at Michael’s since it is wet outside and I wanted to do the project today. They only had cinnamon scent-drenched cones, which are a little strong, but the kids didn’t mind.


I bought some normal pipe cleaners and some sort of bumpy-looking ones that we cut up to use as turkey heads.  After we cut the pipe cleaner “head”, we twisted part of a normal pipe cleaner around it to affix it to the pine cone by wrapping it completely around it.   We made legs and feet from pipe cleaners too.  They don’t support the weight of the pine cone very well, but look cute.

Then, the kids just stuck feathers into the pine cones to make turkey tails.  You can have your children use glue, if you want the feathers to stay  put, by dabbing a little glue on the end of the feathers before you poke them into the pine cone.  It works pretty well just to stick them in too. 

Finally, glue some eyes on.  I bought google eyes that have adhesive already on them- what a great invention!


As usual, the project evolved into making crazy pipe cleaner/feather creatures once the turkeys were complete.  The kids were busy for an hour, needed very little help and the turkeys are very cute.  Good times.

Halloween Lanterns

October 22, 2008


“Where are my zizzors?” is a common refrain at my house.  My two (almost three) year old loves few things more than cutting any piece of paper she can find into a million little pieces.

With a little help, she was able to do this project and put her cutting talents to use.  It’s geared toward older kids, but she had a great time cutting and gluing and is very proud of what she made.  All you need is construction paper, tape, glue and “zizzors.”

Simply fold your construction paper in half and draw parallel lines from the fold to within a few inches of the edge.  Have your child cut along these lines.  Unfold the paper and make it into a long “roll” with the fold bulging out, so it looks like a lantern.  Tape either end.  Then have your child cut out eyes, a nose and a mouth for their lanterns and glue them on.  It is also fun to cut a strip of paper to tape on as a handle for the lantern. 


You can make jack-o-lanterns, green witches, ghosts, goblins or anything else your kids dream up.  They look cute sitting on a table or hanging from the ceiling.  You can throw them in the recycling after Halloween or save them for next year’s decorations!

Fall leaf hunt/leaf rubbings

October 12, 2008

I’ve read several articles recently on how important it is for children to spend time outdoors and connect with nature.  It seems obvious, but it is easy to get so wrapped up in activities that you spend your days in the car rather than out in the fresh air.  Playing outside is not only invaluable for your children’s physical and mental health, it’s absolutely free. 

This afternoon, we took a “leaf walk”.  We just walked around the block, but it would be a great excuse to take your kids to the arboretum, to a nature reserve, or just out in the country.  A paper bag was a perfect receptacle for the leaves we found.  I asked the kids to find as many different kinds of leaves as they could.  We picked up the ones that were not too dried out, so they’d be pliable for rubbing or pressing.  I was amazed how many types of trees we found in a small area.

Tracing paper works the best for doing leaf rubbings.  I found some at Walgreens that was not expensive.  We peeled the paper off of some crayons and went to work.  Place the leaves under the paper, one at a time, and rub the flat side of a crayon against the paper that covers the leaf.  It helps to hold the stem through the paper and rub in one direction.  My two-year old had a hard time with it, so I helped her.  She loved picking up leaves!

You can also have your children dry beautiful leaves by putting them between sheets of waxed paper in a heavy book.  If you don’t care about the book, you can skip the waxed paper.  They’ll be dry in a week or two.

Leaf rubbings and dried leaves are a great addition to any science notebook.  There are several websites that will help your children identify what kind of tree each leaf comes from, if they are interested.  One I found was  Your child might enjoy checking out a book on trees from the library too.  As my wise Grandma would always say, “Get those kids outside!”

Magazine Beads

September 8, 2008

Before the days of plastic, foamy, pre-cut, pre-designed craft projects, there were the 70s, when I was a kid.  We made paper-maché piñatas, twine macramé plant-holders and did lots of art projects using objects from nature or things that we had around the house. They weren’t always beautiful, but we had lots of fun making them.

I love the idea of recycling things that your kids could make into art, for both environmental and financial reasons. Who hasn’t walked into a craft store and spent a ridiculous amount of money on a bunch of things that will never break down in a landfill?

A useful thing to do is to create a box for your child to fill with things that have potential to become great art projects. Find a container that you already have around the house and you and your child can fill it with colorful magazines, old buttons and crayons, corks, bottle caps, ribbons, Popsicle sticks, wrapping paper and cloth scraps, cardboard jewelry boxes or pretty bottles-anything that you or your child see potential in. Try to see the possibilities in the things you may normally throw away.

One childhood project that I remember, and recently re-created with my kids (2, 6 and 8 years old), is making magazine beads. My older children loved it and my two year old had a great time just squeezing glue onto the newspaper we were working on.  All you’ll need are scissors, cardboard (optional), magazines, glue and pencils, straws or wooden skewers.

First, cut out a cardboard template in the shape of a long triangle about one inch wide at the bottom and about 8 to 11 inches long. Use the template to trace triangles on colorful magazine pages or old wrapping paper. Have your child cut the triangles out, or help them do it.  (You can also just guess and free-hand the triangles, which is what I did.) Use a glue stick to put glue on the back of the triangle, but try to leave the bottom inch or so of the wide base of the triangle glue-free. Then, have your child wrap the paper tightly, starting with the base, around some sort of stick (we used pens, straws, pencils and wooden skewers with the sharp ends broken off.) You may have to glue the tip of the triangle down when you’re done. Finally, just slide the “bead” off of the stick and you are done!

 Older children will do fine with skewers, but younger ones may be more successful with pens or pencils. You can let your children use the beads to make pretty garlands, necklaces, bracelets, or ever glue them tightly side-by-side to an old picture frame to make it new!

Just remember, it’s the process that’s important, not perfection. Remind your child that imperfect things are often much more interesting than perfect ones!