Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Craftiness

We had such a CRAZY busy week this week but, as usual, it was so much fun! We used every spare moment to work on making gift bags with goodies for the kiddos to take home to their parents.
The first thing we made were cinnamon applesauce ornaments. These are my absolute favorite ornaments because they are ridiculously easy and cheap to make, especially when I have wonderfully generous classroom parents that ask to bring in supplies. All we needed for these was a bit of applesauce and an equal amount of cinnamon. Simply mix them together and they turn into a dough that you can use as playdough in a center or, like we did, roll them out and cut with a cookie cutter to make an ornament. Two tips though: 1) Use a straw to make a hole in the top while it's still wet so it will be easier to make into an ornament later and 2) make these at least a few days before you need to have them done. They do take a while to dry and I would HIGHLY recommend flipping them every day or so.
When we made these, we were doing them with a class of 16 kiddos so we did them as one of our centers on Monday, put the ornaments on cookie sheets to dry and labeled them by putting their names on masking tape on the cookie sheet. They were dry by Thursday so we could tie ribbon on them!

The second project we did was a snowflake frame. We started by making a VERY simple backdrop so we could take a picture of each of the kiddos for in their frame. We have a very culturally diverse class so we strive to make things winter based, just in case.

The first part of the project was done on Monday afternoon since, of course, it needed to dry before we could do the second part. All the kiddos did was to paint popsicle sticks (4 per child) and puzzle pieces (about 8 per child) with white paint. Unfortunately, we were out of regular wood colored sticks, so we improvised and used these colored ones instead.

For part two, I simply printed out their pictures in 3 1/2" by 5" size, trimmed them so they were 3 1/2" square, and glued them in the center of a 4 1/2" square paper. This gave them a nice 1/2" border around their picture to glue the popsicle sticks onto. Then, once the sticks were one, they glued as many puzzle pieces on as they wanted and they were done! (I actually kind of loved them with the colored sticks!)

Our third project was also a multi-parter and I think it was the kids' favorite. We started out by making some microwave snow playdough. Super easy! I just used the recipe below:
The big difference with our dough was that I put glitter in it instead of food coloring so it had a sparkly white look. Plus, instead of heating it for one long time period, I found it turned out MUCH better to do 30 seconds at a time so it could be stirred and it wouldn't get over-cooked. Plus, the kids loved to see it after each 30 seconds to check on its progress. Once it felt doughy, it was done!

As I was doing the dough with half the class, my aide was making these adorable snowmen jars out of baby food jars with the other half. It's seriously just black and orange construction paper with Elmer's school glue. Just use a regular ol' one hole paper punch for the eyes and mouth and free-hand cut some little triangles. I told the kiddos that the black circles were for the eyes and mouth and the triangle was the nose. Where they put them was totally up to them.

Once the dough was cooled, we put it in the jars and they were ready to go!

Finally, each kiddo got a brown paper bag to decorate with some of our random crafty supplies. We just put out sparkly confetti, glitter glue (which we like to put on plates with Q-tips so they can "paint" it on), markers, and crayons.

We then wrapped the applesauce ornaments in tissue paper and put everything in the bags so they were ready to go! Nothing like super cute (and cheap!) gifts!!

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