Cool Craft for Kids & Teens, Shrinky Dinks Animal Key Chains

Animal Lovers Kids and Teen Craft

Here’s another take on Shrinky Dinks crafts. Supplies and steps for these horse key chains are the same as the fashion key chains. I taught After School Enrichment classes for several years, and often had repeat students so, though projects may have used similar mediums and supplies, I varied content. Some kids traced patterns from scrapbooking paper while others made up their own designs. They used jump rings to attach pieces and Wikki Stix to create manes. Horses are just the start; templates for any animal can be created.

Shrinky Dinks Animal Key Chains

Supplies:

Steps:

  1. Draw an animal and parts on a piece of paper and add small circles where the pieces will join. Add a small circle to the place where the key ring will later be attached. (On the horse, the key ring hangs from the middle of the back.) Trace outline of body and body parts on Shrinky Dinks sheets. All tracing and coloring should be on “rough” side of SD sheets.
  2. Using colored pencils, color patterns and designs and add animal’s facial features.
  3. Punch holes where small circles are drawn. Be careful to leave space between holes and edges so edges don’t split.
  4. Cut out animal parts.
  5. Follow Shrinky Dinks instructions to bake cut-outs.
  6. After baking, gently flatten pieces that curl up.
  7. Join pieces using jump rings.
  8. Create manes or fur with yarn or Wikki Stix. Feed Wikki Stix through holes and twist to secure. OR feed yarn through holes and knot and trim.
  9. Find the opening where the key ring is to be attached and feed a jump ring through that hole. Attach the key ring to that jump ring.

Tip: Shrinky Dinks shrink A LOT! Keep this in mind and trace a template large enough that when parts are baked and shrink, the key chain isn’t the size of a peanut! Please keep this in mind when drawing circles that will be punched out. You don’t want the holes to be so small, a jump ring won’t fit.

Cool Kids & Teen Craft, Shrinky Dinks Fashion Key Chains

Another Snow Day Kids and Teen Craft

Did you create key chains, jewelry and keepsakes with Shrinky Dinks when you were a kid? I did and my kids did, too. So, when discussing ideas for After School Enrichment classes with a camp art director, she suggested this cool craft. The 2nd – 5th graders in my ASE class loved tracing patterns from wrapping paper, scrapbooking paper, and fashion magazines onto their own templates. They colored patterns, added facial features, cut out body parts, and punched holes so the baked pieces could be assembled with jump rings. They added Wikki Stix hair and a key ring and–voila–they had their own Shrinky Dinks Fashion key chains. More template ideas: kids playing sports, dancers, and superheroes. Be creative!

Shrinky Dinks Fashion Key Chains

Supplies:

Steps:

  1. Draw a body and parts on a piece of paper and add small circles where the pieces will join. Trace outline of body and body parts on Shrinky Dinks sheets. All tracing and coloring should be on “rough” side of SD sheets.
  2. Using colored pencils, color clothing patterns and add facial features.
  3. Punch holes where circles are indicated, being careful to leave space between holes and edges so edges don’t split.
  4. Cut out body parts.
  5. Follow Shrinky Dinks instructions to bake cut-outs.
  6. After baking, gently flatten pieces that curl up.
  7. Join pieces using jump rings.
  8. Create hair with yarn or Wikki Stix. Feed Wikki Stix through holes on top of head and twist to secure. OR feed yarn through holes and knot and trim.
  9. Feed a jump ring into middle hole on top of head and then feed key chain ring into that jump ring.

Tip: Shrinky Dinks shrink A LOT! Keep this in mind and trace a template large enough that when parts are baked and shrink, the key chain isn’t the size of a peanut! Please keep this in mind when drawing circles that will be punched out. You don’t want the holes to be so small, a jump ring won’t fit.

Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft, Felt Mitten Bookmarks

Snow Day Activity

I’m re-posting this Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft because it’s quick and creative. Though my K-2 After School Enrichment students enjoyed making their own Felt Mitten Bookmarks, pre-schoolers can also assemble them (Supplies for my Two’s are portioned out in our “Virtual Learning Bin.”) Don’t have suggested supplies? Use what you have. Set up a workstation, fill bowls with decorations, and invite kids to assemble, glue and decorate. Fun and done!

Gather supplies.

Measure ribbon and cut out mitten shapes.

Sandwich ribbon between back and front mittens. Decorate. Let dry.

Felt Mitten Bookmarks
Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
  4. Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  5. Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Decoupage Pet Picture Frame

When I worked at Magic Windows, a high-end children’s boutique in Manhattan, the store’s owner added a tween section. She was game enough to sell my tie-dyed tee-shirts and decoupaged picture frames. First I painted them, then I added  inspirational words and gems and–guess what–they sold!

Fast forward to an After School Enrichment K-2 class that focused on pets. The kids loved making their own pet picture frames with magazines cut outs. Mod Podge is my go-to decoupage medium because it’s all you need to glue, seal and finish this project that’s, seriously, fun for any age kid!

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:

  • wooden picture frame with flat surface
  • magazine cut-outs, photos, hand-drawn pictures
  • gems or beads, optional
  • Mod Podge
  • foam paint brush (preferred) or paint brush
  • cup off water for cleaning brushes, paper towel or rag for blotting

Instructions:

  1. Glue cut-outs, pics, etc to frame.
  2. Glue gems or beads.
  3. Brush Mod Podge over entire frame surface. Let dry about 15 minutes.
  4. Brush on three to four more layers, letting each layer dry about 15 minutes before reapplying.

Sources:  local craft stores such as A Paper Hat Art + Design Supply, national craft store chains such as such as Michael’s.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Multi Media Owls

Whoo Loved This Project?

All the kids enjoyed this project, which started with an almost blank canvas. Almost because each K-2 student received a canvas sporting the outline of an owl. How they painted and decorated their owls was up to them . Guess where I taught this After School Enrichment class? In the art room! The classroom had a creative vibe (no surprise), deep sinks for washing up, and light streaming in through the windows.

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:
  • canvas (9 x 12 or whatever size desired)
  • pencil
  • water-based paint and paint brushes
  • objects for decorating–buttons, feathers, silk leaves, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, foil paper, wrapping paper, etc.
  • white glue
  • paper plate, paper bowl, or palette or paints
  • cup or bowl w/water (for rinsing brushes)
  • paper towels or rags (for blotting paintbrush)
  • newspaper (for protecting art area)
Steps:
  1. Find an image of an owl, or whichever animal desired.
  2. Using the pencil, copy the outline and a few details of the owl onto the canvas.
  3. Set up work area, including paper plate, bowl, or palette for paints, cup or bowl with clean water, and paper towel or rags for blotting the paint brush.
  4. Choose paint colors.
  5. Paint owl. Let dry.
  6. Once paint is dry, glue decorative objects to canvas. Let dry.
Source: 

Materials can be found in the house and/or purchased at local art stores (A Paper Hat in Maplewood) or craft stores (Michael’s). During quarantine, many local stores are filling orders over the phone and offering curbside pick up.

 

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Felt Bookmarks

Fun with Felt!

K-2 students made these cute, Spring-themed, animals bookmarks using the same steps as the Easy Winter Kids Crafts, Felt Mitten Bookmarks. Pick an animal and get creative with whatever decorative supplies you have on hand. Possible animals and insects besides puppies and birds? Cats, horses, unicorns, lions, butterflies, caterpillars, etc.

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.

Spring Felt Bookmarks
Suggested Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Sourcing supplies: Michael’s, Oriental Trading, Target or any local crafts store.
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. Measure ribbon. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Create a paper pattern by drawing animals. We drew a profile of a puppy head and  a whole bird. Also draw a coordinating pattern for the bottom of the bookmark. We drew a bone to go with the puppies and eggs and nests to go with the birds.
  4. Cut out paper patterns.
  5. Trace shapes on felt: two side of the animal and two sides of the coordinating object. Make sure the two sides are the same so that they line up when glued together.
  6. Match up animals and objects, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the cut-outs. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  7. Decorate bookmarks, either one side of each animals or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Easy DIY Kids Activities, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests as pictured in DMagazine.

Egg-cellent Spring Kids Activity

We’re all washing our hands like crazy, so sticky, marshmallow-y hands are no problem! After School Enrichment kids in grades 3-5 enjoyed creating their own Spring-y, Easter-y birds nests. Because this is a messy project, I didn’t take many photos of my students’ nests; credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for some of the project photos.

The process is the same as making Rice Krispies Treats, only with the chow mein noodles subbing in for cereal. The measurements quoted here yield about 12 cupcake-sized nests, or one really huge nest that would be about the right size for a real bunny, if bunnies sat in nests.

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. 

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)
Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles (Rice Krispies could be used, too.)

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

Easy DIY Kids Activities: Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies.

I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t like baking

because I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t like cookies!

Every child I’ve ever baked with likes cracking eggs, measuring ingredients, handling an electric mixer, and making “their own” cookies. (Math lessons built it, especially when doubling recipes!) Plastic placemats create individual work surfaces. What did my K-2 After School Enrichment students do while waiting for the cookies to bake? They worked on original crosswords puzzles, word searches, or played board games. Blokus is a favorite!

Happy baking, hon!

Snickerdoodles Cookies
 Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups (385 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (the Joy of Cooking recipe calls for 1 cup butter, but we thought it was too much)

1  1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coating:

1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

3.  With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla extract.  Add flour mixture and beat until dough is smooth. If dough is soft, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls.

4.  Shape dough into 1-inch (2.54 cm) round balls.

5.  Coating: In a large, shallow bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.

6. Roll balls of dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on prepared being sheets, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

7. Then, using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick.

8. Bake cookies for approx. 8 – 10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

Yield: About 6 dozen cookies

Store cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10-14 days.

Source: www.joyofbaking.com

Playing Blokus.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Initial Fleece Pillows

Fleece is easy to work with because it cuts easily and doesn’t fray. K-2  kids can handle a needle and thread (really!) or work with supervision on a sewing machine. For this project, which is great for all ages, my After School Enrichment students pinned and sewed their letters onto the fronts, pinned and sewed the fronts and backs of the pillows together, added stuffing, and then sewed them shut. Voila! Soft, personalized pillows!

Party idea: These pillows are their own take party activity and take home “favor!” For a virtual party, drop off supplies at party-goer’s houses and then create activity via the internet. I just mailed supplies for Spring Bling Countertop Containers to my nieces and nephews and, after they arrive, we’ll set a Zoom date so we can create together. Fun!

Happy creating, hon!

Initial Fleece Pillows

Supplies:

–paper, pencil, ruler, scissors

–2 colors of fleece, one color for initial, contrasting color for pillow body, amount of fleece depends on finished size of pillow, Tip: Need fleece? Cut up an old blanket, jacket or shirt.

–needle and thread (if sewing by hand) or sewing machine

–straight pins

–stuffing

Directions:

  1. Draw paper patter for initial (or other shape). Draw paper pattern for outline of pillow, whatever size you choose, measuring to make sure sides are equal. {Top & bottom should measure the same and left & right sides should measure the same.}
  2. Cut out one fleece initial. Cut out two equal pieces for pillow body (front and back).
  3. Pin initial onto center of front and sew it on, either using whipstitch or straight stitch.
  4. Pin front and back pieces together. Sew all four sides, leaving about a 2″ opening. Tip: Seams were sewn about 1 1/2″ in from outer edges of fleece. Chalk or a light pencil mark can be used to draw seam lines to follow while sewing.
  5. In 2″ opening, insert stuffing. Tip: a chopstick or thin, long tool will aid in pushing stuffing into four corners. When pillow is as stuffed as you want, sew pillow closed.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Garden Snack

Ida Frosk’s pretty plate.

Ida Frosk’s adorable birds.

Garden Snack.

Fun With Food!

The last Food Art project my K-2 After School Enrichment students created was inspired by Ida Frosk’s pretty plate and adorable birds. So fun assembling Garden Snacks and then, of course, eating them!

Ingredients:
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • cucumbers
  • red and green peppers
  • sugar snap peas
  • cream cheese colored with green food coloring
  • any other fruit and veggies you want to add to your “garden”
Directions:
  1. Slice green peppers into stems, cut strawberries in half, and cut up red pepper into petals.
  2. Using cream cheese as “glue,” layer ladybugs and create a picture.
  3. Eat and enjoy!