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 Kids Crafts: Mini Torahs for Simchat Torah

Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday)

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with the Torah) marks the end of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings and the beginning of the new cycle. It is a joyous holiday that celebrates the Jewish love of Torah and study. Simchat Torah is celebrated by taking all the Torah scrolls out of the ark in synagogue and spending the evening dancing, singing, and rejoicing.” (https://toriavey.com/what-is-simchat-torah/)

The 2 year-olds in my preschool class made their own mini Torahs and flags. For the flags, they decorated paper with stickers and then glued the paper onto popsicle sticks. For the Torahs, they finger-painted thin strips of paper. After the paint dried, I hot-glued each end to wrapping paper rolls cut into small tubes. The ends were rolled up and their Torahs were closed with pipe cleaners. They loved waving their flags and showing off their Torahs to the cantor, rabbi and other classes. Fun!

Wrapping paper tubes were cut into 3 inch pieces.
After finger-painting thin strips of finger-paint paper, I hot-glued each end to the small tubes.
Each end of the mini Torahs was rolled toward the center and held together with a pipe cleaner.

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 Craft: Mondrian Inspired Food Art

Piet Mondrian, Composition A, 1923

Painterly Plate

One of the After School Enrichment classes for K-2 that I taught focused on food: a combination of easy recipes and “food art” inspired by blogger, Ida Frosk. I became enamored of “The Art Toast Project” which consisted of “edible remakes of major works by famous artists, using a piece of toast as the canvas. The idea was based on the literal interpretation of ‘food art’ and the desire to make art more accessible.” Frosk said the main purpose of the project was “spreading the love of art.”Another cool source of inspiration is Laleh Mohmedi as seen on My Modern Met.

Though my students made dessert versions of “Mondrian Inspired Food Art,” healthier versions can be constructed. Use your imagination to include whatever combination of sweet, salty and healthy ingredients you want. Rather than making these “pictures” on toast, my kids spread icing on wax paper, but toast would give the food art a natural border.

Happy creating, hon!

Mondrian Inspired Food Art

Ingredients:

  • white icing (or cream cheese)
  • Life cereal (Chex cereal, graham crackers, small crackers)
  • Starburst (colorful sliced carrots or peppers cut into squares)
  • Air Heads Extremes (string cheese, linguini noodles cooked, celery, cucumbers or zucchini sliced into thin strips, pretzels)
  • sour candy belts (peppers, tomatoes, or strawberries cut into squares or rectangles)
  • wax paper or toast depending on chosen “canvas”
  • knife for spreading

Directions:

  1. Discuss Mondrian.
  2. Cut candy or veggies into shapes and lengths so that they’re ready to be assembled.
  3. Spread icing or cream cheese on wax paper or toast.
  4. Apply pieces of food into an abstract, graphic piece of “art.”
  5. Eat and enjoy!

 

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: DIY Stress Ball

DIY Stress Balls
DIY Stress Balls

Ease the Stress Stress Balls

(Kids craft that’s not just for kids!)

My daughter made a Stress Ball at camp and, since I liked it so much, she taught me how to make my own. It’s sooo fun to squish! It relieves stress! It’s easy to make!

When my daughter was helping me fill the balloon, I said, “Wow, I didn’t think it could fit that much flour.” My teen daughter replied (visualize an eye roll and sarcastic voice), “Mom, it’s a balloon.”

Point taken.

Warning: Flour will floof onto the floor as you fill the balloon.

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional
Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

1. Fill balloon with flour.
1. Fill balloon with flour.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw on face. Tie pom pom to balloon under the knot.
2. Knot balloon closed. Draw face. Tie pom-pom to balloon under the knot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Stress Ball Supplies:

–balloon

–flour

–spoon

–permanent markers

–pom-pom, optional

Stress Ball Directions:

  1. Two people are needed.  One person holds the balloon open and one spoons in the flour. Flour will get everywhere, so fill over a bowl or plate. We used a lot of flour, filling until the balloon reached a squishiness we liked.
  2. Knot the balloon closed.  Draw a face.  Tie a pom-pom around the balloon knot, making sure the pom-pom knot is secured under the balloon knot.

Pom-Pom Supplies:

–yarn or string, same or different colors

–cardboard (we used an old cereal box)

–scissors

Pom-Pom Directions:

  1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half.  Trace a circle around a glass.  Draw another circle inside, about 1 to 11/2 inches from first circle. Cut out circles.
  2. Starting with about 2 arm spans of yarn, wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles. If you run out of yarn and/or want to change colors, attach a new piece of yarn to old one and continue wrapping.
  3. When yarn has been wrapped around cardboard circles several times, slip a scissors between the circles.  Cut the outer perimeter of yarn.
  4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.
  5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
  6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle. Cut out circles.
1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle, about 1 to 1/2 ” from 1st circle. Cut out circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.
2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.
3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

4. Slip a separate piece of between the cardboard circles and draw to center.
4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

5. Cinch separate piece of yarn tight. Knot that yarn, securing the cut yarn in the middle. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

6. Keep end of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon.
6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Stress Balls hanging out.
Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls with personalities.
Stress Balls with personalities.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Treasure Jars

Decorated Mason Jars.
DIY Treasure Jars

If ever I was going to post kid activities, this is the time!

I’ll be posting a bunch of ideas for the next few weeks.

Camp visiting days are an opportunity for kids to show and tell. They’re also a great source of craft ideas. I was particularly excited about the Treasure Jars so I included them in a previous Highlights article, 12 Ways to Reboot Your Summer.

For this crazy, quarantined time, why not find treasures on a hike? I see “treasures” every day when I walk Lucy. Acorns, variegated pebbles, petrified wood, leaves, new blooms and, my favorite, feathers! I’ve found blue jay and sparrow feathers, a large, wild turkey feather, and a tuft of raccoon fur! I’m always on the lookout for interesting objects and coyote pups. (Last spring, a coyote pup peeked his head out of a conduit to say hi!)

Another DIY Treasure Jar Idea? My daughter said her camp provided glow-in-the-dark paint. Turn out the lights and let  the memories shine!

Supplies:

–mason or mayonnaise jar

–any combination of stickers, pom-poms, paint, paint markers, permanent markers, colored tape and feathers

–craft glue that adheres to glass

Directions:

–Decorate jars.

–Add keepsakes such as seashells, pebbles, acorns, feathers, souvenirs, movie stubs, show stubs, etc.

–For a personalized touch, label with name and year.

Two Snow Globe Kids Crafts

 

Need a fun winter craft for two, three or four year-olds? 

Drying on a shelf outside of my pre-school classroom were these colorful tissue paper and white paint snow globes. They’d been made by older kids in the pre-school after-school program. I wanted to do something similar with my young two year-old’s, but they don’t know how to use scissors and aren’t ready for projects with several steps. I eliminated their need to use scissors and broke up the project into two days. It was a hit!

Here are instructions for both snow globes.

Happy creating, hon!

Snow Globes for 3 and 4 year-old’s

Supplies:

  • white and colored construction paper
  • a variety of tissue paper
  • white paint and paint brushes or crafts sticks
  • scissors
  • glue
  • newspaper to protect work surfaces

Steps:

  1. Cut globe of snow globe out of colored paper. Cut base of snow globe out of white construction paper.
  2. Cut tissue paper into small squares and rectangles.
  3. Using paint brush or craft sticks, drizzle white paint over globe.
  4. Glue tissue paper squares and rectangles on snow globe base.
  5. Glue painted and tissue papered snow globe pieces on contrasting construction paper.

 

Snow Globes for 2 and 3 year-old’s

Supplies:

  • white tagboard
  • black construction paper
  • dot marker
  • scissors
  • glue
  • glitter
  • newspaper to protect work surfaces

Steps:

  1. Cut snow globe shapes out of tagboard.
  2. First Day: Decorate snow globes with dot markers.
  3. Glue snow globes onto black construction paper.
  4. Second Day: Drizzle glue onto snow globes.
  5. Second Day: Sprinkle glitter onto wet glue. Shake off excess glitter.

Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

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. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

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

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•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

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement
DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

Flower Power

Middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson generously offered to share tips on visiting classrooms via Skype. Since we were talking about school, it wasn’t a stretch for me to Show and Tell. When I held up my latest creation, she invited me to post How-To instructions on her blog. Click here to check out my guest post on her blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, where you will find photos and instructions on how to create your own DIY silk flower arrangement.

Darlene is the author of Wheels of Change, a middle grade historical novel. Click here to learn more about her book.

Thanks Darlene, have fun crafting, and happy Mother’s Day!

Pretty peonies!
Pretty peonies.