Solve a classic picnic dilemma -- a
blowing tablecloth -- with our fanciful ant buddies. These clever
tablecloth clips will be your new picnic favorites. Make It:
Paint four clothespins black. Thread a 4-inch-long black chenille stems
through the two holes of a large black button. Twist and curl the ends
of chenille stems where they meet to form antennae. Glue googly eyes
just below the antennae. Next, cut three 3-inch pieces of black stems
for each ant. Have your child help you thread all three though the
spring hole in each clothespin and adjust to form the legs. Glue the
face and two more black buttons to the top of each clothespin. Then use
the clips to secure your tablecloth, and enjoy a carefree meal in the
Rachel Motta is an art teacher with the Metropolitan Nashville Public
School district in Tennessee. A firm believer in the idea that art is
for everyone, she loves planning lessons with projects that students can
interpret in their own way, with no wrong answers. Here, she shares an
example that was a hit with her students.
A trio of exhibitions of
Dale Chihuly's contemporary glass sculptures in Nashville inspired this
project. Chihuly created a series of colorful, organic, bowl-shaped
forms called Macchia (the word means spotted in Italian).
For our student version, we used coffee filters. The translucency of the paper mimics the look of glass.
Use scissors to trim the edge of a coffee filter to create an uneven, organic shape.
Make lines, spots, and blobs on the coffee filter with non-permanent markers.
Drape the coffee filter over an upside-down plastic cup or yogurt container.
Apply spray starch to the filter until the marker colors bleed together and the coffee filter is completely wet.
Provide your kids with interactive amusement by constructing this magnetic fishing game with a few simple materials. Make It:
Help your child paint a square wooden dowel and wooden spool his
favorite colors and allow to dry. Glue white string around the spool and
adhere it near the bottom of the dowel. Attach a long string to the far
end of the dowel and tie a magnet to the opposite end (magnetic barrels
from the jewelry section of the craft store work well). Make clothespin
"fish" by painting them fun colors with pink lips. Let paint dry and
help your child glue on sequin scales and googly eyes. Now he'll be
ready to go fishing!
craft sticks make a soft, pretty sound when the summer breezes blow --
and they look great while waving in the wind, too. Make It:
Have your child paint 10 craft sticks and allow them to dry. Put a line
of glue on the back of five sticks. Sandwich a piece of string between a
glued stick and an unglued stick; clip them with clothespins to hold
the glue securely. Let dry. Run glue along an unpainted craft stick, lay
it horizontally and stick on the five strings as shown (don't let the
sticks hang too low or they'll tangle in the wind). Top with another
unpainted stick and add clothespins to hold the glue securely. Once dry,
tie the strings together and cut off the excess. Hang outdoors and let
the wind do its work.
By Foodlets>> "I must have made chili 10 times, all different ways — chicken
chili, chili con carne, chili with corn, chili without corn — and the
kids wouldn’t go near it. Until I took a tip from “Fancy Nancy” and made
it, well, fancy (and until I also eased up on the cumin, which I
suspect was an element that led to previous failures).
It’s the presentation for knee-high critics that often counts the
most. You won’t ever find me sculpting scooters out of hot dogs or
sharks from watermelons. There are three kids under 5 at my house and
I’d need a lot more free time in my life to pull that off. But doing
this wasn’t difficult. To make your chili “fancy,” simply spoon and
layer it with cheddar cheese into small glasses. Repeat, serve and bask
in the success of the moment".
Search your backyard or a neighborhood park for smooth rocks, choosing
ones with flat surfaces so the mushrooms can stand upright. Have your
child paint some rocks red (for the tops) and some white (for the
stems). Add white dots to the red tops using paint or stickers. Glue the
pieces together with liquid glue.
Glue google eyes onto small pom-poms and let them dry. Help your kids
fold chenille stems into legs and feet and glue them onto the pinecone.
Cut out a triangular beak from orange or yellow foam. Glue on the eyes
and the beak; let the creature dry completely before beginning a fun
game of make-believe with your kids.
Roll textured brown cardstock into a cone shape and secure with a brown
brad. Crumble a piece of tissue paper into a ball, and help your child
tape strips of colorful patterned paper around it. Attach to the cone.
Use red buttons and a little hemp string for a perfect cherry topper.
No matter if it’s still frigid in your neck of the woods — Ree
Drummond’s stripy pops come together with frozen berries, so you can
bypass the subpar fruit that’s likely still in your produce aisle right
Make these pretty paper ornaments out of flat paper circles cut and
folded in a simply ingenious way. With a pencil, lightly trace a
drinking glass, can, or jar that's about 21/2 inches across. Cut out
this base circle and set it aside. Cut eight more circles, four each in
two different sizes (ours are about 3 inches and 21/4 inches
across). Fold each of these circles in half. Make a cut across each
circle's center, perpendicular to the fold, almost all the way through,
leaving 1/2 to 1/4 inch uncut (A). Slide the four larger folded circles
onto the base (B). Then slide the smaller ones inside the larger. To
hang the sphere, use a pushpin to poke a hole through the edge of the
base, and tie on a string.
Feeling crabby? Perk up with a crab hat made from a paper bowl and clothespin claws! Make It:
Paint four clothespins and a paper bowl red; paint two large wooden
beads white. Glue eight thin 4-inch strips of red cardstock around the
edge of the bowl to make legs; when dry, fold them in the middle for
dimension. Glue the clothespins together as shown and adhere them to the
front of the crab. Glue on the eyes and draw or cut out a mouth from
black cardstock and attach. Complete the crab by punching a hole on each
side; attach elastic cords to fit your child's head.
This kid-friendly twist on panzanella offers a cooking job for
everyone: Big kids can measure and chop the ingredients, and little kids
can stir them and help fill the popovers when they’re done baking.
The propeller-shaped seeds from maple
trees form the wings of these delicate dragonflies. For each, place four
maple seeds on your work surface with their ends meeting as shown
above. Add a drop of tacky glue to each end, then rest a 4-inch twig on
top. Let the glue dry. (A hot glue gun can be used instead, if an adult
helps.) Turn over the dragonfly and add a line of glitter glue to the
edge of each wing. Attach two small glass bead eyes with glue.
Build an iconic Midwestern barn from painted craft sticks -- it will look wonderful hanging on the kitchen fridge. Make It:
Paint nine craft sticks red, six craft sticks white, and four mini
craft sticks white. Let them dry. On a rectangle piece of cardstock,
have your child create a blue sky and green grass with colored paper or
markers. Then help her create the bottom of the barn by gluing on a row
of 11 craft sticks vertically in the following pattern: two red, one
white, five red, one white, two red. Glue white sticks horizontally
along the top and bottom and cross two in the middle as shown. Glue the
mini craft sticks to red cardstock to form the barn roof. Adhere the
barn roof to the background above the barn. Cut out a rectangle from
black paper and adhere it to the barn. Cut strips from a paper bag and
crumple for the look of hay; adhere to black rectangle.
Create a little magic at the craft table with this mystical star wand. Make It:
Have your child paint a wooden dowel her favorite color with a foam
brush. Allow to fully dry. On a wooden craft star, draw lines in glue
from the center to each point. Line up sparkly beads in the glue or
sprinkle the star with glitter. Assemble the wand by gluing the dowel
and colorful ribbons to the back of the star.
Have your kids search your backyard for twigs. Use outdoor trimmers to
cut the twigs to the same size. Using jute or hemp cord, weave the ends
of the twigs on both sides to tie them together. Attach a twig in an
upright position for the mast. Cut a sail from colorful felt. Fold the
felt in half, punch a hole in the middle, and slide it over the mast.
Challenge your children to come up with
original games to play with these large, multicolor dice -- or simply
watch them have a ball using the dice for their favorite board games. Make It:
Have your children paint each side of two wooden blocks a different
color. Select a variety of paper colors and punch out circles as the
dice dots. Have your kids count out two sets of dots to glue on each of
The Setup: Iron a few
coffee filters to make them flat. (An adult’s job—iron up to four at a
time on the highest setting, no steam.) Set them out on a covered
surface with lots of paper towels and a few bowls of liquid watercolor
paint. (We used Sargent Art Watercolor Magic, $11; amazon.com.) You can
also make it from cake watercolors: Remove each one and place in a bowl,
then add a few drops of water at a time, mixing as you go, until the
paint becomes a thin liquid. Fold the Coffee Filters:
Show your child these techniques to start— then encourage her to
experiment on her own! FOR STRIPED DESIGNS Accordion-fold the coffee
filter in 1-inch segments to get one long rectangle. Then accordion-fold
the rectangle in ¾-inch segments to get a small rectangle. FOR CIRCULAR
DESIGNS Fold the coffee filter in half three times so you have a cone
shape. Unfold into a half-circle, then use the creases as a guide to
accordion-fold the filter along its radius, like a fan, until you get a
skinny triangle. Fold one corner of the rounded edge down to meet the
opposite long edge, forming a triangle. Then accordion-fold the paper
two more times, matching the corners to long edges, to get a small
trapezoid. Add Color: Dip a corner into the paint
very quickly. Repeat with other corners, using new colors. Press the
wet filter between two paper towels to squeeze off excess liquid, then
gently unfold it and set on a protected surface to dry. Bonus Fun: Play with other porous materials (such as tissue paper, newspaper, or fabric) to see how the paint absorbs with each.
Hang several of these lightweight containers in a geometric pattern for a
pretty way to display a child's collection or small desk supplies. To
make one, cut a 31/2- by 5-inch rectangle from double-sided scrapbook
paper. Find the midpoint of the bottom longer edge (21/2 inches from the
corner), and make a light pencil mark. Fold up the lower left corner
along the line created by the midpoint and the upper left corner, as
shown. Crease, then unfold. Make a matching fold with the lower right
corner, creasing then unfolding. Erase the pencil mark. Refold both;
abut the two short edges and seal them with patterned washi tape. Attach
the pocket to a wall with removable double-sided tape or removable
mounting squares placed at the upper corners of the pocket.
This simple nature project lets you give feathered friends a treat, even
during cold months. From corrugated cardboard, cut a large star with a
circle inside. Poke a hole and add a loop of twine for hanging. Spread
peanut butter on both sides of the star. Working over a rimmed baking
sheet, coat the star with birdseed.