5 Classroom Crafts for Multicultural Holiday Celebrations

Guest Blog by Chelsey | Instagram @hipsterartteacher | Photography by Photo By Bokey

I was super-excited when Lakeshore reached out to me to share some DIY holiday craft ideas for the classroom. As a longtime K–12 art teacher, I wanted to come up with projects that are unique, colorful and fun, so I enlisted the help of my Instagram following to find out what types of projects teachers are interested in—and home decor was the winner! Here are five multicultural holiday projects that you can easily make in your classroom using Lakeshore materials.

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1. Elf Emotions Garland

The emoji trend is big right now. This DIY garland is perfect for displaying in the hallway at school or for hanging above the fireplace at home.

You’ll need: Yarn Laces with Tips, Make-A-Face Sheets, glitter, green and red construction paper, Felt, Glitter Pom-Poms-Class Pack, cotton balls, Tacky Glue®, hot glue, scissors, markers, pencils, Project Templates

Directions: Using the Project Templates, trace and cut three elf hats per student out of red or green construction paper. Use Tacky Glue to draw patterns on the hats, sprinkle with glitter and set aside to dry. Give each student three Make-A-Face Sheets. They come in a variety of People Colors®—perfect for every student in your class! With a pencil, students should draw a silly emoji expression on each face and then use markers over their pencil markings.

Tip: Print a sheet with emoji faces to help guide students as they draw. Remind students that the face should fill and be centered on the face sheet.

Glue a construction-paper hat to the top of each face shape. Hot-glue a glitter pom-pom to the top of the hat. Using Tacky Glue, attach cotton balls along the bottom edge of the hat where it meets the face.

Using the Project Templates, cut three elf hats out of felt in the same colors as the construction-paper hats. Cut two small holes near the top of each hat for stringing, being careful not to cut too close to the edge. Lay a length of yarn on a table or the floor and string all three felt hats onto the yarn so that they are evenly spaced and centered. Hot-glue an elf face (with its decorated hat) to each felt hat. Your elf garland is ready to display!

2. Stacked Present Boxes Ornament

These mini presents make a festive ornament, magnet or picture holder!

You’ll need: Wooden Craft Cubes – Class Pack, ribbon in various sizes and colors, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, Tacky Glue, hot glue, scissors

Directions: Use only the largest craft cubes for this project—you can use the remaining cubes as math manipulatives! Paint five faces of the cubes with acrylic paints. (The bottom won’t show, so you don’t need to paint it.) Encourage students to use the colors that represent the holidays they celebrate.

Have students paint the cubes with two coats to really make the color pop. Once the cubes are dry, students will wrap a thin piece of ribbon around four sides and glue it in place. Hot-glue the ribbon to the cubes. For the cube that will be on top of the stack, leave a gap between the ribbon and the top of the cube so you can thread another ribbon later. Then hot-glue the “boxes” together. (I like to have the presents off-center so each one stands out.) Lastly, cut a piece of ribbon, wrap it through the gap on the top present and tie a knot at the end.

3. Santa’s Beard Wall Hanging

I was inspired by the macramé wall hangings I’ve seen on Pinterest—and parents will love displaying this one each year!

You’ll need: White and pink Pom-Poms, Wooden Craft Dowels, white yarn, paper plates, tan acrylic paint, green and red construction paper, cotton balls, black marker, hot glue, Tacky Glue, scissors, Yarn Laces with Tips, Project Templates

Directions: Creating the Beard: Holding the end of the white yarn in your hand, wind the yarn around your elbow and back up to your hand five times. Cut the ends you have in your hands and keep the yarn folded. Follow the images below to attach the yarn loops to a wooden dowel. Repeat this process until there are seven tied loops on the dowel. Then give Santa’s “beard” a trim! Cut the yarn at an angle on each side to form a point in the center. Center the beard on the dowel.

Creating Santa’s Face: Using tan acrylic paint, have students paint the back side of a small paper plate. This will be Santa’s face. Line up the dowel so that the beard is slightly below the halfway point on the plate. Hot-glue the dowel to the plate.

Using the Project Templates, cut a Santa hat out of red or green construction paper. Glue the hat on top of the paper plate with Tacky Glue. Also using Tacky Glue, attach cotton balls along the bottom edge of the hat where it meets the face. Hot-glue a white pom-pom to the top of the hat and a pink pom-pom (Santa’s nose) above the beard. Have students draw two “U” shapes for Santa’s closed eyes. To hang, cut a long piece of yarn and tie it to each end of the dowel.

Tip: Hot-glue the ends of the yarn so they don’t slide off the dowel.

4. Hanukkah Felt Garland

This festive garland holds “gelt” (chocolate coins) for each of the eight days and nights of Hanukkah!

You’ll need: Felt; yellow, blue and white construction paper; Yarn Laces with Tips; Peel & Stick Jewels; scissors; hot glue; hole punch; Dreidel Template

Directions: Using the Dreidel Template, trace and cut three yellow, two blue and three white dreidels out of both construction paper and felt. Punch a hole in the top center of each construction-paper dreidel. Evenly string each paper dreidel onto a length of yarn, alternating the colors to create a pattern. Hot-glue each felt dreidel on top of a matching construction-paper dreidel so that they are lined up. Cut three yellow, two blue and three white rectangles (for the gelt pockets) out of felt using the template. Hot-glue three edges of each rectangle to a matching dreidel, keeping the top of the rectangle open to create the pocket. To capture the light, attach Peel & Stick Jewels along the edges of each pocket. Your garland is ready to hang!

5. Kwanzaa Ear of Corn

During the celebration of Kwanzaa, an ear of corn (Muhindi) is placed on the table for each child in the family. You can also make this fun, easy craft to celebrate Thanksgiving!

You’ll need: brown and green construction paper, yellow tempera paint, Magic Craft Noodles, green tissue paper, scissors, paper plates, cotton balls, hot glue, Corn Templates, hole punch (optional), ribbon (optional)

Directions: Trace and cut two “cobs” out of brown construction paper. Pour a small amount of yellow tempera paint onto a paper plate. Have students dip a craft noodle in the paint and stamp it onto each cob. The noodle will disintegrate as students stamp, which will give the corn texture. (Students may need two noodles to complete this.) Allow the corn to dry for 24 hours. Students will then trace and cut a “stalk” out of green construction paper. Prompt students to fold green tissue paper in half, bunch it up and hot-glue it onto the construction paper to give the stalk some dimension.

Once dry, hot-glue one side of the two cobs together to create a pocket. Students will “stuff” the pocket with cotton balls to make the corn three-dimensional. Once the pocket is full, hot-glue the other side to close it up.

Hot-glue the green stalk to the front of the corn. To make the corn into a wall hanging, punch a hole near the top, string a piece of ribbon through the hole and create a loop.

I can’t wait to see your creations! Happy holidays!

 

Learn, Create and Explore—7 Easy Springtime Activities

Guest Blog by Lindsay | Blogger from My Creative Days

Hello, Lakeshore readers! It’s Lindsay from mycreativedays.com. I’m here to share seven spring activities I use to get my kids learning, creating and exploring. Try these activities outside to soak up the spring sun, or save them for indoor play on a rainy day.

Activity 1: Make and share mini treat baskets.

My kids love making these baskets and sharing them with friends, family and neighbors. Lakeshore’s All-In-One Craft Tub, Collage Pots, Collage Flowers and Brush-On Washable Painters are perfect for this activity. Since the Collage Pots are not too big or too small, they’re easy to decorate, and they hold just the right amount of goodies.

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The kids painted the pots with Brush-On Washable Painters. These painters were a huge hit with the kids. They loved how the paint came right out of the brushes, and I loved how we weren’t wasting paint since the kids could squeeze it out as needed. (My kids usually pour way too much paint when preparing for a project, and most of it gets wasted.)

Then the kids added Collage Flowers, Wooden Collage Letters and other embellishments from the All-In-One Craft Tub. We glued chenille stems to the inside of each pot to make handles.

These baskets are going to make our friends and neighbors very happy this spring! We plan to hang them on doorknobs and put them on teachers’ desks.

Activity 2: Craft a carrot garland.

My kids swell with pride when they see their handiwork displayed in the house. When I told the kids I needed a spring garland to hang on the wall above our entry table, my daughter thought a carrot garland would be perfect because we already have a bunny “wreath” hanging on the wall.

To make the garland, I folded a piece of orange construction paper into eight rectangles.

Then my daughter drew a carrot on one of the rectangles.

She then refolded the paper so she could cut out a bunch of carrots at once. Next, we punched a hole in the top of each and made carrot tops using green chenille stems from the All-In-One Craft Tub.

Finally, we strung up the carrots to make the perfect garland to complete our spring entry table!

Activity 3: Use STEAM skills to design floating boats.

This Design & Play STEAM Boats Kit is perfect for hosting an all-day playdate, which we did at my house. The kids colored and designed for hours.

The Design & Play STEAM Boats Kit comes with everything kids need to put a boat together. Some of the kids looked at the pictures on the box to get ideas, while others decided to wing it.

After the boats are completed, kids can take them to a sink or tub to see if they float. But since we have a creek at the end of our street, we were able to turn the activity into an outing. I packed a snack while the kids designed and decorated. When they were done, we grabbed our picnic blankets and went down to the creek. I set up the blankets and the snacks while the kids tried to float their boats. They had a blast watching their boats sail down the creek. They also got to see fish and frogs, skip rocks and climb around until they were tired. Talk about the perfect day!

Any activity that lasts more than a few minutes is a favorite in my book! I’m dreaming about using the Design & Play STEAM Boats Kit at our next birthday party. We could all design our own boats and eat cupcakes as we watch them float.

Activity 4: Explore textures on paper eggs.

Exploring and playing with textures is fun at any age! We cut out big eggs using construction paper from the All-In-One Craft Tub. Then we created cool designs on each egg using washable paint and sponges in different shapes and textures from the Big Barrel of Art Sponges.

My daughter loved testing out the different sponges. She manipulated them to produce cool effects. I think she ended up decorating at least six eggs. They make our refrigerator bright and happy for spring!

Activity 5: Plant seeds and watch them grow.

Planting is one of our favorite things to do in spring and summer. Not only is it fun, but it also teaches kids patience as they learn that seeds need time and care to grow. Planting is a full-circle activity that truly produces something in the end—in the ground and in kids’ minds.

Ever since we added an outdoor kitchen to our backyard, our daughter has been all about dirt. When she saw Lakeshore’s Watch & Record Plant Lab, she was excited to plant some seeds. The Watch & Record Plant Lab is amazing, because it shows kids how the growing process works as it happens. It includes heavy-duty bags that don’t rip as kids handle them. This is a major plus when kids are working with dirt!

Activity 6: Create chicks in nests.

A list of seven spring activities would not be complete without a chick craft! This craft can be customized to any learning level. If you have young children, help them out by preparing all the pieces. If you have older children, they can work independently.

The All-In-One Craft Tub had everything we needed for this craft. We used construction paper, feathers, glue, markers and wiggly eyes. We cut out circles to make the chicks. Then we cut out orange triangles for the beaks. We glued colorful feathers on each chick and added wiggly eyes. The older kids added “twigs” to the nest with the brown marker.

Simple crafts like these are easy to pull together to keep kids busy while you do other things. I always have ideas and materials stashed away so I can grab them in a pinch.

Activity 7: Color a rainbow!

The All-In-One Craft Tub has a lot of pieces that are perfect for crafting and learning. When I was thinking about a spring activity that would incorporate learning, I thought a rainbow would do the trick. For this activity, we cut a cloud from white paper and glued cotton balls all over it. Then we counted and sorted craft sticks to make the rainbow.

I wrote numbers on the bottom of each wooden stick, and the kids counted and glued foam squares from the All-In-One Craft Tub on the rays. This got them categorizing colors and counting.

The rainbow is so pretty and colorful! Keep this craft in mind when you want kids to create and learn during the same activity.

I hope these activities help you integrate lots of creative fun into your spring!

If you liked this post, come over to My Creative Days and say hello! I am always creating something, and I would love to have you visit my project today.

Creative Days Blogg

Valentine Tic-Tac-Toe

by Chelsea Guerrero | Lakeshore Marketing

This Valentine’s Day, I’m helping kids to give tic-tac-toe a makeover! I know they’ll love decorating these reusable boards and thinking up kind phrases to write on the heart-shaped game pieces.

Note: This craft can also be adapted for use in the classroom—just print out multiple templates and add more supplies!

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You will need:

Preparation:

  1. Cut the foam sheets into six-inch squares. You’ll need one for each crafter.
  2. Photocopy the Heart Shapes template onto white construction paper. Or you can provide foam sheets for kids to trace the shapes onto. (Each game board requires two sets of five hearts.)

Directions:

  1. Provide each kid with a foam square.
  2. Have kids share Glitter Glue Painters to make wavy lines on the foam to create their tic-tac-toe boards. Tell them each space on the game board should be about the same size.
  3. Give each kid a copy of the Heart Shapes template. Have them color in five of the hearts so they can easily see the difference between Player 1 and Player 2.
  4. Ask kids to cut out all 10 hearts to use as game pieces. Or instruct them to trace the hearts onto foam sheets and cut them out.
  5. Now have kids write kind words or phrases such as “Love,” “Be thankful” and “Make friends” on each game piece.
  6. After the game boards have dried, invite kids to play Valentine Tic–Tac–Toe with a partner!

Extension:
Remind kids that tic-tac-toe is more than just a game of chance. Invite them to share their strategies for thinking ahead and winning the game! Will any moves ensure a win? Are there ways to predict what their opponent will do? What moves might block their opponent from winning?

Make Your Own Gift Wrap & Tags for the Holidays

by Marni Hughes | Lakeshore Marketing Operations Manager

Nothing warms my heart like having my kids help me prepare for the holidays! This year, we’re celebrating the spirit of giving by making our own colorful wrapping paper and holiday gift tags. My kids certainly can’t wait to get creative and add their own special touches to gifts for family and friends. Just follow these simple instructions to see what your little helpers come up with!

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Handmade Gift Wrap

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Cut a large sheet of butcher paper.
  2. Invite your kids to create handprints all over the paper using the ink pads.
  3. Decorate with collage materials.
  4. Wrap gifts any time of the year with one-of-a-kind wrapping paper!

Decorative Gift Tags

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Provide your kids with plenty of construction paper in a variety of colors. Either set out some paper that is precut into various shapes (e.g., ovals, squares, rectangles, trees, bells, candles) or encourage your kids to use the Crinkle-Cut Craft Scissors to cut their own gift tag shapes.
  2. Next, have your kids decorate the tags with a variety of collage materials and use the markers to write holiday messages, such as “Happy Hanukkah,” “Season’s Greetings” or “Celebrate Kwanzaa!”
  3. If desired, punch a hole near the edge of the tag and thread a length of ribbon or string through the tag, or use tape to attach the tag to a holiday gift.

Want more holiday craft ideas? Visit www.lakeshorelearning.com and click on “craft ideas & activities” under resources. Or drop by any Lakeshore Learning Store for Free Crafts for Kids every Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

5 Fall Crafts for Kids

Guest Blog by Lindsay | Lakeshore Blog Ambassador from My Creative Days

Hello, Lakeshore Learning readers! My name is Lindsay and I blog at mycreativedays.com. I am super-excited to be here today sharing five fall crafts for kids.

Fall is our family’s favorite time of year! We are all about crafting and creating pieces we can use throughout the season—especially now that the kids are old enough to really get involved. The five crafts I am sharing with you today are all great ways to get your kids involved with fall decorating, gift giving, and even setting the perfect Thanksgiving table!

1. Wood-Block Pumpkins

Wood-Block-Pumpkins

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These Wood-Block Pumpkins are so fun! We used Lakeshore’s Wooden Craft Cubes and our favorite craft adhesive, Tacky Glue. We played around with different pumpkin builds and came up with a tall pumpkin that we really liked.

We glued the blocks together and then painted them orange.

We used tiny blocks for the stem of the pumpkin. We painted the blocks green, then added a green paper leaf and wrapped some floral wire around the stem. These would be great for a teacher’s desk, or you could write names on the leaves and use them as place cards for your Thanksgiving table.

2. Thankful Journals

people-shapes

These journals are fun to make—and they’re perfect for the season of thanks! We used Lakeshore’s People Shapes™ Project Kit and Blank Softcover Books to make our Thankful Journals. This year, my kids wanted to make them for all our Thanksgiving guests. They designed a journal for each adult guest, and we decided to set out a basket of supplies on Thanksgiving…so our youngest guests can make their own!

3. Turkey Napkin Rings

Turkey-Napkin-Rings

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we could not resist making some Turkey Napkin Rings for our table this year. We used Natural Tree Rings, some goodies from our Arts & Crafts Supply Center, and Tacky Glue.

My daughter loves the Arts & Crafts Supply Center. She uses it for all her creations. For our Turkey Napkin Rings, we used foam pieces, googly eyes, and ribbon—all from our supply center.

To make each turkey’s feathers, we folded a few pieces of ribbon in half and glued the ends together. Then we glued each loop to the back of a Natural Tree Ring.

After that, we added googly eyes and foam pieces to make each turkey’s face.

We cut more ribbon and glued it to the bottom of the tree ring to make feet. To turn the turkeys into napkin rings, I hot-glued rubber bands to the backs. They are so cute—the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table!

4. Dipped Acorns

dipped-accorns

We have been doing this fall craft for years. The kids always have a blast, and I love using the colorful acorns in my autumn decorations. Just grab some acorns and paint to get started!

I put the paint in small cups, and the kids used tweezers to dunk the acorns in the paint. We laid them on wax paper to dry.

The acorns make beautiful additions to vases, bowls, and more.

5. Gift Tags

Gift-Tags
We do a lot of baking in the fall. Homemade gift tags are the perfect touch to our homemade goodies!

‘Tis the season for gift tags! I love to use homemade tags to add a special touch to gifts and favors. We have made many gift tags over the years. This year, we designed some with Lakeshore’s Draw & Shrink Craft Kit. The kit lets you turn any drawing into a plastic charm. (We made pumpkins and acorns!)

I hope you have been inspired to make some of these fall crafts with your kids.

Happy crafting!

Make sure to stop by My Creative Days or say hello on my Facebook page to see what else I am creating for my favorite season!

Creative Days Blogg

Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

by Chelsea Guerrero | Lakeshore Marketing

Teachers never cease to amaze me. I mean, how can one person be an absolute math whiz at one moment…and then nail that perfect character voice during a read-along? I love Teacher Appreciation Week because it’s my chance to shower the teachers in my life with some much-deserved admiration and gratitude. Here are some of my favorite Teacher Appreciation gift ideas—I hope you’ll make them your own!

Teacher Appreciation
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1. Crayon Wreath

Easy to make and fun to give, this everlasting wreath makes the perfect addition to any classroom. To make it, just grab crayons, hot glue, ribbon…and something to use as your wreath form. We cut a ring out of recycled cardboard and it looked great! Just hot-glue the crayons around your wreath form and tie a neat bow around the top so it’s ready to hang!

2. Flower Bouquet with Magnetic Letters

Classic flowers get a practical twist when you add Magnetic Letters to a simple jar vase. Just fill a vase with letters and your favorite flowers, add a bright ribbon…and voila—your Teacher Appreciation gift is ready to go!

3. Teacher Appreciation Supplies

By the time Teacher Appreciation Week rolls around in May, many teachers may be short on basic supplies…or already stocking up for next year! This gift takes the idea of the beloved gift basket to the next level. Just put a teacher’s plan book, apron, stickers, crayons, write & wipe markers, a Lakeshore gift card and other school supplies into one of these colorful classroom supply caddies to make a super-creative gift basket.

4. Flower Pens

Every teacher needs a signature pen! Our homemade version makes one thoughtful Teacher Appreciation gift…plus, you can present it in a decorated pot teachers can use again. Just decorate a small collage pot any way you like, create a flower pen using tissue paper and craft tape…then “plant” it by adding sand to your pot so the flower stays upright.

5. Original Artwork

Conspire with other parents to make one-of-a-kind artwork using students’ fingerprints! This adorable tree is super-easy to make; just download a tree template online, print it on some quality card stock and let the fingerprints do the rest! A handwritten message puts the icing on the cake. We used our Fingerprint Artist’s Stamp Pad.

6. Teacher Survival Kit

Dazzle the teacher in your life with all the things they just can’t get enough of—including a lidded coffee cup, antibacterial gel, tissues, immune building supplements, disinfecting wipes and anything else that strikes your fancy. Put these goodies into our adorable teacher’s tote to create one cute—and totally practical—Teacher Appreciation gift.

Need a Teacher Appreciation gift fast? No worries! Here’s a bonus gift idea that requires zero assembly: a gift card. When paired with a heartfelt note that expresses your deepest appreciation, a gift card from Lakeshore, or your teacher’s favorite store, can evoke just as many warm fuzzies as a homemade gift. You can even add a gift card to any of our other ideas for the perfect finishing touch.

Recycled Robots for Earth Day

by Marni Hughes | Lakeshore Marketing Operations Manager

Recycled Robots

If your kids are anything like mine, you’ve probably witnessed what I call the “cardboard box phenomenon” firsthand. A long-awaited (and very expensive) toy finally arrives and within a few hours, your kids start playing with the box it came in. Don’t fight it—embrace it! That kind of creative recycling is just what our planet needs, after all. Encourage your little cardboard creator to explore all the ways they can make something old new again with our Recycled Robots craft—the perfect Earth Day activity for the whole family!

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Note: This craft can also be adapted for use in the classroom—just add more supplies!

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Ask your kids to select a recycled box. This will be the body of their robot.
  2. Glue colored foil sheets onto the front, back, top and sides of the box.
  3. Now have kids make their robot totally unique. They can decorate their bots with glitter painters, construction paper, wiggly eyes and a variety of collage materials—like buttons, beads, bolts, gems and anything else they like!
  4. Next, add pipe stem antennae and legs to really bring the robot to life.

Recycling

Extend the learning:

Ask your kids if they had fun making Recycled Robots. Tell them there’s even more they can do to help keep the planet healthy—every single day. Ask them if they have any of their own planet-friendly ideas…and check out the list below for inspiration!

Create more recycled creatures:
Gather recycled materials kids can work with safely—like milk cartons, newspapers, cereal boxes and plastic bottles. Lay all the materials out with glue, scissors and craft materials and ask your kids to create anything they can dream up!

Rally for recycling:
Hold a recycling contest in your house…or your neighborhood. The person who collects the most cans, bottles or newspapers gets a prize. If your kids are old enough, ask them to head online to find out where they can take recycled items—or even investigate what happens at a recycling center.

Plant a plant:
Teach your kids how to plant seeds so they can grow their own plants. Make sure they know trees and plants help preserve our planet.

Read all about it:
Set up a reading corner and stock it with interesting and age-appropriate books with strong environmental messages. Here are just a few we love: Earth Book for Kids: Activities to Help Heal the Environment by Linda Schwartz, The Lorax by Doctor Seuss, The Great Kapok Tree Big Book by Lynne Cherry, and Planting a Rainbow Big Book by Lois Ehlert.

7 Spring Break Activities | Turn free time into creative fun!

Guest Blog by Lindsay | Blogger from My Creative Days

Hello, Lakeshore Learning readers! My name is Lindsay and I am very excited to be guest posting today. Since this is my first time here, I thought I would share a little about myself. I am a wife and mom of two great kids who are growing up way too fast. I started my blog, My Creative Days, a few years ago to share how we live creatively on a small budget. Today, I am here to share 7 activities that will inspire your kids to get creative this spring break. We always look forward to these days when the schedule isn’t jam-packed and we can relax and do some fun activities with the kids. If you are a planner like me, these activities are great to have on hand before the break starts, so you aren’t struggling to find things to do when the “Mom, I’m bored” antics start. 🙂

Make Your Own Games

Make-Your-Own-Game Activities
Kids love to play games, and my kids love to create their own games. It was easy for them to design their own memory game using simple paper squares with different patterns. Use glue dabbers to adhere the squares onto a sheet of construction paper. Then, simply laminate and cut them out. These squares could be used for so many activities for kids, from sorting and patterning to counting games!

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Build

Build Activities
Both of my kids have watched my husband and me DIY our way through so many projects. They have seen it so much that my daughter has come to us asking for projects she can try. There are some fantastic woodworking kits out there that provide kids with instructions and supplies to build numerous projects―or even to create one of their own. This one was perfect for my daughter. She DIYed her way through a pencil holder and then decorated it with glitter tape. I think that building activities for girls are great for building confidence and creativity. It’s also a fun activity to do outdoors.

Magna-Tiles®

Magna Tile Activities
My kids have the most fun with Magna-Tiles! They have created everything from small villages to skyscrapers with these tiles. As a parent, I love them because they encourage creativity and imagination. Plus, they are exploring early geometry concepts like angles and symmetry while they’re playing. Whenever a toy can do all this and keep my kids engaged without the television involved, I am a happy mom.

Tissue Paper Art

Tissue Paper Art Activities
I remember doing this craft when I was a kid, and my daughter loves to do it now. There are so many different masterpieces to be made with tissue paper squares. When my daughter was younger, I would draw a picture with different colors for her to fill in with the tissue paper. Now that she is older and loves to create on her own, she comes up with her own creations. All you need to do this is a pencil, white glue and tissue paper squares. Wrap the tissue paper around the eraser of the pencil and dip it in some white glue. Then press the tissue paper onto the paper.

Make Your Own Selfie Props

Make Your Own Selfie Prop Activities
My daughter received a new camera for Christmas, so she has been all about photography and taking pictures. She used wooden craft dowels to make her own props for a selfie station. She colored some funny props on white drawing paper, and then we laminated them and cut them out. We used Velcro to attach the props to the dowels so she could easily change them up when she wanted to.

Plan for Your Summer Garden

Plan for Your Summer Garden Activities
With spring and summer right around the corner, we have already started talking about all the things we want to grow in our garden this year. The Watch-It-Grow Window Greenhouse is a great activity to have on hand during spring break. It gives the kids the chance to work on their “green thumb” before the real thing happens in the summer. Science-related activities like this are always popular with our kids. They love learning about different processes, and when it is fun, they retain a lot of what they are learning.

Free Creative Play

Free Creative Play Activities
I think that free creative play is so important for every child at every age. Ever since our kids were little, we have had a “creation station” set up in our home. It is full of paper, crayons, markers, paint, scissors, tape, glue, recyclables, glitter, etc.,  for the kids to create with whenever they want. Sometimes, I will add something new to the station. Rainbow Scratch Paper is a great product for change up your “creation station.” When I add new paper, my kids soak it up like sponges. They create in a new way and experiment with it for hours. I even like creating on this paper. 🙂

I hope these activities have given you some ideas for your kids during their break. Please stop by my blog, My Creative Days, to say hello and see what other creative projects I am sharing.

Creative Days Blogg

Valentine's Day Card

by Michelle Mahony | Lakeshore Editorial Director 

Valentine's Day CardHaving moved to California from “across the pond,” my family doesn’t get to visit with relatives nearly half as often as we’d like. To help my children stay connected with faraway loved ones, we communicate often via phone and computer—but sometimes it’s nice to send more tangible greetings to stay in closer touch. This craft provides a terrific way to send a warm hug to distant relatives—while also helping young children practice their printing skills!

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Note: This craft can also be adapted for use in the classroom—just print out multiple templates and add more supplies!

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Print out the handprint template and cut out the hands.
  2. Glue one hand to each end of a sentence strip.
  3. Cut hearts out of construction paper in various colors. You’ll need one large heart and several small ones for decorations.
  4. Glue the large heart onto the middle of the sentence strip.
  5. Inside the heart, write the verse below. (Or have your child create an original rhyme.)
    I know you miss me when I’m away,
    So I made this hug for you today!
    This special hug, from me to you,
    Will give you hugs all day through!
  6. Have your child write “From” or “Love,” on the left side of the sentence strip and print his or her name on the right side. Remind your child to use the ruled lines on the sentence strip to form the letters correctly. If your child needs a printed reference for forming each letter, you can create your own custom template here.
  7. Decorate the card using the small cutout hearts and the other craft materials.
  8. Fold the sides of the sentence strip into the middle so that the hands appear to be holding the heart.
  9. Your Valentine’s Day Card is now ready for delivery!

Valentine's Day Card

Happy New Year Glasses Craft

by Christine MacGregor | Lakeshore VP of Marketing

My kids rarely stay awake until midnight—even on New Year’s Eve—but celebrating the New Year is still a big deal in our house. It’s a great time for us to look back at all of our accomplishments—in school, at work and as a family—and make resolutions for the year ahead. This year, my kids will be getting into the spirit by making these outlandish glasses to ring in the New Year—as we share our hopes, plans and goals for 2016.
Note: This craft can easily be adapted for the classroom by setting out the supplies at multiple crafting stations. You can also discuss the concept of New Year’s resolutions as a group, and then invite students to write or illustrate their own resolutions.

New Year Glasses

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You will need:

Directions:

  1. Trace the template onto tagboard and cut out an eyeglass frame for each child.
  2. Invite children to attach a wooden dowel along one side of the eyeglass frame with glue or craft tape.
  3. Let each child use the craft materials to decorate their glasses however they like.
  4. While kids are decorating, talk about the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Help younger children understand the word resolution by defining it for them (something a person decides to do; a goal someone makes). Explain that resolutions can be very specific (I’m taking a vacation to the beach!) or more general (I will be more kind to others). Discuss why people might make resolutions at the beginning of the year.

When kids are done crafting and are waiting for the glue to dry, help them write a list of personal resolutions for the year ahead—and write one for yourself! Post your lists on the refrigerator as a reminder throughout the coming year.New Year Glasses