Category Archives: Craft

Craft Time: The Thankful Tree

IMG_3361November! Leaves have changed into their brilliant colors and then made magnificent blankets underneath each naked tree. Temperatures are dropping, and many are donning their scarves, boots, or dare I say favorite spots teams colors. Fire places have began to crackle and ovens have started emitting the delightful fragrances of baked meals and desserts. Mugs are being held with both hands, and noses are breathing in steam.  Oh the loving traditions fall brings!

One tradition that seems to start in late October is hearing or seeing people talk or write about what they are thankful for. Now we all know that we should not just spout out our thanksgivings during one month a year and appreciate them through out instead, but lets face it… It’s hard! Especially when we get into the routine of waking, rushing kids out the door, do our duties throughout the day, come home, help with home work, make a meal, put a number of little ones to sleep, and then either crash on the couch or crawl into bed. While doing all these daily tasks it can be very difficult to shout out… “Thank you for the Sun! Thank you for the neighbor who picked up our trash can that fell over! Thank you that my child is learning in school! Thank you for freedom in this country! Thank you for health, love, hugs, music, rain, food, comfort, teachers, and so on.”

Part of why we have this month is to rejoice in our blessings. To share that we are thankful, and that luckily as humans we can have that in our nature. Children learn from those around them, and that is why teaching this particular trait is crucial. Pointing out the positive things on a daily basis helps children to learn to be optimistic and more positive.  When they say “I hate the rain!” A positive come back is, “But what does the rain help out with… Our planet, the plants, our food, and more!” Taking it further to point out a break in the rain. “Look at that, that cloud is letting us stay dry while we walk into school… Yay!”

Looking for the silver lining of any cloud is hard, but teaching our little ones will help them in the future with their feelings. It can help them get through tough situations and also help if they are experiencing depression.

So perhaps having a month to point out what good things are happening in your day can be a great way to start teaching your little one the lesson of being grateful.

IMG_3868There are many ways that people have done this.  We wanted to bring up just one this year and we’ll do more in the future to come! The Thankful Tree! This is a simple craft that requires some craft paper, scissors, and tape.

 

Gather your things:

  • This image above required the background to have (6) pieces of blue construction paper and (3) pieces of green.
  • The tree can be made up of one or two pieces of brown construction paper that were cut and taped together.
  • The leaves and sun were also made of construction paper, cut from a variety of colors.
  • You can also see that there are foam leaves on the example above. You can get them from a craft section this time of year, but make sure you get the kind you can write on, and it is also helpful if they have the sticky back.
  • You will also need tape and glue.
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down.  (6) blue and (3) green
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down. (6) blue and (3) green

Now get creative!

Let your kiddos help you to tape the background pieces together.  There will be three pieces taped together across and down, running lengthwise.  You will end up having a nine piece panel background that looks like a vertical rectangle.

DSC_5265Then start to make your tree.  I cut (1) piece of brown construction paper in half vertically.  then I placed the two short ends together and drew a tree trunk on it.  Afterwards, I let the kids cut out the trunk.  With the left over scraps, the girls cut thin strips for the branches.

DSC_5271Now you and the kids can glue down your tree trunk onto the background.  Remember to give some spacing between the branches for your leaves.

They can also cut out pieces to make a sun, clouds, flowers, grass at the bottom of the tree, or anything else their minds can come up with!

I cut out the leaves by layering four pieces of paper together, and then proceeded to make a simple leaf pattern.  I store them in a large ziplock bag, along with a pen and glue stick to we can add our leaves each day.  Sometimes there are days where we add a lot of leaves.

Now find a spot to hang up your tree and get ready to start posting your leaves each day!

Grateful Leaves

DSC_5279This part is where you start to see the craft come together, and many times you will be surprised what your kids might say.  Sometimes you may not like what they are, or wish that it was something bigger, but please don’t say anything discouraging.  You want them to willingly participate, and enjoy the process.  Also, it’s alright to be thankful for things you might not think are a big deal.  In his or her mind, small things can be BIG!  

You can leave up this tree until the end of the month or the end of the year. We left our tree up last year till the end of the year, and it was incredible how full it got, and really helped to make the holidays even more special.  IMG_3880

We hope that this craft is one that you will enjoy doing with your kids. We wish you the very happiest of November blessings Discover! Friends! Happy crafting!

For more Thankful Tree examples check out Discover! Children’s Museum Pinterest Thankful Tree board.

May Day Fun!

May-Day-Basket-TemplateRemember making a paper basket, adding a few flowers (real or paper creations), sneaking over to the neighbor’s porch, ringing the bell and running away?  Such exciting stuff and lots of fun!  We loved the creating, the anticipation, and the thrill of seeing happiness on another’s face.  What a tender memory for us to pass along to our children today.

In order to continue this tradition, Discover! has gathered a few resources and links.  Here you will find a short history of the day, simple crafts and other activities related to this spring celebration.  Our hope is that you will find time to involve your little one(s) in creating a May Day that will be remembered long into their adult years.

History of May Day

Many years ago, May 1st or May Day was a magical time to welcome spring.  On the night before May Day, children danced in the moonlit woods. They gathered spring flowers and  made crowns of daisies.

Some countries still celebrate May Day.  In France, May Day is a flower festival.  Delicate white flowers called lilies of the valley are believed to bring good luck.  In Denmark, sweethearts give each other bouquets of lilies of the valley.  Holland celebrates May 1 with a tulip festival.  On May 1 in Greece, the schools are closed.  The students trek into the woods to gather flowers.  In some other countries, May is a day of parades.

 

Make a Simple Basket – like the one pictured above

A May Day basket is a fun activity, because when you are done making it, you can go look for flowers to pick and put in your basket.  Kids love to display their handy work for decorations!

Supplies:
  • Construction paper
  • Tape, Glue or stapler
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or foam pieces (if you would like to decorate the outside of the basket)

Steps:

  1. Cut one of the pieces of construction paper into a square.
  2. Cut a one inch thick piece of paper from another color for the handle.
  3. If you want to decorate your basket, color or glue on your items on the square paper
  4. Loop square piece of paper around to make a cone
  5. Staple or tape together to keep it a cone
  6. Staple one inch piece of paper to top of cone to form handle
  7. Pick or make flowers to place in your basket.

Make a Spring Flowers Mobile

Contributed by Leanne Guenther

This is a simple mobile made up of single and double spring flowers.  We usually create our mobiles by using one paper towel or gift wrap roll with all the pieces tied to it. You can also criss-cross straws, or use a large plastic lid.

spring mobile
Instead of fish, you can use flowers instead.
Supplies:
  • some crayons, paint, markers or pencil crayons,
  • scissors, glue, string or yarn
  • paper towel roll
  • printer and paper
  • link to flower pattern template:

http://www.dltk-holidays.com/t_template.asp?t=http://www.dltk-holidays.com/spring/images/bdoubledaisy.gif

 Steps for Paper Towel Roll Mobile:

  • Print out the template.  You can print out as many as you want to fill up your mobile.   You can mix and match the double and single flowers.
  • Color (where appropriate) and cut out the template pieces along the dotted lines.
  • You can color the decorations with sparkle glue or sparkles if desired or use paint, crayons markers or pastels.
  • Fold the flowers in half and glue the back and front together.  Let dry.
  • Poke a small hole in the top of each piece and tie with yarn or string to the mobile you’ve chosen.
  • Decorate your paper towel roll as desired:  You can use paint, paper, stickers, etc to match your theme.
  • string each mobile piece from the paper towel roll
  • Put a piece of string or wool right through the paper towel roll  to use to hang from the wall or ceiling

 

Links to More May Day Ideas

http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/may/index.htm

http://www.toddlercraft.net/preschool-crafts/day-basket

http://www.pinterest.com/wonton37/may-day-ideas/

 

Always keep in mind that the most important goal is to have fun spending time with your child. So relax, and enjoy being together Discover! crafters!