School Projects

Fun Projects

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Print Making

This past Project Day was a little unusual.  For the past two weeks, "THE COLD" has been passing through our extended family.  It is a long lasting and very unpleasant bug, and seems to strike the smallest members especially hard, so nobody will be sad to see the last of it.  Since several of the smallest kids were still sick this week we discussing cancelling Project Day, but instead Grammie packed two of the biggest not sick kids into her jeep and sallied forth to our house, where the germ had not exerted it's full power.
She brought with her a brand new project to try: Print Making
Step 1: On the flat bottom of a styrofoam plate, "draw" a picture or make a pattern (If you write words make sure to write the letters backwards and in reverse order).
Step 2: Apply ink to the picture (Grammie brought water-based ink and a brayer - proper print-making tools, but I think paint and a foam brush would probably work fine for kids).
Step 3: Turn the plate over and press on to the paper.  Be sure to use LOTS of pressure, and don't slide the plate.
Step 4: Carefully lift up the plate.  
Ta-da, a print.
It was a definite hit with the kids, and I have a few ideas of my own for ways to use this technique.

Happy Project Day, everyone!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Lost Project

I have a confession to make.  
I lost a project.
It is inexcusable and I am burying my head in shame right now.  Please try to understand - I didn't do it on purpose.  Here is how it happened.  Way back in December I bought that green and red fabric to recover that strangely shaped pillow.  I added it to my pile of projects, confident that before Christmas arrived I would complete this fairly simple task.  It wasn't a high priority, however, so after moving it from place to place for a few days, I decided to "put it away" until I had time to deal with it.  Oops.  I put it away so well that I forgot about it.
Last week I was looking for something else that I had put away, and I discovered this unfinished project.  It had waited for me all these weeks, and now it demanded to be finished.  I just couldn't let it down.
I solemnly promise that I will never lose another project again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ian's Project

I guess it is pretty obvious that I like to make things and do "artsy-crafty" creative stuff.  My kids usually join in the fun too.  This week though, instead of coloring and painting and writing stories just for fun, Ian had to prepare some submissions for a county-wide 4-H Communication Arts Festival.  He decided (under maternal pressure and direction) to do one art project and one story.  

During the early stages he had a lot of fun.  Coming up with drawing and painting ideas comes pretty naturally to six-year-olds.  
He had NO trouble concentrating.
He came up with several possible entries for the art project, but finally decided on the self-portrait
(which is, of course, the one I didn't get a picture of).
Then, in the writing assignment, he had to make revisions.  The fun and excitement began to wear off.  It started to seem like "work."  During the final, neat copy step, the once fun project became pure drudgery.  He stuck with it though, and produced a legible 167-word story to turn in to the judges.  It became a lesson in determination and hard work, but when he turned his entry in at the 4-H office yesterday he had forgotten all  the frustration and he was as proud as could be.  I am pretty proud too!
Oh, you wanted to read the story?  Here you go:

The Mission of the Cameron

During the time of the Civil War there was a submarine called the Cameron.  One night they were searching for enemy ships.  All of a sudden, BAM, they had been attacked!  The Cameron began to move around, looking around for a good position to shoot back.  All the sailors could hear was blowing up bombs.  Then they were hit!  The captain, who was named David, said “Men, get the wood and fix the leak in the Cameron.”  Just in time they fixed the leak.  Then a sailor yelled, “Captain David, the enemy is only two miles away and we are not prepared to fight another battle!”  Captain David said “Hmmmm.  We either have to charge or run away.”  He decided to fight.  This is his plan.  He was going to sneak up behind the enemy and shoot.  Then he told his men what to do.  Quietly, the Cameron snuck up behind and shot a torpedo.  The enemy blew up.  The sailors yelled “Hurrah!”  Their mission was over.

The End

Monday, February 18, 2013


At least a year ago, and possibly two, I noticed that using alphabets as wall art seemed to be the "in" thing to do.  Since I like calligraphy and typography and letters in general I was intrigued by the idea, but I didn't really see a place for it in my house, so the idea was pushed to the back burner of my brain.  Then, almost exactly a year ago, the time was right to fix all the problems of the basement room that was destined to be our school room.  (Read about it here and here.)  The idea of an alphabet wall seemed like a natural fit for a school room, so I began collecting letters.  I wanted variety, so I kept my eyes open for different shapes and materials.
A-B: Craft wood letters with acrylic paint
F: Craft wood covered with scrapbook paper
E: Purchased block letter with metal hook
G: Foam letter with puff-painted outline
H: Craft wood covered with scrapbook paper
I: Crayons glued to poster board and framed
J-K: Twisted and formed pipe cleaners
L: Wood board with string wrapped around nails
to make the letter outline; M: Christmas ornament
N: Painted craft wood; O: Yellow foam
P: Yarn-wrapped cardboard; Q: Triple layers of felt,
quilted together and trimmed; R: Chalkboard
S: Floral wire wrapped in ribbon
T: Pony beads glued to craft wood; W: Multi-
colored crayon on paper; U: Buttons glued to poster
board; V: Crayon rubbing on corrugated cardboard
X: Oak tree twigs glued together; Y: Craft
wood painted with glitter paint;
Z: Purchased metal sign letter
Today I finally completed all the letters, so I hauled out my Trusty glue gun (It is called Trusty because it still works, even though I broke the trigger and have to feed the glue manually.  Tools broken in the line of duty deserve names.) and began attaching magnets to the backs of each of the letters.
If you are wondering why I needed magnets to hang the letters on a wall, it is because I made a change in my plan.  I decided to dress up the heating duct that runs the length of the school room ceiling instead of using a wall.  
Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Valentine For Each Day

 With only three days left until February 14, anticipation is at fever pitch.  The kids have been busy making cards for siblings, Daddy, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends as they count down the hours until the big day.
It all started with foam stickers.
Then came tissue paper creations.
On another day they used markers to decorate coffee filters
 and then dripped water on them to blur the colors.
 The last project (unless they think of someone else they HAVE to add to the list in the wee hours of Valentine's Eve) involved smashing up bits of leftover wax crayons and
 sprinkling the little bits all over heart shaped pieces of waxed paper. 
 After adding another piece of waxed paper on top, and sandwiching the entire creation between sheets of newspaper, 
a little heat from an iron melts the was crayon pieces and creates heart shaped stained-glass valentines.
Don't you hope that you are on their Valentine's Day Card list?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Princess Wands for Little Girls

 Someday, when I have completed my parenting journey, or at least the first 20 years of it, I am going to write a book titled Things People Should Have Warned Me About Before I Had Kids."  I think it will be a real help to parents who come after me.  One of the tidbits I will share deals with little girls.  All moms, especially those who are not "girly" types, need to be warned that no matter how they feel about it, glitter, the color pink, princesses, sparkles, and dress-up dresses will become subjects of serious discussion and importance at some (very early) point in their daughters' lives.  I wish I had known this was coming, because I could have inoculated myself with small doses of pink glitter, and been better prepared to withstand the onslaught .  Instead, I find myself caught up in a swirl of pink tulle ballet skirts and sparkly head bands, and with no defenses available, I have been conscripted to actually participate in princessness and MAKE fairy-tale paraphernalia. 

What You Need:
* Cardboard
* Red or Pink Cardstock
* 12-15" piece of wooden dowel rod
* Several pieces of 1/4" ribbon approximately 20" long

Step 1: Cut out one heart from cardboard and two hearts from pink or red cardstock, all of the same size.
Step 2: Cut a vertical slice out of the center of the cardboard heart (I didn't think if this until I made the second wand, so it doesn't show up in the picture.  This provides a "slot" to put the dowel rod in inside the wand).
Step 3: Glue one of the cardstock hearts to the cardboard heart - leave the center slot empty
Step 4: Tie the pieces of ribbon around the dowel rod and adjust the height of the knot so that it will be hidden by the cardboard heart.
Step 5: Glue the dowel rod into the slot created by the removed bit of cardboard.  Apply glue to the ribbon knot as well, so it stays in the right position.
 Step 6: Glue the remaining cardstock heart to the cardboard, covering the dowel rod.  Use weights or clothespins to hold the layers together until the glue is completely dry.
 Step 7: Trim the ribbons, if necessary
Step 8: Decorate with stickers or glitter
 Step 9: Make your little princesses very happy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


After the Christmas bustle throughout December, January always seems long and boring and pretty cold too, so I spend most of it looking forward to February.  Now February is here, and the fun of preparing for Valentine's Day can begin.  The minute I took out the box of Valentine decorations yesterday, the kids went a little bit crazy with tissue paper, markers, stickers and crayons, making the first round of cards for everyone in their acquaintance.  
Today they took a little break from their greeting card frenzy to play outside, which gave me a chance to make a little surprise to put in their red and pink mailboxes.  I have lots of felt scraps so I decided to make a Tic-Tac-Toe game with a little twist.
First I used grey felt to make stripes, which I attached to the red felt background with fabric adhesive.
Then I cut the pieces out of some other grey scraps I had, making hearts instead of "Os".  
 After the glue dried I wrapped up the board, the "Xs" and "Os" and slid them into the mailboxes, just in time for wind-chilled children to arrive back inside and find their surprise.
Happy 12 Days Before Valentine's Day!