Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mermaids

This is the first mermaid craft I've ever done with my kids and I love how it turned out!
I had three inspirations that I combined to make ours. I liked the handprints for hair that I saw on Pinterest (without an active link), the body is from Follow the Stray, and the long twirling tail is from Let's Play Music. I did have to change it a bit, though, to fit the bigger body. I made the waist bigger and had it dip down in the middle. I traced my new template onto colored paper. It's just regular paper because I didn't know if thicker paper would hang down after cutting it. For the fish scales of the tail, I had the kids paint bubble wrap with glue.
Then I flipped it over onto the back of the colored paper. (This way when I cut it out, I'd be able to see my lines because it wouldn't be covered in glitter. I was thinking ahead!) They gently pushed down on the bubble wrap to transfer the glue to the paper.
Then I carefully peeled the bubble wrap off and placed the paper into a box. (Again, thinking ahead!) The kids picked one color of glitter and dumped a whole bunch into the box.
Then I took the paper out and very easily dumped the extra glitter back into the container. Of course, we still managed to get glitter all over, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been had we not used the boxes.
After a few kids made these, I realized we didn't need that much glitter. We could just shake the box a bit to make sure the glitter moved around and covered all the dots of glue.

You can reuse the same bubble wrap for each child. Just have them add a fresh layer of glue!
When they were dry, I cut them out. Glitter went EVERYWHERE! And it was a little tough to cut through the glittered glue. My hand was getting sore. But it was worth it.
Now for the body. I used the template I shared above, but cut off the hair and tail. I traced it onto cream-colored card stock. The kids decorated them with markers. I showed them how to easily make a bikini top.
They picked out seashells from this sticker book that I got for one dollar at Michaels.
They added them to the bikini top. They could also make necklaces and other jewelry if they wanted to. And they added a little hair on top of the head so the mermaids wouldn't be so bald in front!
As for the hair, each child picked out a hair color: yellow (blonde) or red/orange. I also had brown and black available, but no one chose those. I painted the child's hand (minus the thumb) and made several prints by just moving the hand slightly each time. (I found that just one handprint didn't really look like hair.)
I cut it out and glued it to the back of the head so it looked like it was floating in water.
Then I glued on the tail.
The back looked a little undone,
and since I was planning on hanging these, I decided to add a little piece of paper to the back to give it a more finished look. I just glued on paper of the same color, with a little "scoop" at the top, and trimmed it to fit the tail.
Here are our finished mermaids (and one merman!):


For the merman, I just used one handprint and glued it on straight up. It was the child's idea to add the nipples. After all, he said, "Boys have nipples, too."
That's mine (with kid handprints for hair) because I couldn't resist getting in on the fun, too! Besides, I had to make sure the glue-on-bubble-wrap thing worked before the kids went through all that trouble.
I hung them from the ceiling with our cupcake liner jellyfish. They look so cool twirling around!

The kids oohed and ahhed when I showed them their finished mermaids. I think the glitter-dot tail really sets them apart from any other mermaid craft I've seen out there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cupcake Liner Jellyfish

I absolutely love the coffee filter jellyfish we've done in past years, but I wanted to do something different this year. I had a big stack of cupcake liners that were all different colors so I decided to use those. We actually made two crafts because the first one didn't really satisfy me enough. It just didn't turn out how I had imagined, so we made a second craft. I'll show you both. For the first one, the kids used oil pastels to make an under-the-sea picture. Then they glued curling ribbon to the back of a cupcake liner that was cut in half. And then they glued the liner to their picture. I curled the ribbon with a scissors.


I liked it better before curling it, but the strands of ribbon were soooo long, it looked silly against the blue paper. And if I cut them short enough, then they weren't really curly anymore. So I curled them myself, felt a little disappointed, and decided to make another jellyfish craft with them. And this one only took seconds for the kids to make. I cut a ton of strands of ribbon and the kids glued them to the inside of a cupcake liner.
And that's it!
I only had five kids that day, so I let each one make a few. Then I hung them from the lights in our room.


I didn't curl the ribbon with a scissors this time. I let them hang naturally and I love how they looked! Some hung a little low, but the kids liked that because they told anyone who touched it that they got stung by a jellyfish!

Fun Fact: If a jellyfish is cut in half, each half can regenerate parts, thus making two new jellyfish.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sharks

If you google shark crafts for kids, you'll find a ton of those sharks with paper plates for teeth. And that's what you'll find here. It's cute and I've never done it before, so we tried it. The kids cut out the body of the shark themselves. I made our sharks a little pointy on top, for the nose.
The kids attached the tail and two fins (that I had previously cut out) to the shark body.
I chose not to make a fin at the top of the head. You wouldn't be able to see the dorsal fin at that angle anyway, so I left it out. We made the teeth from small paper plates. The kids tried cutting the teeth themselves, but I did have to help them a bit.
Then they drew a picture in the mouth of what the shark was eating.
I used glue dots to attach the mouth to the shark. The kids drew some dots for the nostrils at the top of the shark and glued big wiggle eyes way off to the sides.
This one is eating the child who made the craft:
 This one is eating a rainbow:
 And this one is eating the earth:
 Fun Fact: When the shark opens its mouth to bite something, its upper jaw dislocates from the skull so the teeth are fully extended. (Yikes!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coffee Filter Stingray

For our Ocean theme last week, I taught the kids about stingrays. This was new to me. I've never taught about stingrays before so I was very excited to learn all about this gentle sea creature. For art, I folded coffee filters in half and the kids used dot markers to decorate them. The only reason I folded them in half is because I thought it would be cool if they had a symmetrical design, but it's not necessary to the craft.
(We put paper under the filters to catch some of the ink so cleaning the table would be a little easier.)
While it was still folded, we sprayed the filter with water. When it was dry, I made a template of half of a stingray and traced it onto the folded filter. I didn't get a picture of it on a colored filter, but here it is on a plain white one so you can see what I mean:
I kept the crease in it when I opened it up (I thought it looked better that way) and used one of the pieces I cut off as the tail.
The kids glued that piece on the end and added wiggle eyes to the top.

I love love love how they turned out! So simple and so beautiful.



Even if you don't fold the filter before decorating it with dot markers, as one child did, it still looks cool.
Fun Fact: Stingrays only use their tail, which has a poisonous barb, in self-defense. Otherwise, they are very gentle animals.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peeking Red-Eyed Tree Frogs

I've done a lot of frog crafts over the years, but when we had our Jungle unit I decided I wanted to do something new. I did countless Google and Pinterest searches for frog crafts and there was one I saw that stuck in my mind. Unfortunately, after deciding to do that one, I could not find it again! I really wish I could give credit to my inspiration because it is a cute craft! I used the frog template from my hopping frog craft, but crossed off the body because we didn't need it. The kids painted the head of the frog green. (I mixed yellow and green paint to make a bright green color.) And they painted the two circles (the eyes) red.
When they were dry I cut them out and used a Sharpie to add black slits to the eyes. The kids glued the eyes on their frog, then glued their frog head to a leaf I had cut from green construction paper.

Then they glued orange frog feet to the leaf on the side of the head. These are the frog's front feet.
The idea is to make it look like the frog is peeking over the top of the leaf, with the rest of the body behind the leaf. For the most part, though, it just looked like a frog head with a leaf body. Oh well! Still cute!
 The kids also colored in a smile and nose and some other facial features.
I hung them above our jungle wall. (To see my dramatic play jungle from past years, read this post.)

Oops! Looks like a poison dart frog snuck in with our red-eyed tree frogs! ;o)
I also had the kids marble paint using orange, green and brown paint.
Then I cut out letters from the marbled paper to spell Welcome to the Jungle.
If you've seen this craft before, please let me know where. I'd love to give credit to that person!

Fun Fact: Red-eyed tree frogs can change color for many reasons, from a dark green to a reddish-brown.