So over breakfast, I had an idea to make masks (or glasses or goggles or whatever you want to call them) out of an egg carton. It was fast, easy, and didn’t require a lot of supplies. Just the way I like it.
- Cut apart the egg carton in pairs.
- Cut out circles for eyes. We experimented with different sizes for the eye holes. Also, we found that it was helpful to cut a little triangle out for the nose, but it isn’t necessary. Please note my meticulous cutting job.
- Decorate! We used washable tempera paint (after first failing with markers). Stickers would also be a fun idea. And as you can see, stickers would be a lot less messy. How did she get paint on her chin?!
- Glue on a popsicle stick and you’re done! (In case you were wondering why our egg cartons don’t carry a dozen eggs…we lost a pair of glasses in a cutting mishap.)
This project was easy enough for Big Sis to do the cutting, gluing, and painting on her own. Both girls had so much fun that I wanted to try it out, too. Please say you can pick out the one that wasn’t painted by a preschooler.
- egg carton
- popsicle sticks
Time investment: 15 minutes to make them, then a couple hours to let the paint dry
Difficulty: Elementary kids could it all by themselves, little ones need help with cutting.
Our local food pantry, Harvesters, does a yearly competition where businesses build structures out of cans. Then when the competition is over, all the cans are donated to Harvesters to feed those in need. The designs are on display at the mall for about a month.
We got inspired to make our own CANstruction at home! Can you tell what we made? (ha- unintentionally pun)
Did you guess? It was a giraffe, rainbow, and castle. Constructing with cans was free, fun, and (bonus!) I had an organized pantry when we were all done. It would be a great activity for the kids while you put away groceries. And of course there is all sorts of learning that can be done with cans…
(Common Core Standards appear in italics. They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels. These standards are used in almost every school in the country. Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)
- Colors- Talk about the different colors on the cans, then divide them into groups or make a rainbow.
- Size- Compare sizes of cans. Find all the cans that are the same size. What happens when you stack a large can on a small one?
- Counting– How many cans in all? Count how many you can stack in a tower.
- Addition and Subtraction– How many bean cans plus tuna cans do we have? (first grade- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction)
- Geometry- Talk about 2D vs 3D. Use the word cylinder. Point out the circles on top and bottom of a cylinder. (kindergarten- Identify shapes as two-dimensional or three-dimensional)
- Measurement– Measure things around the room with cans. How many cans long is the couch? (first grade- Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object end to end)
- Classification- Sort the cans into groups based on color, size, or type of food. (kindergarten- Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count)
- Reading– Beginning readers might be able to read some of the labels using the picture as a clue. If they know it is a can of corn, see if they can pick out the word “corn” on the can.
- Letters- Try to make letters or even words out of the cans.
- Creative building– And the most fun, building!
During our recent packing paper fingerpainting extravaganza, we also made prints. There was so much paint from the color mixing that Big Sis started making designs with her finger. I gently pressed white paper over it and… ta da!
Multiple prints can be made from the same design (depending on how much paint you use and how hard you press). We made our design on packing paper, but I’m sure it would also work on tin foil, wax paper, a cookie sheet, or the table itself. It would be fun to experiment with writing letters or numbers and see how they come out backwards! Let me know if you try it and how it works!
Packing paper is big, easy to clean up, and free. Perfect material for kid art. Now what can you do with it?
1. Cover the table. Put packing paper over a table (it completely covered our kid table) and let them finger paint all over it. Give them some primary colors and let them mix it by hand to make secondary colors. The best way to learn is by doing, so let them get messy. Not feeling the paint? Give them crayons and markers and let them draw on the table while you make dinner.
2. Hang it on the wall. Tape up the packing paper to a long wall and let them create a mural.
3. Lay it out on the floor. The floor is the perfect place for sitting babies that haven’t mastered walking. Plop them in the middle of the packing paper and let them go to town. Have older kids lay down on the paper and trace around them. Then they can color themselves and design an outfit with paint, markers, or chalk.
4. Take it outside. On a nice day, put packing paper down on the driveway, deck, or sidewalk. Take off those shoes and make paint footprints!
What can you on a cold day? Go to a museum! Hopefully you have a free museum in your area. If you don’t, try local galleries, college campuses (especially the art department), or even local art displays in malls. You don’t need to go to a museum for your kids to see some art.
WARNING: Taking toddlers to a museum is not for the faint of heart. I’ve found museum outings work best with babies in carriers, toddlers in strollers, or preschoolers and older kids with good self-control. If they don’t have good self-control….it’s a great opportunity to PRACTICE! On our last outing I took my two-year-old, who was too big for the stroller (in her opinion) but a little too young to understand museum etiquette (in my opinion). But we managed. You can, too. Just go over a few basic museum rules before you get there. No touching or running. Keep it simple. And then leave if they can’t follow the rules. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to stay longer next time.
While my goal with Little Sis (the two-year-old) was just keeping her from licking sculptures, I aimed a little higher with Big Sis (my four-year-old). We made a museum scavenger hunt before we set off on our adventure. Some museums have their own pre-made scavenger hunts for kids and you can also find some online printable worksheets on Pinterest. I liked our DIY version because we could make it up together and tailor it to her age-level. I came up with categories (shapes, colors, materials, feelings), and she brainstormed the ideas. She also colored in the color boxes….
and made a little mistake. Notice the yellow and green boxes. No problem. It was good opportunity to do some problem solving to fix it.
While we walked around the museum, she marked off boxes on her paper. TIP: Use a pencil to mark off boxes since pens/markers aren’t allowed in most museums. The scavenger hunt helped her focus on one piece of art long enough to really look at it. We talked about how we could check off several boxes with one painting.
We chose a few different categories, but you could also focus on only one. Here are some ideas to make your own museum scavenger hunt:
- types of lines
- feelings you get when looking at the artwork
- particular works of art that are in the museum (look up names/pictures before you go)
- subject of the artwork- people, animals, houses, etc.
And a few ideas for older elementary kids:
- painting styles- impressionism, cubism, surrealism, etc.
- mediums- paint, pastel, pencil, etc.
- time periods
- country of origin