Cardboard Box Puppet Theater

We had a large box leftover from a recent online order.  Boxes, are kid gold, right?  You can do anything with a cardboard box!  We decided on a puppet theater.  I cut a rectangle in the top half.  Then I took it to the garage and the girls painted it….pink, of course.  Okay, no judgements.  I know this is a far cry from the adorable homemade puppet theaters on Pinterest.  But my kids are happy with it…so I’m happy with it.  After all, this is a KID project.

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After the pink dried, I reinforced the seam with some butterfly duct tape (come on- everyone has that around the house, right?) and also covered the edges of the rectangle.  Then more painting…purple this time!

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The girls love it because they made it themselves.  I love it because it is cheap, easy, and I won’t feel bad about using it for a few weeks (or however long they are interested in it) and throwing it out.

And the learning?  Oh, it’s there, too!  Try acting out a book with puppets after you read it.  It is a great way to go over the story for better comprehension.  Making up your own puppet show is good exercise in creativity, storytelling skills (that will later be used in writing), and speaking skills.

As a bonus, the girls discovered their theater doubles as a playhouse with the cut-out becoming a door!

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Five Minute Snowflake Craft

I am all about simple crafts.  It only takes five minutes and you can use stuff that you already have around the house?  Count me in.  Bonus if you can do some teaching with the crafting.  Oh, it also has to be easy enough for a two-year-old.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?

This craft was inspired by the book Snow by Cynthia Rylant, but it would work well with any snow book.  It doesn’t discriminate.  It’s an all-inclusive craft. 🙂

Step 1: Assemble materials: Q-tips, glue, scissors, and aluminum foil (or wax paper)

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Step 2: Teaching time!  Look at pictures of snowflakes in the book and count the points.  Talk about symmetry and notice how the “arms” are directly across from each other.  If you want to google “how do snowflakes form” and do a mini-science lesson, go for it!  This is a good place to start.

Step 3: Cut 3 Q-tips in half.  More teaching!  Use the word half and explain that it is two equal parts.  Practice counting by twos.

Step 4: Fun part!  Squeeze a puddle of glue about the size of a penny on aluminum foil (or wax paper…whichever you have).

Step 5: Arrange 6 Q-tip halves in glue puddle so they are symmetrical.

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Step 6:  Let it dry!  I just left mine overnight.

Step 7:  When the glue is dry, carefully peel it off the foil.  I hung my daughter’s snowflake in the window with some white thread.

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Materials:

  • 3 Q-tips
  • scissors
  • Elmer’s glue
  • aluminium foil

Time investment: 5 minutes

Difficulty:  Super duper easy.

Reindeer Handprint Craft

 

Here is an easy last minute holiday craft that is perfect gift for grandparents.  Who doesn’t love little handprints?

Step 1: Paint your little one’s hand with brown (washable!) paint and make two handprints at the top of the paper.   Then immediately wash those hands!

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Step 2:  Trace your kiddo’s foot on brown paper and cut out.  Then glue between the handprints (with the heel at te bottom of the page.)

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Step 3: Cut out one red circle and two white circles.  Draw smaller black circles on the white paper to make eyes.  Glue on the brown paper to make eyes and nose.

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I did this reindeer with my two-year-old.  I did all the cutting and she did the gluing.  Older kids can do the cutting, too.  My four year old wanted to draw her eyes on with marker instead of using white paper.

Materials:

  • red, green, brown, and white construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • brown paint
  • paintbrush
  • black marker

Time investment: 10 minutes

Difficulty:  Easy as long as you can keep those brown handprints on the paper and not around your house!

Shape Christmas Tree

Here’s an easy Christmas craft…and a great way to practice shapes and colors, too!  This would work great at a preschool/kindergarten holiday party.  I did the first two steps myself because my girls aren’t great with scissors.

1. Cut out 5 green triangles.  Start with a small one and get gradually bigger.  My smallest is about 3 inches across the largest is about 8 inches.

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2.  Cut out shapes in different colors.  I stuck with circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but you could get all fancy with hexagons, ovals, and trapezoids for older kiddos.

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3.  Get your crafty kiddos and talk about how triangles could make a tree.  Have them arrange the triangles from largest to smallest.

4.  Glue the top couple inches of the biggest triangle and place the next biggest triangle on top of it.  Continue until all triangles are glued together.

5.  Glue on the shape ornaments.  I found it is easier for kids to make a dot with the glue stick directly on the tree, then stick the ornament on the dot.

6.  Have fun decorating the tree with shapes!  Identify the shape and color of the ornament when they pick it up or ask them to identify.  See if they want to make a pattern.

Here’s my four-year-old’s masterpiece glued on red paper.  She is so proud that it is now part of our Christmas decorations!

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Materials:

  • colored construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick

Time investment: 10 minutes for adult cutting prep and 10-15 minutes for kids to glue craft

Difficulty:  The only difficult part is cleaning up all those extra shapes that will scattered on the floor. 🙂