Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flannel Color Books

I have a 4 month old niece and nephew and this year for Christmas I decided to make them flannel color books based on this idea.  If you are going to do something like this, don't start December 1st.

The letters are all made from the Cricut Birthday Bash cartridge.  They are 1 1/2 inches tall.  Most of the shapes are various AccuCut dies and Cricut shapes that I had floating around.  The felt shapes were glued to the felt (use small dots to adhere if you are going to sew too).  To outline the shapes, I used a blanket stitch.  The book is bound together with 1 inch binder rings.

The purple one is my favorite because the wings actually flap!
If you decide to make one on your own, expect to spend 2-3 hours on each page.  These take a lot of time to put together, but the giftee will love them!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Handprint Christmas Trees

My nieces (and now 1 nephew) and I have always tried to come up with a Christmas gift that they all can work on that we can pass out to the aunts, uncles, and grandparents on Christmas Eve.  This year we decided to make handprint Christmas trees.

Supplies Needed
  • We used an 11x17 canvas from Michaels because they sold them in a 7-pack and the size was big enough for everyone's hands.
  • Paint-green, brown, yellow, red, purple, blue, orange
  • Paper plates
  • Baby wipes
  • Ultra fine point Sharpie

We started this project on a day when all of the kids were at Nana's house.  Green paint was spread on a paper plate and each kid dipped their hand in paint and added it to the tree.  Our family is kind of large so we needed to paint five canvases.  Then we set them aside to dry.  This year we learned that babies don't always like to dip their hands into paint so it helps if you have a paint brush handy so you can paint their hand as you spread out their fingers.
On a different day, one of my nieces and I sat down and finished the pictures.  I added stars to the top of the trees and trunks to the bottom.

We added a garland to each tree using our fingerprints.

My niece had a great time adding ornaments in different colors.  You will want baby wipes handy as they are great for wiping fingers in between the colors.
I am kind of impressed by how they turned out!  We are going to take an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie and label each hand and add "2012" to the side of the canvas.  This weekend the girls will wrap the paintings and decide who gets what and we will pass them out for Christmas.

Shape Clifford Craft

We are preparing to celebrate Clifford's 50th birthday this February with a big birthday party.  While it is slow over the holidays, I came up with this pattern.  I like it because it uses shapes to create Clifford's face.

Supplies Needed:
  • 2 pieces of red paper
  • 1 piece of black paper
  • 1 piece of pink paper
  • 1 piece of white paper
  • 1 glue stick
  • Shape Clifford pattern
When making them with a group of toddlers or preschoolers, I precut all of the pieces so the kids just have to glue.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Handprint Reindeer

One of our biggest activities of the year is making chocolate handprint reindeer ornaments in December. 

Supplies Needed:
  • White cardstock circles for handprints.  We have a circle cutter that makes 6 inch circles that works great.
  • With a group this size, we use 3 large boxes of chocate pudding.  Make it according to the directions on the box (so you will need a gallon of milk too).
  • Disposable foil trays to hold the chocolate pudding
  • 3 rolls of ribbon for hanging
  • Sticker eyes
  • Red circle stickers (We use Avery #5466)
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 package of baby wipes
  • A couple of brown crayons
  • Access to a laminator
With 2 librarians, we run through 80-90 kids comfortably in three hours. I would encourage registration. We stagger the registration times by age every thirty minutes. For example, 9 & 9:30 are 0-24 months, 10 & 10:30 are 2-3 year olds, and 11 & 11:30 are 3-6 year olds. By doing it this way, you can keep the group smaller with the babies, who will need more help (we run 10 in a time slot) and increase the attendance for the older kids (15 3 year olds). Since we do registration, we have an Avery address label already printed up with each child's name and the date that we put on the back of each circle.

Also, if you advertise the program, make sure you use "chocolate pudding" in the program description.  Some children with food allergies will not be able to do the project (or you can pull out brown crayons for them to make their "hand").

How the Program Works:
The kids come in and make their handprints using chocolate pudding.  We let each child make 1 print.  (Some of the moms will ask to redo them because they don't always look like hands, but once you add eyes and a nose, it will look great.)  We lay all of the circles out to dry.  Some will be done in an hour, but many will take 12-24 hours.

On the staff side, we add sticker eyes and a nose when the pudding is dry.  The circles are run through laminator, a hole is punched in the top, and a ribbon is strung through to create an ornament.  When we advertise the event, we also advertise a pick-up day that is 4 days later so we can get our part done.

Why we do this:
First, this is a lot of fun.  As kids make their handprints, you can also suggest to parents that chocolate pudding is a great way to fingerpaint at home (trust me, they love new ideas).  Secondly, as kids pull out their ornament year after year, they will remember that they made it at the library.  It is a great plug for us!

Miscellaneous Stuff:
  • You will want a couple of brown crayons for kids with food allergies or those who don't want to get dirty.  We were really surprised last year when kids did not want to put their hands in chocolate pudding (about 1/10 of the kids).
  • When trying to get the kids to put their hand in chocolate pudding, we told them to make a "high-five" in the pudding and then on the circle.  They understood this much better than their mom telling them to spread out their fingers.
  • The gloppier the chocolate pudding on the handprint, the longer it will take to dry.  If you are in a hurry, you can either blot the glops with paper towel or use a plastic spoon to scrape some off before it starts to dry.
  • If you use a hot laminator and there are glops, the pudding can melt and spread.

For some additional fun, here are some of the handprints that my nieces have made over the years!  After awhile, you do run out of room on your Christmas tree.

Flannel Friday-Unicorn Finger Puppet

Okay, I'll be honest-this didn't start as a story time project.  It came out of a Secret Santa gift.  When I finished it, I thought that it would be great for Flannel Friday.

Honestly, who doesn't need a unicorn finger puppet?  To make your own, grab some felt and this pattern.  To make it look really nice, you can use a blanket stitch to put it all together (tutorial found here).  Tacky glue would also work.  If you get really good and make five of them, you can do this nifty rhyme.

Five little unicorns playing in the sun.
The first one said, "I'm having lots of fun."
The second one said, "See my shiny horn."
The third one said, "Of course, you're a unicorn."
The fourth one said, "I am as white as the snow."
The fifth one said, "So are we, you know."
This week's round-up is at Miss Courtney Meets Bobo. There will be a 2 week holiday break, then I will be hosting January 4.  Feel free to start crafting early!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toddler Crafts-Holiday Crafts

This holiday season we ran a toddler crafts program for 26 2 & 3 year olds.  The important things to remember when running a toddler craft program are to focus on one skill per craft and to have everything set up ahead of time.  To see how we set up our toddler craft program, check here for a previous post.

Craft 1: Christmas Tree Ornaments
I have recently found that paint samples are a great craft supply, especially when working with young children.  For this craft, we used Behr green paint samples (the one with Jungle Green at the bottom).  If you ask, your local Home Depot paint department will help you out, especially if you are in the same area as their store.  Cut your sample into a triangle shape and punch a hole at the top.  We prestrung all of our samples so all the kids had to do was add stickers.  Oriental Trading sold us Christmas mini stickers, which fit perfectly on our trees to decorate them.  They were also easy to peel for little hands.  The parents loved this craft and many mentioned that they would also be visiting Home Depot for their own green paint samples!

Craft 2: Paper Bag Snowman
As with most of our crafts, we had all of the snowman's parts precut and inside of the white paper bag.  A pattern is available here.  The kids' job was to glue the parts onto the white paper bag.  The results of this craft were surprisingly fun as the kids came up with their own ideas of what the snowman should look like.  Some flipped their bag over and made their snowman into a puppet.  One kid used the red hatband as the snowman's mouth and the extra black circles as buttons because their snowman needed a smile.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flannel Friday-The Runaway Cookie Parade

I don't know about you, but for me, one of the most fun parts of the holiday season is the cookie baking.  Here's a cookie flannelboard that can fit holiday or cookie story times.  It could also work with patterns.

This flannelboard is on pages 163-164 of The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances by Pamela Schiller.  We keep our copy in professional reference because there is a lot of good stuff in here (really, you should interloan a copy if you don't have it).  Due to copyright, I can't tell you the whole story, but here are the basics.

A girl named Linda made 5 different cookie shapes-a duck, a rabbit, a dog, a cat, and a bear.  Then she decorated them fancy-with dots, stripes, swirls, x's, and plaid.  (I also like the matching aspect of this story.)  At the end of the story, after all of the cookies are in the cookie jar, they sneak out and dance away.

Cate is hosting this week's round-up at Storytiming.  Have a great week!

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