Monday, December 15, 2008

Oldy But Goody

For an easy lesson on engineering and geometry the old marshmallow and toothpick towers are always fun.   We did one for cubs and used this lesson plan (PDF)with visual aids (PDF) to help us.  (This was soooo much fun to bring home intact.  We had another one, but it didn't do as well and ended up eaten. Hmmm. )

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Finger Knitting

This all the rage at my son's school.  The kids spend all their free time weaving long scarves for each other.   It's an alternative school based loosely on the Waldorf method, so the atmosphere is a little different than most public schools.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Picture Frames

Don’t spend the big bucks for ready-made photo frame craft kits.  Anything can be a frame with a little imagination.
The easiest?  Four extra-large  Popsicle/craft sticks or eight of the standard sized.    Or  four of each.

But you don’t have to stop there.  Check the bargain bins  at anywhere from craft stores,  to office supply stores to drug or grocery stores.
  • Sheets of craft foam
  • Larger precut craft foam shapes
  • plastic cookie cutters
  • recycled tin can lids (provided you have a no-cut can opener* - best thing ever)
  • new canning lids
  • unwanted computer disks/cds
  • cd cases
  • wide bass wood stripes or precut wood shapes (thin)
I’m sure there are many other thoughts out there and there will be some more I will tackle in other posts.

* Link credits  my Amazon  Associates account, just in case  you love the idea too.  Honestly, I've had mine for years and years and my crafty self loves it for recycling cans.  And they didn't even pay me to say that.   Though if they wanted to, they can call me anytime.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Clothes Pin Tag

Game pieces:

  • A package of wooden clothes pins, the springy kind . (Wiki has a history on the clothes pin. Amazing).
Game Play:
  • Clip anywhere from 5-7 clothes pins on the shirt of each child.  Each child should start out with the same amount
  • The object is to collect as many clothes pins as possible.
  • Once taken a clothes pin must be clipped on immediately.
  • No defending your own pins except by running away or evading.
  • Set a time limit for the game and count the pins at the end.  Pins in hand don’t count.
  • I make any running game safe for indoors, by adding the,  Slow Motion Rule.   This means, of course, that you can run all you want – as long you do it in slow motion.   It is very funny to watch and the kids still have a great time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stained “Glass” Sun Catcher

Another craft involving crayons and heat.
What you will need is:
  • old crayons
  • waxed paper
  • a clothes iron
  1. Prep:  take crayons and make them into a fine shavings.  A crayon shaperner is the easiest way to do this.
  2. I usually separate the colors into little paper cups or and old egg carton.
  3. Give each child a piece of waxed paper and fold it in half so there is a crease.
  4. Have child sprinkle crayon shavings on one half of the paper.  Don’t let shavings get to close the edge.  Allow a margin of around an inch.
  5. When finished have an adult carefully fold the paper along the crease and place on a heat safe surface.
  6. Cover the paper with a towel and iron over it on the cotton setting.
  7. Remove towel.  The crayon shavings should have melted into something resembling stained glass.
  8. Let paper cool before lifting it.  It could burn you or the wax can run out the edges.
  9. The paper can now be trimmed out and a hanger added.
  10. Hang in a window or a sunny spot.  Keep out of a very warm place so the wax won’t re-melt.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Favorite Craft

I’m starting things off with my favorite craft ever.    This was devised by my mom and we loved it as kids.  My kids love it just as much.   It’s quick, easy and fairly mess free.  It does involve a burn risk, so caution is needed.
The main downside is that it requires some specialist equipment.   Namely, an old fashioned electric hot plate.  They just don’t make them like they used to.  My mother kindly passed down her  vintage 1970s hotplate to me.  But I found these examples on eBay.
A Salton Hot Plate
A Cornwall Hot Plate
If you can get your hands on one of these gems, then all you need is some old crayons,  aluminum foil,  and plain copy paper.
  1. Cover surface of  the hot plate  with aluminum foil.
  2. Plug in hot plate and let it get warm.
  3. Have the child draw a design on the foil using crayons.  Keep hands away from the foil surface and the hot plate.  The crayons will melt onto the foil.
  4. Once the child is finished, lay a sheet of copy paper over the drawing.  Smooth down carefully – don’t burn yourself!
  5. Lift paper.  Drawing is now on the paper.
  6. Put aside to dry.
Easy!  Once they have tried it, kids will ask to do this again and again.
Tips for success
  • Don’t use words (unless you can write backwards!)
  • Keep the drawing the same size as the paper  – some hot plates have a large surface
  • Foil will need to be wiped down or changed every few drawings.  If you opt for the wipe down method, use a damp towel you don’t care about.  Remember – melted wax.
  • Have fun and experiment.   More enthusiastic artists will find that crayon wax will pool and colors will ooze together in interesting ways.
Happy Crafting!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Welcome to my repository of crafty ideas.   I’m a homeschooler and I was raised by a second generation scouter so crafting and making random projects is kind of in my blood.   My mother came up with many cool and thrifty crafts in her tenure and I have followed the family tradition.  I wanted to pass on the great ideas I come across.