Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Early March Kiddie Crafts

I started making this post in advance and realized just how long it would be if I waited until the end of the month to post it, so I decided to do one for the first half of March, and I'll do a second for the end.  This is the current state of our craft wall.

We finished up the letter "W" by doing "W is for Walrus and Whiskers" by, well, giving a walrus whiskers.  My son really enjoyed it and asked for more, but I declined (figuring he'd have lost interest by the time I finished cutting, tying knots, and putting tape on more yarn whiskers.)  He does seem to enjoy lacing activities, so I'll have to bear that in mind when deciding on volume in the future.

Since Christmas, I've had a handful of ideas for "snow" activities and I wanted to do "S" and "snow" when there was real snow on the ground.  One of the activities was to make rice krispies treat snowmen, so I also wanted to wait until most of the Christmas and Valentine's Day goodies were consumed so as not to overload us on sweets.  March is typically our snowiest month, so I figured it was safe to wait.  On Sunday the 6th, the weather forecast called for 2-4 inches of snow Monday night and another 2-4 inches on Tuesday, so I decided the time was ripe.  On Monday, I introduced the letter "S" while flurries were falling outside the window.  However, the flurries never developed into anything and by that evening they'd removed most precipitation from the forecast, with a string of 50-60 degree days to follow.  Doesn't that just figure?

I decided to plow ahead anyway, so on Tuesday we made Rice Krispies Treat Snowmen.  And let me tell you, I now know that this is not a good toddler activity.  I'd do it a lot differently, were I to do it again.  Firstly, butter and marshmallows take a long time to melt on low heat, which meant my son lost interest quickly.  Secondly, when the
pot was on low, it didn't radiate much heat so my son didn't heed my repeated warnings that it was "hot" until he'd stretched his finger toward the bottom of the pot (he might even have hit the burner, I'm not sure) and gotten a small burn on his knuckle.  *sigh*  Thirdly, Rice Krispies aren't the easiest thing to stir, so after the owie was soothed he still lost
interest quickly.  Fourthly, my son doesn't have the fine motor skills to make balls yet, so he didn't do much there.  Fifthly, they didn't stick together in balls very well--even I had to press really hard.  (Were I to do it again, I think I'd add a cup fewer rice krispies so the marshmallow would hold it together a little better.)  Sixthly, while I'd heeded a
warning to coat our hands with butter or cooking spray before handling the treats, I didn't realize I'd need to reapply after every 2-4 balls--something else that would have slowed my son down had he still been participating.  Seventhly, I was almost out of powdered sugar and mixed wrong, so the frosting I made to stick the balls together/add the features was too runny for its purpose.  Alas.  If I do this again, I'll make the treats and balls myself before including a child as young as my son (28 months at the time,) make sure I have enough powdered sugar to thicken the frosting if necessary (and also make that in advance,) and just have him help me put the cooled balls together and decorate them.  Or I might do a similar idea I saw for the same treat, which is to make the rice krispies treats flat like normal and cut them out with circle-or-snowman-shaped cookie cutters once cool, and then decorate.  But the most important thing I learned is that cooking over a hot stove is too much for my son at the moment.

The next day we moved on to some non-snow "S" words:  sun and sheep.  I had him put pipe-cleaner-rays around a sun...
...and add cotton ball "wool" to a sheep.

We even tied a trip to the park (on one of our 60+ degree days--still no more snow) to the letter "S."  "S" is for "slide" and "swings," after all!  (There are a lot of kid-friendly "S" words.)

We've been doing a lot of home improvements since taking our house off the market; partly to organize, partly to improve, and partly to nest (or make room for the new baby.)  So we've been showing our son that not all crafts are indoor crafts.  He likes to help us, though his patience doesn't usually last too long.  Luckily, at least for the improvements
we've done to the garage, he's happy with pretending to drive my car after he loses interest.  These shots are of him "helping" us build cabinets and an electrical outlet for the garage.

We next did some St. Patrick's Day crafts.  First I had my son make a four-leaf clover out of green hearts.

And then I had him fill a paper pot with gold coins.  We then decorated both with glitter glue.

The next day I helped him make a leprechaun hat.  I was impressed that he kept it on his head for quite a while.  He was also enamoured of the stapler, which I used to secure the band in a circle.  He wanted to use it, but after a few tries I decided it wasn't safe, so we called a halt to that.

We also made a shamrock garland to replace the hearts we'd had up since before Valentine's Day.  Once again he REALLY liked the lacing and wanted more, but these were WAY too much work to cut out so I declared that we had enough.

The next day I think I overstepped his skill levels a bit.  We were piecing together a paper leprechaun with pre-cut pieces, but I thought he might be able to help create an orange fringe to make the hair and beard.  However, he has had very little practice with scissors so this was probably a bad idea.  I'd better let him just learn to cut better first, before
introducing the complicated concept of only cutting partway through the paper.  We finally got a little done when I got a bigger piece of paper, held the paper while encouraging him to go slowly, and then trimmed it to the right length after he had a semblance of a fringe.  I had to do most of it though, and ward off a tantrum.  (I was impressed that he attempted to use the scissors with just one hand, though.)

We took a break mid-leprechaun to make a rainbow mobile, but sadly this also went beyond his skill level.  I had an example rainbow to show him how to color it, but he still just scribbles wherever he wants--he doesn't stay within lines or anything.  I had to guide him to get a rainbow, just as I do if I'm helping him write something.  One at a time, these projects probably
would've been okay, but both on the same day was pretty frustrating for him.  He really likes the "hanging" rainbow finished product though.

I didn't manage to get him a St. Patrick's Day themed sensory bin like I'd hoped to, but a little leprechaun did hide some gold coins and beads inside the bin with pom poms.  He loved finding them and putting them all in one container.  He even wanted to count them, and held them up for me to name the number all the way up to 38!! before dumping the rest.  I don't
think he's ever had the patience to let me count anything that high before.  Gold is cool.

Wow, this post is still really long.  Perhaps I ought to post our crafts 3 times per month.

When I last posted about crafts, I enjoyed browsing some of the other kid craft ideas over at Tot School, so I've decided to continue to link up.  Click on the name if you'd like to see some other parent bloggers and their educational ideas for yourself.


Anonymous said...

"S" is for space ship and Science Fiction Mommy!

Mom xox said...

I didn't mean to post anonymously!