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Showing posts with label learning center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learning center. Show all posts

Animal costume patterns for craft projects, dress up, learning centers


Dress up is a crucial part of learning play in preschool classrooms and Montessori learning centers. If you homeschool, dress up should be part of your practical life, dramatic play and even science learning centers. The more hands-on and interactive the lesson plans, the better children learn. 

My most recent post gave ideas for a children's literature book party. One book party activity is for children to dress up as characters from books. Here are ideas to make simple, no-sew DIY animal costumes, using your recycle bin and some basic household scraps. These are perfect for preschool science learning centers, kids plays, story party activities and children's theater. Get more Montessori bang by having children create costumes themselves. Click here for free printable animal costume patterns. 

For basic animal costumes, you will need. 

* blanket sleeper (zippered pajamas with covered feet). Use an old one or pick one up second hand. Choose sleeper color based on the type of animals it will be used for:

--green: frog, dinosaur, gecko, snake, lizard, dragon, caterpillar, parrot

--yellow or tan: baby chick, tiger, leopard, lion

--red: ladybug, bird, fox

--pink: pig, shrimp, flamingo

--black, brown, white or gray: cat, dog, donkey, horse, cow, squirrel, raccoon, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, penguin, spider, groundhog, woodchuck, chipmunk

--orange, blue or purple: bird, fish, butterfly

* knit hat in matching color

* five old socks in matching colors

* recycled cardboard from cereal boxes or packaging

* glue dots or self-stick Vel-cro

* sharp scissors

* assorted fabric scraps, pom-poms, feathers, faux gems, ribbon, sequins (optional)

Now

* Draw design details with permanent marker on sleeper: lines, circles, stripes, spots wings etc.

* Use glue dots or Vel-cro to add embellishments to sleeper: sequins or faux gems are great for fish scales or birds. Glue faux feathers on for bird wings. Glue ribbon on for stripes. Pom-poms can be fish scales or hair on curly-haired puppies.

* On two socks (or old old knit gloves) draw black lines on toe ends simulate paws or claws. Draw circles on the palm to look like paw pads (socks make great improvised mittens).

* Stuff one sock with recycled rags for a tail. Sew it to the back of the sleep or hot glue it on. You can also glue a large pom pom on the back for a fuzzy tail.

* Make ears using the remaining two socks and the knit hat. Stuff the socks halfway full of scrap fabric. Cut two small holes in the hat for ears. Push open ends of socks through holes and tie knots in ends so socks won't slip through hole.

Montessori says lesson plans should allow children maximum creativity in open-ended, hands-on, interactive activities. Encourage them to make up their own designs for animal costumes. You could make these in collage or art learning centers also. Once children have made costumes they might write their own scripts for plays about their characters. They might also act out preschool children's literature selections based on animals. 

Here are free printable animal masks to complete costumes. Engage the youngest learners making masks, to keep them productively involved and make them feel part of the activity. 

Recycled trash crafts for kids: Garden tools and sand toys from milk jugs


Hey teachers and homeschoolers, looking for some earth science lesson plans to teach environmental sustainability? How about making recycled trash crafts for kids with plastic milk jugs? Repurpose and reuse milk jugs into sand toys for the beach and garden tools. These crafts for kids work great in preschool science learning center, schools, scout troops, 4H groups, camp and day care and can be made with the youngest learners! 

To make a set of eight recycled trash beach toys or gardening tools, you'll need

-two clean plastic milk jugs per child

-permanent dry-erase marker 

-scissors (children's Fiskars scissors work great)

Draw a line around the base of milk jugs, about three inches from the bottom. Poke a hole anywhere in the line with scissors. Cut along the line to remove the top half (set aside for later). Now you have a sand pail, gardening bucket or plant starter. 

Next make sifter or strainer sand toys or garden tools by poking holes in the bottom of the milk jugs. Recycled trash beach toys are great money-savers. If they get broken, just re-recycle! 

Repurpose and reuse the top of milk jugs to make funnels and sand castle mold beach toys.  Draw a circle around the top, about two inches down from the mouth. Poke a hole and cut around the circle. Use funnels for preschool math learning center or sand and water table, too. 

With the leftover handle piece, make trowel garden tools. Draw along the indentation on the jug where the handle is. Snip the lower end of the handle to separate it form the jug. Poke a hole on the line and cut along the line. Trim the top part above the upper end of the handle to a v-shaped point. You will have a flat surface with a handle to smooth out surfaces and a corner surface for edging. 

Make a small rake and hoe cutting the trowel with a flat edge (for a hoe). Cut it with a zigzag edge to make a a garden rake. These trash crafts provide excellent scissors skills practice.

Make a shovel by drawing a circle around the part where the lower end of the handle attaches to the jug, about an inch or so from the handle. Snip the top end off from the jug. Cut along the circle you've drawn. Now you have handled shovels to use for sand toys or garden tools.

Use garden tools in earth science lesson plans and experiments. Use beach toys in preschool sand and water table learning center. Make a classroom garden or individual student bucket gardens for nature study! 

My favorite way to make crafts for kids is in an intergenerational setting. Visit nursing homes and senior centers to do activities with seniors. Teach students about volunteering, empathy and awareness, with activities that connect kids and elders! Make it part of an Earth Day party! Invite grandparents! This grandma treasures her time spent making craft projects with her beloved grandkiddies! 

Earth Day recycled trash crafts, collage art, preschool lesson plans from the Barney Bag


Here's a blast from the past, just in time for Earth Day, April 22. Bust out the Barney Bag and whip a bunch of recycled trash crafts for kids! Wait, you don't what a Barney Bag is? PBS's Barney the dinosaur had a magic bag that the kids on his show Barney & Friends used to make crafts. These activities work great for earth science lesson plans on ecology and environment. 

I carried out the Barney Bag tradition with my children, who are now grown with children of their own. As a homeschool family, we didn't watch much TV, but they did love PBS in general and Barney & Friends in particular. (Here are free printable Barney coloring pages for a walk down memory lane!) We used the Barney Bag in preschool learning centers and arts and crafts lesson plans you can too. Upper elementary and middle schoolers will love making these recycled trash crafts for kids. Use them as hands-on ecology activities too! Here's a Q & A to get started. 

What is a Barney Bag? On Barney & Friends, it was a rainbow-colored satchel about the size of a small suitcase that contained all kinds of "gizmos and gadgets, odds and ends; even some old strings"--aka lots of cast-off stuff! Perfect for recycled trash crafts for kids or collage art learning centers. 

How do you make a Barney Bag? Keep a large recycled trash shopping bag near the recycle bin. Toss in unique packages, fabric scraps, odd-shaped containers, bits of yarn and fiber, foil and wrapping paper scraps, used ribbon and bows, decorative trim, mismatched buttons, gumball machine toys, assorted game pieces, old magazines, stickers, envelopes with stamps, playing cards, metal washers and springs, small broken utensils, packing peanuts and just about any discarded item imaginable. Repurposing these items teaches valuable real-life Earth Day lesson plans. 

When should I use it? You can weave the Barney Bag into collage art learning centers and lesson plans. But it works best to haul out Barney Bag spontaneously. If children are tired or grouchy, or it's too yucky to play outside, collage art perks them up.  Throwing a spontaneous craft party was a real sanity-saver for me when everyone came down with chicken pox at once!  

How do children use the Barney Bag? Assemble a tray of glue sticks (or plastic lids with glue and Q-tips), scissors (plain and decorative edged), glitter, crayons or markers, paints, shaped paper punches and stamps. Use up dried beans or pasta in collage art learning centers. Spread an old tablecloth or shower curtain on the floor to protect against spills. Make paint coveralls from dad's old T-shirts. Or recycled trash plastic grocery bags (handles are shoulder straps. Cut bottom off to slip over head. Cover the table with newspaper. Announce Barney Bag time by singing Barney's little ditty. 

"So we'll ask ourselves the question: what shall we make today? With imagination and a piece of string, we'll see what we can make today, yeah, we'll see what we can make today!" Make memories and the environment happy with these Earth Day trash crafts! 

Free printable animal masks for Halloween, animal coloring pages, crafts for Feast of St. Francis

October is a special month in the Catholic liturgical calendar. It's the month of Our Lady. Oct. 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (patron saint of animals). October 31 is the eve of All Saints Day, November 1. Here are printable coloring pages of saints to gear up for All Saints. There are printable Bible character activities for Christian-themed Halloween costumes. And I've included printable animal crafts and masks for the Feast of St. Francis. These would be good for Catholic or Christian school, especially preschool units.

Trick-or-treat is all about dressing up in Halloween costumes, right? So how about free printable Halloween masks for kids to color, cut and paste? Perfect for preschool, special education and school Halloween parties. For families who don't do Halloween, I included links for generic masks so kids can still enjoy craft fun. Masks are grouped by theme.
* Various: Colorbook Masks free printable Halloween masks in dozens of themes and styles. There are tribal masks from Africa, Bali, Native American, Aztec, Mayan, Inuit, Asian and more. Print animal, Mardi Gras, Harlequin, Tiki, calavera (skull) masks for Day of the Dead. To find the masks, you have to create a free account and log in. Click each mask image to get to different mask design pages.
* Animals: Activity Village has lots of free printable animals masks.
* Disney: Check Disney Family for free printable Disney Halloween masks. Print 3D masks of Winnie the Pooh, Ironman, Disney princesses, Hulk, Captain America, Frankenweenie and more.
* Famous people: Forbes publishes free printable masks of trending famous people, politicians and world leaders.
* Scary: Check Ravensblight for free printable monster masks. The Hannibal Lector iron jaw mask is downright horrifying.
* Samhain and fantasy: Phee Mcfaddel has free printable fairy masks plus other Wiccan-inspired designs. Some are rather eerie and some quite pretty and floral.
* Monsters, ghouls and zombies: Paper Marcos Front has free printable creepy monster masks and 3D paper toys.
* Doctor Who: Visit BBC for free printable Doctor Who villains masks. Dress as Ood, a Silurian, one of the Doppelganger twins, a Peg doll, a Weeping Angel or (creepiest of all) a monster baby cherub.
* Day of the Dead: How about free printable calavera masks? Happy Thoughts will email you free 3D skull mask printables if you submit your email. Here's another printable skull mask pattern from Instructables.

Many of the masks print in black and white so children can color them. Making homemade Halloween costume crafts means you keep antsy kids occupied productively as they await trick-or-treat.

Free Printable educational card games, board games


Card games and board games are excellent teaching tools. Games are interactive and hands-on and children learn many skills when they play card games. Educational card games teach kids to count, add, subtract, prioritize, plan, organize, sort, coordinate and evaluate. Card games can be created to teach content area and subject matter in lesson plans Card games help students memorize information. Here are free printable educational card games, playing cards, flashcards, dominoes and Memory games to use as lesson plans.
The Kidz Page has free printable educational card games, word games, flashcards, math games, sudoku games and lots of other educational learning games. They are brightly colored, cheerful games. Activity Village has free printable educational cards games, deck of cards for learning games, Memory games, dominoes and more. Planet Pals has a free printable animal matching deck of playing cards. You can play this game as Memory games also, finding pairs and sets.
Print Games has several cute free printable card games. Some are styled on vintage card games like Crazy 8s, Old Maid, Go Fish, and the regular deck of playing cards for solitaire, poker, rummy, etc. There are board games to print also. These make excellent family games and party games.
Mom's Minivan has a great assortment of free printable educational card games, travel and car games. There are bingo games, Battleships games, matching and Memory games, cootie catchers, connect the dot games, flashcards, decks of playing cards, dominoes and more.
DL-TK has a nice assortment of free printable educational card games, math games, matching and Memory games, dominoes, playing cards, flashcards and board games. There are free printable game tokens, playing pieces and dice.
Disney Family has gobs of free printable Disney activities, including Valentines based on Disney characters. Why not print sets of Disney valentines and make them into educational cards games, flashcards, playing cards, dominoes, matching and Memory games? Tim's Printables has free printable decks of playing cards.

For more Free Safe Kids Games visit the author's blog.