Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day! A Kid's Craft Project and a Couple Children's Book Recommendations....

Today, it was FREEZING here... especially since yesterday was extremely springlike. Our Earth Day saw flurries. Oh well, I keep saying it is not really spring here until June...

I taught an Earth Day craft to an enthusiastic group of kids, ages 6-12, at the Banff Public Library this afternoon. The book that originally inspired our craft today is called "Seeds, Seeds, Seeds" by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. This wonderful books tells the story of a young bear, whose grandfather sends him 5 seed projects in the mail. Each project is dedicated to several pages of the book. I would love to teach a whole afternoon that is just centered around this book. The projects include making seed identification cards, watching how a seed germinates over time using illustrations on cards, planting a seed, making a bird feeder, and making a frame covered with beans and seeds. The book is recommended for ages 4-8 but could be adapted to all ages.

Our project involved decorating mat board with seeds. I photographed each child at the beginning of the hour, and Tonya, one of the librarians who was also my lovely assistant (thanks, Tonya!) for the class, ran them to Banff Camera where they were printed while she waited.

Project Materials
- Mat board with window
- Decorative paper
- White glue
- Raffia
- Poppy Seeds, Sunflower Seeds in the shell, and Pumpkin Seeds
- Photo corners
- Photo

1) Select a piece of decorative paper and a mat. Using the mat as a template, draw around it, then cut out a piece of paper the same size as the mat board.

2) Put glue on three sides of the back of the mat board, flip over the paper so that the colored side is glued to the back of the mat (so that you could see the color through the window).

3) Take a couple of strands of raffia, twist the ends, cover them in glue, and stick them between the paper and mat board, on the side that is not glued together. Now glue the edge together.

4) Now, it is time to work on the design. Using glue in a squeeze bottle it is very easy to create your design. The large seeds can be glued right on. The poppy seeds are sprinkled onto the glue, then the excess is tapped of the back. I work over a shoe box lid when sprinkling the seeds and then tapping. I use a small dish to hold the seeds and to sprinkle from. It is easy to repeatedly pick up the box top and return the seeds to the dish during the process.

5) Put the photo corners on the edges of the photo, and lick, or if self adhesive, remove the backing.

6) Center photo and stick down. Voila!

The kids did a great job. I am always struck by the variety of designs that come from kids in the same group using the same materials. It is amazing!

The book that we read while our glue was drying is called "June 29th, 1999" by David Weisner. It is about a girl who sends her seeds up to outer space to see what will happen. She reports to her class what she is hoping and soon GIANT vegetables start landing in the area. It is only once vegetables she had not planted start to arrive that she realizes these must not be her experiments... I will leave the surprise ending for you to discover. The illustrations are lovely and the language is wonderful!

Happy Earth Day!!

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