Thursday, March 5, 2015

Takeoffs and Landings

For this program the kids made all sorts of fun stuff: paper airplanes, parachutes, roto-copters and hot air balloons.
Paper Airplanes:
Using books to make paper airplanes
Testing planes
Skill Testing
These were cut out using an Accu-cut die onto card stock, construction paper and printer paper.  We didn't have time to test which weight of paper worked the best.

Hot Air Balloons:
We found the idea on this website and modified it for older kids and time.

We cut card stock into 1x6 inch strips.  The kids used tempera paint dabbers to decorate their strips.  Once done and dry, we punched holes on one end and connected the strips together using metal brads.  We also punched a hole on the other end and curved the ends up  into a balloon shape, adding an additional brad.  The kids cut yarn strings to attach a 1 1/2 x 4 inch basket to their balloon.

For some reason I don't have a picture of a finished balloon.  This is from the Sew Home Grown blog.  We did not make ours into mobiles.
We cut 8 x 8 squares out of black plastic garbage bags, tissue paper, and regular grocery sacks.  We punched holes in the four corners.  (To make it easier for the hole punch to work on the plastic, we taped the corners on some and added round stickers to others).  We also cut four equidistant holes on coffee filters. The kids picked one from the four options and cut lengths of yarn to tie on each corner.  We tied the ends together and let the kids test them using clothespins as weight.

Testing from the landing.
Black plastic bag parachute
It's hard to see, but these are roto-copters falling down.

Due to the large number of kids at our first session, we only did the testing from the landing during our smaller evening session.  The kids were well behaved and the patrons didn't seem to mind the items falling onto them.

Attendance: 30, 5
Evaluation: This program didn't go as planned in that I had hoped to do a lot of testing of the different materials to see if material weight made a difference in performance.  I think the program needs to be restructured in order for that to happen.  Each child would have to do the same project at the same time with testing following after creation.  That being said, the kids had a blast.  The hot air balloons required a lot of staff involvement when it came to assembling the balloons.  The younger kids also had a hard time tying the yarn to the parachutes and many didn't cut long enough strings.  With tweaking, a program to run again.

Be Mine, Valentine 2015

I think this is one of our favorite programs every year.  There are so many cool valentine's ideas out there that we have such a hard time picking which ones we're going to do!

This year we offered four different crafts: tin foil stained glass hearts, paper towel owls, tie-dye coffee filter hearts and pop art hearts.  The kids could also create their own valentine's using miscellaneous supplies.

Tin Foil Hearts:
For this project the kids took a square of aluminum foil, painted it with watered down glue and pasted tissue paper pieces to it.  When the heart was covered, they glued it to a colored piece of card stock which had a heart cut out using our Ellison machine.


Tie Dye Hearts:
This was super easy yet the results are amazing.  The kids took white coffee filters, colored them with watercolor makers and then a volunteer spritzed them with water to make the colors bleed together.  Once the item dried (which happens fairly quickly) the kids cut them into hearts.

These took quite a bit more direction from us, but the results were well worth it!  Once they got the paper on (using both glue sticks and double stick tape), we folded the paper tubes down to make the ears.  The kids glued hearts on for wings, wiggle eyes and foam shapes for beaks.

Some cut their own ears instead of folding the tubes.
Isn't she sweet?

Pop Art Hearts:
We found this online and printed it off for the kids to do.


Attendance: 36, 15
Evaluation: This turned out so fun.  This year the kids only made one true valentine with the others being themed crafts/art projects.  This was a nice change for them and helped us keep the theme fresh.  The tie-dye hearts got a little messy, especially if the coffee filter was overly spritzed.  They turned out great and allow for a wide range of ability levels (a real necessity with a program covering grades 1-5!).  The owls were a lot of work, but they are so different from our normal crafts and well worth the work.  The stained glass hearts didn't turn out quite as well as we'd hoped.  We glued the tin foil to regular paper to create a sturdier base and allow for what we hoped would be a neater finished project upon opening the card.  However, the printer paper wasn't thick enough and the glue and tissue paper bled through, especially along the edges, so that it looked messy instead of neat.  Next time we'll glue the tin foil to card stock.

Mo Willems

While we figured most kids attending our program were familiar with Mo Willems and his work, we decided to start the program with a short interview to give the kids some background.  We then went on to show Knuffle Bunny as one of the projects the kids could work on was art similar to that found in that book and its subsequent sequels.

After, the kids had a chance to work on a few different projects (of which they could finish all as time allowed).  They could also use an iPad to play Don't Let the Pigeon Run this App.

I only wish there had been enough time to share the various stories the kids created!

We printed off Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon 3x5 images and the kids got the chance to create shrinky dinks.  This is always a huge hit, although time consuming for one staff member who needs to run the toaster oven to shrink all the images.

Waiting in line to shrink their images!
Shrinking in progress

The kids could also create their own Elephant and Piggie comics, found at:

They also tried drawing their own pigeons.

And the final activity was creating art similar to that found in Knuffle Bunny.  We located images on google for the kids to use and gave them lots of scrap paper so they could add their own details.

Attendance: 41, 9
Evaluation: We were pleasantly surprised by how popular this program was even with the older attendees.  I was a little concerned they would feel the topic was baby-ish.  Luckily the activities we chose were spot on for our wide age range and the kids loved it.  We had planned on doing a relay using an egg shaker and paper bag nest, but there was so much else to do we just didn't have time!  There are lots of great event kits online which helped as we also had some other fun activity sheets available for the kids to use.  I can see us doing this program again in a few years.