Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Halloween Crafts for Kids

Get ready, as Halloween is coming on the 31st of October. What a wonderful family holiday; a perfect time for parents and children to spend time together carving pumpkins, designing costumes and planning trick-or-treat activities. Kids can lose themselves in fun without having to worry about normal, proper behavior. They can act out their fantasies, dreams and imaginations, it's OK because it's Halloween. Spend good days together making these fun Halloween crafts for children.

Make a Bat with Hands
Make use of a child's hands to make this fun Halloween bat. Trace each hand onto black poster board, heavy construction paper or fun foam. Then cut out a headpiece with pointed ears. Assemble the pieces with glue or tape. The handprints are the bat's wings. Decorate the head with googly eyes (or paper ones), a pompom nose, and a freaky mouth cut from white paper. Add a yarn or ribbon loop at the top to hang this bat decoration around the house.

Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe
Take the traditional tic-tac-toe game and give it a Halloween flair. Cut a large pumpkin from a sheet of orange poster board. Draw the game grid with a black marker. Cut game markers (in Halloween shapes) from construction paper. Another good tip is to use your computer and find clip art that would serve as markers, you need at least five markers of two different shapes. Preserve your game board and pieces covering them with clear plastic adhesive paper if you wish. Enjoy playing this game with the children and think about how this game can be made for other holidays too.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Use the month of October to make crafts and decorate the home or classroom. Have fun bonding with your children and give them big hugs!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

National Grandparents Day is Coming (September 8, 2013)

Grandparents are a part of a person's heritage and essential members of families and communities. That is why a special day, National Grandparent's Day, is set aside every year to honor them. This day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day (in September).

Children Question About Childhoods

Children are naturally curious about themselves and often ask questions about their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods. Were they the same or different than what children experience? It’s sometimes hard for a child to envision a grandparent as a kid, but stories about life “way back when” help the child to connect to the family.
Help children understand their unique background or heritage by bonding and doing these activities together.
  • On a World or United States map, place a sticker on each town or country where the ancestors lived. Rent or check out a video from the library to view the ancestor’s homeland.
  • Create a family tree using photographs. This is a great art project. Help children look for similar physical characteristics between the generations.
  • Share favorite childhood foods. Parents can prepare a recipe that was a favorite when they were young. A grandparent who is local can make a favorite recipe as well. Create a family cookbook together.
  • Bring out the box of pictures and spend a day looking at ancestors. Grandparents can find photos when they were young. Help children identify older people in the photographs and explain their relationship to the family.
  • Teach the children a game that was popular “way back when”.
  • Older children might enjoy learning their ancestral language. Start out with a few common words. There are books and tapes available at most public libraries or bookstores that can teach the basics of other languages.
  • Bring out cultural memorabilia, such as dolls, toys, plates, etc. for the children to view. Try making a cultural craft from the ancestral country.

Make a Family Collage
Materials needed:
  • Photos or photocopies
  • Glue or glue stick
  • Colored construction paper
  • Marker
Bring out the box of photos again, and let the children make a photo collage on poster board or even cover a box with colored paper and make a photo block. If there aren't duplicate pictures, think about making color photocopies for the kids to use. Shapes of colored construction paper make great frames and backing for the pictures. Label the project by the child’s name, like "Tara’s Family". Make sure the child recognizes each person in the photos. Use old photos from the past and incorporate newer ones as well. This makes a great genealogy lesson!
Another variation is to cover a coffee can with colorful construction paper. Now, glue on favorite family photos. Fill the can with baked cookies or candy and present this gift to the grandparents.
As grandparents and children spend time together and get to know each other; this creates a bond that cannot be duplicated. Children will preserve these memories for life.
Make sure to mark this date and spend time with your child's grandparents -- near or far. If they are not close by, don't forget to make a phone call, Skype, send an email or a card by snail mail. Let your children cherish their grandparents as this part of their childhood is so important. Take pictures for lasting memories. 
Until next week - enjoy this lesson and hug those precious children,
 Photo courtesy of Flickr