We have had a phenomenal amount of snow this January. I feel like every other day we are getting snowed in with nothing but my less-than-creative brain to entertain us. Thank God for other Mommy blogs, and for amazing preschool teachers who post crafty ideas on how to kill some time and engage a two-year-old. Em was a lost cause due to boredom, but nothing a doorway jumper couldn't fix.
So we turned a snowy, freezing day into a crafty day, whether that was high on my Things To Do list or not. Sometimes I just want to blog. Sometimes I have to fold laundry. Being Crafty is usually way down on the list near Write A Dramatic Monologue and Learn to Sew. But when Mother Nature has a good laugh at our expense and makes the temperature hover near zero and plops some more snow on top of our winter wonderland, I have to get crafty.
This craft took absolutely no effort other than the effort it took me not to murder Jax every time he pulled three feet of Scotch tape off the roll or tried to jab a pipe cleaner in his sister's eye. We made a construction paper chain caterpillar. It required construction paper, tape or glue, and markers. I tried to make it fancy and added real googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and stickers, but they were just for fun. Time it took from start to finish: 45 minutes. Googly eyes swallowed? One.
First you have to warm your kids up for craft time. Get their game faces on.
Sometimes adding stickers to their faces makes them that much more fired up.
Then you can get them to do a group cheer or chant. With my kids I was happy that there was a simultaneous smile.
You know I was kidding about the cheer, right? Just because I used to be a cheerleader doesn't mean I'm that big of a mommy dork. No, actually, I would totally do a Go, Scissors, Go! cheer if it meant keeping them occupied a little longer. Look what Vermont winters have done to me.
Okay, now that they're ready, it's time to choose two colors of construction paper and cut them into strips. I used two pages of each color and had a lot left over. You may want to use less or just let your baby suck on the extra.
Then you take those strips and make a chain of alternating color links. We used tape and it was very simple.
By the way, never underestimate the power of a paper chain. I know people who have used them as a countdown to a holiday or vacation, ripping down a link every day. You could use them to decorate the room, make a leash for a stuffed dog, whatever. The paper chain was the most fun for Jax, and I'm sure he'd happily make one every day.
At this point, your baby will have probably lost complete interest in the project since she is not allowed to crush the paper chain or suck on the markers. You may want to consider restraining her somehow.
There you go.
Now comes the messy, stressful part, where your toddler becomes more of a hindrance than a help but you really should try to let him assist you anyway. It keeps his interest longer, but raises your blood pressure. You decide which is more valuable to you at that moment.
Choose which part of the chain is the face of the caterpillar (or snake, I suppose) and which part is the tail. Make a face with either markers or whatever crafty supplies you have on hand.
I was annoyed at how the glue made the caterpillar's face all wet for a while. Probably would have been better off with a marker face, but Jax loved the googly eyes. In fact,
shortly after we made the face, I noticed the caterpillar was missing an eye. When I asked Jax where it was, he just opened his mouth and pointed down his throat. "Did you eat it?" I asked in horror, wondering what damage an Elmer's Glue-covered googly eye could do to a toddler's intestine. He just smiled and said, "Yes." Can't wait for tomorrow's diaper.
But I digress. You make a proper face, even adding pipe cleaner antennae if you're extra motivated...
...then, if your kid is obsessed with letters like mine is and constantly wants to "Build a word!", you can add stickers to the chain to spell out your animal of choice. In this case, caterpillar.
Good luck, and if you give it a try, leave me a comment and let me know how it goes!