Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crafting If It Kills Me

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.

Then watch your kids have fun with their new buddy, who may have to join you for lunch like ours did.


Hooray for a great mid-morning time killer and a new friend!

Side note:  if you use the stickers from the dollar bin at Target, don't leave them on too long or they leave little heart-shape rashes on your children's faces.  Just so you know.

Good luck, and if you give it a try, leave me a comment and let me know how it goes!


Dawniebee12 said...

I need craft ideas! That is so fun! That last side note just cracked me up...Em's first tattoo! Temple tattoos are in now, right?

Zeller Family said...

HAHAHAHAHHA....sticker face :)

Tanya @ Greetings From the Asylum said...

My daughter would love to have a caterpillar of her very own! Thanks for sharing!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

so cute! Boo for the sticker rash - geez, what do they use on those things?

Yay, for you being crafty even when it doesn't come easily - your lil man looked like he enjoyed his caterpillar friend so it was a job well done!

Bernadette - MOm to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Jill said...

Oh your posts are always so fun and entertaining! Love this idea and all your very cute photos!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Moquelish said...

Fun idea! I have a 4 and 2 year old so we are always looking for fun ways to learn and burn energy. Thanks for sharing.

AmieAnn said...

This is such an adorable idea! Love that you had to "warm up" the faces with stickers. So cute! Love the caterpiller .. a very clever way to start spelling! Thanks for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party!

Tracy said...

This is awesome! Found you on Eisy Morgan!

Shannon Brennan said...

What fun post and a great idea for an easy toddler craft!

I linked to you on my new blog:

Jenn Erickson said...

You absolutely slay me! I love your humor and the adventures you have with your adorable kids. The stickers, cheer, and baby "restraint" totally had me rolling.

I can't believe those stickers made a rash. Eek! Well, it was a pretty darn cute rash at least, right?

Jenn/Rook No. 17