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A Winter Craft Inspired by ‘The Mitten’

My daughters and I love Jan Brett’s books. One of our favorite winter books is The Mitten, which tells the story of a boy who looses one of his snow white mittens on a snowy winter day. Many rather large animals squeeze their way in the mitten, seeking warmth. On Jan Brett’s home page you can find many sweet printables and activity ideas. One is ‘Put the Animals in the Mitten’ and includes a mitten to print and all of the animals to fit inside. I printed off the animals but had a sewing project in mind for my 6 year old. Maybe you’d like to make one with (or for) your little ones, too.
Using wool felt I generously traced around her hand, cut out the pieces and pinned them together. I placed the first needle on the outside of the hand, several inches up from the opening to mark where she would begin sewing. You want to be sure there is plenty of room to fit the animals inside. Then we cut a piece of embroidery floss and she whip stitched the little mitten together. It’s great chance to practice hand sewing skills!

In the picture below you can see where I placed her starting pin and then she sewed all the way to the opening on the other side.

While she sewed her younger sister colored the animals from the coloring page. When she finished coloring I glued the whole sheet to a piece of paper board. I save them out from various purchased items but if you don’t have any you could always use a cereal type box. Once it dried I cut all of them out.

As the girls filled their mitten full of animals we sang a little song that I found here;

The Mitten
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

The mitten on the ground,
The mitten on the ground,
Heigh-ho! It’s cold outside,
The mitten on the ground.
The (mole) snuggles in,
The (mole) snuggles in,
Heigh-ho! It’s cold outside,
The (mole) snuggles in.
(After the last animal, all pretend to sneeze and fall out of the mitten.)
Author unknown

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Make a Mandala Spinning Top \ Dreidel from an old CD – Tutorial .

To make this Spinning top you will need:

An Old CD, a marble, paper, scissors, glue, hot glue gun.

You may also need, depending on the type of decoration you choose to apply to your spinning top: colored pencils or markers, colored paper, or whatever you fancy like stickers, glitter. Etc.

dreidel tutorial

1. The first step is to choose how you want to decorate your Spinning top.

There are a few options:

* Print out a pre-made Mandala and color it in.

* Print a blank circle and design your own Mandala.

* Print blank circles on colored paper, fold and cut, to make a paper-cut Mandala.

* Print a blank circle and decorate it freestyle with markers, stickers and glitter (this option is suitable for the younger kiddos).

I have drawn four Mandalas for your use, the first page has Mandalas with large areas to color in, suitable for younger children:

Large mandala

The second page has Flower themed Mandalas, with smaller shapes to color in:

Flower mandalas

When printing make sure you print “true to size” and NOT “Fit to page”.

If you want to make a Hanukkah Dreidel, print out one of the Hanukkah themed Mandalas. These were made by Tehila, an Israeli kindergarten Teacher who has kindly allowed us to use her artwork on our blog.

Hanukkah mandala1

Hanukkah mandala2

Hanukkah mandala3

To print blank circles, click here:

Blank circles

2. After you have printed your selected Mandala, cut around the the outer circle and then cut out the small circle in the middle, where the disk has a hole (you can also color first, and cut later, of course).

making a Spinning top

If you are making a paper cut Mandala, cut two circles, in different colors of paper. The first circle will be the background, and you only need to cut a blank. The second circle will be the Mandala itself. Fold and cut.

 making a Spinning top

3. Color in the Mandala. Coloring Mandalas is a meditative and calming activity. I had a great time making mine.

making a Spinning top

4. After you have finished decorating the paper circle, you can glue it to the disk.

If you are making a paper-cut Mandala, first glue the uncut circle to the disk, then, spread open the paper-cut and glue it on top of the first piece of paper.

making a Spinning top

5. Using the hot glue gun, glue the marble to the center of the disk. The marble should poke out of both sides of the disk – the top half of the marble is used for spinning the spinning top, and the bottom half is the point on which the spinning top spins. It is OK if the marble sticks out on top a bit more than the bottom. Sorry I could not provide a better photo for this step, my daughters did not allow me to glue their marbles…haha)

making a Spinning top

5. Spin!

Happy Hanukkah!

making a Spinning top

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Make a Mandala Spinning Top \ Dreidel from an old CD – Tutorial .

To make this Spinning top you will need:

An Old CD, a marble, paper, scissors, glue, hot glue gun.

You may also need, depending on the type of decoration you choose to apply to your spinning top: colored pencils or markers, colored paper, or whatever you fancy like stickers, glitter. Etc.

dreidel tutorial

1. The first step is to choose how you want to decorate your Spinning top.

There are a few options:

* Print out a pre-made Mandala and color it in.

* Print a blank circle and design your own Mandala.

* Print blank circles on colored paper, fold and cut, to make a paper-cut Mandala.

* Print a blank circle and decorate it freestyle with markers, stickers and glitter (this option is suitable for the younger kiddos).

I have drawn four Mandalas for your use, the first page has Mandalas with large areas to color in, suitable for younger children:

Large mandala

The second page has Flower themed Mandalas, with smaller shapes to color in:

Flower mandalas

When printing make sure you print “true to size” and NOT “Fit to page”.

If you want to make a Hanukkah Dreidel, print out one of the Hanukkah themed Mandalas. These were made by Tehila, an Israeli kindergarten Teacher who has kindly allowed us to use her artwork on our blog.

Hanukkah mandala1

Hanukkah mandala2

Hanukkah mandala3

To print blank circles, click here:

Blank circles

2. After you have printed your selected Mandala, cut around the the outer circle and then cut out the small circle in the middle, where the disk has a hole (you can also color first, and cut later, of course).

making a Spinning top

If you are making a paper cut Mandala, cut two circles, in different colors of paper. The first circle will be the background, and you only need to cut a blank. The second circle will be the Mandala itself. Fold and cut.

 making a Spinning top

3. Color in the Mandala. Coloring Mandalas is a meditative and calming activity. I had a great time making mine.

making a Spinning top

4. After you have finished decorating the paper circle, you can glue it to the disk.

If you are making a paper-cut Mandala, first glue the uncut circle to the disk, then, spread open the paper-cut and glue it on top of the first piece of paper.

making a Spinning top

5. Using the hot glue gun, glue the marble to the center of the disk. The marble should poke out of both sides of the disk – the top half of the marble is used for spinning the spinning top, and the bottom half is the point on which the spinning top spins. It is OK if the marble sticks out on top a bit more than the bottom. Sorry I could not provide a better photo for this step, my daughters did not allow me to glue their marbles…haha)

making a Spinning top

5. Spin!

Happy Hanukkah!

making a Spinning top

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Easy Wool Peace Dove Craft for Absolute Beginners

 

This craft tutorial is written by Rebecca who keeps shop at Nushkie.

I got an interesting call from a lady who is working on a project to open a Waldorf School on the West Bank in Israel. “Do you have a craft you can share…Something for children coming to our booth.” She was doing an outreach program at a local fair.

The first thing that popped into my head was a peace dove. What better symbol for bringing Palestinians and Jews together, at what better vehicle than a Waldorf School? The next thing that popped into my head was, well, the material I use all day: wool. But I didn’t want a craft that would involve needles. What came next was such an easy craft that I simply must share it with you.

You get a hold of some wool batting…something rough that will felt or tease together with just the palms of your hands or your fingers.

Pull off a length of about 6” and about 1 ½” wide.

Tie a knot in the middle.

 

Fold the two ends over to create a ball at one end. This will be your head.

Break off  a small piece of wool and wrap it very tightly to form the neck.

Now you will have the head and two lengths of wool extending from it. Choose the wider of the two and split that in two, pulling them apart from the ends to the head. These will become your wings.

Take each of the “wings” and roll them in your hands using your fingers or the palms of your hands to shape them. Do the same thing with the third part. This will be the dove’s body and tail.

When you have finished this step, you will have a sweet dove…

Here is your finished dove in less than five minutes! If you love it, you can do several and hang them at different lengths from a twig to make  a naturally beautiful mobile.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rebecca Varon

Copyright 2011

Nushkie.etsy.com

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Making a November Banner

I really love the month of November. It feels like a quite moment just before the busy bustling of the winter holidays start up. My daughters and I made a very simple little banner to welcome November. We started by gathering many leaves and then turning them face down on the table where we would be laying the cloth. I then cut a piece of white muslin (size is unimportant, just whatever works best for your space) and layed it over the leaves, making sure there was a leaf under every bit of it. I chose not to hem my cloth but you could if you wanted to.
We took our crayons rocks (though, you could also use block crayons or stick crayons, paper removed and rub the side) and lightly rubbed over the entire piece. I did have to remind them not to use the tip and not too rub too hard. It was also very pretty to layer the colors a bit.

We we had colored over the entire piece I wrote the word ‘November’  with gel glue. Next we brought out the glitter shakers and covered all of the glue in Autumn colored glitter.

After letting it dry I shook the excess glitter off and hung our banner over our nature shelf.

Welcome November!

 

Julie Hunter is a single mama raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Leaf Prints

Hello There Natural Families! Its Brittaini again for your weekly art lesson! This week I have a great lesson that involves nature and the wonderful process of printmaking! This is one of my favorite methods to work with because you can use virtually anything you have on hand to create a beautiful and textural work of art.

Materials:
Newspaper
Any colorful paper for printing (rice paper, construction, comics, recycled artwork, etc)
Block Printing ink OR tempera acrylic paint (most paints you have around the house are actually temperas)
paint brush
pastels and/or chalk, crayons would work too
leaves found outside varying in size…newly fallen or fresh work best. dried leaves wont work

Directions:
1. Take a walk or you and your child can go around to the different trees, bushes, shrubs in your yard and pick an array of different types of foliage. You can extend into science by looking up the tree leaves and identifying them.

2. Spread out newspaper on your work space, have lots handy for printing. A printmakers area tends to get messy fast. Have your paper ready to print on and squeeze out small amounts of different colored paints on another piece of newspaper. Put the pile of leaves in an easily accessible spot.
2. Have your child choose a leaf to work with. Have them also pick out what color of paint and what color of background paper they want ahead of time. This can also be part of a planning process or if you prefer to just let them go with the feeling that works too 🙂
3. On a separate piece of newspaper, flip the leaf over and let your child paint on the underside of the leaf in an outward motion. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the leaf as it is delicate and can tear easily. Encourage them to use as many or as little colors as they would like.
4. Carefully flip the leaf over onto the printing paper in a clean area. Using clean newspaper, place over leaf and rub with pressure all over the leaf. Carefully lift off newspaper and leaf to reveal your print. Now the fun begins! Once you and your child get the hang of it, you will have a blast trying out different combinations with leaf shapes and colors.
5. When your art work is dry, you can have a lot of fun adding details with crayons, pastels and/or chalk. Create a border or add additional detail on top of the printed areas. Use a contrasting color around the edges of the printed areas to make it pop out from the background.

Hints and Tips:
*Have a smudgy print? use less paint
*try printing the same leaf twice without adding more paint for a more undefined look
*Print on greeting cards or make smaller prints to send as postcards in the mail to far away relatives and friends.
*Tear or cut around the edge of the printed leaf and glue onto another sheet of paper for a collage look
*use other things to print…dont limit yourself to leaves.
*Have fun be creative and dont follow any rules

Brittaini Pulver is the owner and designer of Long Mountain Art.  She currently co-habitates with her son Santiago 7, Adelina 1 and thier father Aaron in Columbus, Ohio where she teaches high school art.

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Color Wheel Radial Name Design

Hi There All!  This is Brittaini Pulver your Natural Kids resident art teacher!  I am very please to be able to bring you lots of lessons for exploring the wonderful world of art!

The Color Wheel:  We all know how important exploring colors can be for children of any age.  Here we explore how to create them, integrate some math concepts and create a beautiful radial design using your child’s name.

Age Level: Grades 4-12 although you can modify for any age

Materials:

Piece of chipboard or strong card stock for creating a template 2 x 6

black Marker, pencil and eraser, scissors

protractor and ruler

18 x 24 paper

Red, Yellow and Blue Paint (tempera or acrylic work best but you could use watercolor too), small brushes, water

Directions:

1.  On the 2 x 6 piece of card stock write the name in cursive as large and wide as possible.  Ignore dots for “I”s for now.  When you like what you have, use a marker to go over the name a few times, going wider and wider without going off the paper creating a thick broad line for your name.  See figure 1. and 2.  You may want to change or adapt the shape of the name as you do this.  Cut out your name.  Cut the outer edge only, ignore the insides of letters like “a” and the “o”.  Be very careful to cut accurately as you are now using this as your template.  I tell my students to use the lower part of the scissors to gain more control over the cuts.

2.  On your paper, take your ruler and find the cross hairs of the center of the paper in very light pencil.  see figure 3.  Using the protractor, match the center line with the center you just made on your paper.  Using the pencil, make marks at the 0, 30, 60,90, 120, 150 and 180.  Flip over and make marks at the 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 degree.  This should give you 12 equally spaced dots.  Alternately, if you do not have a protractor you can eye ball it with pencil 12 equally spaced dots like a clock.

3.  Using your pencil and the template of your name, choose a dot on one of the sides.  Fit it so that the edge of the first letter of your name is close to the edge without going off the paper.  Make a mark where the dot lines up with your template.  This is important to do if you want your design to look even and radial.  Trace your name.  Now move around the circle rotating your name slightly each time; keep tracing until you have all 12 done.  BE sure to line up the dot on your name in the same place every time.  Now with your pencil draw all the insides of the letters like the “o” and the “a”.  Now you can choose to draw a tail towards the center like finished example 3 if you like.

4.  Pour out red, yellow and blue paint.  Keep some scrap paper handy for mixing.  refer to this link http://www.kidzone.ws/science/colorwheel.htm for color wheel.  It is important the sequence is correct.  Paint the primary colors first; red, blue and yellow in the correct spots.  Using equal parts of yellow and blue mix green and paint it in; equal parts blue and red for violet (purple);  equal parts yellow and red for orange.  These are the secondary colors.  Equal parts of 2 primary colors make the secondary colors.  The intermediate or tertiary colors are created by mixing 1 primary and 1 secondary color together.   Or if you want to explore ratios as a math extension you could do it this way; notice how the primary color is always listed first for the intermediate colors and therefore have the majority of the ratio:

Orange: 2 parts yellow, 2 parts red

Violet: 2 parts blue, 2 parts red

Green: 2 parts blue, 2 parts yellow

Yellow Orange: 3 parts yellow, 1 part red      Yellow Green: 3 parts yellow, 1 part blue

Red Violet: 3 parts red, 1 part blue          Red Orange: 3 parts red, 1 part yellow

Blue Green: 3 parts blue, 1 part yellow          Blue Violet: 3 parts blue, 1 part red

5.  Painting tips:  It is important that you mix a little more color than you think you need for a spot.  Otherwise, it will take some time to get the exact color you had before.  Load up your brush with paint and try to use the smallest brush possible.  Start at just the inside of the line in the space you are working on; that way when you put pressure on the brush the paint will be forced towards the edges leaving you a nice clean edge.  When creating your name, the thicker the better…smaller is NOT easier in this case especially if you do not have the most careful painter.  For smaller children, i highly recommend tracing the names on another sheet of paper so the child doesn’t have to worry about edges; they can even finger paint inside the names.  Cut out the names when dry and paste them to a background paper.  Younger kids will frustrate easily because they are still fine tuning their fine motor skills.  When you are finished and paint has dried, you may want to take a sharpie or heavy black marker and outline your work.  This is just an aesthetic choice.  Above all, have fun and modify as you see fit.  The most important concept about this project is understanding how colors relate and how they are made.

Brittaini Pulver is the mother of Santiago 7 and Adelina 1.  She is currently in her 9th year of teaching high school art for Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio.  She owns Long Mountain Art, an organic clothing line for babies and children.

www.longmountainart.etsy.com

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Tutorial: How to make lavender play dough

I have found this to be the perfect afternoon activity to do with my daughter. She helped me make our first batch and I have since given it away as birthday gifts. Here is what you will need:

1 cup sea salt
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
Food Colouring
Lavender Essential Oil
Step 1: Put all ingredients into a large pot over low heat and stir.

Step 2: Keep stirring! While the mixture is starting to firm up, add in 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I sometimes use 8 drops of lavender 2 of rosemary. The first batch I ever made I just used 6 drops. I can smell the lavender but it wasn’t quite enough for my taste. It is easy to add more so start off small and keep adding to suit your taste. I like using lavender because of its antibacterial properties.

Step 4: Once the dough starts to get too firm to mix and really starts pulling away from the sides of the pot, let it cool a few minutes until it can be handled. Then take it out of the pot and kneed it until soft and smooth. If after a bit of kneading it is sticky, add a touch more flour or place back in to the pot and warm up again. If it is too stiff, wet your hands with water and knead the dough again.

Step 5: Form the dough into balls. I make three balls for the primary colours. Create an indent in the ball and add food colouring there. Kneed again until food colouring is equally distributed. You can then colour combine. Blue and red = purple, Yellow and blue = green and so forth.

Step 6: Create! Play! Mould and Sculpt! Or… let cool to room temperature and then store in an air tight container in the fridge when not in use. I have had my batch for a couple of months now and it is still going strong. Once it starts getting funky, toss it and make more. Creations can be baked. You will have to experiment with your own oven for temperature and duration. Enjoy.

Written by Rachel from OAST

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Caterpillar Craft Tutorial

After I saw the photos (above & below) from Natural Kids Team member Kelly on her blog Muddy Feet, I have been wanting to make a post on caterpillarsas part of the theme I have been posting on the last few weeks.

When I was growing up my friends and I used to spend oodles of time sitting in a willow tree that had hundreds of caterpillars each year. We usually didn’t get to see the butterflies that emerged, but caterpillars are fun just on their own~ and most kids find them fascinating.
Now that you can order caterpillars and build a spot to keep them until the butterflies emerge many families are doing this (some school classrooms too). How fun is that? Lots of fun!
It is also fun to make caterpillars out of various craft items… a little caterpillar tutorial is below~ easy enough for any child who can handle a needle and thread.
How to make a caterpillar out of felt balls: You will need 5-7 felt balls (whatever size you like), thread (including black), needle and scissors.
This is SO easy! If you don’t have pre-made felt balls on-hand you can either needlefelt them or use pom-poms.
1. Begin by threading a strong thread through the felt balls until all the balls are on the thread.
2. Then when you reach the last ball, start rethreading them all back to the beginning).
3. Knot the thread off, now all your felt balls are connected.
4. Then make a couple of eyes with black thread. You can make little antennas too, by threading the black thread through the head, making a knot and cutting off just above the knot.
Cute little felt ball caterpillar is done and ready for play or decoration! Please remember that small parts can be dangerous for young children.
This tutorial is brought to you by Natalie of Woolhalla.
The photos of live caterpillars are by Kelly of Muddyfeet, thank you for sharing Kelly!
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A Crafty Nature Table Storage Idea

I am always looking for ways to store things that is not only functional but is also beautiful! I came up with a great idea to store my seasonal Nature Table toys and playsilks.

Here is what you will need:
4 wooden photo boxes – $10 each at your local craft store
An assortment of non-toxic paints
Stamps in a variety of seasonal themes

I decided to only paint the lids to keep the colors from not over whelming the whole Nature Table space.

I painted only one coat so as to let the wood grain show. I picked Green for Spring, Yellow for Summer, Brown for Autumn, and Blue for Winter.

Next use the stamps to decorate. Once the lids dry give then a coat of non-toxic finish or simple use a beeswax finish.

Come back tomorrow to see how we organize and store our lovely Nature Table treasures using these great boxes.

…Just a little side note from the farm, we had to take a brake from our crafting cause the kids found their first salamander! I often told them about my days growing up on the farm and looking for salamanders! They were as happy as can be!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard