Saturday, January 29, 2011

Litter Bug

This cute fellow can come right out of your recycle bin.

You will need:
Raid your recycle bin and use your imagination! We used newspapers, straws, a bottle cap, a jar lid, and a paper hole punch from our hole puncher.
Also, have handy: yarn or string, googly eyes, marker and glue.

How to:
The key to this craft is using your imagination to make your litter bug look however you want it to look. We started by balling up the newspaper and securing it with string. Straws became legs, caps became hats, more yarn became hair.

Attach googly eyes a nose and a smile and you are set.

What better way to teach about recycling than to show a child how to reuse something? I took the opportunity to teach Elliott a bit about caring for the Earth and explaining the concept of "Litterbug" to him. (Thank you Wall-e, as well!!) That came back to me when, a few days after doing this craft, we were walking into the grocery store behind some rather, er, tough looking characters who threw some trash on the ground. Elliott, having witnessed this pronounced loudly, to anyone within hearing distance (including said offenders), "Mommy, they're Litterbugs! Litterbugs!!!!" 

Yay, him. Boo, them. I have actually seen Elliott pick up trash off the ground and throw it away. Ironically, he has no problem throwing it on the floor in our house.

Almost a year later, and this little guy still gets some playing time.

Elliott's Edict:
We still have it. I liked putting the straws on it. And the smile. And the googly eyes. And the two hats. Two! That was a good craft.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Craptastic Yarn Bowl

Craptastic Bowl

You will need:
  • Newspaper
  • Yarn
  • 2 small bowls
  • Glue, glue and more glue
  • Inflated balloon
How to:
  1. Lay newspaper over work surface. This will get messy! Place balloon in small bowl to keep it from moving.
  2. Cut strips of yarn and soak in other small bowl filled with glue.
  3. Remove one piece of yarn at a time, squeezing excess back into bowl. Drape yarn over top of balloon. Continue draping yarn over balloon, layering pieces over each other. Leave the top of the balloon clear. (The section that is sitting in the bowl.)
  4. Let dry. (Overnight) Once dry, pop the balloon and remove from bowl.
Oh. My. Goodness. Hands down~Craptastic Craft of the Year! Can I just say that this is the second time I've tried this, both with horrible results? Every time I see this craft in a book or magazine I want to do it sooooo bad because it looks soooo cool. So not. The first time E and I did this (was for me, I'll admit it) he was just too young. So we tried again a year or so later. This time, still not a hit, still bad results. Elliott couldn't figure out the whole squeezing the glue out thing so I took over that, thinking he would at least like draping it over the balloon. Yeah, not so much. He was way more interested in playing with his Artoo-Potatoo Potato Head while he watched me. (With warnings not to get the glue too close to R2!) So I took over the whole project. Yay, me! OK, fun to do, but the results...not so fun.

Way more interested in that Potato Head

Elliott was most interested in popping the balloon. Our bowl was floppy and weak. The yarn just didn't get stiff enough. Was stingy me doing a little too much squeezing off the excess glue? The finished, um, bowl was a disappointment and was promptly thrown away.

Elliott's Evaluation:
Note from Mom: I would like to preface Elliott's thoughts by stating Elliott did not like doing this craft at all. However, his words:
I liked making it. Do we still have it? We should make it again. I liked taking that balloon out.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Robot Sculptures

Rummage through the tool box for parts for clay sculptures.

You will need:
  • 2/3 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Decorative embellishments and small hardware (we used nuts, bolts, screws, caps, etc.)
  • Waxed paper lined cookie sheet for drying
Other ideas: sequins, googly eyes, pop-tops, bottle caps, hooks, etc.

How to:
  1. In a small saucepan, mix the salt and baking soda with 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water. Stir well.
  3. Remove salt mixture from heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir vigorously for a minute or two to thicken clay. Spoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool before working with it.
  4. Shape clay into desired shapes and add embellishments for features. Use your imagination to figure out what each piece can turn into. (Screws with flat heads make great legs and will allow your figure to stand. Nails for eyes? Picture brackets for arms? A nut and bolt for a top hat? You decide!) Ours started out to be snowmen, but eventually we decided they looked more like robots.
  5. Once your sculpture is finished, set on waxed paper and let dry. (Takes about two days to dry completely.)
This was so easy to make...the first time. We have tried to make these a couple of times since and have had bad luck. Both times, even though I followed the directions exactly, the mixture came out too runny. I don't know what to say about it, because I cannot figure out why it worked so well the first time but none since.

Anyway, give it a try and see if you have better luck or if you can figure out the solution. This really is pretty cool. The figures held up very well until they got stored in Elliott's action figures box. Now they are missing a few parts. But other than that, they are pretty sturdy and get lots of play.

Elliott's Evaluation:
We still have them. They are in my action figures box. I liked going through all the tools. The legs are screws. The eyes are bolts. I like taking the top bolts off of Mommy's  robot's head.