I Heart Mustache Art

Having way too much fun in our craft room today, I was inspired by the FABULOUS Salvador Dali lessons at Use Your Coloured Pencils andThere’s a Dragon in my Art Room, plus the cutest Valentine I’ve ever seen – from my son’s kindergarten classmate Lola.

Still chuckling, I think I’ll have to use some version of this for my Art Parent lesson in my daughter’s 3rd grade class next week.

Sharpie marker, 12×18 construction paper, 2 pieces antique-tan cardstock (1 for portrait, 1 for speech bubble), scissors, brown or black pipe cleaner and hot glue gun.  Cardstock scraps for embellishments.

For my son’s 1st grade class, oil pastels, at his request.  Maybe a watercolor resist.  I was thinking kissing fish – did you know there really is such a thing?  Or Jim Dine hearts.

I’ll update with the results!

2/12 Update
I should’ve stuck with one project, perhaps – either the original, awesome Dali portraits, or a lesson on facial proportions or a make-your-own Valentine.  Instead, I presented them all as possible directions, with varying degrees of interest from the kids.  Some great tongue-in-cheek results below.

A couple of highlights:
1. Mustache on a Stick, which I offered as an activity if the kids finished early.  Black cardstock, double-stick tape and 3/16″ wooden craft dowels at Michaels.  Great yearbook photo opp!

2. Several kids really appreciated the puns!  This gives me great joy.  They came up with: “My favorite nut is a mustachio.” and “I mustache you a question…but I will shave it for later!”



“I Wanna Wash My Haaaands!”

These kindergartener-made polar bears are adorable.  But applying paint with marshmallow “stamps?”  Not quite the hit I expected it to be!

The original lesson comes from Kids Artists (tagged for slightly older children) and I adapted it to suit our 30-minute time frame.

My son and 18 of his classmates traced a paper plate with pencil on blue 12-x18 paper for the bear’s face.  Then added half-circle ears.  They used a big marshmallow to add white tempura paint for fur, and a mini-marshmallow to add snow.  Eyes and a mouth were made with a small brush (they were so relieved!) and black tempura paint.

With no time for the white paint to dry, I thought they’d be disappointed in how a big, black painted nose would turn out.  So they stuck on pre-cut noses made from sparkly adhesive-backed foam (love that stuff!).

A few children were interested in making grey, which I showed them individually so they could add depth to the insides of the ears and under the bear’s chin.  But most were desperate to wash their hands!

The biggest hit of this project?  Eating marshmallows once everyone’s hands were clean and reading aloud The Marshmallow Incident.

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Football Helmet?

My 2nd grader came home today wearing a milk jug on her head!

It vaguely resembled a football helmet, but we’re a big-headed family so it didn’t quite cover her ears.  The occasion was “college team spirit day” – a fundraiser, I think, since I paid a dollar so she could wear a football shirt to school.

If I could ever stay awake late enough to host a Super Bowl party, I’d use this as a craft to occupy the kids.

Or, on Thanksgiving, little houseguests could make them for the dads parked in front of the TV.  Imagine the group photos!


Homemade? Nuts!

For Teacher Appreciation Week at our school, the parents were asked to send in “homemade goodies” today.  I don’t bake.

But my mother-in-law gave me this easy recipe for “Cinnamon Sugar Pecans” that I pull out every time I need to pretend that I do.  The middle of March is probably too late for them (they make a great holiday treat), but they’re delicious and, well, my options are limited.

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 pound bag of pecan halves (4 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix egg white and water well.  Stir in pecan halves.  In another bowl, mix sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in nuts to coat.  Spread out on cookie sheet (cover with tinfoil for easy clean-up).  Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

A very similar recipe is also here, on Allrecipes.com.

Now, if these don’t count as “homemade,” please don’t let me know.

Valentine’s Day Preschool Party

I organized this Valentine’s Day party for a preschool class of 3-4 year-olds with a friend of mine who is a fantastic party-planning mom.  It was simple, inexpensive and fun.

Candy Hearts & Chopsticks Relay
This was my friend’s idea and I’ve used it several times since.  She asked a local Japanese restaurant if they would sell her wooden chopsticks sets wrapped in paper (I’ve done this twice now and the manager gave them to me at no charge).  Check out this video about how to attach them together with a rubber band.

She set two bowls of candy hearts at one end of the room and two empty bowls at the other end.  She divided the class into two teams and lined them up behind the full bowls.  One child from each team picked up a candy heart with his chopsticks and carried it to the empty bowl.  He brought the chopsticks back to the next child in line, and they took turns until all of the hearts were transferred.

Decorate a Red Bucket with Stickers
Each child received a personalized container to decorate.  Party City and Dollar Tree usually have red buckets in stock for $1 or less.   Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers are great for writing names on plastic.  We collected Valentine’s Day stickers into snack-size Ziploc bags, enough so that each child had his own bag.  The hardest part was finding stickers that weren’t too girly (although most kids this age still don’t care).  But I did find foam monkeys-with-hearts stickers at Hobby Lobby to mix in with the frou-frou hearts.

The kids could do the craft on their own and they had something fun and sturdy to take home (my son still uses his two years later).

Red and/or Heart-Shaped Food
My friend made heart cookies for the children’s snack and I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter on slices of cheese.  We also served red grapes and strawberries.

Kevin Henke’s Lilly’s Chocolate Heart is short and adorable and a great excuse to give each child a chocolate heart afterwards.

The teachers heartily approved and my friend and I were relaxed enough to enjoy the time with our sons and their buddies.