Giant Paper Snowflakes with KidLitCrafts

 
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In just a few short weeks, Bookhouse Studio will be transformed into a winter wonderland. I’ll fill the space with all kinds of chilly fun inspired by the totally adorable new book, First Snow. Best of all, the talented illustrator Talitha Shipman will be joining us at the Bookhouse, reading the story and showing us a little bit of the magic behind the book!

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I’ve crafted up a storm of these huge paper snowflakes in preparation- ready for some tiny artists to beautify with a splash of color! Though the twists and turns look impressive, the steps are not too complicated. Here’s how I did it:

Materials:

  • 6 sheets of paper (per snowflake)

  • scissors

  • clear tape

  • stapler

Steps:

  1. Trim your rectangle sheets of paper to squares:

I use the tried-and-true triangle method, folding and trimming off the edge

I use the tried-and-true triangle method, folding and trimming off the edge

2. Fold your square into a triangle (if it’s not one already!)

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3. Fold into a triangle again, using the picture below as a guide:

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4. Make three cuts across the triangle, not quite to the end (from right to left if your triangle is folded like mine).

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5. Open up your folded triangle. Hopefully it looks like the picture below!

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6. Curl up the two innermost flaps and tape together.

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7. Flip over the paper (don’t forget that part!), curl together the next two flaps, and tape.

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8. Continue to flip, curl, tape until you have something like this:

9. Repeat, repeat, repeat! You need to do the same process of steps 1-8 to all six sheets of paper.

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10. Phew. Okay. You’re almost done! Take three of those amazing looking spirals in your hand and staple them together at one end.

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11. Use two more staples to connect each spiral to its neighbor. There will be a little bit of a flat spot where they rest next to one another. That’s the perfect spot!

12. Do the same thing with the other three spirals: Staple the ends together and staple each one to its neighbor.

13. Now you should have two halves of a snowflake. Simply staple those ends to one another, staple the sides, and voila!

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These are totally gorgeous as-is, but if you want to take it to the next level, set up your little one with some watercolors (we’ll be using blue and purple liquid watercolors from Discount School Supply) and let them go to town on this seriously unique canvas!

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Spooky Sensory Play

 
Guest post by Anna of KidLitCrafts

Guest post by Anna of KidLitCrafts

It’s no secret that little ones learn from sensory experiences.  If you’ve ever been around a toddler, you’ve probably spent plenty of time taking things from hands, mouths, and maybe even noses.  Our smallest ones don’t just take in new experiences with their eyes; they want to touch, rub, taste, smell. The world is a multi-dimensional sensation for them!

Sensory play is one way to embrace this type of learning and encourage children to explore the world with all of their senses.  It doesn’t have to be complicated; maybe you let your little one play in the mud instead of pulling her away. Watch how she squishes it with her fingers, draws tracks with a stick, stomps with her feet.  Too cold to play in the snow this winter? Bring a tray of the fluffy white stuff inside, stick it in the bathtub with your toddler, and have fun before it melts. Seeing the world as your little one does, as a place of unending discovery and surprise, will have you slowing down and noticing details we grownups usually pass right by.

Here’s the thing, though.  It’s not just about slowing down and smelling the roses (although that’s totally lovely and worthwhile).  The more scientists and researchers learn about the developing brain, the more we know about how important this stuff is!  Here’s the down and dirty:

Sensory play

  • Builds nerve connections in the developing brain’s neural pathways

  • Supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction

  • Aids in developing and enhancing memory functioning

  • Can help calm an anxious or frustrated child

  • Helps children learn sensory attributes

Pretty amazing, right??

Our Halloween Pop-up Party at Bookhouse Studio is going to be full of fun sensory experiences!  One of my all-time favorites (and irresistible to kids and grownups alike) is a simple, colorful rice bin!

There’s something oh-so-satisfying about the way grains of rice feel in your hand, and they’re perfect for mixing, scooping, digging, and sorting.  So. Many. Skills!

Making this super fun sensory medium isn’t as tricky as you might think.  Here’s how I did it:

Supplies:

  • dry rice (I like to get those extra big bags for this!)

  • tempera paint

  • large bowl

  • spoon

  • trays/cookie sheets

  • aluminum foil

We love the paints from  Discount School Supply!

We love the paints from Discount School Supply!

Steps:

1.     Pour your desired amount of rice into a large bowl

2.     Squeeze in several tablespoons of tempera paint

There’s no science to this… at least not the way I do it!

There’s no science to this… at least not the way I do it!

3.     Mix, mix, mix!

4.     Add more color until your desired shade is reached

5.     Spread rice onto a tray or cookie sheet covered in foil (the more spread out it is, the faster it will dry)

Isn’t it pretty??

Isn’t it pretty??

6.     Give it a little shake/break up clumps with your hand after about 20 minutes

7.     After an hour it will be dry and ready for fun!

8.     Repeat with multiple colors if you wish… I used black, purple, and blue for this spooky mix.

9.     Pour into desired container and add whatever you can find around your house (or the dollar store!).  Scoops, measuring cups, spoons, small toys, etc. *

I found all kinds of fun odds and ends at the dollar store and Target’s dollar spot!

I found all kinds of fun odds and ends at the dollar store and Target’s dollar spot!

If you’re worried about mess, make sure you have the container on a large tablecloth when playing.  Keep reasonable expectations… rice is definitely coming out of that bin. But guess what else is a great learning opportunity?? Sweeping!

My four and seven year old spent quite a lot of time digging and sorting… which then turned into a game of “store” that lasted over an hour! Open ended play like this leaves room for so much imaginative play!

My four and seven year old spent quite a lot of time digging and sorting… which then turned into a game of “store” that lasted over an hour! Open ended play like this leaves room for so much imaginative play!

Though our Halloween pop-up is sold out, you can now purchase tickets for our next event, Woodland Gnomes and Fall Fairies, HERE.  If you’re a Fort Wayne native looking to get more sensory play into your little one’s life, come check us out. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!



*As with all sensory play, this activity should most definitely be supervised by an adult.  I use non-toxic paint, but if your little one is still putting EVERYTHING in her mouth, a different kind of sensory play might be better...try cooked and cooled spaghetti noodles for a more taste-friendly fun time!

 

Easy Kid's Birthday Idea!

 

Guest post by Anna of @KidLitCrafts

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What do you do when you’re throwing a brother-sister birthday bash? Combine two of their favorites with an out-of-this-world Unicorns in Space Party of course!

We decked out Fort Wayne’s Bookhouse Studio in glitter and stars— painting galaxies, beading magical bracelets, finding space rocks, and decorating our very own DIY unicorn horns!

This activity was such a big hit, I wanted to share with you the secret behind these magical horns….. dollar store party hats! With $1 and a few basic supplies, you too can create some seriously amazing unicorn magic! Here’s how we did it:

Supplies:

  • cardboard party hats (the cheaper the better!)

  • scissors

  • hole punch

  • hot glue gun

  • markers, crayons, oil pastels, paints…. whatever!

Goodbye boring party hat!

Goodbye boring party hat!

Steps:

1. Disassemble your party hats. Our hats from the dollar store were conveniently held together with slots cut into the cardboard instead of staples, so they were super easy to come apart.

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2. Cut cardboard down to size. This is not an exact science, but I took off about two inches on each side. For us, that was just to the inside of the cardboard slots.

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3. Curl into a “horn” shape and hot glue together

This is the embarrassing true state of my glue gun. #gross

This is the embarrassing true state of my glue gun. #gross

4. Hole punch the sides and tie in the original elastic

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5. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

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6. Give to your tiny unicorns to decorate and enjoy some super magical results…

Just one of the fun art stations at our Unicorns in Space party!

Just one of the fun art stations at our Unicorns in Space party!

No KidLitCrafts party would be complete without books…. I always come prepared!

No KidLitCrafts party would be complete without books…. I always come prepared!

Are you a Fort Wayne, Indiana local looking for a super fun kids birthday idea? I would love to host your next birthday bash here at the Bookhouse! Each KidLitCrafts hosted party includes 90 minutes of studio time with art and sensory play stations based on your chosen theme. Here are some of my favorite party themes, but we’ll work together to find the perfect party for you!

Sweet mini-makers creating their galaxy paintings!

Sweet mini-makers creating their galaxy paintings!