Category Archives: Crafts

Silly National Holidays {and how to use them in the classroom}

chocolate covered bacon!

Anyone want to celebrate Chocolate Covered Anything Day?

by Diane Burdick, Ed.S

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card!

Thanksgiving and Christmas may be over, but that’s just fine by me because I recently discovered a new favorite holiday. And although I’ve been celebrating the spirit of this day for many (many) years, I didn’t know there was an “official” holiday for it until recently. It can be summed up in one glorious word: CHOCOLATE.

That’s right, December 16 is “National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.” So of course I celebrated it with gusto this past month. And it got me thinking: what other lesser-known holidays are out there languishing without celebration?

A little digging led me to discover the answer: quite a few! Many of these holidays are silly, most are funny, and almost all are downright perfect for a teachable moment. Here are a few lesson ideas, based on January’s wacky holidays:

January 10: “Peculiar People Day”

Look up the word “peculiar” in the dictionary. Have students copy the definition and then write their own definition in their own words below it. Younger students can then draw a peculiar person, and older students can create a description of a peculiar person.

Since peculiar people aren’t boring in the least, be sure to brainstorm a list of colorful synonyms and adjectives to describe peculiar people. For example, you could ask children to consider what would make a basketball player peculiar from his teammates (height, or lack thereof), or what might make a ballerina peculiar (clumsiness, huge feet, a mohawk, etc.). They can write a “peculiar person paragraph” and illustrate it. Or, better yet: have them trade paragraphs with a classmate and illustrate each other’s based on the descriptions! 

January 15: “Hat Day”

Provide magazines and have students search for hat pictures, cut them out, and make a “wacky hat” collage. Older students could research styles and fashions of different eras and see what types of hats were popular in each era. What was the purpose of each type of hat? For example, why are cowboy hats so different from baseball caps? Why did women used to wear hats to church? Why are Kentucky Derby attendees famous for wearing hats? Or add in a little math: What’s the average hat size in your classroom?

January 23: “National Handwriting Day”Girl writing with colored pencil

Practice using your best handwriting to write thank-you notes to people in the school. Brainstorm a list of seldom-thanked staff members (media specialist, janitor, cafeteria workers, front desk receptionist, etc.) who might appreciate a well-penned note.

January 25: “Opposite Day” 

Have fun with this one! Students can practice talking in opposites, or you can give instructions in opposites (“Stand up,” “Put your books away,” “Don’t write this down”). Give a sticker or small prize to the student who most successfully figures out and follows the correct instructions all day.

Here are some other wacky January holidays to get your creative juices flowing!

January 1: First Foot Day and Z Day

January 2: Run Up the Flagpole and See if Anybody Salutes It Day

January 3: Festival of Sleep Day

January 4: Trivia Day

January 5: Bird Day

January 6: Bean Day

January 7: Old Rock Day

January 8: National JoyGerm Day and Man Watcher’s Day

January 9: Play God Day

January 10: Peculiar People Day

January 11: National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day

January 12: Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day (couldn’t find a good explanation of this one…but it sounds fascinating)

January 13: Make Your Dream Come True Day (love this!)

January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

January 15: Hat Day

January 16: Hot and Spicy Food International Day

January 17: Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Day

January 18: Winnie the Pooh Day

January 19: National Popcorn Day

January 20: National Buttercrunch Day

January 21: National Hugging Day (awww)

January 22: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day (bizarre-o!) and National Blonde Brownie Day

January 23: National Handwriting Day, National Pie Day, and Measure Your Feet Day

January 24: Eskimo Pie Patent Day

January 25: Opposite Day

January 26: Australia Day

January 27: Punch the Clock Day

January 28: Rattle Snake Round-Up Day

January 29: National Cornchip Day

January 30: Escape Day

January 31: National Popcorn Day (just in case you missed it on the 19th! :)

Whichever holiday you choose to celebrate and integrate into the classroom, we’ll be excited to hear about it! Leave a comment about what you’ve already celebrated, or the holiday you plan on bringing into your classroom in the new year.

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Filed under Classroom Community, Classroom Decor, Crafts, History, Holidays, Multicultural Community, Uncategorized

Countdown to Christmas! {3 creative ideas}

by Diane Burdick, Ed.S

Comment on this post and be entered to win $20 to spend at The School Box  

Kids love counting down to Christmas. After all, it is one of the most exciting times of the year! But just how do you get ready for the season? If your answer is simply x-ing out the days on a calendar, might we suggest a few fun crafts to add to your classroom Christmas tradition repertoire?

Santa’s Disappearing Beard

Santa's beardThis idea, found here, is super simple to make!

1. Create a long Santa beard from lined paper (like notebook paper).

2. Add a face from construction paper.

3. Then clip off one line’s worth of the beard each day.

The shorter Santa’s beard gets, the closer you are to Christmas. Not only will kids enjoy snipping Santa’s beard, but it helps them visualize the length of time left before Christmas.

Merry Muffin Tins

merry muffin tinsMaybe instead of a traditional counting down calendar, you want give tiny gifts too. Sure, you could spend lots of money on a container, but consider repurposing something you already have around the house — a 24 count muffin tin — into the perfectly portioned gift container. Thanks to Heartland Paper for this ingenious idea!

1. Cut out circles of heavy paper (such as scrapbook paper, or cardstock covered with wrapping paper) slightly larger than the muffin tin openings.

2. Decorate each circle with a number for each day leading up to Christmas.

3. Attach a small magnet to the back of each circle, and cover each opening with the decorated circle.

4. Place a small trinket or piece of candy in each opening.

5. Display the new muffin tin calendar on the table, or tie a ribbon through the hole in the top of the tin and hang on the wall.

Chinese Takeout Containers

Chinese takeout adventIf you’re the type of person who loves to give gifts all season long, then garland made from numbered and decorated Chinese takeout containers will give you the perfect opportunity to tuck away gifts AND count down to the Big Guy’s arrival.

1. Purchase empty boxes at the craft store or online, and decorate each box with a number and bits of fabric or festive paper to make it look more Christmasy.

2. Fill each container with goodies— such as candies, freshly baked cookies, crafts or small toys.

3. Line up the containers on the fireplace mantle or clip to a piece of rope with clothespins for an enticing display.

This idea is courtesy of JustSewSassy.com. Find affordable containers in an array of colors here or here.

Any way you choose to celebrate the countdown to the most exciting day of the year, we hope you’ll find time for all the joys this season has to offer. 

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Filed under Activities, Crafts, Holidays

best scarecrow we’ve seen all fall

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card. A winner will be drawn at the end of the month! 

Does your school hold a scarecrow-decorating contest between the classes each fall? Well, if it does, here’s a little lovely that’s sure to win the blue ribbon. And if it doesn’t, this idea will still turn your classroom into the talk of the town (or school).

Here’s the gist: rather than creating the typical man-of-straw out of a predictable flannel shirt and old jeans, why not turn your entire door into one? We love this idea from Laurie Butler.

Photo by Laurie Butler

supplies:

bulletin board paper in orange, yellow, brown and black

directions:

1. First, cut a large floppy hat from a piece of orange bulletin board paper. Don’t worry about making it perfect– lumps add a nice rumpled scarecrow touch. A band of lighter orange and a sunflower complete the fall look.

2. Next, cut several strips of yellow paper in varying lengths. Glue these under the hat to make the hair.

3. Once dry, mount the hat/hair to the door frame.

4. To make the face, add two black circle eyes and an orange triangle for a nose. Cut a wobbly, lopsided “u” shape for the mouth, and add a few “stitches” to the mouth and around the nose. Adorable!!

To finish off the decor around the door, create a wooden “fence” out of brown bulletin board paper and add a student-created pumpkin patch below. Voila! Blue ribbon, fo’ sho’.

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Filed under Bulletin Boards, Classroom Decor, Crafts, Fall, Thanksgiving

This Owl Hand Puppet Is A HOOT!

Looking for a quick, easy craft that’s a hoot to make? Then look no further! Make your very own Owl Hand Puppt with just a bag, some colored paper and a couple of other materials.

 What you need

• Brown Paper Bag
• Brown Construction Paper
• White Construction Paper
• Yellow Construction Paper
• Glue Stick
• 15mm Wiggle Eyes
• Black marker

How To Make It

  • Cut a 5.5″ square out of brown construction paper and then cut in half to make triangle (Owl’s face)
  • Trace child’s hands and cut out from brown construction paper (Owl’s wings)
  • Trace a round object approximately 2″ in diameter and cut out from white construction paper (Owl’s eyes)
  • Cut a triangle out of yellow construction paper (Owl’s beak)
  • Using the glue stick, attach the Owl’s head, then eyes, then nose.
  • Next attach the wiggle eyes and then finally the Owl’s wings.
  • Draw feather marks with a black sharpie or other marker.

That’s it! Now you can put on your own puppet show! (Sorry, you’ll have to provide the popcorn and drinks.)

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It’s Slime Time!

We know you’ve seen those Hollywood productions that have a ghost, ghoul or other alien creature dripping, drooling or slinging their green and gooey stuff all over the place. It’s disgusting, it’s messy, but for some reason, kids (and even some adults) love this kind of stuff. Well, now you can create your very own batch of green goo. The best part? It only takes four ingredients and under five minutes from start to finish!

What You Need

  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Elmer’s Glue-All Glue
  • 1/4 Cup Liquid Starch
  • Food Coloring (green, red, or whatever color you wish)

How To Make It

  • Pour 1/4 cup of glue and 1/4 of water into a ziplock bag or bowl. Knead or stir to mix thoroughly.
  • Add six drops of food coloring to mixture. Knead or stir to mix thoroughly.
  • Pour in 1/4 cup of liquid starch. Mix thoroughly. Mixture should be fairly blobby at the start, but the more you play with it the  more stretchy it will become and easier to hold.

The Science Lesson

Voila! You’re done! But how does it work? The glue is a liquid polymer. This means that the tiny molecules in the glue are in strands like a chain. When you add the liquid starch, the strands of the polymer glue hold together, giving it its slimy feel. The starch acts as a cross-linker that links all the polymer strands together.

Make sure you keep the slime in a ziplock bag or sealed container when you’re not playing with it to preserve it for future fun time!

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