Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Weekly Read Wednesday: Easter

I love Gail Gibbons books. When I saw her book simply titled Easter, I decided to check it out!

I appreciate how Gibbons' books often have a theme of Christianity in them. The majority of this book focuses on the true meaning of Easter, which, as a Christian mom, I want to emphasis to my daughter even at a young age. The one issue I saw with this book right off the bat, however, was the phrasing on the page pictured to the left: "Many years ago, baby Jesus was born. Some people believed He was the Son of God." Maybe I'm a stickler, but I'd probably choose to read it "He was the Son of God." I know not every shares the same beliefs as I do, but for our purposes, this quick "editing" makes a difference. :)

The story continues with Jesus celebrating Passover.

The last supper is also pictured.

Next, of course, comes Jesus' trial and crucifixion. And this is where I'm needing advice from moms with older kids... how much is appropriate to tell very young children about Jesus' death? I'm certainly not implying that the pictures in a children's book should be graphic at all, but I'm wondering at what point you start to approach this topic more in detail with your kids. I'd love any advice from moms who've been there, done that! :)

Again, this is as detailed as the pictures get... so no worries about fearful illustrations here.

The whole reason we can celebrate Easter -- the resurrection!

The book continues the Easter story with pointing out that Jesus spent time with his disciples after his resurrection. This is an example of why I generally like Gail Gibbons books -- the attention to detail.

The author moves forward to today and incorporating the Biblical account into being the reason we celebrate Easter today.

She also mentions some fun and more light-hearted Easter traditions, such as Easter egg hunts and the annual "egg roll" in the lawn of the White House.

Apparently, tradition says there was a mother who hid colorful eggs for her children to find, and when they did, they saw a rabbit hopping away from the scene. The story stuck, and this was the beginnings of the Easter bunny. Who knew!

While I wouldn't say this book 100% hits the mark for the "true meaning of Easter" message that I want to help my daughter learn, it's overall a good book, with lots of detail and beautiful pictures.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egg painting

We've probably all done marble painting, right? Here's a similar project with a holiday twist!

You will need:
  • Piece of paper with a holiday shape traced on it (we did an Easter egg, but you could do any shape you wanted to do)
  • Masking tape
  • Paints (we used craft paints, but tempera or any other child-friendly paint would be even better!)
  • Plastic Easter eggs, with or without weights inside
  • A pan with sides or a box lid

Tape your paper to the bottom of your pan, tray, or box lid.

Give your goofball child extra tape for pretending it's stamps on her hands. :)

Have your child help you squirt paint all over the paper.

Add plastic eggs. I put various objects inside (small toys, coins, wrapped mints, etc.) to weight some of the eggs down a bit, but it's not necessary. If your child is a little older, this could be a fun science experiment disguised as a craft (seeing which objects roll faster/better). :) Keep in mind, though, that the eggs may pop open, so don't put anything inside that you aren't okay with having painted.

Roll 'em around!

It was at this point that I thought how neat it would have been to do a second paper with hard-boiled eggs for a different look for the usual decorated Easter eggs -- two projects in one! Too bad I didn't have our eggs hard-boiled yet!

And yes, one of our eggs did pop open. No big deal!

Allow the paint to dry completely, then cut out your shape. What a lovely speckled Easter egg!

While I plopped the painted eggs in the sink to rinse them off, I was glad to have extras on hand so my toddler could enjoy playing with them right away! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter eggs in grass

The Easter Bunny is on his way! Here's a quick and easy craft we did to celebrate.

You will need:
  • Piece of paper
  • Cut out bunny (or draw your own)
  • Jelly beans
  • "American" moss (I had this leftover from a floral arrangement I'd done a long time ago, but I'm thinking Spanish moss or any other greenery would be just fine! You could even use that plastic green grass that you can find this time of year to put in Easter baskets.)
  • Glue

Have your child start by gluing the cut-out bunny on the paper. I'm sure there are much cuter and more creative ways to add a bunny to this scene, but we were going for quick on this one! After all, this craft is all about the jelly beans! :)

Lay out some of the American moss/Spanish moss/plastic grass strips.

Add glue to the bottom of the picture.

See that peach blur at the top of the picture? That's my daughter's hand "stamping" the grass down on the glue. :)

Next comes the really fun part! Have your child make dots of glue wherever they want on the picture (or you can put the glue on for them).

Add jelly beans for the "Easter eggs" that the Easter bunny is hiding!

At first, she wanted to put the jelly beans on the bare parts of the paper, and that's fine. But when I showed her how the "eggs" could be hiding in the grass... that was a HUGE hit! She would look at me and giggle each time she "hid" another one. :)

I made sure to save this activity for after lunchtime, because I figured that for every one jelly bean she put on her picture, she'd eat at least three or four. :) However, luck was on my side and she didn't even realize they were candy! This project was a winner all around!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paint sample Easter cards

I was recently picking up some paint samples in the hopes of finding something inspiring for either my kitchen, living room, or bedroom. (I'm tired of the paint in all three.) When I saw these extra large paint cards, I grabbed a few in springtime colors and tucked them away for a future project. I wasn't sure yet what to do with them, but I figured something would come to me! Here's what we finally did with them this week.

You will need:
  • Large paint samples in any color(s) you like
  • Easter egg cookie cutter
  • Scissors (I also used a couple pairs of craft scissors that aren't pictured)
  • Hole punch (optional)
  • Glue
  • Decorative items, such as buttons, tissue paper, fabric scraps, small fake flowers, etc.
  • Plain note cards and envelopes

Start by tracing an egg shape on the paint samples using the cookie cutter as a guide. Sorry about the blurry picture!

Cut out Easter egg shapes in however many colors you picked up.

Don't throw away the scraps, either! I used the hole punch and craft scissors on these scraps to make more decorative additions for our eggs.

Give your child an assortment of objects to decorate with, and let them go to town on it!

She added some dots and a crimpy line to this one.

A couple of buttons finished this egg.

When your eggs are dry enough to handle, add glue to the back.

Secure on plain note cards. {Tip: I put our cards under a thick book for a few hours to keep the paint samples from curling up.}

Write a quick "Happy Easter" note inside and mail away to your loved ones for a fun surprise!

I love how these all turned out so different from each other! I think we might even pick up a few more paint samples to make more of these festive cards this week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bunny ears

My daughter is still wearing her Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" hat around the house. So when I saw these bunny ears on one of my favorite crafty mom sites, I knew we had to try them! Here's our version. :)

You will need:
  • Two bunny ears cut out of cardstock (here's a great template)
  • Additional cardstock, long enough to wrap around your child's head (I ended up cutting this piece in half length-wise to make it longer)
  • Cotton balls
  • Glue
  • Scotch tape (if they won't want to wait for glue to dry before trying it on!)

Have your child cover one bunny ear at a time in glue.

While they are working on that, pull some cotton balls apart for them.

Attach cotton to ears. We didn't need nearly the amount of cotton balls pictured.

While the ears are drying, fit the long piece of cardstock to your child's head. I was going to glue this step, as I had done with the "Cat in the Hat" hat, but she was not wanting to be patient for glue to dry. :) Scotch tape came in handy.

I finished the edge of the cardstock with some wavy scissors, but that's certainly not necessary. My little one was practicing her hopping for the rest of the morning wearing these!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seasonal lacing cards

I had some a couple sewing repairs that had to be done recently, so I thought, why not let my daughter do some "sewing" of her own?

You will need:
  • Colored cardstock cut down to a manageable size (colored index cards would work fine here as well)
  • Hole punch (if you have one that will punch the interior of a paper, all the better!)
  • Yarn

Punch holes in the shape of the letters you want to make. I had to slightly fold the cardstock to punch holes in the middle, so keep that in mind as you're selecting your letters. It doesn't look like it now, but this is going to be a letter "S." {Tip: Trace the order you want your child to sew in, or order the holes with small numbers.}

Give your child a piece of yarn and one of the cards and let them go to town!

I had fully planned on having to help my two-year-old with the order of holes, but wanted to give her a chance to "sew" as she pleased at first. What I did NOT fully plan on was having her freak out that the yarn was supposed to stay in the card. I also did NOT fully plan on her insisting that I finish do this project FOR her. Ah, two-year-olds!

Here was her (uh, my) finished product. I'd planned to use more yarn to string the letters up somewhere that she could see them, but I thought it was better to just hide them away.

This project was a complete and total FLOP for us. It would be much more suited for an older child. :)