Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Winter Crafts for Kids

December 2003 Issue

Bringing Up Baby
Little tips that
may help

Winter Crafts
for Kids

A Growing Interest
Fun plant projects
for kids

All-Inclusive
Vacations

A primer

Nighty Night
Sleep and children

Did You Know

Mail Bag

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Snowflake One of the delights of summer weather is that, when all else fails, kids can be perfectly happy and occupied playing outdoors. Although playtime outside in winter weather is still loads of fun, cold temperatures and wet clothes minimize the amount of time available as a comfortable playtime option. Shorter daylight hours and school closings from sudden snows mean more time is spent indoors and idle time for kids can wreak havoc on any parent’s patience.

Such occasions are the ideal time to set your child’s creative gears in motion by doing some winter crafts indoors. We’ve assembled a couple ideas to get your thought process started and hopefully they will inspire you to dredge up some old craft ideas from your childhood memories.

Papier Mâchè Snowman
Who hasn’t crafted with papier mâchè at some point in their life? A papier mâchè project is fun, relatively simple, allows a child to be creative and can be completed over a few days. A good seasonal project to start with is a papier mâchè snowman to brighten up your winter home and serve as a lasting memory for future holiday decorating.

Supplies necessary are simple:

Newspaper (cut into strips)

A large plastic bowl or a disposable plastic paint tray insert

Small round balloons

Tempera paints

Wallpaper paste or homemade papier mâchè paste (recipe follows)

Decorative accessories (buttons, strips of cloth, sticks, etc.)

An old sheet or plastic drop cloth
Glue

Papier Mâchè paste (choose one then follow instructions below):

Quick recipe:
 

2 parts glue mixed with one part water

Easy recipe:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups cold water

Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add 2 cups boiling water and bring to a boil again in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar and a drop or two of bleach to retard spoilage. Let the mixture cool (the paste will thicken as it cools). When cool, it is ready to use.

Prepare a work area and protect it with a sheet or an inexpensive drop cloth. To make a snowman, inflate three balloons to slightly different sizes so they will form a snowman shape when stacked. Place the cooled paste in a large bowl or paint tray. Drag strips of newspaper through the paste to thoroughly coat them with paste. Squeeze off excess paste by lightly pulling two fingers down the strip. Then apply the newspaper strip to the balloon. Continue the process until each balloon is covered evenly with a couple layers of strips. Set the pieces aside in a warm place to dry thoroughly (usually overnight). When dry and hardened, the balloon can be deflated, leaving a papier mâchè shell. Sand the surface for a smoother finish, if desired. Paint each shell with white paint and allow it to dry. Then assemble the pieces together to form the snowman’s body using glue. Decorate the snowman to bring him to life. Use old buttons for eyes, sticks for arms, strips of cloth for a scarf, felt for a simple hat or features can be painted on using additional paints.

Kids can easily perform each step with just a bit of guidance and the result is a craft they can be proud to call their own!

Paper Snowflakes
You surely remember this one from your elementary school days. This is one of those neat surprise projects that always fascinates kids!

Supplies:

White paper

Safety scissors

Optional for decorating: Glue and glitter

Construction paper

Have your child fold a sheet of paper in half horizontally. Using the midpoint of the folded edge as a guide, fold one side and then the other (at approximately 60 degree angles). The result will be a pie shaped piece with tabs. Using scissors, cut off the edges of the paper in an arc (this makes a circle if the paper were to be unfolded). Cut away a lot of the paper (the more paper that is cut away, the more intricate and delicate the resulting snowflake). Carefully unfold the paper to reveal the snowflake. Feel free to experiment with different shapes (squares make interesting snowflakes as well). Remember, each and every snowflake is unique! If desired, the snowflake can be decorated with glitter and glued to a folded piece of construction paper to make a great winter card or they can be hung by string or thread to decorate windows.

Just a few ideas to make idle time, creative time and something special for you and your children to share!

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