Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jolly Rogers!

I have another simple pirate craft for you. This time it's pirate flags, aka Jolly Rogers. I cut out some flags from construction paper,
and the kids decorated them with the same skulls and bones we used for our pirate hats.
Although I did print out the skulls in a smaller size so they'd fit on the flags better. Then I attached a bamboo skewer to the back with tape. I made sure the pointy end was covered with tape so the kids wouldn't poke themselves.

And yes, like the hats, I had all colors available. Most pirate flags were black, but there were a few red ones. The red flags meant the pirates on that ship would fight to the death and show no mercy. Just a little bit of trivia for ya!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Simple Pirate Hats

We started our pirate unit today! I always have mixed feelings about this theme. The kids love it, and of course it's exciting, but the kids can get pretty rough with their play. But it's only for a week, so I can handle it. For our pirate hats, I used large construction paper. To make a template, I folded one piece in half and drew half of a hat. Then I cut it out and opened it up. Each child got two hats stapled together on the ends.
I also cut out a bunch of skulls and bones.
The kids glued some bones and a skull to one side of their hat.
When their hat was dry, I stapled it again so it would fit their head better.
And yes, I had several colors available, not just black. It's more fun that way! I also had a little Pirate's Cove goin' on in dramatic play.
The kids could dig for treasure in the sand.
And they could dress up like pirates!
I got the masks, hooks and parrot from Party City several years ago. They really help the kids get into the pirate mood!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Smartie Octopus

Our last ocean craft was a very simple one, which I'm sure you've seen before. I printed out a coloring sheet of an octopus onto colored card stock. I cut them out and let the kids glue Smarties candy to the arms to make suckers.
Most kids just added one to each arm, but some glued on more.

I added them to our wall with our other ocean crafts we made this week. It actually took up three walls, but here is the main one with the title Commotion in the Ocean:
And then we had an ocean "quiz" and I gave each child a Smartie when they answered the question correctly!

Fun Fact: Although only the size of a snail, the blue-ringed octopus is one of the deadliest creatures in the sea.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oil-Rubbed Sea Turtles

I saw this cool technique for using baby oil to blend oil pastels at Life With Moore Babies. I decided to try it with sea turtles. I did it first because I really had no idea how it would work. First I colored a turtle using oil pastels.
I purposely colored lightly on the shell. That's where I wanted the blending to take place. So I went over the shell with a Q-tip dipped in baby oil. First I did the inside of the "circles" then I did the green part.
I really like how it softened the look of the shell.
So I let the kids have a go at it. First the coloring,
and then the oil.

The blending concept was lost on most of them, but they sure loved "painting" with the oil!

I think I will try this technique again using a more abstract approach. And I have to teach them not to press down so hard when they color with the pastels. Blending light scribbles worked the best.

One book I love to read when I teach about sea turtles is Turtle Tide: The Ways of Sea Turtles by Stephen R. Swinburne.
It's definitely not for kids who can't handle books about the death of animals, but I just love it. It's about a sea turtle that lays 100 eggs on the beach, but most of the babies die before making it to the sea. I can't read it to my class without tearing up. Every single time. "And what had been one hundred was now sixty-four."

Fun Fact: The temperature of the sand in which the sea turtle lays her eggs determines the sex of the babies. The warmer the sand, the more females will be born.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coffee Filter Jellyfish

"What ocean animal has no brain, no heart, no bones, no eyes, and no ears?" That's how I always start off teaching about jellyfish. It's fun listening to the children's responses! On Monday, we made our own Jewels of the Sea. The kids started off by coloring a coffee filter.
Then before spraying it with water, I put another coffee filter underneath. The color transferred to the second filter.
When dry, the kids glued on strips of crepe paper to the middle of one of the filters. (I cut the crepe paper into thinner strips. You could also use tissue paper.)
I also found some shiny ribbon so I cut that up as well.

When they were done gluing those on I stapled it to the other coffee filter and stuffed it with some toilet paper!
They are now hanging from our ceiling, looking absolutely beautiful!

The kids pretend their parents are getting stung when they brush up against them at drop-off and pick-up!
We also made very simple jellyfish by coloring the top part and adding curling ribbon. I hung those on our wall next to our sharks.

Fun Fact: Although jellyfish don't have eyes, some have eye spots which can detect light.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blue Whales

And when I say blue whale, I literally mean BLUE, not the largest creature on Earth. Ever. Seriously. They are bigger than any dinosaur!
We used blue cellophane bags (found at most party or craft stores), wiggle eyes and white pipe cleaners.
We stuffed the bags with white paper and closed them with the twisters. You can trim the end of the bag to get a more tail-like appearance, but we left ours as is. We added big wiggle eyes with glue dots to the front (which is actually the bottom of the bag) right above the seam. See, we pretended the seam was the whale's mouth! Then I cut up white pipe cleaners and gave each child three. They bent the ends down to resemble water coming from a blowhole.

(We had gone swimming earlier in the day and hadn't changed yet. That's why all the boys are shirtless!) Then I took the three pipe cleaners and twisted the ends together.
Then it hit me that I could have done that first. It might have been easier for the kids to bend them this way. Anyway, then I poked a hole in the top of the bag and inserted the pipe cleaners. A couple I had to tape to stay up, but most were fine on their own.
And how cute is that face? Don't you love it?

And it was so simple!

Fun Fact: Whales used to be land animals. They still have finger bones in their flippers! You can read all about how they evolved into sea animals in the amazing book How Whales Walked into the Sea, by Faith McNulty.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shark Craft

We started our ocean unit yesterday. It's one of my favorites! I love teaching and learning about ocean animals. I've already done three ocean animal crafts this past year for different units. Please check out my starfish for color week, seahorse for Eric Carle week, and orca for polar animal week! Today was all about sharks. We did a simple craft that gave the kids some fine motor practice. I drew a shark on blue paper. I looked at a cartoon picture of a shark while I drew it. It's easier for me to copy cartoon pictures than real pictures.
I cut it out and drew on a little smile. I also cut out fins. I thought it would be easier for the kids just to have one shape. One was glued to the top and one was glued to the side. I also quickly cut out a bunch of small white triangles for the teeth. And we used wiggle eyes.
Sorry about the blue on blue here. It makes it kind of hard to see. But here's the finished craft:

They each have their own personality! A few years ago, we made shark hats out of paper. You need big construction paper for this, and you have to make the mouth open REALLY wide! You staple two together, but don't put staples around the mouth. The kids added fins and teeth the same way as the craft above, and they drew in an eye. When they put the hat on, it looked like the shark was eating them!
How cute is that? I got the idea from a real hat I saw.

Fun Fact: Sharks cannot swim backward like other fish.