Butterfly Bowl

Click to view or print the pattern and instruction for this craft.

Make this bowl and fill it with your favorite spring snack!

Or make is as a Mother’s Day gift.  You can also make a bracelet to loop around the flower.

The Butterflies are Back!

One of the best things about spring is watching butterflies.   They are so peaceful and quiet.  But they are also bold and colorful, which makes them very visibly loud.  Most butterflies live for less than a month, but as a species, they’ve been around for over 50 million years.  Butterflies eat nectar from flowers, pollen, tree sap, and rotten fruit.  They sip water from leaves and sometimes human sweat.  Their wings are used to protect themselves from predators.  They can, of course, fly away, but many butterflies have designs on their wings that mimic patterns in nature to help them camouflage themselves.

BUTTERFLY BOWL

We printed our bowl on cardstock paper, but you don’t have to.   You can look at  actual butterflies to inspire your students to realistically design each butterfly on their bowl.  Or you can let the kids use their imaginations to decorate each butterfly.  This is a craft you can make with any age group.


BUTTERFLIES IN THE CLASSROOM

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH –  Shapes – The bowl is a pentagon.  The sides are trapezoids.  Symmetry – Butterflies are symmetrical.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Learn about the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly.

ART – Design.  Symmetry.  Pattern.  Color.

SCIENCE – Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.

READING – Here are some great books that feature butterflies:

Michael Berenstain’s “Butterfly Book” presents the names and appearance of several different butterflies. 

“Monarch Butterflies,” by Ann Hobbie is about the flight pattern and life cycle of the monarch butterfly. 

“The Girl Who Drew Butterflies.”  Is the real life story of Maria Merian, a butterfly artist.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle is perfect for younger students.

“How Spider Saved Valentine’s Day,” by Robert Kraus is a very goofy story about two sleepy caterpillars who keep dozing off in the back of the classroom. 

Garden Pot Craft

Click the image above to view or print the pattern and instructions.

It’s Gardening Time!

Everyone knows Norman Bridwell as the author of “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”  But, Bridwell also wrote other imaginative stories that didn’t become quite as famous.  One story that I particularly like is called “A Tiny Family.”  It’s about a miniature-sized family who lives in the garden of a home that belongs to a “giant” family.  The giants are, of course, just normal-sized people.  The tiny family fear them and try to avoid them at all costs.   But, when the giant dog steps on Grandpa’s favorite umbrella, his grandchildren bravely enter the giant house to retrieve it.  The story is super sweet and has a nice message about getting to know someone before you judge them.  It’s also a fun story to read before starting a unit on plants.

April is a great time to introduce your students to the magic of seeds.  It’s especially fun to choose a variety of seed packets, so the kids can see how different the seeds are…from the tiny tomato seeds to the much larger beans.  Also, with a variety of seed choices, the kids will get to see which seeds grow quickly and which take a lot of time.  The best part of this garden pot project is watching your classroom windowsill become an indoor garden.

GARDEN POT – WRAPPER AND TAG

We decorated our garden pots to look like the plant we were trying to cultivate.  We used permanent markers to color the cup wrapper and tag, so any water spills wouldn’t ruin the designs. It was fun to look at the garden each day to watch the seedlings poke up out of the soil.  The marigold seeds came up in about 4 days.  The tomato seeds took almost two weeks.  And we think our bean seeds are duds because they usually come up pretty quickly, but have yet to emerge from the soil.

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH – Measurement – Compare seed sizes.  Measure the height of your plant weekly.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Where did the plant originate?  Which country is known for growing the plant?

ART – Design.  Observe colors and shapes of various plants and their leaves. 

SCIENCE – Botany, seeds, germination, parts of a plant, photosynthesis…

READING – Read “The Tiny Family” or “Jack and the Beanstalk” or any other book about plants.

Flipping Frogs Game



Flipping Frogs & Tumbling Toads… How many points will your amphibian get?

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.



FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS

The first author whose work I fell in love with was Arnold Lobel.  Everyone knows him for his Frog and Toad books, but that wasn’t the first book I was exposed to.  When I was a kid, we belonged to the Children’s Book of the Month Club.   Every month we’d get a new hardcover storybook.  My brother, sister, and I couldn’t wait to read each story.  We enjoyed every one of them, but the best one, the one I still remember to this day was “Giant John” by Arnold Lobel.  First of all, the illustrations were imaginative and amazing.  The story was about a giant named John who lived with his mother.  When the story begins John and his mom are so hungry and their cupboards are so cobwebby and bare, they are about to eat a shoe.  Then John declares he is going to go out into the world to get a job.  He finds work at a castle where he does odd jobs for the king, queen, princess, and dog.  Everyone loves him and the work he does.  It’s all going really well until his fairy friends from the forest come to visit him.  Their magic music makes John dance.  And when he dances he wrecks everything. He’s a good guy, so he apologizes and rebuilds the kingdom.

When I started teaching, I purchased “Frog and Toad are Friends” for my classroom.  My first graders loved the goofy tales of two unlikely buddies who enjoyed spending their days together doing ridiculous things.  Arnold Lobel’s stories are often about friendships between characters who are different, but very capable of existing in the same space.  I like his positive outlook on humanity.



FLIPPING FROGS AND TUMBLING TOADS GAME

I posted this craft to my March blog because it has lots of springtime green; the grass, a frog, and a toad.  And even though I live in the Midwest and it won’t be green for awhile, I start thinking about all things green around St. Patrick’s day and dreaming of the day when the green grass is back!

This craft is fun for a rainy (or snowy) day.   Your students can make the game and play it with a friend.  You can also us it as part of your curriculum.

MATH – Add the total points of Frog and Toad. 

ART – Talk about all of the different shades of green.  (Mint, Sea, Kelly, Olive, Pine, Hunter, Emerald, Forest, Teal, Moss, Army, Lime, Chartreuse, Shamrock, Sage…) Also, remind them that yellow & blue make green. 

SCIENCE – Talk about amphibians. 

READING – Read “Frog and Toad are Friends.”

Presidential Bust

Put your favorite president on a pedestal!

Presidents' Day Craft
Click to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


PRESIDENTS’ DAY

Our democracy is a unique form of government.  We the people get to choose our leaders.  The top leader, head of the executive branch, is the president.  We have chosen 46 presidents since our founding.  The first American president, selected by the people, was George Washington.  He served for two 4 year terms, from 1789-1797.  Then he stepped aside to let Americans choose a new leader.  John Adams was chosen.  This is how democracy works.  We don’t have a king or dictator who reigns over us for a lifetime and passes the power onto his children.  We have a president.  And we get to choose who it is.  When the president’s term is over or the people choose a new leader, the president steps away from the power position and lets the new leader lead.

Presidents’ Day was first celebrated in the 1880s to honor George Washington on his birthday, February 22.  In 1968 it became a federal holiday that would be celebrated on the third Monday in February to honor both Washington and Lincoln.   Today, many people consider it to be a celebration of all presidents who have served our country and graciously walked away when their term ended to allow the new chosen leader to lead.  It’s also a day to sell cars and mattresses.


Presidential Bust Craft

This presidential bust craft features the top 12 presidents selected by historians in 2021.  Your students can choose one of these men for the craft project, or they can draw any of the other presidents to place on top of the information pedestal.  It’s a fun way to remember the citizens who have been chosen to lead our democracy.

TV Viewer

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

TELEVISION – AN INVENTION THAT CHANGED AMERICA (AND THE WORLD)

From 1950 to present, television has made a huge impact in American homes.  Television influenced the way people thought about social issues.  It brought major events into homes.  It entertained and educated.  Advertisers used television to convince Americans that their lives would be better if they bought certain products. 

A television uses sound, light, and electricity.  John Baird is the Scottish inventor who has been credited as the inventor of the first practical television.  On January 26, 1926, he demonstrated the first working television by transmitting images to a viewing screen.  But there were many inventors and inventions that made the television possible.

Wireless Telegraph 1895 – Guglielmo Marconi invented a way to transmit sound for a distance of more than a mile.

TV Picture Tube 1889 – Vladimir Zworykin was a Russian-American inventor known for the iconoscope (a forerunner of the TV camera).

Video Camera Tube – 1927 – Philo Farnsworth – Demonstrates his invention of a working television.

In 1947 there were 44,000 black and white televisions in the USA.  By 1960, 3/4 of American families owned a TV.  In 1970, color TVs outsold black and white TVs.

When television first became popular, there were 3 stations that came into your house through an antenna on the roof.   Early televisions were big and bulky with small viewing screens.  There was an antenna attached to the TV.  Dads were constantly moving the antenna to get a better picture.  Also, when your dad snapped his fingers and pointed to the TV, you had to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel or adjust the volume.   

Some areas, especially mountainous and remote areas, got weak over-air signal and poor TV reception.  In 1948, John Walson, came up with the idea of cable television to carry the TV signal through a cable wire.  But the cable TV industry wasn’t fully approved until 1979.  Cable brought many TV channels and viewing choices into American homes.

TO MAKE THE TV VIEWER PROJECT:

This TV Viewer project works best if page one is printed on heavier paper and pages 2 and 3 are printed on regular 20lb paper.  Students can use the blank page (page 3) to create a documentary about a historical event that happened in the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).  Below are some suggestions of historical events from this time period.

Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon, The Korean War, Disneyland Opens, Laika the Russian Dog Goes into Space, Segregation Ruled Illegal in the U.S., Brown v. Board of Education, The Freedom Riders Protest, Jim Crow Laws in the South, First Man on the Moon, Martin Luther King Jr. Gives “I Have a Dream” Speech, Vietnam War, Woodstock Music Festival, First Super Bowl, The Apollo 13 Mission, First Test-Tube Baby is Born, Terracotta Army Discovered in China, Tangshan Earthquake – Biggest Natural Disaster, Skylab Orbits the Earth, Berlin Wall Falls, Chernobyl Disaster, First Sheep Cloned, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Mt. St. Helen’s Erupts, Persian Gulf War, People Fear Y2K Bug, World Trade Center Terrorist Attack

Wright Brothers’ Airplane

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

The Wright Brothers

The Wright brothers are known for inventing and flying the first motorized airplane. 

There were 5 children in the Wright family.  Wilbur, the middle child, was born in 1867.  His brother Orville was born 4 years later, in 1871.  Their father was a traveling preacher who often brought small toys home for his children.  One of those toys was a model helicopter.  The boys were fascinated by the mechanics of the helicopter toy.

Wilbur was an excellent student who had planned to go to Yale University.  Unfortunately, he was severely injured while playing hockey.  He became so depressed that he never even finished high school.  The only sibling who attended college was their sister, Katherine.

In 1889, the brothers started their own newspaper.  They also opened a bicycle shop where they built and repaired bikes.  The brothers were interested in aviation.  They observed birds in flight.  Studying birds helped them develop a concept they called “wing-warping.”  They used their wing-warping idea and a moveable rudder to create a successful flying machine.

On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they made their first flight in their flying machine.  Orville was the first to fly.  His flight lasted 12 seconds.  Wilbur was the pilot of the fourth flight which lasted for 59 seconds and went 852 feet.

Make the Wright Brothers’ Paper Airplane Craft.  Have a contest to see who can fly their plane the furthest.

Victorian Era Toy

Click to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

VICTORIAN ERA TOYS

In the early 1800s, American children had very few toys.  Toys were given to children on special occasions, like Christmas or birthdays.  Toys were very expensive, so even rich kids only had a few of them.  Popular toys for wealthy children included rocking horses, doll houses, tea sets, toy soldiers, and train sets.   Toys with moving parts were extra special.  The Zoetrope was a spinning toy that made still pictures look like they were moving.  The kaleidoscope was a toy you could look through to see a design then twist or shake to make a new design.  Rich kids also had wind-up toys.  (Battery operated toys weren’t invented until the 1960s.)  

For kids who were not rich, toys were handmade by parents or other relatives.  Children from non-wealthy families had toys made from cloth and wood scraps.  There were cloth-peg dolls for the girls and wadded cloth kickballs for the boys.  Kites were also made from cloth.    Sometimes toys were whittled out of wood.  A spinning top, jump rope handles, or toy soldiers were carved from wood.  There were also moveable toys made from wood.  These toys didn’t have a motor or a key for winding.  They needed to be moved by hand. 

Because children had so few toys, they carefully guarded the ones they owned.

MAKING THE HUNGRY CHICKENS MOVABLE “WOODEN” TOY

This “hungry chickens” toy is an example of a Victorian toy that a woodworker might have carved for a child. 

It works best if you print the pattern on cardstock paper or glue it onto posterboard.   If you want to make the toy look like it’s wooden, color it with crayons, then lightly paint over it with brown watercolor paint.  Let it dry before cutting out the parts and assembling them.

When and if your students complain about how boring this toy is, tell them to imagine this is the only toy they own.

3-D Sewing Sampler

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

SEWING SAMPLERS

In the 1700s, girls learned basic sewing skills by making sewing samplers.  A sampler is made by stitching a strand of embroidery thread into a piece of fabric using a sewing needle.   The word sampler comes from a French word that means example.  The sampler was an example of a person’s sewing skills.  Sewing was a necessary skill during this time period.  Most families sewed their own clothes, bedding, and curtains.  Learning to sew well gave wealthy girls family pride.  It gave poor girls a chance to earn a living.

Cross-stitch is a type of hand sewing in which x-shaped stitches are used to form a pattern or picture.  It’s one of the easiest needlework stitches.  A cross-stitch picture requires planning.  The sewer has to count their stitches carefully to make sure the letters and numbers are the same height and are spaced equally.

3-D CROSS-STITCH NAMETAG

In this activity, your students will use a paper grid to plan how they’d make cross-stitches to sew their name on a piece of needlepoint fabric.  (If you can provide an embroidery hoop, thread, and needle, each student can practice making the cross-stitches to form the first letter of their name.)  But just using the paper grid to plan how to stitch the letters will be difficult for many students.  They will get an idea of how hard it is to cross-stitch numbers, letters, and other shapes onto a piece of fabric.  When they complete the project, they’ll have a cool pop-up nametag to display on their desk.

BETSY ROSS & THE FIRST UNITED STATES FLAG

There is no written documentation of who sewed the first flag.  But several relatives of Betsy Ross have testified to having heard family stories of the flag’s creation.  Betsy Ross was an upholsterer by trade.  It was not uncommon for upholsterers to be tasked with making flags.  Betsy Ross knew George Washington.  She’d sewn buttons on his jacket.  They also went to the same church.  No one else has come forward with claims about who created the first flag.  It was most likely Betsy Ross.

The colors of the flag are red (for valor and hardiness), white (for purity and innocence), and blue (for vigilance, perseverance, and justice).   The original 13 stars represented the 13 colonies.  They were sewn in a circle to signify that the colonies were equal in importance.

Colonial School Hornbook

Click the image above to view or print this craft.

COLONIAL SCHOOLS

The families who settled in New England in the 1600 and 1700s wanted their children to be educated so they could read the Bible and participate in local town meetings.  Families did most of the teaching, but towns with 50 or more families had to, by law, provide a an elementary school, known then as a Dame School, for the children. 

The Dame School teacher was generally a woman who often taught from her home.  She taught boys and girls to read and write.  Each student had a hornbook.  The hornbook was a piece of wood shaped like a cutting board with a handle.  It had a transparent sheet of horn attached to the front to protect the lesson which was printed on parchment paper.  A strap of leather was attached to the handle, so students could hang the hornbook from their belt or wear it around their neck.  Each student was required to learn the alphabet, phonetic sound patterns, numbers, and the Lord’s Prayer.  Once you knew all of the information on the hornbook, you were done with Dame School.

After Dame School, girls stayed home to learn to cook and clean.  There were mothers who wanted their daughters to continue to learn, so they taught them at home.  Boys could go on to grammar school to learn Latin and to prepare for college, ministry, or law.  Families supported the schools with money, food, and firewood.  If your family couldn’t afford to help with the cost of school, you could still attend, but you had to sit in the back of the classroom.

THE HORNBOOK CRAFT

This hornbook craft is definitely not a replica of the ones used in colonial times.  It’s the same shape and it has a lesson on both sides.  Side one includes the alphabet and some of the phonics patterns from the original hornbook.  It also has a story about the Pilgrims for your students to read.  The story was, of course, not part of the original hornbook.  The other side of the hornbook is a Mad Lib.  Also, obviously, not part of the original hornbook.

Your students can color their hornbooks, cut them out, and punch a hole in the handle.  They can attach a piece of yarn or ribbon and loop the hornbook around their belt.

Solar System Mobile

Click to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

 
RENAISSANCE ASTRONOMERS

Renaissance astronomers made many discoveries about our solar system.  From the time of the ancient Greeks, people believed that the Earth was at the center of the universe and all of the planets and stars, including the sun, revolved around our tiny planet.  But Renaissance astronomers used mathematical measurements and charted nightly observations to prove that wasn’t the case.  They measured the movements of the planets over time and learned that the planets were actually revolving around the sun.  Not many people believed them.  In fact, Galileo Galilei, was put on trial for sharing this idea. 

In 1543, Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, through observation and mathematical calculations, realized that the movement of the planets was better explained if the Earth and other planets moved around the sun.  He also noted that the Earth spins on an axis.

In 1571, 23 year old Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, built his own observatory on an island in Denmark.  There he recorded his observations of the planets and the stars.  *Here’s some Brahe gossip that your students will love:  As a young man, Tycho Brahe got into a sword fight with a classmate.  The classmate accidentally cut off half of Tycho’s nose.  To cover the injury, Tycho Brahe glued a gold nose onto his face every morning.

In 1600, Johannes Kepler of Germany met Tycho Brahe and became his assistant.  Kepler applied mathematics to Brahe’s research.  This gave a clearer, more data driven, concept of how the planets moved in space.  Kepler is known for the three laws of planetary motion and his theory of the planets moving in elliptical orbits.

1n 1610, Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei, improved the design of the telescope.  He used it to observe the craters on the moon.  He saw four of Jupiter’s moons.  And he noticed the oval rings around Saturn.  After studying the solar system for a long time, Galileo agreed with Copernicus—the Earth and the other planets were in orbit around the sun.  He wrote a book about the motion of the planets around the sun.  This theory was different from the belief long held by the Roman Catholic church—that the Earth was at the center of the universe.  They put Galileo on trial and locked him up.  He was 69 years old.


THE SOLAR SYSTEM MOBILE CRAFT

The Solar System Mobile craft is very easy to make.  It will give your students an idea of where the planets are in relation to the sun, the size of the planets compared to the sun, and the colors of the planets.  You can even have your students draw the moons (satellites) orbiting around each planet. 

We printed the sun on yellow paper and the solar system on purple paper.  This saved time on coloring.