Hang a basket filled with springtime fun on a doorknob.
Knock on the door.
Then run away.
May Day is a holiday that is celebrated in many European countries on May 1st or the first Monday in May. It probably came from an ancient Roman celebration that honored Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. Modern May Day celebrations include dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May.
When I was a kid, we made May baskets for our neighbors. The baskets had a handle that you hung over a doorknob. You’d hang it, knock, and run. The best part was hiding behind a tree or car so you could watch your neighbor open the door. At first they were annoyed. Then they’d see the basket and smile. It was fun!
I decided it was time to reintroduce May baskets. I created this craft last year, not knowing that this year would bring a pandemic that keeps us from knocking on our neighbor’s doors. Still, you could make this craft and surprise someone in your family by filling it with something fun and hanging it on their bedroom door.
We filled our baskets with homemade toys (zoom-zoom spinner craft, pinwheel craft) and paper flowers (flower pencil topper craft). One basket is filled with art supplies: markers, paper, and stickers. You could also fill your basket with food or sweets.
If you’ve ever had birds build a nest near your window, you know how amazing it is to watch a nest of eggs become a nest of fluffy little chicks.
This craft provides a fun way to kick off the spring season. Have your students look at pictures of their favorite bird before decorating the bird and egg. We used crayon and markers to color the egg to get the crayon resist look. Our bird’s eyes are eyeball stickers. When you are finished making the craft, place a small rock or a coin in the bottom of the basket to keep it from tipping over.
BIRD FUN FACTS
· Scientists have evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
· Birds have hollow bones, making them light enough to fly.
· The Ostrich is the largest living bird. Ostriches have eyeballs that are almost the size of a tennis ball. Their eyeballs are larger than their brains.
· The smallest living bird is the hummingbird. Hummingbirds can fly backward.
· Owls swallow their prey whole. Then spit out the bones and pelt.
· Penguins can jump 6 feet into the air.
· An albatross can sleep while it flies.
· Most hummingbirds weigh less than a nickel.
· Woodpeckers hoard acorns in the tree holes they “drill” with their beaks.
· The starling, and many other birds, sing notes that are too high for the human ear to hear.
· Have you ever heard the expression, “Canary in a Coalmine?” Coal miners used to send canaries down into the mines to test carbon monoxide levels. If the canary passed out, the mine was too dangerous.
· The bald eagle builds the largest nest, measuring about 9 1/2 feet across.
· The cuckoo bird lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. It relies on the bird that built the nest to hatch and feed its young.
One of the greatest springtime activities is searching through clover patches trying to find one with four leaves…a lucky clover. Another is looking up into the sky after a rain shower and spotting a rainbow. This craft combines both of the greatest springtime activities.
If you make this craft on St. Patrick’s Day, you can put a surprise in each box while your students are out of the room. Something gold would be fun…a Rolo, gold coin, or a gold star sticker.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY…
IRISH LEGEND AND LORE
· Ireland is an island made up of 32 countries.
· Ireland is located next to the United Kingdom in the British Isles. Northern Ireland (1/6 of the country) is part of the United Kingdom.
· The capital of Ireland is Dublin.
· The shamrock and the harp are the national symbols of Ireland.
· Ireland Is called the Emerald Isle because it is a land of lush green fields.
· Ireland is a nation of storytellers. Many famous writers come from Ireland: Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, James Joyce.
· The Irish love nature and animals. They were the first country to ban plastic shopping bags and smoking in public places.
· Irish or Gaelic is the official language, but English is more commonly spoken.
· The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States.
· Halloween began in Ireland as a Celtic festival called Samhain; a harvest festival that celebrated the end of summer.
· Some Irish families celebrate children’s birthdays by turning the birthday child upside down by their feet and gently tapping their head on the ground for their age plus one.
· Hurling is a sport played in Ireland since ancient times. The Irish excel in boxing at the Olympics.
This goofy craft is easy to make and fun to play with. It has a nice puppet quality. But the best part about this craft is that it will help your students learn about what’s inside a human mouth. You can even use the mouth to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing.
DENTAL HEALTH FACTS – FUN FACTS ABOUT TEETH
· Dentists want you to brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
· You should brush for 2 to 3 minutes each time you brush.
· Be sure to brush and floss around your gum line. One-third of the tooth is under your gums.
· Tooth enamel is the hardest substance on a human body.
· Drinking soda is bad for your teeth. It weakens the enamel. Always rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda.
· No two people have the same set of teeth. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints. Your tongue print is unique, too.
· Humans have 32 teeth. Dogs have 42. Cats have 30. Snails can have over 25,000.
· Humans have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Elephants get six sets of molars.
January weather can be unpredictable. There are lots of days when outside play is impossible. This craft is perfect for an inside day. Your students can design their own game board, cut it out and assemble the parts. Then pair up with a friend and play each other’s game.
Your students can use the game rules that are described on the printable page or they can create their own game. Have the kids look at the game board pattern and spinners. Talk about games they enjoy playing. Have them think about how they could use the game board and spinners in a game.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Highest numbers wins. Both players spin their spinners. Highest number scores a point. A tie means spin again. Highest number scores 2 points.
2. Classic Game Board Game: Draw spaces on the game board. Print instructions in the spaces. Use the spinners as dice. Use buttons or paper scraps as markers.
3. Battling Tops: Players spin their tops at the same time. The top that spins the longest scores a point. The first player to 10 wins.
4. Pinball Game: Place paper obstacles on the game board spin your spinner. Score a point for each object it hits.
5. Dice game: Roll a die. Spin your spinner. If you spin a lower number than the number on the die, you score a point.
These are just suggestions. I’m sure there will be lots of great ideas. Coloring and assembling the game board to make a spinner game takes about 15 minutes. But, if you want your students to get creative with their own ideas, it could take a lot longer – 2 or 3 hours to make the game. So, inventing a snow day game might be a good weekend homework assignment. Each student could make a game and write the rules. Then they could take turns playing one another’s games.
The 1960s and 70s brought forth a counterculture movement. American youth rejected the lifestyle and rules of their parents and other authority figures. Kids were concerned about the planet and the use of its resources. Recycling became a theme of this generation. Materials that could be reused, were reused. People turned used soda cans into hats, purses, Christmas trees, candle holders, and other items. Clothing could never be too worn out. If there were holes in your clothes, they were patched with colorful fabrics.
One of the recycled crafts I can remember making in the 1970s was gum wrapper bracelets. When I was a kid, each gum wrapper was a printed label. We would save each wrapper and fold it into a small rectangular “bead.” We slid each bead into another bead to create interlocking links. When we had a chain that was long enough to fit around our wrist, we looped a bead final through the two ends to make a circle that we could wear as a bracelet.
This GUM WRAPPER BRACELET craft uses paper rectangles that can be folded and assembled to make a linked chain bracelet. Each rectangle contains a verse or word that was used in the 1960s and 70s. Most have disappeared from our vocabularies, but your students will get a kick out of the “groovy” language of the past.
The Spanish painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso is viewed by many as the greatest artist of the 20th century. His unique use of color, form, and style made him one of the most innovative artists of all time. Early on, Picasso painted a series of portraits in shades of blue. The “Blue Period” paintings, 1900-1902, featured human misery. From 1904-1905, he painted a series of happier paintings in shades of red and pink. Many of the subjects were circus performers. This was known as his “Rose Period.” In 1908, Picasso and fellow artist Georges Braque began to paint landscapes that appeared to be made of little cubes. That’s how the term “cubism” came to be. The early cubist paintings were monochromatic (different shades of one color). His later works became very colorful.
One of Picasso’s most famous monochromatic paintings, “Guernica,” makes a statement about the horrors of war. He painted it shortly after German planes bombed the Spanish town of Guernica. The painting doesn’t show the event. It portrays the outrage of the event.
In his lifetime, Picasso created over 20,000 art pieces.
This CUBIST CUBE craft is a collage of several famous Picasso paintings. Your students can make it monochromatic, or very colorful. For inspiration, show them a variety of Picasso’s paintings before they color their cube.
The Impressionist painters attempted to capture a moment in time by painting quickly with large brush strokes and dabs of color. While the Impressionists were making an impression in France, another French artist, George Seurat, took the painting style to a new level. In his early career, he became interested in the science of color; how the eye saw color and the brain processed it. Instead of mixing colors on his paint pallet, Seurat put tiny dots of pure color next to one another on the white canvas. His technique allowed the human eye to blend the colors. Seurat used his pointillist style to create 6 large paintings. His most famous work “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.
This pointillism pin art project will give your students an idea of how time consuming it is to “paint” with dots. You can tell them that Seurat’s painting, “Sunday Afternoon…” is about 7 X 10 feet in size. It took him over 2 years to paint it. They will also observe how the dots they use to color their pin will blend to make new colors. It’s a lot like newspaper comics. Take a closer look and you’ll see that they are printed using tiny dots of pure color.
*If you don’t want to attach a safety pin to the back, for safety reasons, you can make a pointillist magnet by gluing a magnet to the back of each student’s pin.
The soldiers of the Revolutionary War carried a gun called a musket. The musket had to be loaded with gunpowder and a lead ball each time it was fired. A musket was not very accurate. It couldn’t hit a target that was further than 100 yards away. When the soldiers came upon enemy soldiers, they would form several rows of long lines. The first row would fire at the enemy. The enemy soldiers, standing in the same formation, would fire back. The survivors would go to the back to reload their muskets while the next row of soldiers took a shot at the enemy. Each soldier carried a powder horn to hold their gunpowder. The powder horn was usually made from the horn of a cow, buffalo, or ox. When soldiers rested at camp, they carved their name, designs, and patriotic sayings into their powder horn.
Your students can create their own paper powder horn. Since the Revolutionary War was a brutal battle that eventually led to America’s independence from British rule, this project will remind students of all of the brave citizens who risked their lives for freedom. We never want to lose our freedoms, because it’s hard to get them back.