3-D Sewing Sampler

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


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.


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.


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.

Pilgrim Hat Place Cards

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November is the obvious time to ask your students to reflect on the things that they are thankful for.  Mostly, you’ll hear similar responses, “My parents, siblings, home, God, food, friends, my pet…”  But every once in a while, you’ll get the more unique response.  When my son was in preschool, the teacher created a “Wall of Thanks” bulletin board.  There were colorful feathers on the board that included a word or two about what each 4 year old was thankful for.  I noticed a few parents looking at the board and giggling.  Their gaze was fixed on one particular purple feather.  I immediately noticed it belonged to my son.  The words on his feather were, “I am thankful for my intestines.”  I have no idea why he chose to be thankful for his digestive system, but that, according to his teacher, was not just the first thing that came to his mind, it was absolutely what he wanted on his feather.

I pull that feather out of my Thanksgiving decorations bin every year.  And every year, I am thankful for laughter and for my creative kid who always has a different answer than everyone else. 

This quick and easy craft  is perfect for a classroom party or for your own Thanksgiving table. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

3-D Space Ball

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There’s nothing like looking up at the sky on a warm summer night.  It’s so much fun to stare at the stars looking for Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper or the Great Bear.  The constellations are nature’s artwork.

You can create a beautiful inside sky with this 3-D space ball craft.  Have each student decorate the pattern.  Then flip the paper over and color a design on the back, too. 

Show your students how to cut a circle using short scissor cuts and turning the paper as they cut.    After they have folded the circle into fourths, remind them to carefully cut each arc without cutting through the opposite folded side.

Punch a hole in each space ball.  Tie thread through each hole and hang them from the ceiling.

Enjoy the final days of summer!

Fish Puppet

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

Father’s Day is coming up. 

Make a couple of fish puppets and have a  joke battle with Dad. 

Whose fish will tell the best joke?

Here are a few to get you started….

“I just started telling fish jokes and now I’m hooked.”

What did the magician say to the fisherman?

Pick a cod, any cod.

What kind of fish has two bendable legs?

A two-knee fish  (tuna)

Why did the fish cross the ocean?

To get to the other tide

What kind of fish comes out at night?

A starfish

What is a fish’s favorite game?

Salmon Says


Lucky Box

Make a lucky box for St. Patrick's Day.
Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for the Lucky Box craft.


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. 



· 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.

Snow Day Game

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


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.


Stained Glass Ornament

Colorful Light

The stained glass windows in Gothic cathedrals were created to tell religious stories.  Each window was a scene of the life of a saint.  The colorful glass windows were lit up by the sun, which made the scene glow inside the cathedral.

A rose window is a round stained glass window used in Gothic architecture.   The glass pattern is repeated to make a symmetrical design.

The rose window was the inspiration for this stained glass ornament craft.  Click “stained glass ornament” to get the pattern.

*If you want to make this craft with younger students,  use only 2 of the circles and one piece of tissue paper to make a flat ornament.


Egyptian Snake Bracelet

Egyptian Snake Bracelet
Click the photo above to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


The weather in ancient Egypt was warm, so everyone dressed in a simple light-weight tunic and sandals.  It was jewelry that set you apart from the crowd.  Everyone, except slaves, wore jewelry.  The more jewelry you wore, the more blessed you were.  Wealthy people wore jewelry made of gold.  The lower classes wore copper jewelry.  The stones in your jewelry also told the story of where you belonged on the social hierarchy.  Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue stone that was worn only by royalty.

The snake is a common theme in Egyptian jewelry.  It represents rebirth.  The snake sheds its skin to become new again.  A snake swallowing its tail is the sign of eternity; the circle of life.  Snakes represented good and evil.  They were good because they ate the rats and mice that often ruined the food supply.  They were bad when they bit people.

Make your own Egyptian snake bracelet.  Click SNAKE BRACELET to get the pattern and instructions for this craft.

*We used BIC permanent markers (gold and silver) to color the snake bracelet in the photo.

Beach Bracelet

This is a fashion accessory you can make for your summer wardrobe. 

You can wear it as a bracelet or an anklet.

I decided to name this craft project “beach bracelet,” because I like alliteration

and it seemed like a good summery craft name. 

You can certainly wear this bracelet to the beach. 

Just remember to take it off before you go swimming.

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


Craft Materials:  Bracelet pattern, markers or crayons, scissors, glue, string

Age: 8 and up.

Time:  30 minutes

Skills:  Cutting, curling, stringing, and design

Bracelet Instructions

3-D Hanging Star

Summer is a great time to look up at the night sky.  If you live away from the city lights, like I do, you can see an amazing amount of stars.  I like to find the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt.   This craft uses the classic 5-point star shape.

Click to view or print the pattern for this craft.


Skills:  Cutting, folding, design

Time:  20 minutes

Craft Materials:  Star pattern, markers or crayons, scissors, glue, string

Age: 7 and up.

Star Craft Instructions