These 5 favorite craft gives will give any educator some inspiration to teach giving in their classroom. Can crafting make you happy? Of course it can! And it promotes giving while you do it. Crafting often involves making old new again or “upcycling”, also known as “creative reuse”. You can take old items, some may be considered garbage, and make them into something completely different with a new purpose, artistic value or an environmental value. Crafts can be gifts for friends, neighbours, family members, community, a pet or the environment. Basically, crafting promotes giving, recycling and shows you care about the environment and others.
Schools and classrooms are a great place to craft and upcycle. Kids can bring unused or unwanted items from home and make new creative useful products at school. Giving happens by recycling and saving items from the landfill and also by making gifts. The gives can be actual presents for friends or family or gives for the environment or animals. The magic of giving begins as soon as old items are collected and continues while the new creative item is being made and then when it is put into use in its new form. Here are some ideas to get you started on crafting gives in your classroom.
Find about 12 rocks of even size with a flat side. Paint half of the rocks one colour and the other half a contrasting or different colour. The rocks can have various designs of your choosing as long as there are 2 distinct colour groups. Choose a square or surface – thick cardboard, plywood, an old game board – and make it into your tic tac toe board with 4 lines in a bright colour. You can also draw lines in the dirt or with chalk on the sidewalk. Once the board and pieces are ready, invite a friend or family member to have a fun game of pet rock tic tac toe. Paint extra rocks for friends or to decorate your garden for extra giving fun.
Start with a juice or milk carton, cut an opening in the front at least an inch or two from the bottom so you create an area to hold the birdseed. Make a slit under the opening and insert a stick or popsicle stick that the bird can sit on. The decorating is up to you – paint it, decorate it, add a roof of popsicle sticks, or whatever creative spark ignites the kids. Make sure to add a string or ribbon by making a hole on either side at the top and then find a visible branch so you can enjoy bird watching. The birds will enjoy your give all year long.
You can paint old flower pots or get new ones from the dollar store. Put some seeds from vegetables in your kitchen – pumpkin, peppers, cucumbers for example – or plant a flower for an earth give. Or plant herbs to enjoy in your kitchen. If you want the terra cotta look – mix 1 tbs baking powder with 1 cup of paint and brush it on an old vase, bowl or any item around your house. You can plant something or use it for decoration and enjoy your “upcycled” give for the planet.
Take your class on a nature hike or walk around the school yard to pick up pieces of nature that include sticks, leaves, grass, or flowers. With some twine or string, tie 4 sticks together to make a frame and make lines of twine across the frame by looping the string or twine around the sides and knotting them. Then the creativity begins. The kids can weave all their natural findings through their frame to create their own unique art work from nature.
A project that can be as simple or creative as you make it. Find some freshly fallen leaves and place them vein side up on a flat surface between two pieces of paper. Use as many leaves of different or similar sizes as you want and choose the colours you want to use. Hold the paper down securely and rub the colour over the top piece of paper to see the image of the leaf come through. Your creation can be framed, used as a greeting card, laminated for placemats or you can use large sheets of paper to make wrapping paper. The image of the leaves will live on in your give for the planet.
Reusing household items is a great way to teach kids the value of recycling and using items from nature is a great way to appreciate our environment. Crafting is fun and an inexpensive way to create gifts for family or friends or to decorate our space. When kids give their creations and art work they will feel the happiness that comes from knowing they have given back to our planet, to animals or to each other.