Thursday, June 11, 2009

Picnic Post, Part 3

I am very excited about this edition of the summer picnic at ABC's and 123's, mainly because I know there will be some great ideas from all the other picnic'ers out there. I love a good crafty project. Today, I decided to share a crafty project I did FOR my kids to enjoy and a few of my favorite projects that I used to do in my kindergarten class WITH my kids. My boys are more interested in doing their own art, and not so much into doing a structured art activity. I am fine with that. Enjoying art for art's sake is important, too, and I think it encourages creativity. I do want to do more little projects with them also, to help expand their skills and practice following directions.

For free art, my boys love playdough, coloring and decorating with stickers and stamps on plain paper, and using a dry erase marker on laminated paper and white boards.

For one of my favorite craft projects FOR my kids, I made I Spy bags. See this post for a tutorial and explanation of my variations. I know a lot of people have posted different versions of this activity, but it's still a favorite at our house.

Now, for my projects to do WITH kids. I know most of us have moved on to summer themes and activities, so sorry about the springy nature of these.

Stained Glass Butterflies:

You will need:
liquid starch (It must be liquid starch, you know, the one in the big blue bottle. I have found it easily at Wal-Mart)
shallow container (like an old pie tin or plastic frozen dinner tray)
paint brush
small squares of colored tissue paper
wax paper
pipe cleaner
your favorite adhesive (I would use a low-temp glue gun, but you could use a piece of clear tape to make it easier)

1. Trace a butterfly outline with the sharpie on a piece of wax paper.

2. Dilute the liquid starch with water (I used approximately even amounts of starch and water) until you get a thin "paint" consistency.

3. Paint the wax paper and layer the tissue paper squares onto the butterfly outline. Paint the tops of the tissue paper gently with your starch mixture as well. Make sure to overlap the pieces and go all the way to the edge and a bit over the outline. You want good layering so the wings will be strong. I told my students there should be no holes in the wings (real butterflies couldn't fly with damaged wings after all).

4. While the outline dries, twist a pipe cleaner into a butterfly body.

5. Let the wings dry (overnight is best).

6. Cut out the outline (tissue paper and wax paper are still stuck together) and peel the wax paper off of the back.

7. Glue your butterfly body onto the wings.

8. Hang in a window for a true "stained glass" effect.

Butterfly Rings:
For this project you will need:
copy of a butterfly (I'm sorry I don't know where mine came from, but I'm sure that you could easily find a black and white butterfly online or in a clip art book that would be similar.)

1/3 to 1/2 of a pipe cleaner
hole punch

1. Color the butterfly with the markers. Try to make the wings symmetrical, so it will be more realistic. (I used this project to reinforce the concept of symmetry. We're not there yet at our house. That's ok.)

2. Carefully cut out the butterfly. Something I found helpful when cutting a difficult outline is to make an outline where you want the kids to cut with a bright colored crayon. That gives them a better cutting guide.

3. Punch two holes in the butterfly outline, close to the top on both sides of the body.
(This is my example. You could see the holes better in this one.)
4. Bend the pipe cleaner in half and insert into your two holes, leaving the ends poking up.

5. Have your child put their finger in the loop made by the pipe cleaner, like a ring.

6. Twist the pipe cleaner together to form the ring, then curl the ends down to make the butterfly's antennae.

7. Let your child "flutter" around the room with their butterfly.


  1. Fun projects-we did a butterfly theme last week and these would have been perfect. However having two little girls I am sure we will be making many more butterflies in the future. These are going on the list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your stained butterfly project is beautiful. I bookmarked this post for "activity to do later", because it does require some setup and materials (such as tissue paper) that I don't have at hand. But I am very motivated to try it out sooner rather than later :)

  3. Love the stained glass butterflies!

  4. Fun butterflies. I can see my kids loving the little rings. So cute. I just bought loads of colorful tissue paper yesterday for another project. We will have to try the stained glass butterflies while we're at it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I like the stained glass butterfly.
    Now following vis RSS feed

  6. Love the butterfly rings. I might have to save that one for next year. i currently am teachign kindergarten... year 10. Time just flies, doesn't it?

  7. I love that stained glass butterfly! We will be going to the Butterfly House this Summer, so we'll have to make this craft!

  8. I love those stain glass butterflies, we used to do those too. I never came up with the cute reasoning that real butterflies couldn't fly with holes in their wings. I'll have to remember that one for when I go back. There were always one or two kiddos who didn't want to finish up.