Toilet Paper Roll Trees for Tu B’Shvat

“Plant” a tree for Tu B’Shvat!

tali-tree

With Tu B’Shvat just around the corner, we needed to do a tree project! We used toilet paper rolls to create a 3D tree on our page. I keep a stash of these rolls around so when an idea strikes, we aren’t stuck without materials. The kids enjoyed this one. The blue blobs all over are apparently “rain” and the red splotches are some kind of fruit.

ora-tree

We painted it after we glued it down, but the whole time I was debating if we should have painted the whole tube first and cut it into leaves second. If you did do it that way, the edges of the leaves wouldn’t get painted but it would be neater and possibly easier. If you try it the other way, let us know how it went!

Toilet Paper Roll Trees

Time:
Active: 15 minutes
Drying: 15 minutes+

Age: 2-7

Materials:
2 toilet paper tubes, or 1 paper towel tube
paper
paint
glue
scissors

Process:

Cut one of the tubes in half. This will be your trunk.

Fold the second tube in half and flatten, so a football shape is created. Cut thin stripes off the tube. These will be your leaves. We found kid scissors not to be strong enough to cut through the tube, so we carefully used large “grown up” scissors.

cutting

Arrange your pieces on a sheet of paper to your satisfaction. Then glue them down. We found the most effective way to glue the leaves was to pinch them together until they were essentially flat. One person held the leaf in this position while the other squeezed out a thin layer of glue. Then when you let go of the pinch position, both sides of the leaf have glue on them.

gluing

Let the glue dry for as long as you can bear to wait. 15 minutes should be enough.

Paint! Make sure to get all the sides and inside each leaf.

painting

Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

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Easy Invisible Ink

Paint over your drawing and your picture magically appears!

snowman

We recently threw a science themed birthday party for my older daughter. We set up 3 rotating stations with experiments for the kids to do, and concluded with a dry ice show by my real-life-scientist husband. One of the stations was invisible ink. It involved mess, a hair dryer and soggy paper. Here is the version we should have done instead. It’s easy and can be kept fairly clean and of course, hair dryer free.

If you draw with a white crayon, it seems to be invisible. When you paint over the crayon drawing, the paint slides off the waxy crayon residue, revealing your message or drawing. Any paint will work, but for ease and less mess, we used dot paints, which the kids love. They had a blast revealing their messages.

white-crayon

Looks like nothing is there? Just wait!

dotting

This technique can be used for any theme. My kids wanted to do “winter” pictures but it could just as well be about anything. Scribbles are great too! You could do this to represent the first day of creation, (light and dark) using black paint over the white crayon. It could also work for the second day of creation (when the waters are separated). Color a large block of white in the center of the page. Paint over it with blue and voila! The waters split with white in between. The blue paint would go well with Kriyat Yam Suf too.  Share any other ideas you have, or photos of what you came up with!

Easy Invisible Ink

Time:
Active: 30 minutes

Age: 2-8

Materials:
white  paper
paint (we used dot paint but any will work)
white crayons

materials

Process:

Color with the white crayon on the white paper. Make sure to press down firmly for best results. Words are fun if your kid knows how to write but pictures are just as good. Make sure you have drawn everything you want before starting to paint, as you cannot go back and draw more on that page once the paint is applied.

Paint over the areas you colored. Watch as the paint slides off the crayon and your message is revealed!

scribble

Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

Keeping Clean

Some tips for keeping clean during and after a project.

mess

After my last post, a friend commented “Just thinking of allowing paint anywhere near my house gives me palpitations. how do you do it??” My kids are a little older than hers, and she is renting a furnished apartment, but I am sure her quandary is not unique. Here are few ideas to help you keep up with the during and after-craft mess.

But first a disclaimer: I always say that mess shows that you were having fun. Let the playroom look like a disaster for a while (maybe a nice loooong while…). What good are all those toys/paints/dress up clothes if they are packed away in a bin in the closet? We only recently moved our toys down to the basement, so I am a pro at stepping around half finished Magnatile houses and Barbie shoes. When the floor was not navigable, that was too much mess, but some amount, to me, gave some room for creativity.

My #1 secret weapon to cleaning up after a messy project is baby wipes. I also use them to clean dirty counters, walls, doors – you name it. They clean everything! Paint, marker – check. Even crayon, which I find harder to remove, come off with a little pressure. My kitchen table is laminate so it wipes up fairly easily but our newly finished craft table is an old wood table that was knocking around our basement when we bought our house. We cleaned it off (there might have been some wipes involved..but paper towels too) and the kids helped me paint it with a bright yellow semi-gloss paint. I am finding my “magic” wipes to do less of a good job on that, but it’s still my favorite way to clean.

Another good way to keep clean is to buy some cheap plastic place mats and designate them as “project mats”. My sister was tired of wiping her table down and picked some up and that has been working great. You could alternately get a vinyl tablecloth to use for projects, but I find that makes the table surface softer which is less ideal for coloring.

And of course smocks! Either spend a few dollars on real ones, or use the time-honored method of Abba’s old shirt backwards. I used a short sleeve one on my younger daughter and the sleeves were the perfect length for her arms.

I would love to hear you tips for keeping clean! Share them on our facebook page or below in the comments.

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Decorate a dreidel…with a dreidel

Use a paint-dipped dreidel to create a splatter effect on a paper dreidel.

done

The kids were digging through a box of old projects and pulled out something my older daughter brought home last year. They dipped dreidels in paint and spun them on a dreidel-shaped piece of paper, creating a great splatter effect. So we tried it out at home.

This is definitely a messy project – get out the smocks and table covers for this one.  I wouldn’t recommend this project for kids much below 5 years old. You need to know how to spin a dreidel and also how not to fling paint everywhere.

spinning

I tried using 2 sizes of plastic dreidels. I found that the bigger one worked better and got a more effective splatter than the smaller one.

You could use the same method to decorate any Chanukah shape. Try spinning on a plain sheet of paper. Then cut out latke shapes, and glue them on to a paper cut in the shape of a frying pan. We’d love to see what you come up with!

 

Dreidel-Decorated Dreidels

Time:
Active: 15 minutes

Age: 5-8

Materials:
Construction paper
paint
plastic dreidel
bowl to hold paint

what-you-need

Process:

Get ready for a messy project by putting on smocks. Cover your table surface with newspaper or a plastic disposable tablecloth. Or, be prepared for a decent amount of wiping up.

(This shows a pieces of the mess on my non-covered table).

mess

Cut a out a dreidel shape from a piece of paper. You can print my dreidel template or draw one yourself. Check out “Spinning Paper Dreidel” for detailed directions on how to draw a perfect dreidel.

Pour a small amount of paint into a bowl. Dip your dreidel in.

dip-in-paint

Spin your paint-dipped dreidel on your paper dreidel! Repeat until the shape is as covered as you like it, or until the kids loses interest.

Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

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“Spinning” Paper Dreidel

Create a dreidel that “spins” but won’t fall down!

dreidels

My daughter came home from school excited to tell me about the dreidel she painted in school. She ran to her bag to show it to me…and of course it had not yet been sent home! This caused many tears, so we had to do a dreidel project at home to make for it.

This project requires a some adult cutting and measuring, but a whole lot of post-project playing! It also uses one my favorite supplies, paper fasteners. I always liked the idea of a paper fastener, but never had the good fortune to own my very own box. I had my husband gift me a box for this project.

The basic idea here is simple. Cut out a paper dreidel with a window, and then attach a spinning wheel to simulate the spinning of a dreidel. We used card stock rather than regular paper because I thought it would hold up better. If you don’t have that, I would suggest construction paper, but really any paper will do.

kids-coloring

You can draw your own dreidel and wheel, or for your convenience, you can download the  dreidel template and just print it out. I give detailed directions about how to measure yours below. As you can see in the picture, ours ended up with a small amount of space in the window because were doing this on the fly. For the template, I enlarged the wheel so it should cover the full window.

“Spinning” Paper Dreidel

Time:
Active: 15 minutes

Age: 2-7

Materials:
Paper (card stock or construction paper ideal, but really anything will do)
Paper fastener
Crayons, markers, or decorating tools of your choice

Process:

Cut a out a dreidel shape from a piece of paper. You can print my dreidel template or draw one yourself. This part sounds complicated, but it’s really fairly simple. If you don’t care too much about having it perfectly even, feel free to just eyeball the measurements.

Here is how I did it.
1. Find the center of your page and mark it.
2. Make a diagonal line from that mark to a point on the side of the page.
3. Using a ruler, measure straight across from the top point where the line hit the side of the page and mark it.
4. Make a second diagonal line from the center mark to your new mark. This ensures the 2 bottom lines are even.
5. For the dreidel handle, put your ruler across the width of the whole page, positioning it at the top of the page. Mark at 3″ and 5.5″. Draw a 2″ line down from each of those marks.
6. Cut out the squares on the top of the page, and the triangles on the bottom.
Perfect dreidel!

Cut out a window from your dreidel. Decide where you want your spinner to be and make a pie-shaped wedge cut out, approximately a quarter of your circle but with a slightly smaller diameter. I made my pie shape by tracing the circle on the back of the dreidel, and then making an “x” through the circle. The top quarter became the pie shape I cut out. and  I made the template 3″, the picture shown has a 2.25″ width but I think the slightly bigger size would be better.

Have your kids decorate the dreidel. We kept it simple with just markers.

Make the wheel. Cut out a circle .5″ bigger than the diameter of your window. The template is 3.5″. Add a Nun, Gimel, Hey and Shin, rotating the circle so each letter is upright in it’s quadrant. I didn’t have the kids color the wheel because I thought it would be hard to read if it was scribbled on.

Attached the wheel at the base of the window with a paper fastener. I used a push pin to start the hole and poked myself in the finger, so be careful when poking, especially if you are using heavier paper!

Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

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Nature Menorah

Combine Chanukah with the end of fall for a nature walk and project in one!

done

Once Rosh Chodesh Kislev arrives, Chanukah is in the air! We did our first Chanukah project today. It combined Chanukah and fall. We went out on a walk to collect leaves and sticks. We snagged a beautiful red one right outside of the shul on our way home from a morning program there to get us started. Once we got home, we combed our yard and block. Our neighbor had a tree with perfect, small red leaves but other than that, it was slim pickings. We did out best to find a variety of shapes and colors that were not crumbled or wet and found some thin sticks as well. It was freezing so we worked quickly. We did manage to collect more than enough for each girl in a variety of shapes and colors.

leaves

After a lunch break, the kids broke the sticks into small pieces and arranged them on the paper.

arrange-sticks

We then painted the sticks. While the sticks were drying, the kids kept painting – both on paper and paper towels!

painting

paitned-sticks

This passed the time until the sticks were dry enough to glue down. We used the leaves to act as the flames of our menorah.

done2

The kids were proud of their projects! They really enjoyed combining fall with Chanukah.

Nature Menorah

Time:
Nature walk: 10 minutes, because it was freezing. If it’s warmer where you are, take your time and have fun with it!
Active: 20 minutes
Drying: 15 minutes+

Age: 2-7

Materials:
Sticks and leaves
Paint
Paper
Glue

Process:

Collect sticks and leaves. Try to find straight sticks that will adhere to the paper without popping up in the middle. Moister leaves work better than brittle ones.  A variety of shapes and colors will really make the menorah come alive!

Break the sticks into smaller pieces and arranged them on your page. Then painted the sticks. I put a piece of scrap paper underneath the sticks to protect the table while the kids painted. The kids then painted each stick.

Let sticks dry.  Glue down the sticks onto a clean sheet of paper in the shape of a menorah. Put the shamash wherever you want – center or end is traditional but anything goes.

Have each kid pick out 9 leaves from the collection we had amassed and arrange them on their menorah to represent the flames. Use a variety of sizes to get them all the fit. Once you have then arranged to your satisfaction, glue them down. It probably would be nice to put some heavy books on top of them as they dry to help the leaves stick better, but it’s not necessary.

Alternately, press the leaves by putting the between wax paper until Chanukah. Glue on one leaf each night!

Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

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Welcome

Welcome to Jewish Kids Create. My two young daughter love doing craft projects and I am always looking out for craft ideas. They especially love Jewish themed projects that tie in to the season or Jewish idea they have been learning about in school. But finding just the right one can be challenging.

My criterion for a great project:

  1. Age appropriate: Three year olds can only do so much. If the directions involve a lot of cutting (especially in a specific shape), folding, or other specific tasks, then I am likely to pass it by. The point of doing a craft with kids is that they get creative, rather than have Mommy do 95% of the work while they watch.
  2. Time: Sometimes you want a quick project,sometimes you are looking to fill a winter afternoon. While kids don’t necessarily want to sit for hours, if they themselves are doing the craft rather than watching you cut out 50 circles, they will a more willing to spend the time. And of course play with the finished results!
  3. Wait Time: Does this project involve steps like “Paint the circle brown. Wait 2 hours for it to dry.”? Because I most likely will pass that by. That type of thing works in a school setting where you have short periods of time over multiple days to do the project. At home, kids want to be able to complete the project all at once and use it ideally right away. Not to rule out any paint or glue, but too long of a wait can be  killer.
  4. Supplies: Does it require some kind of supply that I am unlikely to have at home? Especially here in Bergen county where stores are closed on Sundays, I have no desire to run out to the store for an obscure material where there is plenty to be done with what we already have around the house.
  5. Meaning: There are times when it’s fun to just scribble, but I do like to introduce Jewish themed crafts. It really excites the kids to explore the Jewish season we are currently in, whether it’s a holiday, parsha or mitzvah. Here on Jewish Kids Create, I will mostly leave Parsha crafts for the Morah at school, who already does an excellent job. We will focus here on more seasonal ideas.

On Jewish Kids Create, I plan to post a variety of crafts, and will mark them with suggested ages, how long it should take, and whether it’s a “finish now” or “requires a wait” type of project. All the projects will also be posted on facebook, so like our page to be notified when something new is up. I would love to see pictures if you and your kids do one of our projects! Post them on our facebook page so we can all admire them!