Mixed Media Trees for Tu B’Shvat

Create colorful trees using a variety of materials for Tu B’Shvat!

tree1

The weather this winter has been crazy so far. One week it’s in single digits, and the next it’s 60 degrees! But no matter the weather, Tu B’Shvat is coming up. It’s like a little (mostly indoor) preview of all the flowering and blossoming yet to come as the spring approaches. And winter break was the perfect opportunity to spend some time getting ready.

tree2

For this project, we used a variety of materials (mixed media, in art lingo). We used what we had around, which is pompoms, buttons and crumpled tissue paper. You can use just about anything to create your trees. Send the kids on quick nature walk and collect leaves and sticks for a more realistic looking tree. Some other ideas include sequins or jewels, construction paper or wrapping paper cut into shapes, star stickers, and foam shapes.

We drew our background first and then pasted on our trees, but you could also glue on other materials for an even more textured result.

Looking for more Tu B’Shavt projects?
Toilet Paper Roll Trees for Tu B’Shvat

 

Mixed Media Trees for Tu B’Shvat

Time:
Active: 15 minutes
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using paint or glue

Age: 2-7

Materials:
Paper
Glue
Popsicle sticks
Something with which to create your trees – pompoms, buttons, crumpled tissue paper (see more ideas in the post above)
Crayons or markers to draw a background

Process:
Draw a nature scene on a sheet of paper, or glue one on.

Cut a popsicle stick in half to use as a tree trunk. Glue on and then add the top of your tree, using whatever materials you would like.

 

 

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Menorah and Dreidel Snowflakes

Make snowflakes in holiday shapes!

on-window

Full confession – snowflakes are just not my thing. I always seem to cut the wrong side and the whole thing falls apart, or my design just looks like a bunch of weird holes. But! thinking about the winter holiday of Chanukah, it seemed like snowflakes and Chanukah shapes just had to come together. My original idea was to have dreidel-shaped pieces of paper to cut into snowflakes but once you started to cut further designs into the dreidel, it lost it’s recognizable shape. It took many tries, but I finally hit on the idea of having the negative space form the dreidel. It looked a little plain with just a dreidel, so I also added a menorah. Snowflakes: consider yourself conquered!

done

We decorated with glitter glue, but as always, there is no wrong way to decorate these. If we had had glitter in the house, I was thinking of mixing some into paint and giving some shine that way, but plain old crayons will certainly get the job done should your horror of glitter extend as far as mine.

Hang them on the window where you are lighting your menorah and add some extra holiday spirit!

Looking for more Chanukah projects?
Light a Paper Menorah
Nature Menorahs
“Spinning” Paper Dreidel
Decorate a Dreidel…with a Dreidel!

Menorah and Dreidel Snowflakes

Time:
Active: 5 minutes for cutting (assuming you get it right the first time!), 10 minutes for decorating
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using paint or glue

Age: 4-7

Materials:
Paper
Scissors
Something with which to decorate the snowflakes – something glittery adds winter spirit

Process:
I recommend an adult do the cutting here to make sure it works out correctly. Fold your paper into eighths by folding in half, half again and then half again.  I unfolded the paper here to show you how it looks but keep your paper folded.

folded-paper

On the side with the folded seam, cut the shape of half a dreidel.

just-dreidel-side

On the opposite side, about halfway up the center of the dreidel, cut the shape of half a menorah. We just cut a shamash, since all eight candles seemed too hard, but if you are a scissor whiz, go for it! (Cut just 4 candles, since we are only cutting half of the total shape.)

both-sides-cut

Unfold and here is what it should look like!

all-cut

Feel free to keep cutting shapes around the edges, I just felt it was chancy and I might end up messing it up so I stuck with just the holiday shapes.

Decorate however you wish and then hang in the window!

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

“Light” a Paper Menorah

Even the youngest child can light a paper menorah!

lit

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start getting ready for Chanukah! I wanted to make something for kids who are old enough to know that we light a menorah on Chanukah but who are not old enough to be trusted with actual fire. Enter this paper menorah.

Start with a blank menorah. Draw your own (don’t forget flames!) or download the template here. We decorated our menorah by gluing on squares of tissue paper, which the kids really enjoyed but of course you could use markers, crayons or whatever you prefer . When it dried, we cut it out and then used paper fasteners to create flames that can be rotated upwards it’s time to “light” them.

none

Where are all the flames?

three

Tada! It’s the third night of Chanukah!

We use cardstock for our menorah which turned out not to have been a smart choice when if came time to attach the flames. The paper fasteners are not strong enough to poke through it on their own so I had to laboriously pre-poke holes in both the menorah and the flames and rotating the flames is a bit tough when done. Just use regular paper and you should be fine.

Looking for more Chanukah projects?
Nature Menorahs
“Spinning” Paper Dreidel
Decorate a Dreidel…with a Dreidel!

Lighting Paper Menorahs

Time:
Active: 15 minutes for decorating, 10 minutes for assembly by adult
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using paint or glue

Age: 2-8

Materials:
Drawing or printout of menorah and flames. Download the template here.
Something with which to decorate the menorah – we used squares of tissue paper and glue but paint, markers, crayons, or stickers would be great too.
Scissors
9 paper fasteners

Process:
Print out the template or draw your own menorah and decorate. Don’t worry if you go out the lines because it will be cut later. Let dry if needed.

assembled

Cut out the menorah and flames. We decided not to cut in between each branch since once the paper fasteners were attached they would weigh down the flimsy branches.

Attach flames by poking the paper fasteners from front to back. Turn over your menorah and decorated side facing out, slide the flame on to the fastener. Open fastener flaps and make sure flame can rotate.

poking

When you have all of the flames attached, here is what it should look like:

back

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

Pop-up Apple Place Cards for Rosh Hashanah

Make your holiday table fun with pop-up apple place cards!

apple place card

School has begun, long sleeves have been stocked in the drawers, and our neighbor’s tree is full of apples…fall is just about here and that means Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner. The kids will almost certainly bring flimsy plastic honey dishes home from school that you want to figure out how to avoid using (“Let’s keep it clean, so we don’t mess it up!”) and you definitely do not need more of those hanging around. This is neater and more personal project that you can use to decorate your table while helping your guests find their seats.

While you can stick to authentic apple colors, there is no reason you need to! Especially for the youngest artists, scribbling in multi-colors will just make these look more fun. I think I prefer the colorful ones!  You could also crumple small pieces of tissue paper in red, green and yellow and glue them to the apples for added dimension. Or use pompoms in place of tissue paper in a rainbow of colors!

full sheet

I printed my cards on regular paper since my printer can be stubborn about printing on card stock but if your printer can handle it or if you are drawing the apples yourself, I recommend a heavier weight paper so that the place cards will stand up nicely, especially if you are gluing on any decorations. You can download the template here.

 

Pop-up Apple Place Cards

Time:
Active: 30 minutes, depending on how many you make
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using paint or glue

Age: 2-9

Materials:
Paper or place card template
Something with which to decorate the paper – paint, markers, crayons, tissue paper, pompoms, etc.
Scissors
Glue if needed

Process:
Draw your apple outlines on a card of your own size choice, or download and print ours. I sized them so they fit six on a page.

Decorate in any way you want. We just used markers.

When they are decorated, cut the cards into individual pieces. Fold each card in half.

folded

Cut out the shape of the apple on the top part of the card only! This proved to be a bit tricky for the leaf and stem so I suggest helping out younger children.

cutting

Add names below the apple and place one at each seat at your table.

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

Rebuilding Yerushalayim (in paper)

Use paper to create your own version of Yerushalayim on Tisha B’av.

yerushalayim

Tisha B’av marks the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It is also one of the hardest days to be a parent. You don’t have the luxury of spending the day in shul and then taking a long nap. There are small people waiting to be fed and want you to play with them. Additionally, you want to convey some sense of the day to them, just as you would with any other holiday, but in an age appropriate way.

I am always on the lookout for Tisha B’av projects that relate to the day. One that you can do even with small kids is building a paper Yerushalayim. You can cut out the shapes in advance or have older kids cut their own shapes. Then let them mix and match and create their own Yerushalayim. Show the kids how to layer the shapes to show dimension, so some buildings are close up and some are further away.

You can add in print-outs of friends or family living in Israel, or the kids themselves. We used plain construction paper but any type of textured or shiny gold paper would add an extra dimension here. Print out close ups of Jerusalem stone to add in as “bricks” or buildings. You could do a Kotel scene, or any other place in Israel that has meaning to you and your kids.

We hope that by next year, we will already see the real rebuilt Yerushalayim!

 

Building Yerushalayim

Time:
Active: 30 minutes, depending on involved you get

Age: 2-8

Materials:
Construction or any other kind of colored or textured paper
Glue
Scissors

Process:
Cut out a variety of shapes. We mainly used squares, rectangles and domes, with a triangle for the sun and some bird shapes but really almost anything will work.

 

supplies

Arrange the pieces on a sheet of paper. Layer pieces to create a full city with depth. Once you have arranged the pieces to your satisfaction, glue them down.

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

Shavuot Flowers

Decorate Har Sinai or make a bouquet!

har sinai

In our dining room, we have one wall that is saved for hanging up the kids’ projects. It rotates seasonally, and we have school projects and crafts we have done at home. It’s at the point where it can never be blank, or it just looks like something is missing. Kids love having their artwork displayed and this being a very prominent location gives them a lot a pride.

Well, the Pesach projects were still hanging as of today, so I knew we needed to move on. We took down the matza and seder plate (school projects were saved for now, paper we cut into shapes and taped up there was recycled while no one was looking). And now, what could we put up for Shavuot? My daughter wanted to put up a big Har Sinai. Har Sinai itself ended up being both green and brown, based on what colors were left in the package of construction paper. Then we decorated it with some flowers that used paper and my favorite art supply, the paper fastener! These were really easy and came out looking beautiful.

flowers

Shavuot Flowers

Time:
Active: 30 minutes, depending on how many you make
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using paint

Age: 2-7

Materials:
Paper or flower template
Something with which to decorate the paper – paint, markers, crayons, etc.
Scissors
Paper fasteners

Process:
Draw your flower outlines, or download and print ours. I sized them so we would have a three layered flower in the end, with each flower being slightly smaller than the next.

Decorate in any way you want. We used watercolors, which have been a favorite recently.

kids painting

When they are dry, cut them out. This proved to be a bit tedious, but I stacked two sheets of paper together and cut them simultaneously. Stack the flowers with the largest one on the bottom and the smallest on top. Poke a hole with the paper fastener through the center of all 3 flowers.

If you don’t have a wall to hang them on, use a pipe cleaner instead of a paper fastener and make a bouquet! Decorate an empty bottle by pasting on squares of tissue paper and you have just made a lovely Shavuot centerpiece.

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Pesach Puppets

Act out the story of Pesach with adorable puppets!

moshe aaron

As I was cleaning up the remains of Purim, I gathered up a whole stack of puppets the kids brought home from school. I got to thinking – why does Purim get all the puppet fun? The Pesach story is just as dramatic and part of the Seder experience is to feel like we ourselves left Egypt. What better way then telling the story with puppets!

matza marror

Matza and Marror

A definition of terms – when I say puppet, you might be thinking of the kind made of a sock, or a marionette. My version is much simpler – just cut out some paper and tape it to a stick or straw. Much easier and friendly to make for any age. The kids absolutely loved doing these. We started them on Sunday afternoon and spent an hour decorating. We finished Monday after school and spent another hour making more and attaching them to the sticks. Obviously, your kids might be done in 10 minutes, especially if they are younger, but older kids can really use their creativity here. It isn’t a super fancy thing, but it really was so much fun.

Last year my daughter made a set of Pesach puppets all by herself, which yielded the amazing results only the drawings of a 5 year old can do. They were great fun, so I thought why not expand the repertoire and make not only puppets of people, but Seder objects too like mazta and marror puppets? Make a bunch and hand them out at your seder. Whenever the item on your puppet is mentioned, raise it up high! It’s a great way to keep kids interested, almost like searching for Haman in the Megillah. They will be waiting for the next mention of matza to wave their puppet! Many of them will be surprised that the Moshe puppet will be used only once throughout the whole seder and the whole story of Moshe in the basket isn’t mentioned at all. Create your own or download and print ours.

While they all came out adorably, we made a sea that splits and I think this might be my favorite one! We used both tissue and construction paper in as many shades of blue as we had that we glued on to a circle of paper. When it was dry, we cut it in half and then attached one end with a paper fastener. It didn’t seem like a good idea to put this one on a stick.

sea closed

Moshe holds his staff over the sea…

sea open

…and it splits!

The age of the kid will dictate how sophisticated these come out. My younger daughter did this one of Baby Moshe, of which she was very proud.

baby moshe

If you use them at your seder be sure to let us know!

Pesach Puppets

Time:
Active: 1-2 hours, depending on attention span
Drying: 15 minutes+ if using glue

Age: 2-9

Materials:
Paper
Something with which to decorate the paper – paint, markers, crayons, etc.
Decorating materials – tissue paper, construction paper, shiny paper, fabric, pompoms – the ideas can be endless!
Glue
Scissors
Tape
Popsicle sticks or straws
Puppet downloads

Process:
Draw your puppet outlines, or download and print ours. Decorate in any way you want. I liked gluing on ripped paper. We used light blue tissue paper for the salt water dish and construction paper for the shank bone.

progress

When they are done, tape to a popsicle stick or straw (I prefer the non-bending type for projects like this). For Moshe and Aaron’s staffs, I added an extra piece of straw perpendicular to the main straw, since otherwise they were flapping around and were sure to rip (look closely at the first picture in the post to see what I mean). If you are using our downloads, I felt popsicle sticks were too small for the scale of those cut outs, but if you make your own smaller ones, they will work great.

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

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