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Make a Mother's Day

Celebrate Mom with one or all of these handmade gifts.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Creativity
Fine Motor Skills

Children of all ages can use a little Mother's Day magic to turn marbles into a sun catcher or an old CD case into a picture frame. It's easy to show you care with recycled materials or backyard treasures: just add love. Your young crafter will have fun making these gifts — and making Mom smile.

 

Plant a Poem
Encourage your budding artist with a pretty poetry garden. Her imagination and grammar skills will blossom along with the perennials!

What you need:

  • flat rocks of different sizes
  • big and little paintbrushes
  • outdoor paints

What to do:

  1. After your child collects her flat rocks, help her wash off the dirt with soapy water. Allow rocks to dry completely.
  2. Next, have her paint the rock a solid color, making sure everything that will be exposed is covered in paint.
  3. While waiting for the paint to dry, help your child brainstorm a poetry word list. Choose a theme, like summer or family. Ask older kids to pick words from different parts of speech. Try for a balance of unique nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Little rocks can say "in," "the," or "and." To pluralize, write the letter "s" on a few small stones and add to singular words. Her poems can be silly or sweet!

    Silly: Smart trees dance in purple rain.

    Sweet: Spring grows life and love.

  4. After the first layer of paint dries, let her choose a contrasting color to write words on top of the rock. Black words work well on white rocks, and bright color combinations perk up the garden even more.
  5. Now it is time to compose! Have your poetic painter mix and match five different words, then arrange the verse in the garden.

For a more ambitious project, have your little artist paint garden creatures, like ladybugs and butterflies. You can also purchase plain stepping-stones or landscaping pieces. Line the garden with a big green worm or a caterpillar.

 

Catch Some Rays
A colorful homemade sun-catcher is surefire way to avoid catching the rainy day blues! Watch sunlight stream through vibrant beads as your gift brightens kitchens, cars, or gardens.

What you need:

  • 30 inches of wire (20 gauge)
  • scissors or wire snips
  • about 30 beads
  • marbles and/or sea glass (optional)

What to do:

  1. With a younger child, start simple. Help twist a hanging loop on one end of the wire. Then, thread a bead on the other end of the wire, leaving at least one inch of space between the bead and the loop. Bend the wire into a tight Z shape around the bead to secure it. Have him repeat with the rest of the beads, spacing and alternating colors however he likes.
  2. After securing the last bead, help him carefully wrap the bottom end of wire around a pen a few times for a curly finish. Then wrap the wire around a spice bottle to achieve spirals. Tighten the top and bottom coils to create an egg shape.
  3. Encourage experimentation: older children can wrap wire around shells, sea glass, or marbles to secure them in place as a bolder "Bravo!" for Mom.

 

Recycle Audio Into Visual
Reclaim CD cases to decorate the family refrigerator or mantel with images special to Mom.

What you need:

  • unscratched blank CD cases
  • scissors
  • thin cardboard
  • magnetic strips
  • photographs, maps, or artwork to frame 

What to do:

  1. For an upright picture frame: Open the CD case and carefully separate the top and bottom pieces. Take out the plastic piece where the CD would rest. Next, put the top and bottom back together, but backwards, so the case cannot shut.

    Trim the artwork so it can slide perfectly into the top lid where the album booklet would go. If the image is too small, mat it on construction paper. For a smoother look, cut a piece of cardboard to put behind the image and fill the frame.

  2. To make a magnet: Do not separate the top and bottom lid, but take out the plastic tray inside. Trim the artwork and secure the same way; simply add magnetic strips to the back to create a fridge decoration.

 

Make the News Wearable
Teach your young artist how to recycle old newspaper into a new piece of wearable art.

What you need:

  • lightweight cardboard (an empty cereal box works well)
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • paper towels
  • newspaper
  • flour
  • salt
  • water

What to do:

  1. Using a ruler and pencil, measure a piece of cardboard about 10 inches long and 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide, then cut it out. Bend the cardboard into a circle and overlap the ends by half an inch.
  2. For thicker bangles, take a paper towel and roll it up tightly until it is about the desired width of the bangle. Trim it down to size. Tape the rolled-up paper towel to the outside of the cardboard circle to hold it down. Continue taping until the bangle is completely covered in masking tape.
  3. Tear newspaper strips that are approximately 1/2 inch wide and several inches long.
  4. To make the paste, place 1/2 cup of flour and a tablespoon of salt in a bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water. Mix with hands until thick, adding more flour if it is too watery or more water if it is too thick.
  5. Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste. Slide the strip through your thumb and forefinger to remove a bit of extra paste. Wrap the strip around the bangle. Repeat with another strip, overlapping the first. Continue until the whole bracelet is covered with 3 layers of paper strips. Add one layer of blank newspaper or news photos to prevent the newsprint from showing through your paint.
  6. Set the bangle aside to dry (try using a drying rack and placing it near a radiator or heating vent). You'll know it needs more time if it feels cool to the touch.
  7. Now it's time to decorate. Younger children can plan colorful designs with geometric shapes and stripes. For older children, try more intricate techniques. Add carpenter paint, pour on glitter, and shake off excess. Decoupage magazine photographs or souvenir flyers onto the bangle. Sponge on different colors, or doodle with puff paint. Talk about what is special to Mom — maybe the bangle can have brown and white spots like the family dog, or ocean waves to remind her of a favorite vacation.

 

Wrap With Good Taste
This super-sweet treat requires simple materials — and you can snack while you craft!

What you need:

  • fresh or frozen raspberries and/or blueberries
  • plate
  • paper
  • pen or pencil

What to do:

  1. If working with frozen berries, rinse with warm water to thaw. Choose a berry and put it on the plate. Have your child mush his finger in the berry, and then use his finger to smear juice on the paper.
  2. Next comes the creativity! Children can dream up an original design — abstract, or a scene Mom might like. If your child needs inspiration, ask her to look at the smudge carefully and see if it reminds her of anything — a flower, a bird, a mountain. Have her use pen or pencil over the smudge to draw what she sees so everyone else can see it, too.
  3. Fold the paper to create a card. Inside, make a border with different colored fingerprints, and leave a message in the center. Younger children can use simple lines like, "I love my mom berry much," while older kids might try writing their own rhyming poem inside. Here's an example: 

    Some berries are red

    Some berries are blue

    I'd be blue, too

    If I didn't have you!

  4. To make gift-wrap, simply use a larger sheet of plain paper and try the same techniques. Experiment with different types of berries — ask your child which berries might smudge best and which would not work. Try to guess what color the berries will make; it is not always what you expect!

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