Each year, I love to have my students take a little time out of the hard-core academics to take part in another real life skill — doing something nice for their moms. When my own kids were younger, I remember how joyful it was to be woken up by smiling faces clutching crumpled brown lunch bags that contained a small, handmade treasure. Whatever was in that bag was a hundred times better than anything Target or Macy's sold. It’s that same sort of happiness and joy I want to continue spreading to the moms, stepmoms, and grandmothers of the children in my room. The only problem is, Mother’s Day seems to sneak up on me every year. I’m not sure how, but it does, and it normally happens around the Thursday before Mother’s Day that I need to get those presents done in a hurry. To make my life easier, I look for projects that fit the following criteria:
Any project I choose needs to go from start to finish in less than an hour. In order to do this with 28 third graders, I choose simple projects my students can do independently or with a partner's help. To keep from breaking the bank, I like to make sure everything I need can be purchased in one trip to the dollar store and craft store. Finally, once I find a project I like, I stick with it for three or four years in a row because thinking up new ideas takes more time than not thinking up new ideas.
This week, I'm happy to share with you three of my favorite quick and easy projects. Hopefully you'll be able to use one (or more) of these ideas if Mother's Day sneaks up on you.
These cute flowers have a secret — they are cleverly disguised ink pens that moms can actually use. To make these pens you only need the four items listed below. If you would like to make the optional pots, you'll need a few more supplies. I already had the pens and craft glue in my classroom; the clay pots and flowers came from Michael's, and everything else I used was bought at Dollar Tree.
Materials for each flower pen:
Optional for pots:
2 inch clay pots
moss or marbles
decorations for outside of pot
Watch the video below for a step-by-step tutorial on making these pens including a cute pot to hold the pens. Mobile users can view the Flower Pen Craft video here.
Money-Saving Tip: When you purchase your flowers, check out the sales at the craft stores. While the dollar store seems like it might be a better deal, many of the flowers at Michael's were $1.99 for a bundle of 6-8 flowers, but they were 60 percent off. When I added my 15 percent Michael's teacher discount (just tell them you're a teacher and show your ID) they came to $0.79 a bundle, beating out the dollar store in price!
Cut flowers from the bundle using scissors or wire cutters.
Pre-cut floral tape into strips approximately 14-16 inches long.
Students select flowers, pens, and one piece of floral tape per pen.
Starting at the top, students wrap the tape around the pen and the flower stem.
An easy way to finish off the gift is to wrap colored tissue paper around the pens, place in cellophane bag, and tie with a ribbon.
The finished product ready to go home as a Mother's Day surprise!
Several years ago our teaching partner, Jessica Bommarito, brought us a great printable Mother's Day newspaper template our kids could fill out. Well, Jessica moved and in true Genia fashion, I never filed the template. Of course, I used the last copy. So I decided to make my own, inspired-by-Jessica copy, that I could personalize as needed. This year, my students filled them out when they were finished with other assignments, so they took up no class time at all. Below you'll find a few different newspapers you can use. The first one is customizable so you can add the name of your own hometown.
Click on the image below to download a template you can customize with the name of your hometown.
Click the images below to download a free printable PDF template.
I created these next two templates for students who have a special grandmother or aunt in their lives.
These quick and easy cards were inspired by my watching a group of girls make fans out of scrap paper during an indoor recess. Using their "accordian-fold technology," each student created a pretty card for their mom with a sweet message written inside.
Materials for Each Card:
2 strips of 2" x 10" colored paper (scrapbook and wrapping paper work well)
Glass gems or buttons for the center
1. Cut the paper into strips that are 2" x 10" long.
2. Accordian fold each strip for its entire length.
3. When both pieces are folded, glue the end from one piece to the end of the second piece. Repeat on the other side.
4. Glue the round flower shape onto a piece of folded 8 ½" x 11" cardstock.
5. Glue a button or glass gem into the center.
6. Use marker or glitter glue to make a stem and to write words on the cover.
7. Add leaves cut from colored paper if you like.
Tip: Have students write their greeting inside the card BEFORE they decorate the outside. The 3-D flower can easily be flattened by overzealous writers.
My May book baskets always include a selection of Mother's Day themed books. The kids especially seem to dive into this basket the week leading up to Mother's Day.
I included Seven Silly Eaters for my 19-year-old daughter Rachel. When she was 3, it was one of those books that she demanded be read to her every single night at bedtime for about 3 straight months. It's definitely a title with a special memory for this mom and her daughter.
Hopefully, this post has given you a few ideas for making Mother's Day gifts when you don't have a lot of time or money to spare. Please share any Mother's Day tips, tricks or ideas you may have up your sleeves.