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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Arts and Crafts, Fall Activities, School Age Care, Slider, Teen | 1 comment

How to Carve a Pumpkin

How to Carve a Pumpkin

For me at least, it seems every holiday needs to have some sort of decoration around to help celebrate. With all the festivities happening this October, particularly Halloween, decorating is an absolute must. Some of my favorite decorations during this time are carved pumpkins. Carved pumpkins, or jack-o-lanterns, allow creativity, the ability to get down and dirty (kids especially love this aspect), and provide a traditional decoration which has been used for hundreds of years. Creativity is a big must when decorating your house for Halloween, and carving pumpkins provides the perfect touch to make my house look different from my neighbors (after all, no one wants to make their house look like their neighbors). While most houses traditionally have a jack-o-lantern out front it is unlikely you will find two that are the same. This means you can really make the trick or treaters “oooh” and “ahhh” at the sight of your amazing design. For those who have carved a pumpkin, we all know how messy the pumpkins...

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Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in Arts and Crafts, Youth Development |

Tissue paper flowers

Tissue paper flowers

If the resurgence of April showers is making you impatient for May flowers to just get on with it and bloom already, console yourself by creating long-lasting flowers of your own. No green thumb necessary–just tissue paper and pipe cleaner. Tissue paper flowers are a nice Mother’s Day present, especially for those moms with allergies. (They’ll make her say “thank you” instead of “thank . . . aCHOO!” ) Kids also like twisting the pipe cleaner stems around their wrists to make bracelets, and attaching flowers to headbands.   Materials: * Various colors of tissue paper * Green pipe cleaner (1 for each flower’s stem) * Scissors Optional: * Craft scissors with patterned edges * Pencil * Scotch tape * Pompoms (to glue in the flower’s center) and hot glue or Elmer’s glue Here we go:   Step 1: Stack 4-6 layers of tissue paper on top of each other. The more layers you use, the fuller your flower will look. Choose whatever colors of tissue paper strike your...

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Arts and Crafts, School Age Care, Youth Development | 12 comments

Making Love Bugs: Fun for Valentine’s Day and all year round

Making Love Bugs: Fun for Valentine’s Day and all year round

  Love bugs are a craft I’ve used with kids at the Valley YMCA day camp and at a YMCA school-age care site, and they loved it. It’s a tried and true craft that kids enjoy making either with a Valentine’s Day theme, or for any time of the year. A wooden clothespin is used as the body of an insect, and pieces of paper are put in a plastic bag to make colorful wings. The kids can then write on a small slip of paper, roll it up, and place it in the love bug’s mouth as a secret message to a friend or relative. A word of caution, though: a lot of grimaces and groans spring from the boys at the term “love bug.” Perhaps you can think up a more suitably cool name—something to the effect of “secret message mosquitoes.” Anyway, once they try it, I’ve seen both boys and girls have a great time making these.   Here’s how to make one:   Materials: 1....

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