I'm not normally a huge fan of structured art and craft activities. I find they're quite frustrating for everyone involved and I think they can often stifle a child's creativity and imagination. Over the years, I have been able to see that they do have some value though. It's a great way for children to learn how to follow instruction, concentrate, memorise, work at their eye-hand co-ordination and develop their spatial awareness. It also helps them to master techniques that they may not have discovered being left to experiment on their own.
So, a few times a year a like to do some more structured craft activities with the kids and Easter is usually one of those times.
On the weekend we made some Easter cards to send to the family next week. I tried to plan an activity that allowed the kids to still use a lot of their own ideas and also one that they could both get involved with (bearing in mind that Em is 5 1/2 and Ed is 2 1/2). Here is what I came up with.
First I cut some egg shapes out of some white card. To get the egg shape i simply drew around an egg from the fridge.
Next I cut a triangle of sponge from some household sponges i had in the cupboard. I cut them so that the tallest part of the triangle could act as a kind of handle.
Then I got the kids to choose which colours they wanted to use. Em chose yellow and Ed chose blue (as most 2 year old boys would!!). I'm big on pastels this Easter, so I added some white paint to the brighter colours. I put the paint into some plastic picnic bowls from the supermarket - easy to access for the kids and easy to clean up for me!! The kids mixed the colours with some paint brushes.
Next they set about sponge painting their egg shapes. Em was really good at it and could do it unaided, but the boy needed a little help.
He thoroughly enjoyed the sponge painting though. After the egg shapes were finished with, he asked me to get some paper out. He painted with that sponge triangle and a bowl of plain old blue paint for over half an hour!! After this, he was all art and crafted out (and covered in blue paint!), so he didn't want to do anymore, I didn't force the issue, it is all for fun after all.
Em was happy to cover for her brother. While the paint dried, I got out some pastel coloured papers I had left over from my pre-baby card making days. Em got out her box of patterned scissors and she set about cutting narrow lines of paper, edged in patterns by the scissors, to glue onto the egg shapes.
I used a hole punch to cut out some dot shapes (Ed made a brief re-appearance to "help" me). Em did some punching too when she finished the cutting.
Once the paint was dry, Em set about designing her eggs. I encouraged her plan how she wanted it to look before she put any glue on. She took a lot of time and consideration in choosing the patterns and the way the eggs would look and she did a great job. When she was happy with her design, she glued each piece on one by one using a small glue stick. I trimmed the edges that hung over the sides of the egg.
We then chose a piece of background paper, I cut it into a square and then glued the card together for her. She tried to do it herself but wasn't entirely happy with her ability to get it in the right spot, so she asked for me to do it. She was quite tired by this stage and had done such a great job on her own, I didn't mind.
Here are the finished products, a job very well done!
Next weekend we're going to attempt to decorate and dye some eggs, something I've never done at home before. Stay tuned!!