We made snow globe boxes in preschool

Yesterday, I shared how we had fun with our snow globe sensory play and today I want to show you how we made these fun little snow globe boxes…

 

The snow globe in the above photo is one I made. There is a little story behind this snow globe that I want to share first. My mom’s car was recently broken into during the night. Just to be clear – my mom wasn’t in the car at the time but in the process, the driver’s seat window was smashed and had to be replaced.  As a temporary fix, my husband covered the window with this special plastic you can find at Home Depot (and probably most hardware stores). You cover the window with the plastic, by taping it around the edges of the window, then use a blow dryer to heat up the plastic.  As the plastic heats up, it tightens really tight and is perfectly clear to look through. It feels kind of like plastic wrap, only thicker.

The box came with three large sheets (42″ x 62″) of this plastic and cost about $4.oo for the box – I found it on Amazon to show you.  My husband used less than one-half of a sheet to cover my mom’s window so I asked him if I could have the rest.  As soon as I saw how cool it looked on the window and how easy it was to “shrink” the plastic, I wondered if it might work just as nicely taped around a box!!  So now that you know about the plastic, let me share with you how we made our snow globe boxes…

The snow globe making process..

I saved the boxes (tops and bottoms) from our Christmas cards that I had bought from the Dollar Store. Each child painted the inside of their box with blue paint.  For this process, it is best if you can find boxes that have sturdy sides like a shoe box…

Since we were going to use the blow dryer later on any way, I let the children use it now to dry their blue paint. This way, we could make and send home the boxes all in the same day…

I wasn’t worried if the boxes stayed just a tad damp from the paint.  Later in the day, we made our snowmen to put into the boxes…

The children were supposed to add eyes, nose, and a mouth to their snowman but most of them just colored the entire snowman with the permanent markers:)  The snowmen are simply two connected egg cups from a white egg carton…

Next the children added twigs for the snowman arms.  I had to help the children poke a hole for each arm so they could stick the twigs in the holes…

Once the arms were added to the snow man, the children placed the snowman into their box. No gluing was necessary – it is okay for the snowman to move around a bit inside the box…

Next the children added “snow” to their box. This was the same snow we used in our snow glow sensory tub.  I set out a small bowl of the snow with a teaspoon and invited the children to add up to 5 teaspoons of snow to their box.  Some of the children added a little more or less…

Once the children had added their snow, we set the boxes aside until later in the day – we had to break for snack:) ….

The final thing to do was to add the plastic around the box.  Adding the plastic is tricky because you have to tape the plastic around the box without dumping out the snow or the snowman.  So needless to say, I added the plastic. I cut a square of plastic for each box, placed the plastic over the box, and taped the plastic along the sides and back of the box with clear packing tape. Then the children used the blow dryer once again to “shrink” the plastic….

All the wrinkles in the plastic smooth out and the plastic pulls tight around the edges. It takes about 30 seconds for the plastic to shrink under the warm blow dryer.  The plastic does not “melt” to the box – the plastic only shrinks so it is important to have it taped securely to the back or sides of the box before hand…

Writing this all out is more complicated than it was to actually make the boxes.  The children LOVED their boxes and couldn’t wait to take them home. I tried to take a few pictures of the snow globe boxes before the children left for the day…

This plastic is some really cool stuff and I still have two large sheets of it left!

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: Winter Art|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments

The spirit of giving and gift box play in preschool

I read this sweet little book that I have had for years called, “Claude the Dog : A Christmas Story” by Dick Gackenbach. It is about a little dog that gets three gifts from his family and then meets a dog that has nothing. It is a very short and super sweet book but Claude the Dog ends up giving his three gifts away  – one page/gift at a time – a blanket, a pillow, and a toy mouse – to the other dog in an act of kindness…

After each gift was given away, one of my three year old girls would say in a very sincere and concerned voice, “But Mrs. Stewart, why did he give his pillow away?” And I responded, “I don’t know – lets see what else the story tells us.” We continued on and concern continued to be expressed , “But Mrs. Stewart, why did he give his blanket away?.” In the end, after giving all his gifts away, Claude goes home to his family where he is loved and happy…

I have to tell you that my three year olds were very concerned by the end of this story. One little girl said, “Will he get his blanket back?” and “Why did he give it away?”  Even though we talked about how Claude was still happy because he loved his family, the threes just couldn’t understand why Claude would give his gifts away. One little boy said, “I would never give my blankie away” and the other threes fully agreed.

It was SUCH a sweet conversation and an eye opening experience for me. As we talked about what happened in the story and the children expressed their concerns and feelings, I was reminded about where these children are in their social and emotional development.  These are all very kind, loving, giving children and yet this story just did not make sense to them.  They just couldn’t imagine why Claude felt he should give away his gifts.  They couldn’t understand that Claude was happy because he gave his gifts away.  All they came away with is that Claude gave away his blanket!!!!   Our conversation really touched my heart….

Our conversation reminded me how often times, it can be easy to get frustrated when young children are unwilling to share or when they seem selfish and unkind.  But this experience reminded me that it isn’t necessarily an indicator of poor behavior or unkindness – it instead a matter of social and emotional development still in progress, still growing, and still developing.  Learning to share isn’t a simple matter of “just let him take a turn too.” It is a gradual development of a higher level kind of thinking that takes painful practice and patience to teach and to learn. I just wanted to share this with you because it was so meaningful to me. Now let me lighten this up with at least one fun activity we did after we read the story!!

The children had already had a chance to explore a set of Christmas boxes I had bought from the Dollar Store so I brought them to circle time for a little large group play.  We talked about how gifts often come in boxes and then for fun we decided to see how high we could stack the boxes…

We stacked them as tall as we could reach and in the process we used words like balance, small, large, medium, tip, lean, placement, tall, taller, and “don’t knock them all down yet!”

The children were learning how to work together, how to take a turn, how to achieve their goal through their play even though we did not talk about these concepts – instead, we put them into action…

And as we all know! What comes up – must go down….

But no worries – we just started all over again. What an interesting and fun day!

By | December 7th, 2011|Categories: Christmas|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

Creative challenge: The little box carpenter

It is my sincerest privilege to share this post along with 20+ fabulous bloggers who have collaborated together to present this creative challenge: creative ideas to do with a cardboard box.  This terrific blog linky was put together by the tireless efforts and leadership of Tinkerlab in honor of her 1 year anniversary.  Congratulations to Tinkerlab!

As I have mentioned before, I am really not all that creative so coming up with a box idea left me at a loss…

I brought these four big boxes home from preschool thinking I might be able to create something with them but they sat in my studio for two days while I still struggled with an idea.  So I finally sat down and started breaking them down and cutting off all the flaps until I ended up with them all in pieces…

After I cut the boxes apart, I asked my little friend Tristan, who was over playing in the sensory table, if he would like to play with the pieces and play he did!

He started off thinking small and then realized that he could use all the pieces and ended up building and designing just like a little carpenter…

Tristan was particularly concerned with making every thing “square” as he would put it….

I am not sure what he meant exactly but I think he wanted straight edges to match up with straight edge…

Once he had all his walls in place, Tristan began laying the flooring down…

Then he decided he wanted his walls taller. It took a bit of problem solving for Tristan to figure out how to get the walls taller…

He eventually discovered that if he stood some of the piece in between the boxes where they overlapped, the walls would stay standing…

Soon Tristan had his building designed to his personal satisfaction…

After all that work it was time to take a little rest and reflect on a job well done…

Here is another idea for what could be done with these boxes from Play Create Explore. Perhaps we will save the pieces for another day of building!

Be sure to check out each of the amazing bloggers below that are participating in this fun and innovative day of boxes!

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If you have a box post you would like to share – head on over to Child Central Station and add you linky there!

By | May 5th, 2011|Categories: The Value of Play|Tags: , , , |24 Comments

DIY valentine boxes and cards for preschool

This is a really cool and simple valentine box and matching valentine cards you can make with your preschooler.

Start off with a sheet of poster board and fold it in half – long edge to long edge…

Now open it back up and fold the long edges into the center leaving four creases lengthwise in your board…

Now fold the poster board into thirds from the short edge. See below…

When you open the poster board back up, you will have 12 squares made by all your folds….

Now you need to take a pair of scissors and cut on each folded line that runs along your long edge of the poster board – stopping when you get to the middle folded lines…

Cut all the folded lines on both sides of the long edges of the poster board…

I want you to know that describing the above proces was a lot more difficult than actually just doing it! Now you are ready to fold your box…

Just bend all your flaps and folds around and you will see the box start to take shape. Tape each side so it will stay in place but you will see one gap in the top of your box – that is for children to drop valentine mail in so don’t tape that part…

You can now invite your child to decorate the box. You can either unfold the box and decorate it first – or decorate it after you have folded it. I tried it both ways – it just depends on how you plan to decorate it…

If you decorate before it is folded up, then just decorate all the way down the center and straight across one of the flaps on each side of the folded center. The box below was decorated with construction paper squares and glue to represent my favorite book, Elmer the Elephant!

After the box is decorated as desired, then fold it back up and tape the edges in place. The box below was decorated with watered down glue and tissue paper hearts…

I tried a number of other ways to decorate the boxes too. This box was decorated with heart-shaped cookie cutters dipped in paint…

And this box was decorated with red shiny paper I saved from my valentine chocolate boxes…

And for every valentine box I made, I also created matching valentine cards! A very designer looking package in the end…

You can personalize each box based on your child’s interests…

I hope I explained this well enough for you but if you have any questions just drop me a note below…

I am linking this post up with Kid’s Get Crafty over at Red Ted’s Art Blog!

By | February 8th, 2011|Categories: Valentine's Day|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments