Back to School Book Covers

It’s a new school year and getting ready can be an expensive affair – can’t it?

My daughter’s school expects her books to be covered to help them last the full year. Being a teacher I know how rough children can be on their school books! But covering them can be quite costly and to be honest, we aren’t that taken by the designs. So this year we decided to make our own with the art supplies we had at home, some A3 paper and clear contact (both can be used for further projects throughout the year).

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Here’s what we used:

  • stamp pads
  • pencil with an eraser on the top
  • washi tape
  • cut out or punched shapes
  • coloured yarn
  • watercolour paint
  • anything you have really – feathers, small pom poms, felt pens etc
  • glue
  • A3 copy paper, kraft paper or bleached butcher’s paper

The world is your oyster when you are creating your own designs.

Stamping spots with a pencil eraser is really quick and effective – you can even try making a picture or symbol such as a rainbow.

Washi tape is such an awesome craft material. It can be used in a variety of ways – you could try little flags but folding strips of tape over yarn then cutting a triangle out of the end or layer different strips side by side in a pattern or simply cut pieces and make pictures.

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We have a small circle punch (these can be picked up at a stationary store for around $10 for a small one) and used it on some card stock we had which we then created some balloons out of them. If you don’t have any coloured card try using magazine pictures or get the kids to colour in some paper with crayons or felt pens and then punch or cut some shapes.

My daughter loves to freestyle so she just had some fun with paints, feathers, the circles and a bit of tape. She also cut out a few disney princesses from a magazine and stuck them on too.

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We had a great morning creating her school book covers together!

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Because we used copy paper you could see through it so we added an extra layer underneath. Once the papers were glued down and trimmed, I covered them with clear contact to prolong their life.

The best thing about making your own covers? It’s really easy for your child to spot their book in a pile at school -win!

If you give this a go, we’d love to see yours – simple share on our Facebook and Instagram pages @minimadenz.

 

 

 

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We all scream for Ice – Cream!

It’s Summer (kind of!) and what’s better than Ice – Cream on a hot day?

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Today we had some fun with paint and washi tape and the best thing – the only thing I had to do was cut a shape, grab the supplies and help my 3 year old with a little bit of cutting.

This is an easy activity to adapt to any shape or form you can dream up and is great for developing fine motor skills.

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What you need:

  • Cardboard or cereal box
  • Sharpie
  • Tempera Paint
  • Brushes
  • Washi Tape
  • Scisssors
  • Aprons or old clothes

What to do:

Cut out your ice cream shape. If you want to define the cone/ice-cream area, use a Sharpie to do this. This can be helpful for younger children  but not necessary.

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It’s time to paint! There are no rules so grab a cuppa and watch them work.

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When the paint is dry, add some sprinkles cut from washi tape.

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Voila! Now rinse and repeat with other fun shapes, using the tape to define the detail.

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Display Ideas

  • Make a mobile by using a hole punch and some pretty string /yarn. Attach to a branch or an embroidery hoop, add some pom poms, tissue paper or fabric scraps and hang from the ceiling.
  • These would look great in a crisp white frame.

Painting with Peashooters

I came across this wonderful video on Instagram from Mini Makers Studio (follow their feed, its great) of young children having a ball shooting paint pom poms at a wall of paper and I thought – we could do that! We had a great time, it wasn’t fool proof but we learnt a few things for next time.

Here’s what you need to give this a go:

  • tarpaulins x 2 (you can grab some cheap ones from the hardware store)
  • Strong tape
  • Roll of newsprint/wallpaper/kraft paper
  • paint
  • paint trays – egg cartons work well for easy clean up
  • pom poms
  • mini tongs
  • aprons

To make the shooters:

From Cups:

  • balloons – tie and cut large end to fit over cup (don’t cut too much)
  • strong Paper/Plastic Cup
  • tape

From PVC:

  • Piece of PVC Pipe about 15cm long
  • Finger from a rubber glove
  • insulation tape

Mini Makers used a strong paper cup and a balloon, which is what we used but both kids had a bit of trouble with this because they couldn’t keep their hands from squashing the cup.

So afterwards, my husband found a piece of PVC Pipe and attached the finger from a rubber glove with insulation tape and this was a lot stronger and we will test out with paint next time and let you know for sure!

Here’s the set up – fairly self explanatory, on grass is best in case of paint spills.

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Swish the pom poms in paint with the tongs and place into the shooter.

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Stand at the edge of the paper, pull back the balloon and voila!

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It may take a few goes to perfect the technique, but it’ll be great fun anyway and if all else fails, there is always paint flicking with a brush!

This would make great wrapping Paper or artwork for your child’s room. Simply cut and pace in a frame or get them to make their own art hangers.

 

 

Making friends with Peg Dolls

I love a craft activity that is open-ended. Just like a form of process art, I like to give children a selection of craft supplies within a common theme but allow them to choose how they are used. This gives children an opportunity to make their own decisions and explore what they do and don’t like.

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One of my favourite supplies to have on hand in my craft classes is peg doll supplies – wooden pegs, fabric, embroidery thread, embellishments, glue, thin markers etc.

Great for early finishers or for keeping them busy whilst I’m working with others. At home, this activity can keep a child occupied for hours as long as you have the pegs!

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Playing around with different techniques such as hair making, stripes and multi colours are great ways to assist older children in further developing their dolls.

I’ve had children aged 3 1/2 – 10 enjoy this activity with varying amounts of support but all with great results, making it the perfect multi-age activity.

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So grab yourself some supplies and see what you can create – mermaids, superheroes, pirates, princesses – you are only limited by your imagination!

Kits can be purchased here  to save you time gathering the bits and pieces 🙂

Process Art

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Process Art: Def. creating without a specific purpose or outcome.

My daughter loves to create. Even as a baby she could be found immersing herself in messy play at preschool or dressing up as an artist with her Nana as a 2 year old to enjoy a bit of painting. Recently I’ve tried to encourage more art and craft in our house – with the creation of our Mini Made Craft Classes last year to now setting up our dining table in the weekends with a range of materials and letting the kids go for it.

I came across these great posts about Process Art written by the clever Meri Cherry which reminded me that the process is the most important part of art making and the more freedom we allow children to have, the more we are encouraging and empowering them to trust their instincts and build confidence in their own choices.

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So, with a warm winter’s day and a tray of goodies in tow, we set off to sit in the sun and create. The results were magical. Watching my 5 year old potter away for a good hour or so and simply sitting observing what she did was just lovely.  (Not to mention a real relief from the constant chatting the school holidays brings!)

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The added bonus was watching my 3 year old son drift in and out to create his own little masterpieces.  Stepping back and allowing the to pour the paint, sprinkle the glitter and choose what materials they used allowed them to choose the outcome.

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I had a range of materials available – things I had ‘saved’ for a rainy day or odds and ends I didn’t really know what to do with. Paint, small vials of glitter, feathers, pipe cleaners, origami paper, stamps, stickers. Anything will do!

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So, I’m going to continue exploring the process with my kids and see where our art takes us! I challenge you to give it a go too.

Making with Mer Mag

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We’ve had a great time this week trying out some of Merrilee Liddard’s fun play ideas from her book ‘Playful’. Yesterday’s efforts involved Mum and Daughter time creating this trapeze doll. This was fun and easy – a great task to do together. Miss K had a great time painting the dress and head. (Merrilee suggests printing onto canvas sheets but I can’t seem to get those). If you haven’t come across Mer Mag on Social Media (where have you been hiding?), then check out her blog for loads of simple craft ideas that are made from recyclables and easy to get materials. The photos alone are enough to get you in the mood for some crafty fun.