Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snowman "Anything Kit" Tutorial

Today I'm going to share with you a tutorial for a super easy, super adorable winter craft. It makes a good project to do with children, and the insides are an activity for another time. Alternately, it could be a party favor at a winter party - and since it's not associated with any particular holiday you can use it for any group at any time. The toddler class at Dynamite is making them (with some grown-up help) at our holiday party.
Before we start, here's a little disclaimer: according to Montessori principles, art should be open-ended, or a project that the child designs independently and then fulfills. This project, while fun and awesome, doesn't really follow Montessori curriculum guidelines.

Isn't he cute? He's a snowman "anything kit". For this tutorial I made him into a play dough kit using the easiest recipe I know: salt, flour, optional kool-aid for color/scent, and water.

Ready to get started? Here's what you need:
3 identical white or clear takeout sauce containers, with lids
black acrylic paint and paint brush
tacky glue
permanent marker (orange would be nice for a nose)
black construction paper
not pictured: scissors and tape

First, you'll want to paint the lid of ONE of the sauce containers black. I snapped it onto its cup to hold it off of my work surface, and painted carefully. Acrylic paint is water cleanup ONLY while it's still wet, so if you get any on your clothes take care of it right away.
Let the lid dry while you do the other steps. Depending on your climate, it might take longer to dry, so take that into account too.

Next, you'll need to fill the other two containers with items of your choice. I did flour and salt, but you could do glue and objects, beads and string, any kind of small trinkets or even candies. Eventually we'll have another container to fill up, too, so you'll need a third, complementary item later. Mine will be blue kool-aid, because the sauce cups aren't water tight and everyone has water at home
anyway. Kool-aid is slightly harder to come by :).

Once the items are loaded in the sauce cups, put their lids on and glue them together. The two bottom pieces will be glued lid to lid, so the bottom one will be right side up and the middle one will be upside down. Then glue the top one (the one with the black lid) in place, right side up, on top. DO NOT glue the lids onto their cups unless you never want to open it. Now is a good time to remove the top lid and add the third item, because you'll be working with the black lid next.

Cut your black construction paper into a long rectangle (mine was approximately 3" x 1"). The long side will be the circumference of the circle you will make to be the tall part of the top hat. The height of the top hat will be equal to the short side. I used the inner ring of the lid as my guide, and cut the paper so it made a nice loop inside the little crevice with a small overlap. Once you have it the way you like it, tape it shut and glue it in place with the
tacky glue. If your lids have a crevice like mine did, you can glue it there and it will be nice and sturdy.

The final step is to decorate him. I just used a black sharpie (remember, I'll be doing this with 2-year olds so even that is a big mess risk), but I think he would be even cuter with real sticks hot glued to his sides and real tiny buttons, plus maybe a little striped scarf and a tiny carrot nose. If you're doing it with older children or by yourself, get creative and do them however you like!

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