Doodlebug Club: Holiday Helpers

title photoThe impending joy of Christmastime is on everyone’s mind right now, Doodlebug artists especially.  This week for Doodlebug Club, we determined that Santa might need a little help in the decorations department.  We helped him out by making some wrapping paper using cookie cutters for stamps, and then made a snowflake ornament for the tree.  Paint, glue, glitter – the absolute best part of preschool art-making during the holidays.  Or anytime, for that matter!

Wrapping Paper introThe wrapping paper was simple.  I found plastic cookie cutters in a little mesh bag in holiday shapes – stars, snow people, gingerbread people, bells and candy canes.  Each artist got a sheet of paper – pretty sizeable – around 16″ x 20″ – it had to be a decent size for whatever it would be wrapping up!  Each artist also started out with two trays of washable paint – one red, one green.  They got the technique easily enough – get the paint on the cookie cutter, stamp it on the paper – but had to experiment with making the entire cookie cutter shape stamp.  There was a little bit of finger-painting going on (not as much as usual!) but each artist was having such a good time, they requested to do another sheet.  So we did.

wrapping paper bow

They turned out really well – I think the parents were more excited than the kids about making wrapping paper.  I’ll file this one away for later use, Grammy and Pop!

snowflake ornament intro

Next we made snowflake ornaments using dry wagon wheel-shaped pasta, white glue, white washable paint, and a sprinkle of glitter.  Using a bucket, I poured in the glue first (I put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to make it a little less fluid) and added the white paint.  I didn’t really use a particular ratio – though I think I was supposed to use more paint than glue.  I just let each kid squirt the glue one good squirt (5 kids = 5 squirts) and used maybe a half regular-sized bottle of Elmer’s glue.  Each artist added a fistful of pasta (except one, who ate a piece (blech!), so his was a fistful minus one) to the bucket and took turns stirring the goopy mixture.  From previous trials, I determined to stick with a small 7-wheel snowflake, so I scooped out 7 pieces for each artist on an individual sheet of wax paper.  With some assistance, they formed a snowflake shape and took turns adding a sprinkle or two of glitter. I instructed the grown-ups that they might want to slide their snowflake out of the goopy puddle a little so that there would not be quite so much glue to contend with when loosening the snowflake from the wax paper.  These take a while to dry – and need to be loosened from the wax paper after the first 3 or 4 hours so that they don’t permanently adhere to it.  snowflakes

You have to use your imagination a bit, but they sorta look like snowflakes – right?

The art is fun every week – but as much as I look forward to doing these art projects, I really look forward to reading to the kids every week.  This was another of those weeks that I couldn’t decide between two really fun books – so I read them both.  And they really got into them this week – which doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s great!  Especially considering all of the distractions going on – I neglected to turn off the music and a couple of moms were talking, a baby was crying – it was sort of loud.  But both books held their attention the whole time.  I was a little amazed.

books

This week, we started out with another Fletcher book – Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke.  I read a Fletcher book several weeks ago – Fletcher and the Falling Leaves.  It went over so well, I thought I would continue the series (there’s a spring and summer one too…)  This one wasn’t quite as good as the fall-themed one, but it was still a good little story – and of course, I’m partial to the illustrations.

FletcherSnowflakes1

In this one, Fletcher the fox is worried that Santa won’t be able to find his friends, the rabbits, because they had recently moved to a new rabbit home.

FletcherSnowflakes3

 He comes up with a plan of using twigs to make a trail of arrows from their old house to the new one.  He enlists the help of various other woodland creatures – squirrels, birds, mice.

FletcherSnowflakes2

But on Christmas Eve, it snowed.  First, Fletcher was worried that Santa might get lost in the snow.  Then he realized that all of his hard work was being erased  – the snow was covering his arrow-trail.  He and all the other little creatures decide that they must stay awake to tell Santa where the rabbits moved….but Santa comes awfully late.  And everybody fell asleep.

FletcherSnowflakes4

The next morning, when Fletcher woke up and he and all the other little critters make their way to the rabbit house, they find out that Santa had been there after all – it’s like he knew, or something! Like mail-forwarding!  Definitely a fun little book.

Next, we read a book about snowflakes – we had to – we’d just done a snowflake art project, of course.  This one was No Two Alike, by Keith Baker.  It was more of a picture book, with a little poem that followed these two redbirds in a snowy, woodsy scene.  NoTwoAlike1

It was all about how no two things are exactly alike – close, but not quite.

NoTwoAlike2

Even though our snowflake ornaments looked a lot alike, they weren’t exactly alike – the glue and glitter seeped into different places and each piece of pasta was a little bit different. Just like each real snowflake is different.

NoTwoAlikesnowflakes

Since they were so into it, we spent a few minutes looking at the illustrations on the boards of the book – covered in snowflakes of all kinds of shapes and sizes.  I’m not sure if this message will really translate beyond snowflakes each being different, but hopefully it will make a space in their little minds about people being different, too…

These were two good little projects – and two great books! More for the Dad-tivities files!

doodlebugWhat is Doodlebug Club?
I work at an art and history museum, and one of the best parts of my job is working with kids.    I teach a weekly preschool art class called Doodlebug Club, where I get to try out all sorts of ideas that will become some of the fun things that we will do with our Littlest Brooks-Livingston.  I’ve never had any real art training, but I think it’s a lot of fun, and to me, it’s very important to make art more approachable than it ever seemed when I was a kid.If you’d like to read about more of the projects we’ve done in Doodlebug Club, click here.  Check out my Doodlebug Club Pinterest board here.

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