Sunday, September 30, 2012



Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!! I always keep a little stash of those mismatched borders knowing I will use them "one day" :) Well, here is a way I have used them over the years.  

Materials are simple. The borders, stapler, plaster of paris, paint, ribbon and silk leaves. 

Fold the border in half and staple it about 1/2 inch from the folded end. Then bring the unstapled ends around the top and down to make the point of the heart. Staple the two ends when you reach the desired size of heart to make your hand mold. You can ask the child to insert his hand into the center of the heart and adjust before stapling. Some hearts will be smaller than others. 

Instead of making the mold in "white" plaster of paris...I applied a large spoonful of Colorations paints into the plaster while mixing "before" having the child insert his hand into the plaster. 

When the plaster of paris is dried, paint the handprints "white". A reverse process from most plastered hand prints, but it gives a nice effect. At this point, make two holes for hanging, large enough to insert your ribbon. I used a straw to make mine. 

Whaala!! :)

Next, push your ribbon (from the back to the front) through the two hanging holes.  To achieve the rosebud knots, I left about 3 inches of ribbon sticking out in front of the heart, then rolled the ribbon ends into a ball and glued. Don't forget the leaves :)...glue silk leaves under the rosebud knots. (Optional: You can spray the painted hearts with a high or satin gloss of Clear Coat Krylon varnish to give a glass like shine:) 

Here is the results! This is a beautiful gift for any parent, friend, grandparent, etc.... for any occassion. :)

Pretty in Pink :) 

Hands in the Heart: My Version of a Classic
By Pauline Farias :) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



A few years ago I went with a friend to the San Jose Improv Theater to see a particular comedian. It was not so much the man's jokes I was impressed with, but rather, his improvisational skills. How the audience could throw out a comment, and the man's comeback lines were perfectly hilarious. As I sat there (yes, at that moment in the theater) I thought of my preschool children. You might ask, "Where is the connection? :) Well, my thought bubble read, "I wonder if I prompted the children with a story line, "Once upon a time..", WHAT would their response be??" The first time I did this, I was 10x more impressed with the children than those improvisational skills I had recently seen. 

First, I began a process of teaching the children the meaning of a book's "Author" and a book's "Illustrator" and the process of writing a book, etc. When I felt there was some comprehension...I then informed the children that THEY were going to write a storybook for our classroom. 

During group time, I took several sheets of paper and a marker, then prompted the children..."Once upon a time". There was silence for a few seconds until one child rang out..."There was a yellow car!", then a second child rang out.."It was a race car!!"...then I heard, "It had green tires... 

You have to write fast to keep up after that! Yes, you will get contradictions such as "It had green tires", then a line that said, "It had pink tires"...these are  teachable moments when you could stop the children and ask them to think, "Do cars have different color tires?" or take a tally vote, "How many would like the car to have different colored tires?" You will find that the children will brainstorm the issue. My goal was to get every child involved in the process, so, if I noticed one or two quiet children, I would stop the discussion and ask them a direct question, "What do you think should come next?" Most of the time they are eager to respond. 

When all the words and story line were in order, I "illustrated" the book using online clip art from my home computer. (For older children: You can assign a portion of the story line for them to color or draw the illustrations.) Now, add the most important AUTHORS PAGE, it is very important to add every child's name that was present.  Finally, I inserted the pages into sheet protectors and stapled a construction paper cover.

Here is the children's original story...
(2 and 3 years old children)

Be prepared..."their book" will be the #1 pick every time!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Ever wonder what to do with all those old stuffed animals??
Well, I personally couldn't wait till my children were through with some of their cute and cuddly childhood friends! 
Mr. Bear
I simply re-purposed them into 'puppets' and coupled them up with a corresponding storybook to share with the children in my preschool classroom.  

Just take a pair of scissors and cut the bear to make an access point for your arm.  Every animal will have a different access point which you will have to determine.

Next, remove the stuffing and sew the edge where you made your cut. Consider either sewing the edge or using Stitch-Witchery (an iron on hemming ribbon)                         
Whaalaa!!! Mr. Bear gets to stay!!



I thought this would be fun to share.
During a month long curriculum for community workers, we explored the various jobs that people have when they grow up. I added an element of dramatic play for each unit with props and songs. It was easy to prepare for doctors, construction workers, etc. but when one child said a cook working at a hamburger stand, it took me a moment. Well, this is what I came up with..."it was actually one of the children's most favorite activities that month, and wanted to do it again!"

MATERIALS: Recycled brown bag, recycled cardboard, recycled bubble wrap and a printed 3-D picture of a hamburger patty. (There are no curves or bends in the patty picture), recycled construction paper pieces and glue. (The approximate size of the hamburger was only about 6'' diameter.)

Hamburger Bun Prep: Cut a 6" circle out of cardboard and a 12'' circle out of the brown paper bag. Place the recycled bubble wrap in between the cardboard and brown bag, then wrap the bag to the opposite side of the cardboard and glue down. 
Hamburger Patty: This is a flat 3-D image from the web that I printed up :) same size as the bun. Glue the hamburger image onto the glued side of the bun. 
Each child was given a hamburger patty and all the fixin's in an assembly line fashion. This was a great dramatic play activity about choices. 

I have always made it a practice to save ALL THE CONSTRUCTION PAPER SCRAPS! They have money saving purposes. RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE :) Note: most of my posts will show the uses of construction paper scraps, as well as a complete art project using only these pieces. Let's begin with the prep of our fixin's. 

PICKLE: Cut 2" circles out of green construction paper and make accordion folds, this gives the perfect texture. You can also reverse the process...accordion fold, then cut. 
TOMATO: Cut out a 3 to 3 1/2" sloppy circle from red construction paper. Then poke a hole in the center of your red sloppy circle and cut out a flower like center as pictured above. Tomato-Tomatoe!

CHEESE: Cut out a 4 to 4 1/2" square from yellow construction paper for Swiss cheese (Orange paper if you prefer cheddar cheese:) Then cut a few half-circle grooves on the edge of your square. Now, poke a hole in the center of the square and cut out a small circle, then repeat, making a different size circle.

LETTUCE: Using a different color green construction paper than your pickle (this will give dimension and depth) cut out a sloppy pear shape. Then, cut out a long slice from the top of the lettuce down towards the center of the piece and simply crumble up the paper to give it a leafy texture. 
CONDIMENTS: I also included mustard and ketchup by cutting out yellow and red ''splatter'' shaped pieces. I hope you can see those clearly. 


I am sure you can add so much to this activity.. instead of hamburger you can print up a chicken patty or Tofu burger :) Using white construction paper you can create onions, or, bacon out of brown construction paper! The ideas can certainly be expanded upon...have fun creating!