Eight Posts for Hanukkah -Pinecone Driedels (Easy D.I.Y.)

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Rustic style is very “in” this year: burlap, chalkboards, wood, vintage elements.  I’ll be exploring in my Hanukkah posts how to incorporate these rustic elements into your Hanukkah decor.

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One easy way to incorporate a rustic looks is experimenting with pinecone dreidels.  I gathered a bunch of pinecones for a Thanksgiving D.I.Y. that never happened. To make the dreidels took 5 minutes, not including the time it took to spray paint them silver and light blue.  All I did was trim off a two inch section of a twig and hot glue it to the top of the pinecone.  I had to hold the twig in place while the glue dried.  Afterwards I had 10 pinecone dreidels.  I spray painted mine silver and light blue. I’m including a picture of them without the spray paint below so you can decide for yourself how you want to yours to look.  I plan on using them in future projects that I will be sharing on the blog this week.img_6610

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Kinetic Kids Menorah

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I’m going to post this in both my blog under Hanukkah and Art Lessons for Educators and Homeschoolers which will link straight to Lesson Plans.  This time I’m not writing a full fledged lesson plan I am, however I am sharing everything you’ll need to write your own. I do have a full lesson plan on his Agamographs I will share as well.   The Kinetic Kids Menorah is based on the work of Israeli artist Yaacov Agam who founded the Kinetic art movement.  Kinetic literally mean “movement” and he is interested in creating art that looked as though it were moving.  He tricks the eye with color placement, different sizes of the same shape or object, and images that change based on where the viewer is standing.  He created Agamographs which are printed that almost look like they’re woven and depending on if you’re standing to the right or the left you’re seeing 2 different pictures.  He is highly celebrated in Israel.  He designed a fountain and a hotel in downtown Tel Aviv.  My photo of the hotel is below, but it was at night, so you can’t really see the colors clearly.

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To create the Kinetic Kids Menorah you’ll need:

*scissors

*cardstock in red, orange, gold, and two sheets of two shades of blue

*a hole puncher

*nylon filament

*glue (I used a glue gun, but Elmer’s Glue All would work too)

*a ruler

*a pencil (I used pen so you could see my work more clearly)

*optional-I had Ben free paint on white cardstock with red, orange, and yellow paint prior and used that painting for the flames.

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To start I measured out my candlesticks on the blue sheets of paper.  The piece with the slits were 2″ wide and 6″ tall with a 5″ slit.  I cut them out.  The pieces that fit inside the slits were 5″ tall.  This left a little space at the bottom for a hole to connect the candles later.

agamagam3I slid the 5″ pieces into their slits, securing with drops of glue.  Then I cut out 8 flames from Ben’s painting he had done the day before.  Side note: you can use glitter, glitter paint, regular cardstock if you want to add to the flames.  You are the artist, let your creativity shine!

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I traced around his flames onto orange cardstock 8 times and yellow 8 times.  I cut out all the flames.  The yellow ones are a bit larger to frame Ben’s and the orange ones.flame

I cut a tiny slit in each flame and the top of each candlestick, then slid the flame into the candlestick securing it with glue.

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I created a much larger flame with leftover scraps.  I punched holes in the tops of all my candlesticks and three holes in the bottom of my large flame.  I also punched one in the top of my large flame.  I strung the hook at the top of my large flame with nylon filament I picked up at Joann Fabrics and the candlesticks, alternating colors (some needed a hole punched at the bottom, but do that as you go).agam-1

This project took a couple of hours for me to create.  I would recommend it for middle aged school kids or if you’re doing one on one you could do it with a fourth or fifth grader.  I did most of the work, but Ben did contribute-so it can also be a fun decoration for the holiday including your younger child’s work.

Nature Sorting Activity

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Sorting is an important early learning activity in science, art, math, language, and critical thinking skills. Babies and toddlers categorize objects based on their unique properties such as color and texture (two elements of art). When toddlers and babies categorize they begin developing an understanding of the physical world around them. They look for patterns (math) and they compare/contrast objects which are critical thinking skills.

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It’s a really simple setup-I took craft feathers, leaves in changing colors, and pinecones and placed them in different spots of a muffin tin. I approached the activity with my two babies differently.  For Adam (10.5 mos) it was his first time trying an activity like this.  It was also his first time getting to touch and hold these items. He picked up, inspected, showed me items, and yes a couple did go into his mouth (I was careful to stay by him during this activity so he wouldn’t try to swallow anything).  He examined the objects for about 15 minutes before trying to move them around in the muffin tray.  adam-sorting

For Ben, who’s almost 2 1/2, I showed him the tray first (he’s had other muffin tin sorting activities before).  We counted like items first in English, then Hebrew (he’s fluent in both).  He told me in Hebrew “etz” meaning tree while holding a leaf and also told me all of these items were from outside, before grouping like items in the tray.  He spent about 10 minutes with the tray.  This would be a great way to start an art and nature project with little ones.  Just keep in mind to watch them so they don’t try to eat the activity.