Three Day of the Dead Art Lessons for Elementary Aged Children

 

I first learned about Day of the Dead as a student teacher at Buffalo State College. I was intrigued right away by the imagery related to the holiday. When I moved to Las Vegas I began teaching at schools where at least 50% on my population was Hispanic and most of my students were Hispanic had a Mexican background.

Fast forward 13 years and I am teaching at a school now where half of my student population actually celebrate Day of the Dead! This is a first for me. In previous schools my students didn’t really have much information about the holiday. So having students who do have a background with the holiday, does bring some new challenges. As a teacher who is not Hispanic, I do have to have a lot of knowledge of the holiday, Mexican culture and history, and art. Also given that my student population actually celebrates the holiday, in a city that does recognize the holiday, I do feel that moving forward you need to do some kind of public art display.

To start with I had a PowerPoint on the holiday, some Mexican history and art. My students were really impressed that I knew so much information about their culture. This made them really excited to work with me and we were able to move forward and create all these awesome projects.

For Day of the Dead my second and third graders created Frida Kahlo Calaveras using Crayola Model Magic. Calavera is Spanish for skull. We started by readingGetting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Frida Kahlo as a class. Then students created their skulls out of model magic.

Once they modeled their skulls, they glued them on to a 12″ x 18″ sheet of white paper. We read the book into class periods after the second class. Students wrote their first copy of a letter to Frida Kahlo. I reviewed the steps of writing a friendly letter in my class. Students were asked to find things they had in common with Frida Kahlo such as her love of art, Mexican culture, pets, and science. I reviewed and graded the letters as a formative assessment.

While I was busy grading, and correcting the papers students continued on their projects by drawing Frida’s body, and a detailed, pattered border. Then students added their letter with corrections as a background to their piece and colored in their border along with Frida with marker. To classes will be hanging up their finished works of art in our February music program which will highlight cultures from around the world.

Fourth and fifth graders created Calavera masks this past month using paper. I have a template that I will share below for a skull with slits on the side that can be cut and folded to mold the paper into a 3-D mask. Students first of all colored in their templates using marker. I required that their designs were symmetrical and highly detailed. I showed them examples of real sugar skulls in class to further bring home the points of symmetry and detail.

Then we added hair, eyelashes, hats, bows, and other details with scrap paper. I showed them how to curl the paper using scissors or by twirling it around a marker. I also taught them how to fan fold the hair into crinkle cut pieces. I gave students a lot of creativity with what they added to their mask but I did explain to them the difference between adding 3-D elements into the elements. If they cut out a flat hat and added it to their mask it would not go towards the criteria of having 3 3-dimensional elements in their mask.

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To finish we popped out the noses and teeth, folded and molded the mask so it popped out, include our masks on two 9″ x 11″ construction paper for matting. Students were asked at the end of the lesson to check their own work against the criteria of the project before turning it in for a grade.

I received so many compliments on the masks made by my fourth and fifth graders. For kindergarten and first grade I also made Calavera masks with paper, except I simplified the project. They also had to make their masks symmetrical. However their masks are flat.

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Students drew on the skull template in marker a symmetrical design. I modeled for them how to do that before they went ahead on their project. Then the next session we used glitter and sparkles on our masks after we matter them on 9″x11″ construction paper. Some of these projects are being chosen to be hung for a holiday display at the Smith Center of Performing Arts downtown.

We had so much fun creating these projects. If you need any materials or lesson plans feel free to comment below or in my Instagram. I’ll be more than happy to email them to you.

Galaxy Homemade Slime

slimeOK if there was ever a pin for galaxy colored hands it should be with my hands in the photo! The other day I had to take Adam for his shots and I was so embarrassed after making this slime because my hands were blue, purple, and pink all over!  Now the slime did turn out really cool and it does stay nice and pliable in a airtight plastic container however the colors do mix up into a robin’s egg blue eventually.  To make the fluffy slime I used two regular bottles of Elmer’s Glue then I layered men’s shaving cream on top and added in contact solution.  I’m including photos and video below.



 




 

 

Snowflake DIY 

I am a huge fan of What’s Up Mom’s. I love all of their videos and their really happy energy. They definitely influenced my decision to become a blogger. So here is one of their DIY projects from their YouTube channel that I tried out. You can see their tutorial here.

I tried having Ben paint the popsicle sticks first and he was not at all interested. So then it dawned on me to have him paint the finished product. I built the snowflake but every time I built it I noticed that one end was a little bit crooked or one of the sides was not parallel to another side. I was popping off popsicle sticks left and right and starting over. Even now as it’s finished I still see areas that could use a little tweaking.

 I would  recommend if you’re going to do this project to do it on some sort of a grid or on a table with straight edges that you can better plan out your snowflake and make sure that everything is straight and parallel. I also recommend using wood glue, it dried faster than Elmer’s glue all.

If a child is helping you paint the snowflake-turn areas that could use paint towards them so they can reach new areas easily.

Overall I think our snowflake came out really nicely.  It’s definitely a craft for home or small groups with large work areas.  A classroom desk would not be enough space for the finished snowflake.

What blogs or vlogs influence you?Please share your answers,

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Burlap Hanukkah Card Craft for Kids

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Want an easy and stylish kids craft to do this holiday season?  Burlap is everywhere.  I see it on garlands, tote bags, pillows, you name it!  To make this easy craft you’ll need:

1 piece of burlap 4 1/2″x 3″

1 piece of brown craft paper 4 1/2″x3″

1 chisel tip Sharpie

puffy paint or homemade paint (the recipe is here)

Clear Krazy Glue

Directions:

Glue the piece f brown craft paper inside the burlap.  Once the glue is dry (30 minutes or so), fold the card in half.  Kids often need a lot of help lining up items to glue and folding-plus you’ll have to use the Krazy Glue.  Older kids can draw a menorah or write Happy Hanukkah with the chisel tip Sharpie, younger kids will need an adult to do that.  Then they can decorate with puffy paint or if they’re little like Ben (2 years old) they can use homemade paint and a Q-tip to apply paint. Let it dry. img_6691

 

 

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.

Thanksgiving D.I.Y. Lazy Susan

I love to paint, and if you love to paint here’s one way you can relax today and avoid football and election talk.

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It’s a lazy susan for the table scape or the buffet.  I use mine all fall to place my oils and spices I frequently use while cooking-I cook everyday.  Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath on Friday/Saturday) takes me three days to prepare for it.  So as a native New Yorker I’ll say “Forget About It!”

Even though I’m a vegetarian-you get the idea.  So I bought the lazy susan at Target a few years back.  I saw some 2 weeks ago at Ikea by the checkout-very affordable.  First I prepared the surface by sanding off the protective sealant that it came with and doing a few thin, even coats of gesso primer with a sponge top brush.   After the gesso dried I used a flat wide brush to paint 3 coats of gold paint-again even and thin.  I waited for those to dry.  Then I used my Martha Stewart Craft Acrylic Paints to paint my leaves.  Voila!

Fall Sensory Bags-Pinterest DIY Tryout

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I saw this post on Fall Sensory Bags and tried it with My Petite Picassos Playgroup (ages 2-3) this week.  I used a Ziploc sandwich bag, hair gel from the Dollar Tree, red and yellow food dye, fake fall leaves, cinnamon sticks, and red and gold glitter. To seal them I used packaging tape.

I really like the fact the kiddos got to see the colorful leaves as we don’t have much of that here in Las Vegas.  Overall the activity went well.  I recommend only filling the bag 1/2 way with gel before adding your food coloring, glitter and fall items so it won’t be so full you can’t see through it.

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Rain Sticks

So I’m trying to play catch-up on Thanksgiving and fall crafts as I just started my blog this week. This past Friday night a friend of mine came over for Shabbat dinner. If you don’t know what Shabbat is it’s the Jewish Sabbath dinner that we have on Friday night. I cook from Wednesday to Friday a variety of Moroccan dishes as that’s my husband’s background and often times I try to invite a friend over and share in this tradition with them. I love this particular night of the week because it’s the one time a week that we as a family sit down for dinner.  My husband owns his own business and so the rest of the week it’s really touch and go as to what time he’ll come home. On Friday night we sing songs, we light candles, and we eat fresh baked bread. It’s really special and Ben loves it!  So this week my friend Man stopped by and she’s an art teacher as well. I asked her if she had any good ideas for a fall time craft as my curriculum had to have a last minute change for a playgroup this week.  She suggested rain sticks that she had been making with her art and yoga class. So I went ahead and took her advice.  My tutorial is below.


Using a hot glue gun glue a toilet paper or towel paper roll onto a piece of scrap paper.


Cut off the excess paper and roll up a piece of silver foil,stuff inside the tube.  The tinfoil slows down the rice from falling inside the rain stick.  Add some rice -just a half a handful


Glue a piece of scrap paper onto the other side making sure you’re holding your tube upwards so the rice and tinfoil don’t fall out.


Decorate with bingo markers or paint. My playgroup used bingo markers last night.  You can purchase them online my husband picked up a bunch in the casino last year.  They’re great for babies who are beginning to do art.

To finish I took a piece of yarn and some beads- strung the beads onto the yarn.  I inserted a feather into the beads and put a drop of hot glue to secure the feather inside the beads.  Then I took the two ends of the yarn wrapped it around the tube, tying them shut.  I put a couple drops of hot glue on the yarn that I had tied so it would stay in place on the tube.

This was such an easy, fun, and fast craft with the kids. They loved to shake the rain stick and hear the rice inside. It’s a great little activity for the little ones at your Thanksgiving dinner. And hardly cost any money!

Here’s a photo of all of Ben’s crafts from last night together.