Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Kingdom For A Horse (Sticker)

I had recently seen a fun craft idea for empty toilet paper tubes, and as luck should have it, I've been saving them for another purpose. So when I was headed off to babysit and entertain 3 little girls (2 of my nieces, plus the Princess) for 2 days, I thought it would be a fun idea to try.
I've been hoarding stocking up on foam stickers from Dollar Tree, since when Little Z was 18-months old we did a craft with glue and gems and sequins, and foam stickers. If I started peeling off the back of the stickers, she was able to remove the rest, and place it on the craft by herself, unlike any of the glued items. (I ended up having her place it where she wanted it, then I would scoop it up and glue it back down, as accurately as I could.) So I thought more sticker activities were in order, so she could enjoy a sense of accomplishment in being able to do it all by herself. She is even good about putting all the papers into a little garbage cuppie, if I tell her what it's for at the beginning. I've also found plain and colored craft sticks, glue-on gems, glue-on googly eyes and loads more!
They also sold larger foam shapes, like crowns, butterflies, circles, and small and large rectangles, so I bought a package or more of each (6-12 pieces per pack!)

For her preschool's Valentines exchange, instead of paper valentines, I bought some foam valentine stickers, and several packs of foam letters. They didn't have foam heart shapes, so I bought a pack of circles, thinking I could cut them into hearts. I put a chenille stem [pipe cleaner,] foam circle, 2 of each Valentine sticker shape [yes, I pre-sorted them.] and all the letters in that child's name in a baggie with a little note about how she had been able to do these on her own so their kids should too, and that they could leave the circle or cut it into a heart (some of the names were so long, they needed a circle!) and they could use the chenille stem as a hanger (if they punched holes into the shape) or just bend it up and glue it on. Overall it cost me around $6, which is more than a pack of tiny paper cards would have been, but these were way more fun and creative, plus I had lots of leftovers! Next year, maybe just initials though! I ran out of 'N's and it was a major pain to sort all those letters!

Since this craft idea was to make castles out of the cardboard rolls, I decided to bring the foam crowns I found while digging through my craft tote. I also have a stash of glitter, glue and glitter glue in there. Since I thought they might enjoy having something shiny on their crowns, and I wasn't in the mood for the glue-on gems, I opted to skip the glitter, but brought the glitter glue. And a craft glue, and tape. And scissors (in case I couldn't find my sister's.)
I had recently saved a paper towel tube with a vague notion of finding something fun to do with it, or else just recycle it, and packed that along with 5 TP tubes per girl. (The craft calls for 4, but I brought extras in case they got smooshed, or if the baby wanted to play with one.) The little one was having quiet time on her own, so I just had the older 2.

Step 1: Since the paper towel tube was more than double the height of a TP tube, I thought it might be fun to cut it in half and let each of the older 2 girls have a taller tower.
I then cut crenelations out of one side of each tall tower, and 6 regular ones. The link only says to do it on 2, but I didn't read the page there, and just did them all. In hindsight, even if I wanted all 4 towers to have crenelations, I could have just cut them out of the outside halves of the 3 shorter towers (but all around the tall one.) I will warn you, cutting at the overlap seam was a little hard. Doable with nice sharp Fiskars, but not fun.

Step 2: Decide on a castle layout. There was the 4-in-a-square option, as shown in the link, but you could also do a row of 3 with the 4th one in front or back in the middle (see picture below.) Not as structurally sound for a toddler, but still fun. However, both girls chose the 4 clumped together.

Step 3: WHY WON'T THIS STUPID GLUE OPEN?! The one mini Elmer's I had brought, the tip wouldn't unscrew to let the glue come out the top. Ugh. I finally just used a craft stick to dip into the bottle and shmear it onto whatever needed gluing, but I was disappointed, as I know Little Z is capable of gluing on her own googly eyes and such now, and I wanted to let them have an opportunity to do as much as possible themselves. However, letting them loose with a wide-open bottle of glue and a stick was not in my plan.

Step 4: While I worked on gluing the tubes together (and taping them on the bottom, to help them hold up, at least until dry,) the girls used washable markers to decorate their flags. I had originally planned on having them color a scrap of paper, then folding it and cutting out a triangle pennant (and glue it onto the pole at the fold) but they both nixed that idea and demanded I glue it on the stick as an only-one-side-colored flag. (I opted for craft sticks as poles, versus pipe cleaners for the increased stability. Less likely to get mushed/crumpled!)

I set the flags aside to dry.

Step 5: Decorate with stickers! I had loads of different ones, all in Ziplocks, rather than their original cheap not-resealable baggies. There was a monkeys, bananas, palm trees baggie. Cars, planes, trains baggie. Birthday party themed baggie. Easter/Spring themed baggie. Candy themed baggie. Several different flower assortments baggies. And more! And my favorite: mini animal assortment baggie: octopus, fish, slug, seahorse, horse, ferret, all kinds of odd animals! Tually went mostly for the monkey and candy bags, while Z started off with the mini animals.

They were both able to peel the backs off of most of the stickers, but the ones they had trouble with, I'd get started and then fold the paper back, so it would stay open, and the girls could easily take over.

Step 6: Glitter glue! They glooped it out into large mounds like pros! I got Tually to spread hers around a little with my glue craft stick, but I had to moosh Z's around for her. (Because she wouldn't, not because she couldn't!)

Step 7: On to crowns! For the crowns, Little Z focused on the cowboy-themed stickers, while Tually was enamored with the birthday party ones. Then Z peeled off all her stickers, and put back only the pink ones. Then googly eyes. Masses and masses of them! I'd smear glue on the backs and set them on the table for the girls to pick up and place on their crowns themselves. I finally had to cut off their supply. I want SOME googly eyes for future crafts!

The finished products:

Tually's castle and crown (front and back)

Little Z's castle (front and back)

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