Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mini Snow Globe Craft

I am in the planning phase right now for the upcoming Awana Sparks year!  One of the crafts we will be doing in December are these adorable mini snow globes.  I am super excited about them.

Aren't they cool looking?  My favorite part is their durability.  I dropped one a few times on my tile bathroom floor & it didn't break!  Then I let my boys carry it around and play with them for a while.  Still intact & not leaking at all!

Here is what you need to make your own: 2" Vending Machine Bubbles1" cross charms (with jump ring removed), hot glue gun & glue, distilled water, glycerin, & glitter.

It took me a bit of trial and error to figure out how best to do these, but I think I've got it down to a science now.  Sparks are ages 5-7 so I wanted them to be able to do as much as possible to make it themselves.  Here are the steps I will follow: 
1) pre-hot glue the cross charms to the base (notice it is upside down!) 
2) Let each child choose their cross & write their name on the bottom
3) Let each child put 1/2 teaspoon of glitter in the globe piece
4) Let each child fill the globe piece with distilled water using a turkey baster, leaving 1/2 inch or so from top
5) Let each child put 5 drops of glycerin in the globe
6) Then I will put a line of hot glue around the lip of the lid, turn over the cross lid, set it into the globe, and make sure it seals around the edge (over a bowl just in case).  Hopefully the picture below shows this better:

Only a single line of glue is needed to fully seal the lid!  Even if the kids overfill with water the hot glue works great at sealing the globe.  Overfilling just makes the glue look less nice and professional :)  Just make sure you don't hand the snow globe to the child until the glue is dry.  With hot glue that only takes a couple minutes, yay!
And that it!  I am planning for 48 kids to participate in this project & have twenty minutes to get it done.  I plan on talking about Christmas & the best present of all (Jesus) and how even at Christmas we are looking ahead to Easter & the reason that Jesus came to earth (to die for our sins).
Originally I was going to use the lids as intended and snap them on, but the shape of the lids meant there wasn't enough water in the capsule that way.
What do you think?  I have extra capsules so I might also use them for Science Class this year with some large plastic beads.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Transcontinental Railroad

My mom is a genius.  Seriously.  I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog either (Hi Mom :)

During this semester, she is teaching a history co-op class to my boys, my little brothers, and another family's kids.  One of the subjects she covered was the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad.  In addition to reading the kid's a couple books about it and I think watching a YouTube video or two, she came up with this great activity using wooden trains and track for the class to do to help them understand and remember how the building went.
So the kids were divided into two teams and each started at one end of the room.  The kid by the basket of train tracks was responsible for choosing and handing a piece of track to the kid with the train, who then had to drive it down the track to the kid at the end, who then got to lay the track.  Then the train had to go back to the beginning and do it again.  The idea was to help the kids understand that this was how the REAL train track was built (transporting the materials to the end and building as they went)

The thing that made it really exciting though, was that just like the real railroad build, there were TWO teams building at the same time at opposite ends of the country and they met in the middle.  So the other team of kids was doing the same process at the other end of the classroom (and as the teams had lots of boys, it got rather competitive) to see who could reach the middle first.

Then, the two trains met in the middle of the track and everyone came to see the dedication of the First Transcontinental Railroad!

We were sort of trying to copy that famous picture of the two trains meeting and driving the golden spike moment.  Sorry it turned out kind of blurry.  Hopefully you get the idea :)

I had never seen anything similar to this activity done (even on Pinterest!) and thought it was a really ingenious way for the kids to have a hands-on way to review and remember this incredible event in our nation's history.