by Bette G. Rinehart
Easter's just around the corner! Stores are overflowing with do-it-yourself baskets, decorations, and let's not forget the sweet treats!
Why not have your own child create holiday treasures to keep? You can add to their "eggs-citement" of the season with these fun and easy spring-time crafts! Those little noses will be twitching in no time!
Whether your child's an independent preschooler, an "I can do it myself" toddler or a baby eager to dive in, we've got a craft that's just for you.
Help your baby make this cute picture frame for a keepsake or for a gift for family members.
✓ Felt or construction paper for bunny ears
✓ Pipe cleaners
✓ Card stock weight picture frame
✓ Crayons or markers
✓ Finger paint
Get creative with the frame. Depending on your baby's interest and age, you can offer supplies for coloring, stickers that can be added, glue for colorful confetti or help those tiny fingers make fingerprint eggs.
Now for your part of the project. Print up a picture of your baby with the Easter bunny, in a spring setting, or a close-up. Put it in the frame.
Cut two "bunny fur" colored pieces of felt and one smaller white or pink center for each ear. Place a folded pipe cleaner on one of the larger ear pieces. Glue the pipe cleaner into place. Place a bead of glue near the edge and top with other large felt piece. Glue white or pink center in place.
Glue the ears to the back of the frame, folding the ends to make them three dimensional. Once dried, bend the ears to the perfect pertness or droop.
This project is guaranteed to get a few, "Awwwwws..."
This activity can simply be a fun craft or you can talk about renewal and transformation, toddler-style. The caterpillar changes into a butterfly right before your child's very eyes. Would you like to add one more step? Hide the pompoms in a plastic eggs. Have the egg hatch into the pieces for the caterpillar!
✓ Plain paper towel
✓ Food coloring
✓ Paint brush
✓ Pinch-type clothes-pin
✓ Colorful medium-size pom-poms
✓ Pipe cleaner
Mix water and food coloring to make paint. Show your toddler how to dip a brush in the "paint" and dab onto the paper towel. Try to switch colors several times. The more colors your tot uses, the more colorful the butterfly becomes. Once you hear "all done" or the paper towel has become saturated, make the caterpillar body. Set the towel aside to dry or place on a cookie sheet in the oven on very low temperature.
Dribble a bead of glue lengthwise down the middle of a clothes pin. Add a row of pompoms. Twist a three inch piece of pipe cleaner around the top edge to form antenna. While the caterpillar dries, snuggle up with the book, "A Very Hungry Caterpillar," or head to the kitchen for a spring time snack.
To transform the caterpillar to a butterfly, pinch the middle of the wings and clip inside the clothes pin. Making magic together is priceless!
If you're hosting a family meal this year, your child might be asking "When will they be here?" Here's a craft that you can set up on the kitchen counter and supervise as you cook.
✓ Paper tubes from paper towels, wrapping paper or toilet paper
✓ Paint and brush
✓ Construction paper
✓ Sticky back foam
✓ Paper punch
✓ Glue stick
Cut the cardboard tube into pieces about 1 1/4 inches. Paint the rings and set aside to dry. Encourage squiggles and waves. You might have to show your child how pushing harder and then softer on the brush creates patterns and develops fine motor skills. We'll keep this part a secret!
Trace egg shapes onto construction paper and help your preschooler cut out one egg for each napkin ring.