October 13, 2011

Jack-o-Lantern Wind Catcher {Tutorial}

Trying to occupy a spirited 3 year old is rather difficult, especially with a baby in the house, but Chris and I do try to make time for some kind of art or creative play every day.  And when it involves paint or messiness, it's a joyful activity for Soren.  And it gets him to sit still for, oh, about 2 minutes.
Yesterday I revisited a craft I've made with preschoolers back when I was teaching art classes--a Jack-o-Lantern wind catcher.
Typically I've used paper plates to make the pumpkins, but since I don't normally have them on hand, I used cardstock (you could substitute another stiffer paper, even the inside of a cereal box).  Here's what you'll need:
Paper plates or cardstock (2 pieces per pumpkin) | Scissors | Paint/brushes (or markers/crayons if taking the path of least messiness) | Glue | Pipe Cleaner | Painters' Tape | Crepe paper streamers | Stapler | Newspaper for protecting your table

Cut out your pumpkin shape from the paper, if not using paper plates, which are already round.  Using painters' tape, make a face for the pumpkin by cutting out pieces of tape with scissors.  Older kids would enjoy doing this part themselves.

Break out the paints.  I wanted to teach Soren about mixing colors, specifically red+yellow=orange, so I let him mix the two colors in a cup.
He thoroughly enjoyed the mixing part.  We talked about what other things are the color "orange"--GG's cats, carrots, Jude's poop.  The good stuff.
Have the child then paint their pumpkin.  They can paint over the tape, as it will be peeled off when dry, revealing the face.
Set aside the pumpkins to dry, and maybe have a nice fall-themed snack like pumpkin seeds.

When dry, have your child peel off the tape to reveal the pumpkin faces.  This part can really be quite magical for young children.

Using the glue (I prefer glue stick with young kids), have your child cover the back of one pumpkin.
Then add some cut streamers along the bottom of the pumpkin face,
and "sandwich" them in between another pumpkin face.

Twist and curl a pipe cleaner for the stem, nestle it in between the two pumpkins at the top, and then have your child help you staple it to the wind catcher.  It's ready for hanging!
Which one has the scarier face, boy or jack-o-lantern?
We hung one in our kitchen from the ceiling fan,
and one in the window for passers-by to admire.
I'm thinking they'll look nice hanging on the front porch on Halloween night.  Maybe a coven of them, if we get time to make more.

Hope you make this easy craft with your wee ones.  Enjoy!


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  2. The wind catcher turned out quite cute.

  3. That looks like such a simple, fun activity! You always post the good stuff. :)

  4. I love his devilish face! SoJo's AND the pumpkin's…

  5. I know this is off topic, but what kind of camera do you use? I've noticed how crisp and beautiful your pics are and I was just curious, I'll be buying a new one soon!

  6. :D
    Kidoodle has been trying to figure out what colors mix to make other colors. He gets so excited about the mixing that he makes a lot of brown! :D I don't mind. I love the violet grey-browns, especially.

    This is an overall fun fun fun project.

  7. Easy crafts are the only way to go when you've also got a newborn!

  8. aw! I love children's crafts like this. One of my favorite things to see when I go to my children's elementary schools is the art work that is hanging in the hallways..from the ceilings, and from the bulletin boards in the halls. Very cute pumpkin!!


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