Q-Tip Painting

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Sometimes it seemed like every other project Travis brought home from pre-k involved dot markers; teachers sure do love this art medium! This craft is almost like a homemade version, but will help with precision and letter tracing.

I wrote Travis’s name all in capital letters on construction paper and set out bowls of paint and q-tips.

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He thought the idea of “homemade” dot markers was so neat! At first he intended to smear along the lines of the letters, but when I showed him how to dot the q-tip, he quickly took to it. I had imagined he’d dot at intervals, but he wanted his dots right up against each other so no line showed through.

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This activity is nice reinforcement if your child already knows how to spell his or her name. Because he had to move slowly through each letter, Travis noticed that an upper case R starts out looking like a P, until you add the last diagonal line. What a way to notice the building blocks!

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He wasn’t satisfied until he’d added the last dot.

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And loved mixing up the colors, too.

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Q-Tip Skeleton

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This little craft is great for kids who learning about the body and bones. Big kids can be really exact with it, mapping out locations for the humerus, femur, and more. For my four year old, it was fun just to talk about our bodies and bones, and help him see a skeleton take shape.

To set up the craft, I cut out a skull shape from white construction paper and glued it onto a piece of black paper.

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Next we needed to make bones! To do so, I cut q-tips into varying lengths, including a few that I left whole for bigger bones in the body. This is a fun step because q-tips are quite hard to snip through, which means they go flying when you cut them. Travis became the bone-gathering doctor!

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I asked if he wanted to decide where to place each bone, or preferred to have me lay down lines of glue for him to follow. He asked for the latter, but then it was a great game for him to match the length of my glue stripe to a properly sized “bone.”

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He loved doing the hand. “Look, it’s my pinkie finger!”

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This was a great chance to talk about the differences in the length of our bones. We needed to find a long one for the femur, I explained, which was the biggest bone in the body.

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It was also neat to touch our real, corresponding bones as we worked. He loved feeling his spine.

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When the skeleton looked almost done, I asked him what we still needed. “Hip bones!” he decided, touching his own, so we glued down a few more pieces.

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So proud of my little scientist putting this one together.

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Mini Archery

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After way too much fun with our medieval Koala Crate, we needed to continue our exploration of the Middle Ages. This project was too cute for words. Putting it together was mostly a grown-up task, but you’ll love watching your kids imagination go wild as they play with the final product!

To prepare the bow, notch a craft stick on both ends, on each side, for 4 notches total. I was entirely unsure how to go about making the notches, and just slivered into the stick with scissors. This may not have been the safest or best method, but it worked!

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Soak the stick in water for at least one hour to soften the wood.

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Once soft, carefully bend the stick into an arc. Wrap a piece of dental floss a few times through the notches on one end. Stretch the floss taut while curving the bow, and secure through the notches on the other end.

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For completely safe mini arrows, simply snip one tip off of a q-tip.

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Now we needed something to aim at! We cut two circles from poster board (paper plates would work, too), and decorated with a bull’s eye marking. Little poster board strips taped to the back helped them stand upright.

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The mechanics of nocking and launching the q-tips turned out to be quite tough for Travis.

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He loved watching though while we had some family time trying to hit the target. The arrows go quite far!

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As the finishing touch, we needed a quiver for the arrows. I cut a toilet paper tube until it was only a little taller than the q-tips, then wrapped in brown construction paper to cover the bottom and sides. We added a few Sherwood Forest-y decorations, as well as a ribbon handle.

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It turned out the quiver was Travis’s favorite element of the whole game. He loved loading it up with his “arrows” and running around with it…

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… but in full disclosure, he also decided it would be fun to run around naked while doing so. So you’ll have to take my word for it that there was lots of enjoyment going on, but I couldn’t capture photos for the blog!

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Cotton Swab Snowflake Craft

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I’ve never been a fan of cut-paper snowflakes as a craft. Quite frankly, I’m no good at it, and mine end up looking like circles with a few holes in them, instead of lacy flakes! But with pretty sparkling snowflakes outside our window, we wanted some indoor craft to bring the snow inside, and this cotton swab version was much easier to pull off.

To be honest, Travis was a little young for it. Older kids may be much more into shaping and designing their six-pointed flakes, and can really get creative with the process. As to Travis, he still had lots of fun, just in his own preschool way…

…starting with ferrying the cotton swabs over to me by “forklift.” Shipment received.

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He thought it was fascinating to watch me clip the cotton swabs in half (which, fyi, is not easy to do, the stems are tough; adults may want to help even older children with this step).

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Next I showed him how to arrange the cotton swabs into six-pointed shapes like snowflakes.

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We adhered ours to circles cut from blue constructions paper, but if you prefer, glue them together over wax paper and lift them off the wax paper once the glue has dried.

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Travis set about adding lots of glue and cotton swabs to his “snowflakes.” I loved watching his creative process, including smearing on the glue with a cotton swab at one point.

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As mentioned, older kids may want to create increasingly complex designs, and can cut the swabs into even tinier components.

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After the glue dried, we hung the snowflakes in the window.

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What beautiful flakes falling down!

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