Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and although I do not observe that as a holiday, I felt like it was as good an opportunity as any to borrow a toddler or two and whip up a fun, quick, budget-friendly project. I put together my yearning for the sunlight and color of Spring with my love of clear contact paper and decided to create some "Stained Glass" Heart Sun-catchers. I started out by cutting small chunks of tissue paper I had at home. I used reds, pinks, white and some scraps from a few years back that had heart themed prints. For the border on this one, which is hanging in my kitchen window, I cut a heart shape out of a 12x12 card-stock page I had never used from a scrap-book I made several years ago. I cut a smaller heart out of the center to create a frame. I made several similar frames with construction paper. I cut portions of clear contact paper and peeled off the protective backing. I set them, sticky side up, on a table and stuck on the tissue scraps. This is a very kid-friendly project. Even younger toddlers can enjoy sticking paper scraps to contact paper. Older children can take more independent roles in the project, doing the cutting or even tearing tissue paper. I used my portable laminating machine to protect my final project, though you can also use more contact paper to finish off the project, leaving a large enough border to seam it together.
This is a versatile project, too. We did Chanukah themed "Stained Glass" Sun-catchers in with my preschool class this past year, and you could choose any shape you'd like. I've even seen entire windows done with this method using several smaller shapes or even large rectangular portions of contact paper without a frame. I have also used clear contact paper right on a classroom easel in a toddler class with small containers full of various paper scraps (tissue, wrapping paper, construction paper, magazine cutouts) for sticking on--a great way to encourage use of both fine motor and gross motor skills in the wee ones. Now you finally have a use for the tissue paper you insisted on saving from various gifts received over the years!
So, just a quick recap...
You will need:
- clear contact paper
- scraps of colored tissue paper, cut or torn into small pieces
- colored construction paper for border/frame
And now I want to ask you: Teachers, Caregivers, and Mommas/Daddies, what are your favorite cost-effective, rainy-day fun activities to do with kids?