Cardboard castle craft for preschool learning centers

Here's a craft project for preschool learning centers--a cardboard castle. Cut apart two large, recycled cardboard refrigerator boxes. Tape two boxes together to make an octagon castle "keep." Cut windows and battlements--a series of crenelations and merlons (squared edge thingys). Draw a four-pane window and cut openings. Hang curtains in windows (not exactly medieval crafts appropriate, but very festive!)

Have kids decorate cardboard castle. Draw in bricks and cut a drawbridge opening in the side. Attach yarn to both sides of to lower and raise drawbridge. Cut holes in the top to tie drawbridge closed when the royal inhabitants aren't receiving company. Place blue blankets around the outside for the castle moat. Fill with stuffed animal dragons, fish, alligators and other aquatic creatures.

Make secret entrances. Line chairs up to make a crawl-through tunnel entrance into castle. Drape sheets, blankets and bed linens over tunnel. Set up a dungeon. Make a parapet (walkway) by placing several chairs or a bench along the inside edge of the castle. Soldiers keep lookout here and send prisoners to sit under the chairs in the dungeon sit under bench. Fashion a turret. Put a collapsible net laundry hamper upside down on a chair inside the castle. Children crawl into hamper and onto chair to look out of the turret.

Free Thanksgiving holiday craft projects for preschool kids

 Along with the holiday food preparations, parents have extra duties at Thanksgiving with kids home from school. How about free printable Thanksgiving crafts to occupy children? How about #Cut And Paste paper crafts to keep little ones busy during holiday preparations? Children will love coloring and making Thanksgiving party decorations, invitations, greeting cards, games, table decor, placemats and more with these printouts.  Free printable Thanksgiving holiday activities, crafts, coloring pages, cards

Homemade no-sew baby and toddler animal Halloween costumes: easy, cheap DIY kids' costumes

Ready-made children's Halloween costumes are adorable, but very expensive. You can create cute DIY baby and toddler costumes easy with this guide. Using your recycle bin, make cute no-sew costumes for little ones, darn near free. Plus they'll be snug and warm for those crisp chilly October evenings. Ready? Let's begin.

First, decide what your child will go as for trick-or-treat. The easiest costumes for babies and toddlers are animals.

Next, you will need:
* blanket sleeper (zippered pajamas with covered feet). Use an old one or pick one up second hand. Choose sleeper color based on the type of animals it will be used for:
--green: frog,dinosaur, gecko lizard, dragon, caterpillar, parrot
--yellow or tan: baby chick, tiger, leopard, lion
--red: ladybug, bird, fox
--pink: pig, shrimp
--black, brown, white or gray: cat, dog, donkey, horse, cow, squirrel, raccoon, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, penguin
--orange, blue or purple: bird, fish, butterfly
* knit hat in matching color
* five old socks in matching colors
* recycled cardboard from cereal boxes or packaging
* black permanent marker
* eyebrow pencil
* lipstick
* hot glue gun or glue dots or Vel-cro
* sharp scissors
* assorted fabric scraps, pom-poms, feathers, faux gems, ribbon, sequins (optional)

Now
* Draw design details with permanent marker on sleeper: lines, circles, stripes, spots wings etc.
* Hot glue (or use glue dots) to add embellishments to sleeper: sequins or faux gems are great for fish scales or birds. Glue faux feathers on for bird wings. Glue ribbon on for stripes. Pom-poms can be fish scales, curly-haired puppies.
* On two socks (or old old knit gloves) draw black lines on toe ends simulate paws or claws. Draw circles on the palm to look like paw pads (socks make great improvised mittens).
* Stuff one sock with recycled rags for a tail. Sew it to the back of the sleep or hot glue it on. You can also glue a large pom pom on the back for a fuzzy tail.
* Make ears using the remaining two socks and the knit hat. Stuff the socks halfway full of scrap fabric. Cut two small holes in the hat for ears. Push open ends of socks through holes and tie knots in ends so socks won't slip through hole.
* Draw a simple animal face on child. For whiskers make three lines on each side of the face. Add red or brown lipstick for nose. Don't add too many details as child might get makeup in her eyes.
Baby will be toasty warm and cute as a bug!

Free printable patriotic crafts for preschool Labor Day, Memorial Day lesson plans

Several US national holidays center on patriotic events in American history--Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Presidents Day. So here are free printable patriotic crafts and red white and blue crafts and art projects. These free printable activities might easily be used as lesson plans for school or homeschool to teach American history, government, civics, social studies, geography, current events, US history and other similar classes.
All Crafts has a blowout of red white and blue crafts projects to use for major US national holidays. Use these free printable patriotic crafts for US national holidays like Memorial Day and 4th of July but also for lesson plans on Presidents Day, Constitution Day or even Election Day. Pecuniarities has a cute free printable toy soldiers crafts, perfect for Presidents Day and military holidays and US national holidays. Print toy soldiers, cut them out, wrap around toilet paper tubes and glue. Free Kids Crafts offers free printable patriotic crafts, games, activities, puzzles, paper dolls and paper airplanes. Use these for American history or Presidents Day activities!

The Toymaker has free printable patriotic crafts, red white and blue crafts and American history art projects. Making Friends always has lots of great crafts, including free printable patriotic crafts and RWB activities. You'll like the games,puzzles and mazes for US national holidays too. Teacher Vision has a bunch of educational free printable patriotic crafts. DL-TK has a loads of free printable red white and blue crafts and art projects and patriotic crafts for American history and US national holidays. Activity Village has free printable red white and blue crafts and art projects for all US national holidays. Here's the Presidents Day page but check the side menu and home page for season by season holiday activities.

Free Valentines Day printables, valentine coloring pages for preschool kids to make

Valentines Day means children's valentine exchanges and school party activities. How about crafts for kids that save money and keep 'em busy? Use these free
printable valentines and Valentine's Day greeting cards for hours of holiday fun.
DL-TK is always a good one-stop source for holiday crafts. Here's
the page with 
Valentine's Day cards, crafts, coloring pages,
games, worksheets and other fun activities. There are valentines with cartoon
characters, Angry Birds, animals, flowers, hearts, cherubs, butterflies,
insects, vehicles and more. Print teacher 
valentine cards, too. Some are printed in multiples.
Free Printable Valentines has gobs of kids' valentine cards to print. There are many
different styles--animals, hearts, cupid, cute, silly, romantic and more. Look
for printable valentine memory game, crossword puzzles, and other games.
Free Printable has lots of valentine cards to print out. These are customizable
to size, shape and color. Some can be personalized with a message.
Living Lorcuto has 50 free printable Valentine crafts to make and share. Scroll down to see each one. Click on the ones
you want to print to get the template. Again, print in black and white so it
becomes a coloring activity. There are teen valentines, cute kiss ones,
Valentine iPod coves, treat boxes, decorations and cards.
Most valentines can be printed with several cards on one page.
Print in B&W with your black ink cartridge and turn them into color-you-own
valentines. Have children fill out valentines and sign. Now it's a craft and
writing lesson. This extends the activity (and keeps children's happily
productive longer!)



Free printable Advent wreath crafts, Catholic activities, Bible Christmas art projects

Advent is celebrated the month before Christmas, by Catholic, Orthodox and some protestant Christian denominations. Many people think of it as a time for Advent calendars with candies and treats. But that, like a commercial Christmas, is miles from the real purpose. Here are free printable Advent crafts for a religious Christmas. Make an Advent wreath, Advent calendar, Jesse Tree and more. Free printable Advent wreath crafts, Catholic activities, Bible Christmas art projects
Trick-or-treat is all about dressing up in Halloween costumes, right? So how about free printable Halloween masks for kids to color, cut and paste? Perfect for preschool, special education and school Halloween parties. For families who don't do Halloween, I included links for generic masks so kids can still enjoy craft fun. Masks are grouped by theme and exclude creepy ones for little children. 

* Various: Colorbook Masks free printable Halloween masks in dozens of themes and styles. There are tribal masks from Africa, Bali, Native American, Aztec, Mayan, Inuit, Asian and more. Print animal, Mardi Gras, Harlequin, Tiki, calavera (skull) masks for Day of the Dead. To find the masks, you have to create a free account and log in. Click each mask image to get to different mask design pages.

* Animals: Activity Village has lots of free printable animals masks.

* Disney: Check Disney Family for free printable Disney Halloween masks. Print 3D masks of Winnie the Pooh, Ironman, Disney princesses, Hulk, Captain America, Frankenweenie and more.

* Samhain and fantasy: Phee Mcfaddel has free printable fairy masks plus other Wiccan-inspired designs. Some are rather eerie and some quite pretty and floral.

* Day of the Dead: How about free printable calavera masks? Happy Thoughts will email you free 3D skull mask printables if you submit your email. Here's another printable skull mask pattern from Instructables.

Many of the masks print in black and white so children can color them. Making homemade Halloween costume crafts means you keep antsy kids occupied productively as they await trick-or-treat.

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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