I got asked yesterday morning to throw a craft together for our little weekly virtues class. The theme this month is "unity." I decided to attempt making some fall unity wreaths with the group. The class is comprised of kids ages 2.5-5... so this wasn't necessarily successful (for several reasons), but the end product was cute and the kids had fun... although the process was a little chaotic for my liking. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes... which I'll share with you as I go. :)
Pre-cut: Holes for inside of wreaths
1. Have adults help kids trace their hands onto a piece of fall colored paper. I had each kid trace their hand 6-7 times since we had about 6-7 kids doing this activity.
Learn from my mistake: Encourage parents to use the paper wisely with their kids and not just draw two hands per page. Little hands don't take up much space, so you can fit at least 4 hands per page. If kids want to do hands on more than one color paper, have them share papers with friends so that less paper is wasted.
Learn from my mistake: It is easier to decorate the hands before they are cut out and fingers can be bent or ripped. Make sure you have enough Fall stickers so that everyone gets to use a sufficient amount. I delegated that job... and we didn't have enough stickers... and they ended up being Halloween stickers, not fall leaves, pumpkins, etc... which wasn't what I was going for.
3. Help kids cut out the hands. This is great to do while they are decorating some of their hands.... that way when they are done decorating they don't have to sit around while their moms are cutting out the hands.
Tip: Have a variety of scissors available. Lots of little ones for the kids and then big ones for the moms. I actually did this, and it helped a lot. Moms cut a lot faster with bigger scissors :)
4. Draw circles in the center of the wreaths and cut the circles out ahead of time. I didn't have time to do that before our class, so I drew circles in the center of the plates instead. It worked out fine, but didn't look as good.
5. Put 5-7 pieces of double-stick tape onto the back of the paper plate- all around the "wreath."
6. Have students walk around with their tape covered paper plate wreath and collect decorated hands from their friends. Each student should get one hand from each of their friends in the group and then they can stick the hands to the double-stick tape.
7. Add any other Fall themed elements you would like. I thought these die-cut leaves could be fun to use... but didn't have enough to bring to class.
These are examples from my class. If we'd had time, I would've cut the centers out of the wreaths for each kid... but they were done (the little class was too long to begin with... and then we did this craft).
Learn from my mistake: Make sure to ask lots of questions when asked to help out with something like this. We ended up meeting at a park... which wasn't the best setting for cutting, decorating, and tracing... especially since we didn't even have a table. Also, I wrote out the directions for the moms to follow and placed it somewhere where they could all see the instructions. That way, when I was helping kids and they asked questions, I could just point to my instructions. I used a piece of paper stuck to a clipboard. A whiteboard/chalkboard would've been much easier to use if we'd been in another location.
I had to have low expectations for my little guy while I was leading this class. The sticks and rocks at the park were more interesting to him than a wreath craft :) (unless it involved sticking tape on a paper plate or choosing stickers). He was the youngest in the class... the majority of the kids were 4 and 5... so I was just happy that we got this much done amongst the chaos!
As part of our unity discussion the virtues teacher talked with the kids about characteristics of good friends. She also shared this quote with the kids: "So powerful is unity's light that it can illuminate the whole Earth." The kids passed a big blue ball around ("the earth") while they tried to say the unity quote. It was a bit over the heads of the kids... but they loved passing the ball around :)
My favorite part of the activity was when the kids walked around and shared their hands with one another to decorate their wreathes. It was darling to see how excited they were to share what they'd made with their friends. It was also a good exercise in communication skills. They practiced using their friend's names, asking for hands from other kids (sometimes with specific details, like, "can I have your hand with the white ghost on it"), and using polite language- please and thank you.