February 28, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Projects- Paper Folding for Pre-K and Kindergartners

Do you need an adorable project for St. Patrick's day? Check out this project that works on your young ones paper folding skills!

I'm not a huge holiday project fan, but I do get kinda giddy for St. Patrick's Day. Our pre-k and kindergarten teachers have 'leprechauns' come to the room on St. Patrick's day. When I see the students they squeal about the things the leprechauns did to their rooms (footprints, green toilet water, make messes, etc) I can't help but get excited and join in on the fun and do some leprechaun related projects.
Obviously I don't want to focus on the cliche of leprechauns so I found some areas that needed work with my young ones- Paper Folding.
Leprechaun Traps 2013
The Elusive Accordion Fold
For years, I struggled to teach my kinders how to make zig zag(accordion) folds for flower stems, so I let the ones who could zig zag do it and the others could bend and shape the paper as they wanted. I guess this was a skill they would master in first grade instead...but I just couldn't let it go! I wanted my kids to have this skill, I knew they could do it. I tried SO many ways to get those zig zag stems-pinching, turning, flipping, flopping, folding. We would get spirals and what not with a few successful zigs and zags. I started closely watching my successful folders and TADA! I saw a student folding and flipping the strip of paper, the first way I have seen this done. It was simple, an alliteration and the kids could do this. I tried it with a class of students and it worked!

Traps in the Hallways St. Patrick's 
Now, what does this have to do with leprechauns? I came across a pin on leprechaun traps and decided to get into the action and make leprechaun traps to help the kids catch the naughty leprechauns! I get the kinders all hyped up about leprechauns and trapping them, give them a 12x18 piece of green paper some markers and they design the inside and outside of their traps. I visit each table and teach them zig zag folds in a small group...fold it, grab it all, flip it, fold it, grab it all, flip it, fold it, flip it, fold it. When they get to the end  they release it and Voila! zig zag folds (or stairs to our trap). Since I give them free reign on the houses I can focus on the folding and helping those who need it. We get some glue to add gold glitter coins or pots of gold. They dry them and I assemble them and set them out. I do write the names on the stair strips and 12x18 to help put things back together. This year I am hanging a little tag above each trap:
 Leprechaun Control Team
Trap Designer
Student Name

Leprechaun Beards
Last year during St. Patrick's Day projects I was attending NAEA and had left my trusty sub with these projects. I stumbled upon another Leprechaun pin and wanted to make it my own. I did this project with my Pre-K group since I have several aides to help and the classes are a bit smaller than my kindergartners. The requested this project again and I was happy to oblige!
Inspiring Pin! 
Since it is Pre-K I do prep a bit more for them than I would my other classes. I have plenty of art room groupies who want to help out so I always have some project prep for them to do.
  • 9x12 green paper-make a hat stencil and trace onto each. 
  • 1 inch black strips for hat band
  • 2.5x.2.5 inch gold/yellow squares with 2 slits to weave band through
  • 12x24 inch orange paper
  • 3x18 inch tagboard for headband (not shown)
Leprechaun Beard Supplies
Cut slits in the yellow/gold buckle paper.
I draw an guide on each orange paper-My sample is in black marker, theirs is in orange. The horizontal line is where they stop cutting, the vertical is what they cut. Only 2-4 students needed guidelines for the whole sheet so I only do what is needed. Students cut and curl, and introduction to paper folding. 
Cutting and curling the orange beard strips.
I started with the hats, but will do the beards first next year so I can start making the headbands sooner. I quickly review how to hold scissors, how to cut/fold orange beard. I will stop while I am making their headbands and show them how to weave the buckle into the band.
Leprechaun Beard Construction
  • When the students are done with the beards, cut 2-3 beard strips off each end.
  • Fold orange paper lengthwise to strengthen, add staples if needed or torn.
  •  Measure each student for a headband and staple headband
  • Staple beard end to head band (some students may need orange paper to be shortened.) 
  • Staple black band to hat
  • Staple hat to head band (make sure sharpie lines from tracing face the back!pet peeve.)
  • Smile and laugh with your adorable leprechaun
  • Repeat 15 times =) 

This project took 35 minutes. There were 2 aides in the room and about 15 students. The aides were helping with cutting skills while I worked on assembling the headbands. We finished all the one headband because one student was having some difficulty focusing on his cutting. My pre-k students have done several cutting projects with me this year so this is not an introduction lesson by any means!

Do you celebrate holidays in your art room? What are you doing for St. Patrick's Day in your room?

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