Monday, April 13, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Soda Bottle Whirligig

I'm happy to be doing my very first theme week! While in college and after I graduated I taught special programs in a few museums. Still to this day some 5 years since I last taught a museum workshop April always reminds me of... April School Vacation!

I had a great time making some neat craft projects with kids and I miss doing some of those kid-crafts. So this week (dun dun dun dun- imagine trumpet noise here)

It's Kids Craft Week!

To start off the week I chose a fun (but really hard to photograph) project which was always a great choice for Earth Day (April 22nd). Kids doing this craft should be able to use scissors very well and have the coordination/strength to cut the plastic safely. If you'd like to do this with younger kids I suggest cutting up the plastic and just letting them string the beads and plastic onto the wire.

To start you need a few common supplies.

A wire hanger
Some beads with big holes in them (like pony beads)
Wire cutters
A 2 liter soda bottle
And a hole punch (which I forgot to include in the picture).
Yarn or String
Optional: Permanent markers

Adults need to help with this at a few areas: the first being the wire hanger cutting.

You want the long straight piece from the bottom so make a cut on either end of the hanger.

Make a loop at one end with pliers. This end can be a little sharp so depending on the age of the children I either give them the wire with one bead glued on at the bottom or put a little bit of duct tape around the end (in a color thats close to the wire color).

Next adult step: cut the top and the bottom of of the two liter bottle so you are left with the tube in the middle.

Now for the kid steps:

Cut the side of the plastic tube so that you now have one large rectangle of plastic. Then cut strips of plastic (along the long side) about an inch wide or more.

Once you have all the strips cut, take a hole punch and make a hole on both ends of each strip. In other words each plastic strip will have a 2 holes, one on either end.

Eww, blurry photo! The plastic was terrible to try and show this close!

Now string a few beads onto the wire, then one side of a plastic strip, more beads and another plastic strip.

You will have beads and one end of the plastic on the wire. The other end of the plastic strip won't be attached to anything yet.

keep doing this until you get a little less that halfway up the wire.

Now it's time to put the other side of the plastic strips onto the wire. Go back down to the first strip of plastic and thread that onto the wire,

add beads, then the next strip of plastic and more beads- alternating until you have the last strip of plastic on the wire. (this may take a bit of fiddling with the beads so there is enough space for the beads and all the plastic- this is where adults can help too).

Now you should have all the plastic on the wire in sort of "C" shapes with beads in between.

Time for the adults to do a step: Close the top if the wire by making another loop.

Kids Step Again: Add string through the top loop of the wire and a few more beads if you'd like. tie a knot at the top to close the string.

Optional Step: Color some lines, stars, dots or whatever onto the plastic with permanent markers.

Your all done! Now you just need a place to hang your new whirligig.

Sorry but the plastic really doesn't photograph easy- I hope you can this see clear enough!

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