Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Technicolor Snowflakes

Paper snowflakes are such a classic children's craft - and there's definitely a reason. They're easy to make, are fitting for any winter holiday, and the excitement of unfolding the snowflake at the end just lights up children's faces.

I have been making these with the children I work with for the last few years, because they look so cheerful hanging in our after-school program's windows. I have made a couple adaptions to the classic fold-some-white-copy-paper-and-cut version of this craft to make it more bright and colorful in our dark winter room, and to make it more accessible for children of all ages.

The first change I made was to switch from paper to coffee filters. Even with the thinnest paper, it can be tricky for young children to cut shapes out from the several folded layers you need for snowflakes. Coffee filters, though, are great - not only are they already the perfect shape and size for a snowflake, they are so thin that even young children can cut them.

I iron all the coffee filters before giving them to the children (you can iron a whole stack of coffee filters at once, and it works perfectly well). I show them how to fold them in half three times:

Then, all they need to do is cut out shapes. I try to emphasize cutting out several big shapes that don't touch - but I never micromanage their projects, so whenever they feel like they're done, they come up to me. Then comes the really fun part - adding the liquid watercolor!

You could also use pan watercolors, but I use liquid watercolors because they are so much more vibrant. I have the kids come up to me one at a time, place their unfolded snowflake in a box lined with newspaper and spray away. We talk about complimentary colors and color families, and when they're done, they place the snowflake on a table lined with newspaper to dry.

(If you don't have any spray bottles, you could easily have your kids paint the coffee filters before cutting into them. Just be sure that they are dry before beginning to cut!)

Since coffee filters are so cheap, this is one craft that they can repeat as many times as they'd like! Once all the snowflakes are dry, I stack them up and iron them one more time before hanging them up in the windows.

Hope you are having a cheery and bright holiday season so far!

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