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 ISSUE 12   •   1 OCTOBER 2006  
   This week's theme: faces


1. Editorial: Discovery crafts
2. MAKE: funny bag faces
3. MAKE: squishy faces from homemade play dough
4. MAKE: yummy savoury faces
5. MAKE: colourful faces with feelings
6. More face ideas
7. This week's featured subscriber's blog

1. Editorial: Discovery crafts

If you've read my tips for crafting with kids you'll know that I think it's important to focus on the 'process' rather than the 'outcome' when it comes to doing craft with little ones.

I have to admit that I have been struggling with this lately. After all, it's hard not to be outcome oriented when you're hovering around the craft table with a camera trying to get a decent picture!

This week I decided to chill out, let loose and hand over control to the kids. Literally.

All the activities featured in this newsletter are what I call 'discovery' crafts. This means that you give your little one a set of materials and an idea for what they could make and then give them the freedom to do whatever they want to. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when discovery craft is on the agenda.

First, take care with your preparation. Discovery projects require more forethought than regular craft projects as the preparation stage is when you're able to establish the parameters of the activity. Make sure you provide limited quantities of everything you're happy for your child to craft with, and nothing that you'd rather they didn't use.

Second, give your little one the freedom to do what they want. By all means, give your child some ideas about what they could make but don't insist that they do it your way. Just think of the activity as an experiment that may or may not give you an insight into your child's creative personality!

Finally, offer encouragement and provide help if asked. It's great fun to watch your toddler or preschooler realising their creative vision, and it's important that you're there to help out in any sticky situations.

If you and your little ones do decide to have a go at any of these projects I would love you to send through some photos of your completed masterpieces for an upcoming kids craft weekly photo gallery. So please send your photos through to me by email – I'd love to see them!

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: funny bag faces

These paper bag faces are very appealing to young kids and are simple to put together by using items from around your home. When collecting material for your little one to use it's a good idea to select a range of items for each of the facial features.

We used

• paper bags
patty pans (paper liners for cupcakes)
cotton wool balls
rubber bands
bottle tops and plastic lids
scraps of wool
permanent markers
sticky tape
kids pvc glue and brush

1. Give your bag some eyes...

2. ...a nose and a mouth, perhaps even some hair...

3. ...and then put it over your hand to make a simple puppet

4. By this point your little one will be inspired to keep going on their own. Ella went on to make six funny bag faces. These are two of my favourites.

3. MAKE: squishy faces from homemade play dough

Play dough is one of the ultimate freeform crafting tools. Inspire your little one to get really creative with play dough by setting them a task and providing interesting materials to use. Better still, start off by making some play dough together!  It's quick, cheap and easy to do. This play dough will last about six months in an airtight container – there's no need to refrigerate.

We used

for the play dough

1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
half a cup of salt
food colouring
1 cup flour
a saucepan

for making the faces

paper clips
coloured pasta
foam shapes
match sticks
bottle tops and plastic lids
pieces of piecleaner
rubber bands

1. Combine the water, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food colouring in a saucepan.

2. Heat on the stove until warm, then remove from the heat, add flour and stir.

3. Knead for five minutes or until dough is smooth.

4. Start creating some squishy faces.

Note my boring effort on the far left, followed by Ella's masterpieces that seem to get more imaginative the longer she plays! I love that kids are just so spectacularly creative!

4. MAKE: yummy savoury faces

There's nothing quite so enjoyable as craft that you can eat! Choose food that your little one really likes and make these terrific savoury crispbread faces. 

We gave Ella the task of creating a crispbread for each member of the family. She loved the idea of custom creating yummy snacks and took her role of head chef very seriously. This one definitely won the 'kids favourite' award this week.

We used

rice crispbread
spreadable cream cheese
grated carrot
alfalfa sprouts
small pieces of green and red capsicum (bell pepper)
sliced olives
sliced cucumber

1. Spread a layer of cream cheese, hommus or some other spread (like peanut better, vegemite, almond paste, halva) on the crispbread. 

2. Then add hair, eyes, nose, mouth and anything else that takes your fancy.

Make one for each member of the family!

3. When you've finished, gobble them up!

5. MAKE: colourful faces with feelings

Kids who love to draw will really enjoy this simple exercise. As well as providing a colourful creative outlet, this activity gives you the opportunity to talk about different feelings and different kinds of faces.  We've had a lot of success with this one and have found that the finished work can make a great gift or can be cut up to use as birthday cards.

We used

coloured markers
an egg ring

1. Draw a series of circles on a piece of paper by tracing around a glass or egg ring. Then encourage your little one to turn the circles into faces.

6. More face ideas

•  Make sweet biscuit faces using icing and lollies to decorate a plain biscuit
•  Make a face using your fist and thumb, then paint on eyes, nose and hair
•  Draw faces onto hard boiled eggs
•  Turn an old sock into a puppet by drawing or gluing on an interesting face
•  Cut out different facial features from magazines and make entirely new faces by sticking them together.

For more ideas read my article on how to get great mileage from a weekly theme.

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7. This week's featured subscriber's blog

Sew Crafty

"Sew Crafty is a spot for
Amanda and Melissa to share their crafty doings as well as keen ideas and resources they've spotted on the web.  Many different crafts (usually squeezed in after bedtime and naptime) are featured."

To have your blog featured in this section just send in your web address – there are no hidden catches!


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