Monday, February 17, 2014

Huge Presidents Day Sale on....Oh Wait, It's Just a Craft!

I had the chance to do craft last night at our church kids’ program. This particular group of kids is all third and fourth graders who are hilarious, creative and silly.

We have only a short time to do our craft before they rotate to the next activity so the craft has to be easy, quick, age-appropriate and following the theme of the badge they are trying to earn. Even loosely.

Okay, the scene is set.

I started the night with a question.

“Who is out of school tomorrow?”

Most said they were. We paused to consider the sad kids from a neighboring ISD who didn’t have the day off. However, since they had an earlier snow day we didn’t have, resulting in their having to attend school the next day, I assured them that they weren’t being robbed.

So the holiday is just for fun, right?

I asked the kids why they are out of school and the responses varied.

“I dunno.”

“Valentine’s Day?”

“Just ‘cause.”

Then the bright shining example of childhood genius who said, “Presidents Day?”


I asked them if they knew what presidents or why we honored them in February.

“Their birthdays!”

Excellent job teachers, they are listening to you! So we made president magnets to honor the day. I mean, these guys are being immortalized with fabric and mattress sales and $1.00 foot-long hot dogs. The least we could do is craft them. Right?


At that point we started laying out the pieces of our presidents. The craft consisted of the following “ingredients”.

Pretty standard really.

(Sorry, a little Dr. Evil there)

I had to pre-paint the clothespins due to time restrictions. Each kid got a blue and a black clothespin.

To be honest, for the rest of the pieces I had no template. I made this thing up as I went along. I freehanded some roundish shapes from cream-colored felt. Feel free to trace and precisely cut out your shapes if that’s how you roll. I consider each of these to be one-of-a-kind artistic gems! Ha!

I made a pile of white bell-shapes, a pile of vaguely anvil-shaped blue “hats” and then cut rounded “u” shapes out of white that I later “hollowed” out to be puffy powdered wigs for George.

For Honest Abe, I cut more of the cream-colored head shapes, black rectangles for the stovepipe hats, skinny rectangles from black for the hat brims and white triangles for his shirt pieces.

I made some thinner “u” shapes from black that got hollowed out to make his beard/burns combos.

See photo progression here:

The kids immediately had questions.

“Why do we have to do the blue clothespins for George Washington? Did Lincoln never wear blue?”

“Did Lincoln have hair? Should we make him hair?”

“So Lincoln only had a beard and Washington only had hair?”

“Does the white shirt thing have to face down? Why aren’t they the same?”

You will notice that Washington gets more of a cravat-looking piece of white felt to mimic the ruffles, or “puffy shirt” as our friend Seinfeld would call it. I explained that, due to there being decades between their presidencies, the fashion had changed.

I further explained that we just have more pictures of the two presidents in those particular colors and it helps us differentiate between the two. I told them they were welcome to vary the wardrobe.

Also, Lincoln probably had hair, some photos show it thinning. He has hair on the penny. Washington may have grown a beard at times. Maybe over long weekends when he didn’t have to hit the office. Or on game day.

They seemed satisfied.

We wrapped the whole thing up with drawing on faces and attaching the magnets and they went along their merry ways-a little wiser about former presidential facial hair.


Hopefully this will give you a little inspiration the next time you feel like buying a new mattress doesn’t quite get the “Thanks for being born, founding fathers,” message across!

one of my very creative friends, Bella, made these guys!


Amy Parsons said...

Awww. Thanks for including B's and thanks for all you do for the kiddos!

Emily said...

It was fun! She is so fun to have in club!

More Hijinks...