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I love creating butterfly art this time of year. This Reggio inspired butterfly art project for kids is great for ages 4 and up. In case your unfamiliar with the Reggio approach to learning, here is a good Reggio starting point. We used an old box frame found at a thrift store and paint markers to create beautiful butterfly art for my daughter’s room. My girls are too young for the paint markers but they were able to help with the collage we made for the background. Here’s how we did it.
First, I downloaded a pretty image of a butterfly from butterflyutopia.com. I placed it between the clear plastic of the frame and the cardboard insert. I traced the butterfly with different paint markers. Paint markers are so much fun! I’ve used them for tons of projects, including shrinky dinks, vases and washer necklaces. Though, they are pretty stinky, so it’s best to use them outside where there is lots of ventilation. This project can be done with sharpies as well.
Kids LOVE to trace real objects. I used to do this all the time when I taught kindergarten, using transparency paper. It was such a big hit, especially when we studied penguins. The kids felt so empowered when their drawings looked realistic. It was a real confidence booster, especially for those kids who have a harder time with free hand drawing. I used this technique for self portrait shadow boxes, my all time favorite art project for kids.
Once I completed painting in the butterfly, Gigi helped me collage the cardboard insert with blue, white and black tissue paper shapes. These can be found at most party stores and craft supply stores. You can easily cut your own from large tissue paper as well. These were precut. She glued the shapes to the cardboard using a paintbrush and glue mixed with a little bit of water. Gigi is not three yet, so she was done after a few shapes. I helped fill the whole background. Older kids will have more patience with this step. You could also just cover the cardboard with one big piece of tissue paper or even color it. After drying, simply place the plastic back over the cardboard and your butterfly art is complete. We love ours. Gigi is super proud of it and claims she made the butterfly too. Someday she will. These kids grow up so fast. Have fun!
We use the the Gems unit Buzzing a Hive in our kindergarten. I really like it and the kids learn a lot. This year, I decided to add 3-d duct tape honeybees. The kids have been going bonkers over them. The hive was unexpected and totally came from the kids. Duct tape makes anything possible. Now they want to make a huge duct tape tree and hang the hive. Oy. I have my work cut out for me.
How to make the bees
Materials-black and yellow duct tape, scotch tape, transparency paper or recycled water bottles, newspaper, googly eyes, black pipe cleaners, a straw, a black sharpie and a stapler
1. Make a ball shape from newspaper for the head. Cover with yellow duct tape.
2. Make a slightly larger ball shape from newspaper for the thorax. Cover with yellow duct tape.
3. Make a longer shape from newspaper for the abdomen. Cover with yellow duct tape.
4. Attach all three shapes with yellow duct tape. Make strips of black duct tape to use as stripes. Tape as many stripes as desired onto the thorax and abdomen.
5. Duct tape the eyes onto the head. Add three more eyes with a black sharpie. Honeybees have 5 eyes!
6. Cut two black pipe cleaners in half. Use three crisscrossed pipe cleaners for the legs. Attach them to the thorax with duct tape. Bend as desired.
7. Use the fourth pipe cleaner length for the antennae. Duct tape to the head and bend as desired.
8. Cut four wings from the transparency paper or water bottle and staple together. Scotch tape the wings to the top side of the thorax. Then duct tape the scotch tape down to the thorax to keep the wings secure.
9. Duct tape a black straw to the abdomen for the stinger. If you don’t have a black one just duct tape it in black and then add.
10. The hive is one big wad of newspaper covered in gold duct tape. I cut a little door at the bottom and covered the inside flap with more duct tape.
One of the kids added a proboscis to theirs with yellow duct tape and a red straw. Great idea!
The kids did a fantastic job painting the details on their paper mache projects this morning. We talked about not “over doing it” first. Most kids decided they were done before we had to pull the full stop card. Other kids really went for it! Regardless, they all came out great. Next step is to hang them from the ceiling.
Eventually turned into this…
This week began our paper mache journey. First we sculpted bugs of all kinds by bunching up newspaper in different shapes and using masking tape to bind it together. After, we combined flour, water and a bit of Elmer’s Glue to create our paper mache mixture. I must admit, the paper mache part of the process wasn’t the big hit I thought it would be. After the initial thrill of the soft, cool feeling of the flour, the kids sort of tuckered out saying it was too messy. The 5 adult volunteers I had ended up doing a lot of the heavy lifting while the kids had free choice on the rug. Not all the kids retired early. We definitely had some troopers in the group! (we’re painting next week. more to come)
Tips for a successful paper mache session
For the sculptures
1. Make the paper sculptures dense. Wrap the paper, twist it and tape it for the best results, especially the legs or skinny parts of your sculpture.
2. Cut the paper strips for macheing about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long. The long strips are good for certain areas, but not for others.
3. There are many ways and recipes to do paper mache, from balloons to plaster. This is how I do it, and they always come out AMAZING!
4. Wear smocks and HAVE FUN!