Sunday, April 10, 2011


Since I started exploring the blogging community, my mind has been filled to the brim with inspiration. Images of rainbow collages, and rosette headbands dance through my head! It has definitely encouraged me to break through my neat and tidy comfort zone with my kids at work. I know art is a great learning tool for young children, by letting them experience various textures, learning how to hold crayons - which later translates into holding pencils and pens - learning properties of glue, paint, etc... BUT even knowing this I was still intimidated giving my 6 kids a messy art project.I did simple activities with them, but I have been slowly working my courage up to more involved projects. It isn't the easiest, with a classroom of 6 kids ranging from 18 to 24 months; there are different levels of motor skills, attention spans, energy, and language abilities. However I decided to stop making excuses not to do more art, and just accept that it would get a little messy, and a little glue might get swallowed, but that is why Elmer's is non-toxic!

This unit has been about how God gave us Springtime [I work at a faith based facility] and all the things that come with it such as flowers, ducks, butterflies. This project was actually impromptu because the morning teacher and I failed to coordinate what our art projects were going to be. I was planning on doing a paint+butterfly wings project, but when I came in one day the morning teacher had done a very similar project with butterflies. Opps. Because I didn't want to have the kids do basically the same project twice, and have 50 butterflies hanging around the room [now that I say it like that it sounds kinda pretty..] I wanted to come up with a new idea. We had this big bag full of colorful feathers just begging to be used so I decided to make birds instead!

 I drew an outline of a bird on a piece of construction paper, and since I was just eyeballing it it wasn't perfect. I trimmed it out to be more symmetrical then retraced it and fixed it until I was happy with the results. This waste a couple pieces of construction paper, but I'm sure if you prepare in advance you can find a stencil or pattern to use.

Then I added glue to the wings and tails, because this is where I wanted the concentration of feathers to be.

 After using a paintbrush to spread the glue out nicely, I let the kids at them and the feathers. They instinctively knew what to do with very little instruction from me.

 Look at that fine motor skill in action! I was pleasantly surprised that they pinched one feather on at a time, and did not try to throw handfuls on and around. I hate when I underestimate my kids =/
 I had to add a little more glue so they could layer more feathers, they loved it so much!
A little messy, but not that bad. I just swept the floor AND table with a broom afterward to get the feathers, and dried glue isn't hard to clean up.
 As I set them out to try, I couldn't help but notice that the shape of the bird was completely overwhelmed by overlapping feathers running off the sides. After a small debate with myself, I decided it would not compromise the kids work if I just trimmed the feathers a little along the edges. Just enough to make the wing and tail shapes clear.
 Here is the final result!!! I'm so happy with them, and how simple it turned out to be.

 Above is Bri's bird. She is the newest kid in my class, and just had a ball layering all the pretty feathers on top of each other. Although in my head I had wanted the feathers to only be on the wings and tail, her creativity took over mine, and I think it looks great!
 This one is Talen's, my oldest kid, almost 2 years and leaving my class soon =(. I had noticed she was being a little particular with the feathers she choose, and wouldn't just take any feather I handed to her, but shifted through the piles. I did not notice until after wards, however, that she choose green, blue, and white colors mostly [a couple of warmer colors snuck on there] and I'm amazed at her discrepancy in specifically choosing what she thought looked pretty.
 I think they all turned at wonderful, and look great against the window!

I learned arts and crafts don't have to be nightmarish just because you're working with young children. I just have to let them be creative, have fun, and not be afraid of a little mess! I really had to remember this when we made birds nests...

Until next time! =]

UPDATE: For the first time since entering blogland... I am linking up to my first linky party!!! WOO-HOO
I always check out Delicate Construction's Made by Little Hands Monday for inspiration, and finally I am contributing. I hope this inspires some people out there =]



  1. Very nice Boopers! Cute birds! i would have a hard time letting go and letting them make messes too... way to go :)

  2. I love this! Keep sharing what you do with your class...I love the inspiration! You may want to link this up to Michelles linky party from Delicate Construction. She has a weekly party about kid crafts called Made by little hands. Ask Jenna if you need help with linking and stuff:)

  3. these are lovely, a really interesting idea :)

  4. Lovely, lovely lovely !!!! I'm dying to do them with my little boy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about young kids and crafts. I do hesitate at times but it usually turns out great and the mess is just a minor side effect. Hugs from Poland

  5. Absolutely beautiful! They would definitely make your day to see them in the morning! Thanks for sharing! Saw you over at Sun Scholars.


  6. Thats an new idea, lovely birds!!

  7. How fun! My kids always loved doing crafts with feathers!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Friday! I'll be posting the next party tomorrow night. I'd love to have you back for another week of fun!

    :)rachel at