It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Thanksgiving Craft

No more tales from the potty front today. I’m bored of potty talk. Today we are going to talk about Thanksgiving, which for me and those I love, is this weekend.

To that end, late last week the toddlers and I went out and collected leaves. And then, a few days later, I went out, after hours, and collected more leaves. Why the second trip? Is Mary so controlling that she has determined they have to DO IT RIGHT? Is it possibly she stands in judgment over their efforts, and sometimes deems them NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

Damn straight I do.

Most days our crafts are open-ended and toddler-directed. I don’t care what they produce, so long as they are having fun. But sometimes I have a particular project in mind. I have a particular project, which I want to look a certain way. I’m not so anal that it has to look perfect. It can look adult-assisted, sure, but it has to look as if the kids at least got one small kick at the can.

This time, I needed leaves of a certain shape. I needed leaves in a certain size range. And that should not be too difficult, you might think. Just take them to the base of that particular tree, and set them to collecting, right?

Wrong. Toddlers have NO DISCRIMINATION WHATSOEVER. You ask them to pick “pretty leaves”. You show them a few samples of what you’re after. You suggest that they choose the “Yellow Leaves”, and you even spend a few Educational Minutes picking up leaves and categorizing them as “yellow” and “not yellow”. And then you set them loose.

Want to see a sample of the leaves they so lovingly collected?

Yes. Indeed. You see the problem. Unless I wanted to be haranguing them the whole damned time we were out — “No, Jazz, that one’s not yellow”, “Rory, that one’s all brown and falling apart”, “Yellow, Grace. We want yellow leaves” — unless I wanted to be ON them, ceaselessly… it was simplest and kindest just to let them collect their leaves, put them in a bag, bring them home… and then dump them in the compost bin during nap time.

Because, really. Those are not leaves. Those are small shards of immanent leaf-dust. The leaves they collected that were not on the verge of disintegration were usually clutched with such passionate fervor that they were a crumpled, sweaty shadow of their former selves by the time they made it into the bag.

So I took myself to the local park, collected a pile of leaves, brought them home and pressed them for a couple of days. Nested them in the pages of a few sections of newspaper, and stuck a pile of books on top.

Then we brought them out, and stuck them to a quarter-section of Bristol board. Stuck a few bits of construction paper on top, draw on some eyes, podge over top to seal it, and…

A turkey!!

It’s not done in this picture. Before we were finished, we put another coat of Mod Podge to the edges of the green backing, then covered the whole shebang with clear Contac paper.

What had we made?

A placemat for their Thanksgiving Dinner, of course. Cute, huh?

That’s what the three Big Kids (Rory, Grace, Jazz) made. The Littles (Poppy and Daniel) also made a Thanksgiving placemat, only theirs was the traditional “turkey-from-handprint”. Hodgepodge did this with her kids earlier this week, and I was inspired! Particularly when I realized the turkey with leaf-feathers was going to be faaar too hard for the Littles, and I didn’t really feel like making them entirely on my own. Simply tracing their hands and letting them poke at it with crayons was SO.MUCH.EASIER.

No, I didn’t take pictures of those. Sorry.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow-Canadians! I’ll be back on Tuesday!

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Canada, commemoration, crafts, holidays | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Leaf Crafting

I found a cute fall craft here at Lovely Nest. If you want complete instructions, follow that link. Here I’ll just describe the few tweaks I added to make the craft a little more toddler-friendly.

I gathered paper plates, each marked with a scribble of a fall colour to help with the colour-sorting.

Not all toddlers can tear. I know, I know, it’s weird. They’ve been ripping pages out of library books since the day they figured out they had hands, and yet making a deliberate tear can be a challenge. A largish piece of paper with little ‘starter tears’ at intervals makes it a whole lot easier.

Just-turned-three Tyler needed instruction from there. “Pull one hand forward, and the other backward.” He was slow and careful on the first few, but soon became an old pro. He never did learn to make the tear without the starter tear, though. Perhaps this is a good thing?

Glue the sorted colours onto squares of paper, cut out your leaf shape, and make the veins. We used glitter glue for ours. The two brown leaves’ veins were made by the just-three, with some hand-over-hand help from me. The yellow and orange were made by the 4.5-year-old, All By Herself.


November 19, 2010 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mary’s Little Helper

Ottawa has an organic collection program — aka the compost collection, or The Green Bin. Here is our Green Bin, being filled with fall leaves.






She kept this up for a solid 25 minutes. She’s not fast, but she’s got FOCUS.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Lily, Ottawa, socializing | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments