Monday, September 27, 2021

Pirate Themed Trunk & Treat


Shiver me timbers and batton down the hatch, it's trunk and treat time and have we got a theme for you. Full details and pictures will be coming soon. 9/27/2021

Suggested items:

  • gold spray paint
  • brown packing paper (the kind that comes in all those boxes you get in the mail)
  • gold plastic table clothes
  • burlap
  • 1" or thicker wooden dowel
  • plastic beads
  • old crates
  • chests
  • lanterns
  • trunks
  • a fog machine
  • old sheets
  • poles (you could make ship masts with them)

 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

DIY Eggtremely Large Easter Egg

 

This was an eggtremely time consuming project to do, but it was also very rewarding, and even fun. I want to warn you though, don't paper mache it alone. I was having a great time until I hit that part and I posted on Facebook: "I began to paper mache today...and I was reminded of this quote from White Christmas: 'Miss Haynes, if you're ever under a falling building and somebody runs up and offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don't think, don't pause, don't hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye.' If someone ever asks me to paper mache again, that's my answer." To which a dear friend responded: "It’s going to be great when it’s done! Don’t forget to post! And you’ll forget all this trouble by next year- it’s like having a baby." And guess what? She was absolutely right. I had such joy when the thing was finished, and not because it was done, but because it actually turned out alright. And I gave birth to it. But I still recommend that you get help with the paper mache part.

Supplies you will need:

  • a tall corrugated cardboard box (preferably at least 6 feet tall)
  • a large square sheet of cardboard for the middle "shelf"
  • small cardboard mailing boxes
  • a broom handle (optional, but it will lend support to the structure)
  • a gallon jug full of sand (optional) if you want to weight the bottom
  • square sheet of plywood or chipboard as the base
  • wood screws of 1 1/2 " and shorter
  • screw drive and either a hammer and large nails or a drill to make your pilot holes with
  • box cutter and extra blades (cardboard will dull blades quickly)
  • a long straight edge like a metal yard stick
  • lots of newspaper (you can use other materials like paper towels or construction paper
  • flour and water OR white glue and water 
  • 1 can white spray paint primer (unless you use paper towels or light colored paper for your mache layers)
  • 2 cans of the color spray paint you want to make your egg
  • 1 can of spray sealer if you egg is going to be outside
  • 2 packages of permanent self adhesive colored paper for a Cricut. One assorted (for the polka dots on the egg) and the other all the same color (for the zigzag around the egg's center). You can also paint these on if you have time and want to save money
 If you want to add a scene inside you will also need:
  • Clear vinyl (the heaviest gauge Joanne Fabrics, or whatever store you use, has)
  • I also purchased some green turf at Joanne's (using a 40% off coupon) for the grass in the empty tomb scene
  • The rest of the items you can make yourself or purchase online and print yourself. The links are below

Cut and Prepare the Cardboard for the Structure

To get started you need to make the strips for the egg "shell" and a round circle for the center even if you aren't going to put a scene in the egg (if you are putting a scene in this circle will serve as the shelf for it to go on).
 
 
Use your yardstick to mark off the strips of cardboard. I made mine 2.5 inches wide, but I probably should have gone with 3 or 4 inches wide. I think there were at least 6 feet in length.


Use the straight edge to run the box cutter along to get a straight edge.
 
Next, curve the strips of cardboard by running them over the edge of a table or counter. Again, watch the video if this doesn't make sense.

The finished pieces should look like the ones below:
 

To cut my round circles, I used the hole in the yardstick to anchor it to the center of the cardboard. Then I put my pencil on the 15" mark on the stick and moved it all the way around until I had a circle. You could also use a piece of string cut to the length of 1/2 the diameter of the cirlce you want, attach it to the center of the square piece of cardboard and attach a pencil to the other end and run it around in a circle. Use the box cutter to cut them out.



Form the "Shell"

To make the "shell" of the egg, I attached the long strips to a square of wood I had. I originally used a staple gun, but I ended up using wood screws, and attached the whole thing to a 3' x 3' piece of chipboard.
What you are creating in this section.





I added the second set of strips on top of the first. I intentionally left one strip out because I wanted to put a "window" in the top 1/2 of the egg. I ended up adding a strip in the bottom half so there was something to paper mache over. I also used a small round circle of cardboard over top of the strips to help them pull up in a round shape (see second picture below).


 

 
 
To support the "shell," you stack small boxes up the middle of the egg. I weighted the bottom 2 boxes with a gallon of sand because the egg was going out side for awhile.




I also ran a broom handle up through the boxes to give it additional stability. I cut X's in each box to allow the handle to pass through.





This was not a perfect egg. The first cardboard circle probably should have been a little lower. The second one was not necessary. I was originally going to put the window up by that shelf. Once the "tower" of boxes was built, I brought the sides up and anchored them on the exposed broom handle. However, it really was not a good idea as I explain below.



This was a great way to anchor the strips of cardboard, but it made for a lopsided egg. Instead, I should have put a circle of cardboard on the broom handle and then anchored the strips all around it. I ended up having to put a circle of cardboard over the top of the whole thing (see 2 pictures down).



I had to put the circle of cardboard on top so I could get somewhat of an egg shape. I ended up using screws to get it to stay in place. And some duct tape.


You can see how the top piece of cardboard is screwed down. I also had to slit it all the way around to get to curve over the top of the egg.

Paper Mache Steps

I covered the egg with some brown packing paper I had before I paper mached it.


Then came the most time consuming step, covering it in paper mache. You can see the window area I left open below. I used glue and water for two reasons. First, I read that it would dry faster. Second, it won't mold if you plan to keep the egg for awhile (flour and water will, but you can add salt which helps to prevent it). I really did not like this medium. It seems like it went faster when I used the flour/water base in the past.




It took so long that I only put one layer of mache on. The brown paper gave it more durability though. 

Painting

Since I used newsprint I spray painted it with white primer before using my yellow paint. My sister told me it would make the color "pop," and she was right.

One can of primer...you will still see some newsprint. That is the "window" that you see outlined in blue masking tape.

Then 2 cans of yellow spray paint. You can see why 1 would not be enough in the picture below.


Decorating

Now it was time to decorate the egg. We used a Cricut to cut the circles and zigzag pieces out of adhesive paper.

 

Stabilizing and Finishing

A friend used yarn to create the boarder around the window. At this point the egg was fastened to the wood, but it was very wobbly. I hot glued about 1 1/2 pool noodles around the bottom to secure it. I had to slit the noodle with a box cutter to get it to bend in a circle. Then my friend sprayed the wood with adhesive and we sprinkled green Easter grass all over it. 

The final detail we added was a yellow plastic tablecloth. I simply pulled it around the egg and tied it in the back. Details on what I put inside the window are below this picture. The "R" was part of the egg scavenger hunt the kids did. There were eggs on yard sticks hidden all over town on people's lawns. Each had a letter which you put together to spell out a phrase (He is risen).

The Window:

I wanted to put a scene in the egg that would show children what Easter is really all about. I thought a large egg would draw their attention and then they would see the scene. My hope was that they would ask their parents about it. 

Another idea I had for the egg was to leave it outside during Easter week and advertise the giant egg for families to come see. Someone would have had to take it in and out though, and this wasn't practical. So we put it in the church lobby after the event. Our church runs a preschool and everyday that week all of the children wanted to look inside of the egg. So it was a great opportunity for the preschool teachers to share the message of Easter.

I made the scene of the empty tomb and the risen Christ. The tomb and Jesus came from Catholic Icing (I cut the halos off of the figures that had them). I added Christmas lights I had with an external battery pack and switch. They weren't really bright enough, but I love how they lit up the inside of the empty tomb.


The scenery for behind the tomb came from Jesus Without Language  (Witnesses to the Crucifixion Craft 2). I blew up the scene twice. I put the larger in the back even though that defies what you are supposed to do. I used blue construction paper for the sky. I was going to use the green moss turf they sell at Joanne Fabrics, but it was very expensive, so I opted for the astro turf they sell by the foot. 

Some other scenery that would work well can be found at My Wonder Studio, a site that has loads of free visuals designed by Didier Martin. You can look at the ones for Easter below and access these at the link I just gave you for Martin's studio.

 

The window is heavy gauge clear vinyl they sell at Joanne's. I had to put "v" slits in it to get it to conform to the egg's shape. I was going to paper mache over the top of the "window," but I ended up using white duct tape at this point for the sake of time.


The "V" shape slits

"V" Slits I cut in the plastic Film


Covering the "window" up for spray painting.

The "window" with the lights on.
 
Whatever you do, I hope your egg can be a testimony of the risen Christ to many as well. It's an egg with an eggcellent purpose!



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Treasure Hunt Clue in a Shamrock Shake


With St. Patrick's Day less than a week away, I thought this post bore repeating. A few years ago, alright, a lot more than a few years ago – when I used to work with teens, we did a Saint Patty’s Day party. The crux of the party was a treasure hunt.

And the piece de resistance was

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Celebrating Purim with Children

 


I've written about groggers and Queen Esther before, but with Purim coming up in February in 2021, I wanted to put it all together in one post. Hopefully someone reading this will be able to use some of these ideas in the midst of the pandemic of 2020/21.

In Jewish tradition, children would go to the Synagogue twice in celebration of Purim, where the entire book of Esther would be read. (I trust my readers are familiar with this story, if not, read it in one sitting and get familiar with it.) It is one service where everyone is encouraged to be noisy. As the story is read, every time the name of Haman is mentioned, everyone from young to old, stamp their feet, shake their groggers and make noise to drown out the wicked man's name. I think it is a brilliant way of getting children to engage in the story and become curious to learn who this Haman is. I'm not sure that is why the tradition developed, but it's a great by product. 

Groggers and Church

For starters, if you aren't Jewish, you could ask your pastor if you could do something similar in your church service the Sunday before Purim. It would be similar to doing a children's sermon. Here's the plan:

  1. Pick a section of Esther to read that has Haman's name in it a lot. Or put a few sections together with his name in it.
  2. Have kids make groggers in your kid's program the week before.
  3. Briefly sum up the story in the church service (Bad guy Haman doesn't like it that a Jew won't bow down to him. Bad guy devises plan to get all Jews killed. Good lady Queen Esther risks her life going to the king and begs for the life of her people.) With social distancing kids will need to stay in their seats. Otherwise, we usually let them come to the front and sit on the floor around the leader.
  4. Instruct the adults that as you read, when they hear the name of Haman they can shake their keys if they have some, stomp their feet and shout boo along with the children. Children, of course, can shake their groggers.
  5. Then do it. When you finish reading the portion, recap that Esther prayed and then went to the king and her people were saved.

 Acting Out Esther and the King

Make a throne room, a throne and a scepter. The videos below show you how. Then have the kids take turns being Esther and the King. Esther has to walk in to the throne room. If the King extends his scepter, she is allowed to come before him. If he does not, the "guards" will take Esther away. Help children to understand that Esther was risking her life to do this.

How to Make the Throne Room Wall

 How to Make a Throne

How to Make a Scepter

DIY Groggers

Other Resources

Free Bible Images has excellent pictures for telling the story of Esther. You can print them up or download them into a Power Point presentation. There are ten different sets of images to chose from. 

Final Notes

There are several other traditions that have developed for the celebration of Purim which are beneficial for children to learn to do.

  1. Giving to the needy (caring for the less fortunate). Special emphasis is placed on this the day of Purim. You can take a meal to someone in need, give to a local food bank, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate to a charity that helps others. Learning to give is a fundamental Christian principle, and this is a great time to teach it. Because the Jews were almost killed by Haman, they were all endangered together. From that, the teaching is stand together, and that includes helping those among you to stand.
  2. Send gifts of food to friends (people within your Christian circle of friends). This teaches caring within the body of Christ.
  3. For other Jewish traditions, check out this link.
  4. I also made "scepters" for the kids to take home from dowels and wooden dowel endcaps. I got the idea from Debbie Jackson's blog Bible Fun for Kids. Here is the post with her instructions for making the scepters. I left off the wood doll pin stand and used a standard end cap for the "ball" at the end of the scepter.


 

Pirate Themed Trunk & Treat

Shiver me timbers and batton down the hatch, it's trunk and treat time and have we got a theme for you. Full details and pictures will b...