Friday, March 2, 2012

Paper Space Shuttles

Raising kids in the DC suburbs affords such amazing opportunities: the museums, the events, the classes, the shows—they’re all over the place. And they’re awesome. Recently I’ve met several people who own and run websites that have comprehensive calendars for these events and such, and special deals and I am always finding out about more and more ways to get the boys out and doing things. I love taking them to museums and getting them involved with other local kids and events. But plenty of the time we’re no different than parents in a hot summer farmhouse in the Midwest or a rainy-day ranch in the West— we need to entertain, engage, and teach and for whatever reason we're staying indoors. We’re parents in a house and we’re not going anywhere.

A couple months ago, when I (hopefully and optimistically) felt Cal and Clark were old enough to handle some kind of craft beyond coloring on various surfaces, I started looking on blogs and parenting sites for craft ideas for toddlers. The first one was cute—but I did absolutely all of the work, it took forever, and the boys didn’t care a bit about it. The other ones I found were about the same. They involved a lot of preparation and were just too complicated in general. So dumb. Who are these people who think 2.5 year-olds can use scissors and effectively place small googly eyes? Maybe people like our children’s librarian with all her totally realistic expectations.

The other night I was looking at space and astronaut-y crafts because the boys have been obsessed with space and astronauts and space robots lately, and I found this one. It seemed like something simple enough and something they’re interested in so they might enjoy it. I was right! Yesterday I had them make space shuttles with me. The whole process took maybe 20 minutes from when they started coloring to the first blast off, and they did almost all of it.

First they colored a piece of white paper and I put a name on it that they picked out for their space shuttle. Our space shuttles were “Kitty Cat” and “Roxy.” I wrote the names on them, rolled them up, and taped them. Then I had them wad up two pieces of black construction paper—which they loved doing—and stick them in one end of each of the tubes. I then took a chunk of red construction paper and showed them how to use kids’ scissors for the first time. We cut straight lines in the paper over and over and then I rolled it up and stuck it in the end with a piece of tape. I then cut triangles out of other white paper they had colored, had them use a glue stick in the middle, and stuck it to the tube. The glue didn’t stick well so I slapped on a couple pieces of tape. There you have it. A space shuttle! Easiest and most fun craft I’ve done with the boys. They then spent the next fifteen minutes blasting them off all over the house. And in a couple days when they’re not interested in them, I will feel no guilt in throwing them out. We can make more, should the mood strike.

The cool part about living here in DC, is that I can foster their interest in space so much by taking them to the two wonderful Air and Space museums, with their family, hands-on days and their amazing exhibits. I can take them to the Science and Engineering Festival where they will probably learn more about science than I did in all of elementary school. But for yesterday, on a day we were just having a normal toddler-y kind of day at home, some construction paper and creativity was all we needed to make our afternoon interesting. 

I should add that this was also the day the boys discovered hair gel.

Coloring the shuttles

the naming of the shuttles

Cal crumples up the black paper.

Clark learns to use scissors. 

Fire up the engines!

Cal does a little freestyle glue-sticking.

Fierce space shuttles (?) 

These represent a big step in craft-building at our house.

1 comment:

  1. Very cute. I want to do this with Nick too. Hurray for crafts.
    ! We'll win them over yet!


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