Archive for June, 2012

Create a Unique Bowl Using Old Buttons

Got a lot of old buttons laying around the house? I sure did. So I decided to make a fantastic button bowl using a balloon and glue- I know it sounds crazy but stick with me here! Turn those piles, bags, drawers  (I had a lot of buttons too, no judgement) full of old buttons into something beautiful and functional.

These bowls are easy to make and the supplies are very cheap. Button bowls would be a fun craft to make with your kids on a rainy day, or as a one-of-a-kind gift for that someone who has it all. 🙂

 

 

What you will need:

flat buttons of desired colors and sizes (I have found that smaller buttons tend to stick better)

balloons

white glue- Elmer’s white glue works well, or Tacky glue, anything that dries clear

large paint brush

scissors

news paper

cup or can to balance balloon on while it dries (see photos)

patience

 

 

1. Blow up a balloon to the desired size you want your bowl to be and place it knot side down into a cup, can or jar that you don’t mind getting a little glue on

 

2. Cover half of the balloon with glue using a paintbrush (or your finger, works for me). You might have to alternate holding the balloon by the knot for a few minutes then setting it knot-side-down in your jar in order for the glue to have an even coat and not drip off.

3. Let the glue dry completely forming a layer of rubber-like protection between the balloon and your layer of buttons

 

4. After this first layer is completely dry, apply a second coat of glue using your brush (or finger) starting at the top of the balloon and working your way down toward the knot. Attach buttons to this layer as close together as you can fit them.

5. Continue adding the second layer of glue and attaching buttons until your half a balloon is covered with beautiful buttons.

6. Once all the desired buttons are attached turn your button covered balloon upside down in your cup so that the knot is in the air and the buttons are balanced on the lip of the cup- this is to keep your buttons from sliding down the balloon while they dry.

 

7. Let the layer of glue and buttons dry completely- usually requires about 4 or 5 hours.

 

8. Once the second layer of glue and buttons is completely dry, coat the buttons over again with a third layer of glue.

9. Allow this third layer of glue to dry completely- I usually let it sit overnight- and if desired you can apply a fourth layer of glue to strengthen your bowl even more.

 

10. When your bowl is entirely dry use a scissor and cut the knot on the balloon to slowly let the air out. Sometimes glue will drip down, just peel it back and use the scissor to snip any unwanted glue bits away from the button edge.

 

11. Admire your hard work and patience!

These bowls are a lot of fun to make and each one comes out unique! It is important to note that these bowls are NOT WATER RESISTANT, unless you choose to use a water resistant form of glue. They are for decorative purposes only and should not be used for food (unless, of course,  the food is decorative as well).

Here are a few other button bowls I have made using this technique:

Get Your Hands On The Alphabet- Tactile Letter Learning

Learning to read and write is a pretty big deal. Think about it, children learn not only how to identify letters by sight, sound and shape they also learn to string those sounds and shapes together to create words. Those moments when a child learns to write their name, or reads their first few words are some of the most wonderful moments to witness.

But what about those children who struggle with differentiating one letter shape from another? Or those who have trouble processing information when a teacher simply hands them an alphabet worksheet to copy? (Worksheets DO NOT WORK. Just say NO to worksheets!!!) I had one five year old student who was having trouble remembering which letter was which, so we worked together and came up with this fun tactile letters game where we use our five senses to explore the alphabet.

What you will need:

dry erase board

dry erase markers

eraser

floor space or a large table

tactile alphabet cards (I found these in the Scholastic book order!)

Sensory learning activities give children a full circle of experiences rather than the one-sided experience of simply tracing over a dotted-line shape of a letter. I would suggest avoiding any activities where young children are tracing pre made letters or shapes because it entirely limits their individuality and if they trace the dots ‘wrong’ automatically makes them feel that they have failed. As adults we each have our own unique hand writing style, we need to let our children have their own hand writing style as well.

Because each child is an individual they will each have their own pace when learning about letters. There is no ‘right’ age when a child should know their letters. Some children begin to comprehend letters at age two, others not until they are four or five. Making sure your child, or children are developmentally ready for an activity like this is very important.

This activity gives kids a chance to use more than one method of learning so that they can create more in depth cognitive connections to their letters.

Auditory/Listening Skills- singing the Alphabet Song, responding to questions like, “Which letter comes next after ‘G’?, rhythm of repetition in questions

Tactile/Feeling Skills- picking up the letter cards, feeling the texture of each picture, writing each letter and then erasing it, placing alphabet cards in order alphabetically, practice holding marker

Cognitive Skills-practice holding marker, beginning of understanding that lines when connected make shapes and letters, connection between tactile pictures on cards and objects that begin with corresponding letters- ‘A’ for ‘Alligator’ and what does the alligator feel like?

Early Math Skills- counting the lines of each letter, beginning to understand that lines when combined make specific shapes, sorting and categorizing letters as they are placed in order, rhythm of singing Alphabet Song

Before beginning this game have your child pick out a different color dry erase marker for them and one for you. Explain that you need their help to figure out what order the letters of the alphabet go in, and that you would like to play a new game with them.

Throughout the game ask questions like, “Can you help me find out which letter comes next?” Or, “We found ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘C’, but I wonder what comes next, can we sing the Alphabet Song together to find out?”

I think it is important to focus on Uppercase letters at first, and once those are mastered then begin with Lowercase. Children can feel overwhelmed when given too many objects to take in at once and this can stress their brains out so much that rather than taking in the information around them, their brains will shut down and close out new information.

1. Lay out the tactile alphabet cards on the floor or table, out of alphabetical order

2. Ask the child to sing the Alphabet Song with you one time through, then ask them, “Which letter is the very first in the alphabet?” If they have trouble figuring out the first letter of the alphabet have them sing the Alphabet Song again and ask them to listen for the very first letter they hear in the song- focusing on auditory learning.

Once the letter ‘A’ is decided upon use the white board and slowly write out an uppercase ‘A’ one line at a time, I usually say, “The letter ‘A’ has three lines.” And count them out while I write them.

Have your child practice writing their own letter ‘A’ next and count the lines along with them.

Once both letter ‘A’s are written ask your child to find the letter ‘A’ card in the pile- using the ‘A’s you have written on the white board to compare. When the letter card is found you can say things like, “A’ for ‘Alligator’, and how does the alligator feel?”

3. Continue with this method for each letter, having your child sing the Alphabet Song, write out the letter in question counting the lines and describing the shapes (letter ‘P’ has a straight line down and one bump at top, letter ‘D’ has a straight line down and a BIG belly etc. ), have them practice writing and search for and feel the letter card.

Have your child place the cards they have found in alphabetical order separate from the unsorted cards.

I played this game twice a week for 30minutes with a child in my class who was having trouble recognizing and sequencing letters. After three weeks this child could make it to letter ‘H’ – singing the Alphabet Song, practicing writing and then finding each letter and placing it in order-without help. I would say that the hands-on Alphabet Game is a success!