May Festival Crafts
A Rainbow Stick (just like Netty made)
20 inch stick, find a stick that is not big and heavy, it is better if it is a bit flexible like Willow, Dogwood, or Apple suckers. No longer than the length of your child’s arm.
22 inches pieces of different colours of wool or ribbons the number is up to you
Tie wool to the top of the stick and then go dance with the wind.
Depending on what materials you have available at home.
The photos are using fabric but Birthday streamers or Sheeps wool roving can be used.
The fabric version will last a long time but it does require a parent’s help.
120 cm (1 1/2 yrds.) each of three strips of different coloured recycled fabric 6 cm. (2 1/2 inches) wide
1 heavy book or stone
15 cm piece String or a small piece of fabric
I have used recycled cloth from old sheets or clothing (just clip and tear.) Wrinkled is ok. You can tie strips of cloth together to make it longer. Try to keep each colour the same though. Example: one strand yellow, one blue, and one pink. Your child needs to see the separate colours to be able to figure out the braiding technique. This can also be done using three different colours of sheep’s wool roving or ribbons or birthday steamers. Remember as you are braiding, weave it with good intentions and wishes for your family, friends and the earth.
Lay the strips of fabric one on top of the other.
Measure about 30 cm (1 ft.) at the top of the 3 strips of fabric and loosely tie with a string or strip of fabric the three colours together.
Then lay the heavy book or stone on the top 30 cm. of the Fabric strips; this is to weigh it down so you and your child can braid the rest of the streamers that are not under the book or stone.
Then separate the colours so your child can see the three different coloured strands.
Have your child sit directly in front of you almost on your lap while you speak the words below.
This may seem very simplistic but for a small child repetition is everything. This is how they learn.
“Now we take the colour streamer from the left and place it in the middle of the other two streamers.”
Show your child what you mean.
“Next we take the colour streamer from the right and place it in the middle of the other two streamers.”
“We need to go from one side to the other.” Say these words as you do the first braids.
Every once and a while you can ask your child “Which one do we do next?”
Have your child try braiding with your help. The fabric strands are long and will get a bit tangled without your help.
Keep braiding until you feel it is close to the circumference of your child’s head. Wrap around your child’s head to measure.
Next cut two thinner strips about and inch wide from one of the 2 1/2 inch fabric strips
Tie off using the two thin strips. Do this for both ends of the braid.
Measure on your child’s head and tie together using the 2 thin strips from either side of the braid. Don’t tie it too tight at first make sure it fits your child’s head.
It can be fun to add flowers to the crown.
This can be done with small bits of coloured fabric. Choose a dish from the kitchen that is about 2 1/2 inches diameter. Lay it on a piece of paper and tell your child you’re making a pattern.
Draw around the dish and cut out the pattern. Pin to a small piece of fabric. Almost any kind of fabric will work. Silk is very nice but part of an old shirt will do.
If you have tape you can put a bit of tape on the ends of the pins (this is so your child does not poke themselves) and your child can cut out the circle. Fiscar brand child scissors are especially good for cutting fabric. Remind them to try not to cut the paper. It does not matter if the circle is perfectly round. Please take the time to show them how to hold the fabric and the scissors properly.
I tie a simple knot at the top of the needle so the single strand of embroidery thread does not pull out of the needle and I tie a knot at the end of the 15 inch long thread. This way your child can help. Use a running stitch (in out, in out) go around the outer edge of the circle. When you have gone completely around, have your child pull the needle out of the fabric.
Let your child pull it tight like a drawstring on a little bag. Remind them that the needle is sharp. Then with your needle go through the centre of the cloth and out the other side and make a stitch to hold it in place.
Then go back through the centre to the other side where the gathering is visible and tie a knot. If your thread is long enough you can use it to sew the flower onto the cloth or wool crown. I like to use yellow or orange embroidery thread so it looks like the centre of a flower but thread the colour of the cloth also works and looks beautiful. Ordinary thread will do. I also just cut out leaf shapes and sewed them on to the crown using the needle and thread you just used to make the flower. Take the needle still attached to the flower, go through the leaf shapes and then sew onto the crown using just a few stitches and a knot.
The size of the circle will determine how big your flower is. I have made really tiny ones for crowns for my puppets.
A May Pole
If you are feeling very adventurous you could make your own Maypole.
At Waldorf Schools around the world the children learn the spring dances which are done around the Maypole. As the children get older the dances and the weaving become more and more intricate. In the kindergarten we all go around the pole in the same direction.
At our school the Maypole has long ribbons attached. I have with friends on their land created ribbons for a Maypole using coloured cotton cloth recycled from old clothes and bedding. We tied pieces together to make it nice and long. The longer it is the longer you can dance. Here it does not need to be the same colour. For the pole we found a long straight dead tree in the forest, tied the ribbons to one end, dug a hole, stuck it in and surrounded it with rocks. We have also done it in a clearing with a live tree. The live tree does need to get unwrapped though, but don’t do it immediately, let the image of the wrapped tree stay with the child. At our school we had a friend of the school cut a very long straight birch tree, he stripped the bark leaving the very top 3 or 4 ft with its bark and branches and leaves which had already sprouted.. Pretty ribbons were hung from the branches. A wreath of flowers were hung under the living part of the tree and ribbons were attached to the wreath. The photo above is the mini Maypole I created to be used in my classroom every year.
In the kindergarten we sing this little song as we dance around the Maypole.
Sung to the tune of Here we go around the Mulberry Bush
Here we go round the Maypole high, the Maypole high, The Maypole high
Here we go round the Maypole high, Let coloured ribbons fly.
Let Lads and Lasses go skipping by, skipping by, skipping by
Let Lads and Lasses go skipping by, Let coloured ribbons fly.
Here we go round the Maypole high, the Maypole high, The Maypole high.
Here we go round the Maypole high, Let coloured ribbons fly.
Keep alternating between the two verses until the May Pole is wrapped. Then stop and think a nice thought or wish for your friends, family, the people of the world and the earth.
Easter/Spring Crafts and Easter Game
Inspired by the story “Grandfather Tomten and the Easter Surprise” by Nancy Foster
Older children might like to turn this story into an illustrated book. The younger children might like to imitate. Help them by making the book for them. Two of their water colour paintings for front and back cover and plain sheets of photocopy paper inside staple edges shut or use hole punch and lace with wool or ribbon.
The little Gnome from the first craft could be used as Grandfather Tomten.
Open the PDF Here
Bumble Bee – 2 Versions
Materials: Paper, crayons or paint, scissors, needle and thread
Easiest method is if you have white bristol board (poster board or the bottom of an old birthday card might work)
If you only have cardboard then instead of crayons your child can paint the cardboard yellow and the stripes brown or black.
The body: Cut the bee body shape out and poke holes where the dots are with a sewing needle
Then paint or colour both sides.
Show your child that a bee’s body has stripes.
The wings: draw 2 egg shapes touching end to end (it will look a bit like the number eight) Cut it out. Poke holes with a sewing needle where the two dots are.
Now make a slit perhaps 1/2 an inch using the scissors in the middle of he bees back. Indicated by the thin line between the two stripes.
Then slide the wings (the middle of the two ovals that touch) in to the slit.
With needle and thread, remember to ask your child to if they would like to cut the thread. Thread needle through the poked holes. Thread should be 30 centimetres/12 inches long. Take the needle off and ask if they would help you tie the knots.
Tie a knot above bees body, and then at the end of the thread so your child has something to hold on to.
Click here for template
Version 2: Materials: Carded Sheep’s Wool
If you have carded white or yellow sheep’s wool making a bumblebee is quite easy.
To make the body of the bee: Take about 3 inches X 2 inches of carded wool, pull gently at one end to make it a bit thin and wispy
Now from the other end start to roll the wool (the non whispy end) very tightly. I like to pull in the edges and keep rolling until you are close to the end. The children might be able to show you what I mean.
The last wispy part is important to help hold it together. Use this whispy wool some of it should be as thin as a piece of thread and wind it around the body of the bee.
Dip in hot water. Take it out of the water and add a squirt of dish soap and roll it in between hands for a few minutes. Then put under cold water roll some more. Put under hot water, roll some more put in cold water again. Gently squeeze out soap and excess water let it sit over night to dry.
If you are dying Easter eggs and only white carded wool you can dye the bee body at the same time.
If you have dark brown wool, roving, knitting wool or a really thin strip of fabric it can be wrapped around, tied or sewn to the body making 2 or more stripes.
A little tuft of white sheep’s wool can make the wings. Attach with a some thread when your child is not watching add a loop so your child can have some way to hold the bee puppet.
The bees below began with brown wool as the base and yellow for the stripes.
The Robin: (or any type bird your child wishes to colour) cut out template of bird. Notice the slit that needs to be cut for the wings. Use the template as a pattern. Place on stiffer paper like Bristol board ( the bottom of an old birthday card might work). Trace the template and then cut out of Bristol board. Let your child colour with crayons. Then take a sheet of photocopy paper and let your child colour the paper. After the paper is completely covered with colour fold accordion or fan style. The fold should be only a tiny bit smaller then the slit you cut in the back of the bird. Pull the accordion folded paper through the slit.
Using needle and Thread, go through Bristol board at the neck of the bird and just before the tail tie it off at each end. This creates a handle your child can hold on to.
Click here for template
The Butterfly : Put something down so paint and glue does not get on the table.
Draw Butterfly on piece of bristol board,water colour paper or cardboard like from a cereal box and colour with crayons or paint. If using a cereal box glue white paper on front and back then decorate.
Place a small amount of white glue into a little jar and give your child a small brush. I remind the children to rest their brush on the edge of the jar then roll their brush so that the glue does not drip every where. Show your child on your own piece of cardboard how to brush glue on to the butterfly image then stick the white paper to it.
Have a jar of water ready as well so that a brush no longer use is sitting in water until it is washed with soap.
When the butterfly is covered let it sit to dry. When dry fold in half and like the bird with needle and thread go through close to the head and then close to the tail making a handle for your child to hold easily so the butterfly puppet can fly.
Click here for template
Tissue paper flowers:
Tissue paper (perhaps left over from Christmas wrapping paper) to make simple flowers
8 – 4 inch squares of tissue paper, one on top the other.
Fold like an accordion/ fan.
Fold this in half and then at the fold use a string, staple, or twist tie to tie it off.
Then carefully pull up each tissue paper sheet starting from the top moving from one side to the other.
Create three pom poms using the template. Trim them so you have a Tiny one for the tail, middle size for the head, slightly larger for the body. Using lots of wool makes for a fuller pom-pom.
Sew the head onto the biggest woolly ball. Cut the bottom flat so that the hare will stand up. Sew the tail on as low down as possible. together, cut out ears from felt or fabric and sew them on the head. Sew 2 black beads where the eyes should be.
Here is a link with great instructions on how to make the pom poms.
These are all the characters in the story and now you have lots to go on your nature table, puppet stage. For something different why not do a puppet show with your child after you have read the story a few days in a row. You could narrate and they can perform it.
Egg Hunt game: This is a great game during the weeks following Easter children love to pretend to be the Easter rabbit.
Cut many Egg shapes from old water colour paintings or any other thicker type paper. Children do like colouring eggs so this can be an activity in itself. Draw egg shapes, then your child can colour them. Cut them out. Your child will no doubt wish to join you in the cutting. Take the time to show them where their fingers should go. Don’t be upset if they cut the egg shapes up into tiny pieces they need to practice their hand dexterity. What you manage to cut out, place in a basket. Your child will love hiding the eggs for their siblings and parents.