Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Minute Bunny Basket & Filler Ideas

No art class for me this week--the cooperative is closed for Holy Week (Easter is this Sunday). I thought this would be a great time to write about some of my favorite artsy gifts to help out with filling those Easter baskets! Come on--one cannot live on chocolate alone!

My theory on Easter baskets and the like is to buy consumables that can be eaten (Peeps candy), used up (a suncatcher kit) or added to what we have (markers) with little impact. With four children, I have WAY too much stuff! While I'm sure you already have a list of candy for those Easter baskets, here's a list of some other stuff to make your children's Easter baskets shine!
  • Basic art supplies (crayons, markers, watercolor paints, glue sticks, glitter glue)
  • A new sketchbook (spiral bound)
  • Mini art kits (make your own picture frame, a suncatcher kit, paint your own pottery, a scratchboard kit, etc.)
  • Origami paper
  • A disposable camera and scrapbook kit or supplies
  • Beads and cord to make a necklace, bracelets, etc.
  • Dover art books--Dover makes a series of mini-books that have mazes, paper dolls, sticker books and more--these are so fun and there is one for every interest! (Buy these online or at book stores).
  • Klutz makes a line of books that foster creativity and come with the supplies needed to create the projects in the books. They have doodle books, window art, pom pom creations and so many more! These books are more pricey (about $15-$20 each), but for older children, one of these books and a couple of candies might be the Easter gift.
  • Yarn and crochet hooks or knitting needles
  • A bucket of air dry clay or play-doh (or you can make your own)
  • Stickers
  • A mini notebook, ruler, and mechanical pencils (for the future draftsperson!)
  • Pipecleaners and googly eyes to make critters
  • A big pack of construction paper
  • New scissors--either straight edge or with decorate edging
  • Sidewalk chalk for outside doodling
Have fun with the "basket" as well--it doesn't have to be traditional! You can use a pail, an art caddy or plastic tote with handle (see the post about art supplies to have on hand). A canvas totebag is also a great "basket" and the child can decorate it as a project as well. One of my girlfriends said that she saw premade baskets made from an upside down sunhat. You can often find plain colors of these and paired with a set of fabric markers, you have an easy project your child will love!

The bunny basket idea below, is a wonderful preschooler craft (or for anyone who is young at heart!). This is not original, it is just the version I improvised with my four-year-old the other day. Excuse the photos--it was difficult to take nice photos while doing the project with a four-year-old! He's very proud of it though--he shows it to everyone who walks though the door!

Spring Bunny Basket

Supplies Needed:
  • A one gallon milk jug, washed and dried
  • A sharpie or other marking pen
  • Scissors
  • 2 Googly eyes (about 3/4"-1" diameter)
  • Glue dots, tacky glue or a hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • 3 pom poms (about 3/4"-1" diameter), 1 pink and 2 white
  • 3 pipe cleaners (any color)
  • Scrap cardstock, white
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Crayons
  • Stapler

1. You'll want to start by making a hole at the top of the bunny basket for all of those Easter treats! We left the handle of the milk jug on so that my preschooler could carry it around for an Easter egg hunt. Use the photo below as a reference. A grown-up should use scissors to carefully cut the milk jug.
The cutting line is marked with Sharpie.

2. We then used glue dots to glue on the googly eyes. I like to let the children glue them on because I love the cute expressions that are created when the kids glue the eyes on askew! So cute!

3. I then cut a set of teeth out for the bunny and had my son glue those on using glue dots.

4. I then cut a small slit (about 1/2" long) on either side of the teeth and we threaded all three pipe cleaners through the slits to create whiskers.
The pipecleaners are just fed all at once through two slits--one on either side of the bunny teeth.

5. Using the glue gun (a parent's job), I attached the pom poms to finish the bunny's face.
Awwww....look at that cute bunny face!

6. I then cut two ears out of cardstock and drew an inner ear shape inside of them. My son got busy coloring them in, and then we attached them to the back of the bunny basket with a stapler (he helped me and thought that was the best part of the entire project!).
Not perfect, but what do you expect with a 4yo breathing down my neck!

Rainbow colored ears!

This basket could be done up much more fancy then we did it. You could add a bow tie for a boy bunny and flowers and bows for a girl bunny. Don't worry if you don't have the exact supplies that we used here--using what you have on hand is a great way to teach children how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Enjoy this simple craft with your child!

And, when it's time to help the Easter bunny fill your child's Easter basket--have fun! Helping your child to "spring" into creativity can be easy!

Have a wonderful and joyous Easter! Welcome Spring!

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