Before I head home for the day, I thought I'd post a really fun project we did in February/March. The second graders each year take a field trip to the Teddy Bear Factory in Vermont. To get there, they must take a ferry ride across Lake Champlain - a great day trip. So we coordinate in the art room, sometimes learning to draw/paint bears, but always making the chairs. They are fun and easy. (Note: This project has short steps until it is time to paint, so you'll want to have something else the kids are working on at the same time.)
Here's how we do it:
- Send home a note to gather toilet paper rolls and cardboard rolls from tin foil, paper towels, etc. You need 4 short and 2 tall per child.
- Cut up cardboard boxes (the ones your supplies arrive in at the start of school) into 7" squares - 2 per child.
- First session - Pour Elmer's Glue-All (NOT Elmer's School Glue; it doesn't hold as well) into a bowl. Call children to one table in groups of two or three. They will write their name in the center of a cardboard, dip the toilet paper rolls in the glue, and stick one on each corner of the cardboard, name facing up. Leave to dry with legs sticking up.
- Second session - same glue set-up, kids a few at a time again. With seat up and legs down, glue the two taller rolls on to adjacent corners. Leave to dry again.
- Third session - same glue, but with a couple of stiff brushes in the bowl. Again just a couple of kids at a time. Place chair on its back, paint glue on the posts to the height of the chair back (7") and lay the 2nd cardboard square on the glue. Leave to dry again again.
- Fourth session - VOILA! Your chair is complete, except for painting! We've used tempera or acrylic; I like mixing the colors with a little white for either, to have them really show up good on the brown cardboard. No black.
- Fifth session - complete painting, adding black where desired. Sometimes (time and material permitting) we have also painted a coat of acrylic gloss or varnish on them if they have been painted with tempera.
Lots of the kids purchase a bear while at the factory. Or they may have a favorite doll or other stuffed animal to sit on it, or maybe they have a Build-a-Bear. so no matter what, this is very meaningful. If you had the time and the storage space, you could even make little tables to go with the chairs!
To store the chairs between art classes, I put them on top of my cabinets, and stack them every which way. They are easy to stack, so much fun to make and the kids love them.