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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Mar. 10, 2017 1 year ago

A fun shamrock craft for St. Patrick's Day

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Go green!
by: Donna Erickson

Make a Decorative Paper Shamrock

For those of us who don't claim Ireland in our lineage, it's a stretch to dance a jig, much less remember to wear something green on St. Patrick's Day, March 17. No wonder I was pleased when I shared a photo of this paper strip shamrock craft idea with my neighbor and received a reply, "Your shamrock warms my Irish heart!"

The shamrock has traditionally been the national emblem of Ireland, so why not display it with creativity as a sign not only of the coming holiday, but also a welcome to the green of a long-awaited spring?

Grab some green construction paper and basic supplies from your home office. Enjoy this messless art project with your school-age kids. Your preschooler also can lend a hand, when you make it together.

Here's what you'll need:

–2 sheets of construction paper in two different colors. (I chose a light and a dark shade of green for these directions)

–Ruler

–Pencil

–Scissors

–Stapler

–Household glue

–Thread or fishing line for hanging

–Paper cutter (optional)

Make the paper strip hearts.

For each heart, measure, mark with a pencil and cut with scissors or a paper cutter:

2 strips of light-green construction paper cut 1 inch by 3 inches;

2 strips of dark-green construction paper 1 inch by 5 inches.

Pile the 4 strips starting with one light-green short strip, the two dark-green long strips and end with the remaining light-green short strip on top. They should be evenly stacked up at one end. Carefully staple this 1-inch-wide stack about 1/4 inch from the even end.

Bring the loose ends of the short light-green strips away from the pile (and over the staple) to form a heart shape. Hold with one hand as you pull back the long strips in the same manner.

Staple the four strips together near the pointed end of the hearts.

Make two more.

Make the shamrock.

Arrange three completed paper strip hearts on a work surface to make a shamrock. Staple the pointed heart ends together. Bend the paper near the staple to spread out the sides. Cut out and glue on a thin paper stem. Make several paper strip shamrocks and hang in a window or from a chandelier.

Creative Preschool Pretend Time

"Mr. Bear, you said you wanted ice cream ON your spaghetti?" says a 5-year old scribbling on a piece of paper at his Little Italy Restaurant. "Maybe some carrots, too?"

Pay close attention when children say "Let's pretend!" and you'll discover their joy in practicing life skills that will carry them into adulthood. Imaginative play rules the day in children's lives. They love their kid-size props, from old hats and clothes to funny items in the junk drawer.

Here's how you can transform glue, string, paint and other craft items into a menu of play food to satisfy your child's love of creativity – and Mr. Bear's appetite! And why not test that creativity on the family too, perhaps on April Fools' Day?

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

Cut several 16-inch lengths of white string for the "spaghetti." Squeeze white glue into a sandwich bag, drop the string into the glue, then pull out each length one by one, clearing off most of the glue with your fingers. Swirl the string round and round to form a mound on a sturdy plastic or paper plate. Set aside to dry.

Use a melon baller to scoop medium-size spheres from a hunk of Styrofoam. Toss them into another plastic bag containing a couple of tablespoons of brown acrylic paint and shake. Poke toothpicks into the painted "meatballs," remove from the bag and let dry. Or, poke toothpicks into the Styrofoam balls and paint with a paintbrush.

Remove toothpicks, then glue meatballs on "spaghetti" and drizzle a sauce of 50-50 mixture of glue and red paint on top. Let dry.

The spaghetti and meatballs should now be permanently glued to the plate for pretend play.

SALAD

Cut green construction paper or foam sheets into leaf shapes. Toss "lettuce" in a plastic bowl with green pompoms for cucumber chunks, an elastic ponytail holder for an onion and a tan sponge cut into squares for croutons, and top with a small red rubber ball "cherry tomato."

DESSERT

Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop soft play clay from its container for a bowl of "spumoni."

Tip: It's fun to make up menus with prices for children learning how to read, count money and make change.

NOTE: Due to small parts, this activity is for children ages 4 and up.

Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."

(c) 2017 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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