Children love to manipulate and handle food. This is wonderful as it provides great sensory play and even helps build math skills. And of course they love to eat it too! Here are some fun ideas for food crafts that are healthy. Bonus: Easy clean up and prep make it easy to do these in the after school setting!
Ever wanted to start a Scrapbooking Club with the kids at your center but worried that all the scrapbooking materials you need to buy would break your budget? Not to worry, you may be suprised that most materials needed you may already have on hand.
A colleague of mine recently introduced me to the Fancy Nancy series, by Jane O’Connor. The books are very well written and beautifully illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The details on each of the pages are brilliant! They really capture the essence of what Fancy Nancy is all about. I also truly appreciate how Jane has incorporated learning and enhancing children’s vocabulary into something that is fun and exciting. Fun with Fancy Nancy Club is a club that can be fun, fulfilling, and educational all at the same time.
Week 1-Make your own Fancy Fabric Hair ribbons
Introduce the group to Fancy Nancy by reading her first book entitled, Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Fancy Fabric Hair ribbons
- Fun, yet sturdy fabrics
- sparkly pony beads
- hair ties
- fabric cutter
- yard stick
1) First have an adult use the fabric cutter and yard stick to cut equal sized strips (~ 1/2 in wide. and 6 in. long)
2) Next, have the children choose fabric strips and tie simple knots to create their hair ties. Every third or fourth tie they can add a bead to make it look more fancy if they so desire. The more strips they choose, the thicker and fuller their hair tie will become.
Week 2- Fancy Decoupage Trinket Boxes
Decoupage is a fancy way of saying the art of decorating with colored paper cut-outs, paint, & glitter. I think children will truly enjoy creating their own decoupage boxes
Expected Project Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
- Small boxes (1 per child)- small takeout boxes or margarine tubs would work well if you are on a $$, or you can purchases small cardboard boxes at a local craft store.
- White (or Clear) school glue & water
- Plastic bowls
- Magazines, Color Catalogs, & Newspapers
- Glitter Glue
1) Spread out magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. Encourage children to cut out shapes and objects that interest them.
2) Mix 1 part glue to 1 1/2 parts water in each plastic bowl to prepare a glue wash. Have children “paint-on” their cutouts in their desired pattern. TIP: Use only interior pages from the magazines, not covers as they will be too thick and won’t stick/lay flat against to boxes. The thinner the pages, the better ~ the more polished outcome there will be!
3) Allow the boxes to dry for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime you can check out FancyNancyBooks.com for some adorable printables the children can use while they are waiting. Use rhinestones & glitter glue to give their boxes an extra special fancy touch – Voila! Fancy Decoupage trinket boxes to hold all of their fancy objects! TIP: If boxes are still too wet after 10-15 minutes, skip this step and save it for the following day/week when the group next meets.
Week 3: Fancy Nancy Vocabulary Challenge
You can start this session by reading Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words, by Jane O’Connor. Then ,depending on the ages of children in the group you can have 2 different types of challenges or use a combination of both. Have small prizes on hand for everyone who participates in the challenge. Prize Ideas: Boa Pens, Rhinestone Rings, Glittery playdoh.
Ages 9-12: Fancy Word Spelling Bee
Gather a list of fancy words (ex. accesories, boas, parasol, etc.) and challenge children to take turns spelling the words.
Ages 5-9: Fancy Nancy Vocabulary Challenge
Using the list of fancy words you have compiled have the children guess what the definitions of each word are.
Week 4: Special Event: Fancy Nancy Tea Party & Dress Up Day
This week encourage the children to dress up for the tea party and wear pearls, fancy dresses, costume jewelry, tiaras, gloves, boas, etc. One of most festive parts of a tea party is serving dainty and delicate foods, most of them being “mini” versions of their normal selves. You can serve scones and tea sandwiches (sandwiches with filling such as egg salad, chicken salad or cucumber/cream cheese, crusts cut off, cut into 4 triangular shaped pieces), small fruits & veggies and tea of course.
You can also encourage the children to discuss their club experience ~ what did they learn? What was their favorite part of the club?
For more about information about Fancy Nancy, visit FancyNancybooks.com
Looking for more club ideas? Check the club themes page for some more exciting themed-units!
I can still remember when I was a kid my dad bought me a bike. He insisted he could put it together himself and didn’t need to buy the preassembled bike that was more expensive. It took my dad all day to build my bike. In the meantime however, my sister and I had to entertain ourselves. We took the box my bike came in and made a fort. We colored it with markers, cut out windows and played make believe for hours on end. Another of my all time favorite childhood memories involved my mom making me a “Fort Maze” made up of a dozen boxes for me to crawl through. The cost for these materials = nothing. The lifetime memories gained from them = priceless. Children do not need things to cost money in order for them to have fun. Giving them a little nudge to help tap into their creative side and open up their imagination can make all the difference in the world!
It can be challenging to think of planning a club without a lot of money. Some after school programs can have 20-30 kids while others may have 100 or more. Factoring that in as well and you may squelch the idea of planning a club before you even begin. But you can make it happen and here’s how:
- Set a budget and stick to it- The Site Director can take a look at their budget and give each Staff Member a budget and make sure they stick to it.
- Spread out your finances– Many elements of a club may not need money to plan. For instance your center may already have supplies on hand for theme related arts & crafts and games. This way you can save your money for a specific project or special event.
- Encourage staff to be excited about their club–Excitement is contagious, if Staff are excited about the club, kids will be too!
- Host a special event at the last session of the Club- Once again this does not need to be an expense. Host a dance, take a walking field trip, schedule a guest speaker or have a dress up day! Also announcing this event at the beginning of the first week of the club will build excitement about the club and give kids something to look forward to.
I hope these tips and tricks help you to plan a budget friendly club! Happy Planning! Do you have any money saving club ideas? If so, I would love to read them!