This was my last week doing crafts with the kindergarten/first grade class at our co-op. It was bittersweet — while it was a bit of work planning and preparing the crafts, it was fun to watch the children work on them, and it was so good to see my son Luke enjoy making them and showing them off to his siblings.
For this last formal class, we read the picture book Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully. The story takes place in France in the late nineteenth century. Mirette’s mother, a widow, rents out the rooms in her home to traveling performers. One of the performers who comes to stay is the Great Bellini, a tightrope walker. Mirette wants to learn to walk on a rope, too, and Bellini finally agrees to teach her.
Our craft for this story was the Balancing Butterfly craft found on EnchantedLearning.com. Here’s how we did it:
- Cardboard butterflies
- Sculpey clay
To prepare, I made a butterfly pattern with a piece of cardstock. I found that a butterfly with a wingspan of about 3 inches worked well.
Next, I traced the pattern and pre-cut the butterflies for the students using thin cardboard I had on hand. EnchantedLearning recommends using old cereal boxes.
The students then…
1. Decorated their butterflies with markers. We talked about patterns again, and how they could make patterns on their butterflies.
2. I also provided each student with some sculpey clay. They worked the clay with their hands to soften it before rolling it into a ball. Then they flattened one side on the surface of the table to make it stand evenly.
3. I then let them choose a pencil, and they stuck the unsharpened end down into the clay so the pencil was standing upright.
4. Next, they tried to balance their butterflies on the eraser end of the pencils. They could balance them if they placed the center of the butterfly on the eraser.
5. Then we added pennies to the wings. We taped one penny near the top of each wing. This changed the center of gravity to a point closer to the head of the butterfly. The butterfly would tip, but it still balanced on the pencil.
This simple craft was a hit! They played with them that morning, and then my son played with his some more when we got home. My daughter Lillie then made one for herself, and she plans on making more with her cousins this weekend. Give this project a try, and watch the butterflies soar!