Or...as I like to call it, fun with tints! I did a post on tints back in 2011 and want to revisit it for this St. Patrick's Day garland. Not only is this garland super pretty, there are many opportunities for learning if you hand the reins over to your child or children to create it.
*marker; any color
*sponge brush or large paint brush
*small container for paint
*one large sheet of paper 11"X17" or newspaper
*yarn or twine
*stapler and staples
The first thing you will want to do is set up your crafting space to allow for a mess and easy clean up. I have used oilcloth, a vinyl tablecloth and wax paper, all of which work well. Once you have your area set up with your paint, brush and paper you can begin by first folding your paper in half as many times as you can. I got four folds into my paper which was 11"X17". Teaching your child to fold the paper in half as many times as they can can trigger conversation detailing math concepts such as fractions. The physical work of folding and creasing the paper as even as possible is not as easy for little hands as it is for us grown-ups.
Next up we're going to get to painting each section of the folded paper going from a light tint to a dark or vice versa. You can begin with white paint or green paint, it doesn't matter which only that you use a LOT of paint. Well...more paint than you think you need as you will be adding to your bowl for each section of folded paper but to keep the color changing you want to make sure you have enough of your base color whichever it may be. If you choose to begin with white, you will want it to be mostly white with a drop or two of green paint mixed in so that your white paint is the faintest of greens.
You can refer to my original post if you like to explain what tints are to your kiddo but to get to the painting have your child paint up the first section from top to bottom or bottom to top.
Once that fold is painted, add another drop or two of your white or green paint and get to painting the next fold and so on, adding a drop of paint with each fold.
By the time you reach the end your painted sections should go from light to dark or dark to light but still remain within the same hue...aka ombre. Set aside to dry.
Once dry, have your child fold the painted paper in half from top to bottom or height-wise. Once folded, flip the paper over and draw a line along the fold. This will be a guide for your child to cut along. Scissors work is an important skill for young children to work on. We as adults take it for granted how easy it is to pick up a pair of scissors and get to cutting, but a youngster around 3 or 4 finds the task quite trying, especially if they have yet to figure out which hand is their dominant hand. Scissors work utilizes hand to eye coordination and develops both fine and large motor skills. Learning how to properly hold and use a pair of scissors strengthens your child's fingers which will aid in a firm grip for writing. An added benefit to scissors work with your child is that they learn how to use them properly under your guidance. Think of it as both a bonding experience and a learning adventure.
Once your child has (or you, depending on the age of your kiddo though I encourage you to allow your three year old to practice cutting) cut the paper in half, flip it over and number each fold so that once the next batch of cutting is finished the pieces will be numbered to maintain the nifty ombre effect. Make sure to number the other half in the same order to keep it consistent.
Now we're back to folding. Have your kiddo fold each piece in half and stack in a safe place in numerical order. My paper gave me sixteen pieces. Once fold, hand your kiddo their scissors and let them fringe the edges. Fringing with scissors is usually a bit easier than cutting along a line so your child may really enjoy this part. If they have a completely different idea, let them get to it. It's remarkable what children can produce when their ideas are encouraged.
Now it is time to assemble the garland which means your child gets to use THE STAPLER! Oh how a kiddo loves a stapler. You would be surprised how difficult stapler work is for a young child. I know you are probably thinking "What? A stapler? For my three year old? Are you kidding me?" and well, I'm not, unless you plan to hand them a stapler and then leave them alone. It goes without saying that one should never leave a young child alone with scissors, staplers, or any other sharp object. But under your guided supervision your child will joyfully staple away even when things go awry, and they usually do. To create the garland you will need a large length of yarn about six feet or so. Fold over one end and tie in a knot to create a loop of sort and place a fringed and folded piece of garland over the yarn so that it is nestled inside and give that stapler a good push. Er...have your child give the stapler a good solid pressing. Kachunk! Continue until all your pieces have been garland-fied and you are ready to hang.
Pretty, isn't it? If you begin now you can have your child work on this in stages and be ready to hang the next day. Change out the color and you can create a garland for any holiday! Hop on over to scrumdillydilly for a grown up version which is much the same except I scalloped the bottoms and stitched it all together. Happy almost St. Patrick's Day!