Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Craft Books for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Hope everyone has their "green on" today!

Happy National Craft Month!
Hope everyone's crafty this month!

When Linda told me my post day was St. Patty's Day, I thought, "Great... what the heck am I going to do with that topic?" I've let the topic stew and stew in my head this month. Then, last week, I discovered that it's National Craft Month. Woohoo! Again, I thought, "Craft books is a fantastic topic for this month." Then, again, that nagging St. Patty's Day date popped in my head. Stew, stew, stew... Eureka!


For the last few winters, I've taught the class, SUMMER Arts and Crafts, at the local elementary school as part of afterschool enrichment. Doesn't that sound great? Summer crafts in the Winter! I turn on beachy/woodsy/nature-y music; which is kind of cool because it sets the mood and calms down the group. Then, I ask the kids to listen to the sounds and pretend we just came back from a long hike in the woods.
Almost all the crafts we've made incorporate recycled materials. At first, when I started thinking about crafts that would work for the group, using recycled materials wasn't a requirement, but it just made sense. Why buy something where materials you have running around the house would work just as well? With each craft, I leave the project open-ended. Dreamcatchers can be made from any size or material of plastic ring like sour cream container tops or take-out containers. The roping can be made of yarn, lanyard plastic, embroidery thread or any material that can be casually woven creating a center "eye". The sky's the limit on the decorating: beads, feathers, stickers, etc.
With all the projects, I stress to the students almost any material can create a great craft, so their imagination can soar.

Last summer, I recommended some great green craft books as part of my Summer Arts & Crafts book list. Now, there are some more wonderful green craft books that were recently published or are about to be released. What I love most about these particular books is the projects are open-ended. The crafts shown are just the tools for millions of creations!
And, it probably goes without saying, all these books are filled with projects perfect for National Craft Month or Earth Day at the library or in the classroom!

Clever Ways to Use Everyday Items
Kathy Ross (author)
Celine Malepart (illustrator)
Millbrook Press March 2009

Earth-Friendly and Kid-Friendly. Fun pages, cute illustrations, and great ideas.

Emma Hardy
Cico August 2008

Interesting separation of projects into 4 chapters: Salt Dough, Paper, Natural Materials, and Fabric and Wool. The book cover caught my eye with the gorgeous rainbow sherbet colors!

A Green Activity Book About Reuse
Anna Alter
Henry Holt March 31, 2009

I love this book - from the adorable illustrations, to the fun open-ended projects, to the creative design of each page. Creating the craft from each character's eye will instantly draw kids into the project!

Jane Bull
DK Children May 2008

Cool graphics and bright colors make each page fun. Some of the most unique ideas I have seen plus the foundation for thousands of other fun projects.

After teaching the Summer Arts & Crafts class last month, something suddenly dawned on me. In many of the little projects I created growing up, the craft involved a recycled piece. This was the '60s to '70s. Was recycling even "in" back then?
I sewed a black and green snake for my brother for a Christmas present - the materials were old scraps, the inside was an old coat hanger and my next door neighbor's old panty hose! I made a super cool Bar's Open/Bar's Closed with an old piece of wood and my woodburning kit. (I thought it was cool, anyway.) Old towels: stuffed animals. Old pieces of soap: bath crystals.
I thought every kid did this.

Even now, my basement has quite an assortment of used stuff: all sorts of paint palettes for myself and classrooms, glass jars, oatmeal containers, old seashells, leftover pieces from my children's craft projects, and all sorts of really cool things that my husband calls junk and wants to throw out in the trash. Was my "resourcefulness"inevitable because my mom grew up in Germany during WWII and my dad grew up in Indiana during the depression?

Anyone else have this need to reuse things?

Wishing everyone a creative National Craft Month and a lucky St. Patrick's Day!


Olugbemisola (Mrs. Pilkington) said...

I'm with you! Some other great green-spirited craft books are The Creative Family by Amanda Soule, Recycled Crafts Box by Laura Martin, DIY Kids by Ellen Lupton, and The Children's Year by Stephanie Cooper, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marije Rowling.

Fun post -- thank you!

Lindsay said...

I love doing crafts and these look like fantastic books! Maybe one of them would have a good craft for my summer camp kids.
Oh and I defiantly keep things to reuse them into crafts - It's why my room is a mess! I've been trying to organize it better so I can tell what I have :)

Anonymous said...

You should check out Discoverybox. They are great for Kids aged 9-12 and are supporting World Book Day this month, which encourages children to explore books and reading!