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Upcycling - Patriotic Kid Crafts - Melting Crayons to Learn About the American Melting Pot
Bandanna binder and bookmark
When the summer heat drives you inside so you don't melt, melt some crayons.
Independence Day is coming, that most wonderful day that falls on July, 4th every year and has for over 200 of them. I love America. Not so long ago, being proud of being American was pretty much accepted as the norm in this country. Things have changed. Some for the better, some not so much.
Many have noted a trend over recent years whereby patriotism is fading, being proud of being American is the anti-vogue and fewer of us really keep up with current political issues, know our nation's founding documents, or sadly, even our own history. You know what they say. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
Those sad facts have somehow combined with my love of creating and a caffeine induced frenzy to make something I have been wanting for a while. As a result, I hope you will enjoy the following compilation of what are two of my favorite patriotic projects. I have done both in some form or the other over the years in multiple classrooms. This time, I'm bringing in something new with the melted crayons incorporated into each and a few other things.
After the photo gallery tutorials, you will find multiple ideas for how to use this for educational and patriotic purposes. Of course, it can just be fun, too!
The design in the center of the binder cover
I'm about to melt, now!
You see, it's pushing 100 degrees here.
I'm staying in for crafty fun and melting something that isn't, well, me.
Follow along in the picture galleries for some patriotic project fun using materials that are kind to the planet. Hey, I love that, too! What America and Earth have in common is just one of the things that endears them both to me. They are each one of a kind, totally unique, and totally irreplaceable.
The fact that these crafts can be highly educational and motivational is just an added bonus. Sh. Don't tell the kids. Stay tuned for details on just why this one simple project can become a learning tool for life. When done correctly, with a little magic dust, some love, hope and a prayer, this becomes the platform of dreams, the compilation of success, the treasure trove of questions and exploration that is self driven. Basically, it's one heck of a powerful tool.
Why these projects?
We begin creating by melting.
What we create will become a tool of melting away ignorance.
America is the great melting pot of the world. It's a land far from perfect, but yet a land where the dream of perfect freedom still lives. For over 200 years, Old Glory has represented a chance at a better life, a shot at a free existence and symbolized a shining beacon of hope to the world.
America is in big trouble. When I was growing up, and it wasn't that long ago, the daily news reported our national mistakes and accomplishments, just like today. The difference was that then the accomplishments seemed to be in direct proportion to the mistakes. Headlines and sound bytes today read like a Butcher's Bill of Bad, a sheet of scandals each more abominable than the last.
I picked these projects specifically because it is imperative that children learn the truth about our nation, the good, the bad and the ugly, not just one or the other. Further, it is essential they learn how to study, learn and find truth on their own. Too many of our young exit public school believing everything they are told. We must impart skills that allow for the critical analysis of information by the individual from a logical perspective. If we don't, then we are just turning out ripe young minds for those pushing propaganda and division
A photograph documentary of making the bandanna binder.
Follow along in the photo gallery for detailed instructions that any one can do for themselves. Binders don't have to be boring or tossed out when they start to look bad. Give it a makeover.
My American Heroes - How to make a bandanna binder, in this case, a patriotic interactive notebookClick thumbnail to view full-size
This is a super resource for introducing children to politics.
A democracy only survives as long as a populace educated and motivated enough to engage in the issues of the day remains. Sadly, said group is ever shrinking in modern America.
Thoughts on motivation -
Do you think a good looking customized cover representing things the student likes will help keep academic motivation high?
Use this resource, written on a level that is easy for children to understand, to help them develop an interest in our government.
Children that are not taught at home about government and the values of democracy are ripe for propaganda programming. Use this as a conversation starter. Talk with your children frequently about the current political climate and events. Ask what they are learning, or not learning, about such in school. You may be shocked by the answers.
Three coats and one night of dry time later, we are finally ready to start decorating.
Whoopee! How to add texture to the bandanna binder.
For about three seconds.
I thought to use the candle to melt the tip of the crayon and then color in from there. I knew I would have to sharpen a lot to keep a point fine enough to work inside the patterns on my bandanna.
It was a bad idea. After the second flower, I could see that just was not going to work. It was frustrating and the results looked horrid.
Time for a new strategy. Giving up is not an option.
Strategy failed :(.
Have you ever started a project with a plan and then had to re-invent the plan?
I must admit to being somewhat scared at this point. I had a good bit of time invested and I really like the look of this binder, but I was seriously afraid if I could not figure a way to basically paint with crayon, it wan't going to work.
Fine. A few failed attempts later, I figured it out. What worked is putting a pie tin over my favorite fairy oil warmer. It melted the crayons in just a few minutes and kept them liquid long enough for me to paint. I did notice the brush gets icky fast. Use a synthetic, relatively small child's paint brush.
When it gets caked up with crayon, paint the inside of the warm pie tin. It will melt what is caked on the brush.
The decorations, like the icing on the cake, it is always the best part.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Good Directional Options for Your Patriotic Interactive Notebook:
* My American Heroes
* American Inspiration
* My Travels Through America
* Inventing America - Best Scientists/Inventions
* Our Family in America
* The America We See and the One We Do Not.
* I'm Proud to be an American Because...
Instill a lust for knowledge early. Nourish it for a lifetime.
Creating such binders, scrapbooks, and journals helps children to want to fill them. To do so, they have to explore, make choices, create, organize and basically, most importantly, think.
Please, encourage them to explore whatever aspect of our great nation interests them with materials they find increasingly on their own. Learning facts and knowledge is great. Learning how to find specific knowledge for yourself, dissect it, compare it to contrasting information, formulate a logical opinion about it and apply what you learned to your real life is priceless.
Always supervise the little ones, and some adults.
There are a few potential dangers involved in the way I did this. Most notably, the hot glue gun and more so, the open flame present serious safety issues. Always supervise until such point as you know from repeated experience that the person doing the craft can be trusted to monitor these issues on their own.
Personally, I see such opportunities to teach the little ones about safety as great things, as long as hands on, active, supervision takes place.
How to make the matching bookmarkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Having a matching bookmark will encourage one to flip the pages so as to have an excuse to use it :).
I Mod Podged this one to keep the glitter off that red ribbon from getting all over everything, but this step is optional.
TEACHER ALERT - Technically speaking, "Mod Podged" is not a verb. It's not even a word. It's a sniglet at worst and slang at best derived from adding the typically past tense "ed" to what is a proper name of a name brand. This is a great example of how to butcher the English language in print. However, culturally speaking, slang has its place. It stays.
TIP - If you lay things on the Duck Tape wide roll backing when using the Mod Podge, it won't stick.
The first articles in mine are "My True American Heroes."
True American Heroes - Top Ten - as Ranked by Vix. This article is NOT recommended for children.
Melting Away the Lies - Poetic verse
They say Columbus discovered America true,
when it was in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue.
There were already many nations over 5 million strong,
when it was Columbus really happened to stumble upon
what became the dream of so many, built upon the blood of so very many more,
none of who could have ever dreamed to have foretold what was to be in store.
Right in the mix with sin, greed and pride there was painfully born a land like no other.
A dream lived and grew alongside evil and oppression pitting brother against brother.
As the dream grew outward like a raging ripple washing freedom over folks more and more,
so too did the evil, greed and lust for power weave its roots through to the nation's very core.
The Lady Liberty, herself stands so proudly still to yet welcome all,
but the roots of evil have weakened her to the point she may fall.
Look back at history through the eyes of many, not just a few. You will hear the Lady's call.
From the very start, she's always been watching. She's seen from bad to great and taken all.
Take a good long look at America, all the good, the heinously ugly and the even more bad.
Decide for yourself. Stand up and make a stand while there is still freedom for to be had.
At times history whispers and other times it is she screams.
Never, not once ever, will she be as only one or a few sees.
Be like the great Lady herself and take it all in.
Only when you have all sides can you truly begin...to understand.
Poetvix a.k.a. Rhonda
Melt away the hate and the ignorance in our nation.
Melt into unity.
Never stop learning, exploring, asking questions and challenging the politically promoted theme of the day. Don't let others freezing you out slow you down. Turn up the heat on truth and melt your way to a brighter tomorrow for all of us.
Melanie Amaro singing When You Believe
Graphic American made by Vix at CoolText.
Vix picks for top patriotic links:
- The Wounded Warrior Project.
No one is more patriotic than the brave men and women who sacrifice daily so we may yet remain free. With all they have given for us, think about doing something for them.
- Disabled American Veterans.
DAV offers thrift stores across the country. I love them not only for helping veterans, a most patriotic act, but further, for having a heart. At least my local store does. They allowed some of my students to intern there to learn job skills. Coo
© 2013 Rhonda Lytle